ANTI-DEMOCRACY FORCES LIMIT NEW YORKERS' VOICE AND VOTE
NEW YORK, NY (11/03/2021) (readMedia)-- The results are in and proposals 1, 3, and 4 will not pass.
"Donald Trump successfully infected the Republican party by propagating the Big Lie, and his onslaught of attacks have destabilized the country. These results are a cautionary tale showing that even in deep blue New York, we can't take pro-democracy outcomes for granted. Anti-democracy forces are drowning out common-sense reforms with fear mongering scare tactics, and voters are listening," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY.
"The measures on the ballot today are very popular with New Yorkers across the state, and they were passed by the legislature twice. But tonight's results should remind us all not to take pro-democracy victories for granted. In the face of a fear-mongering campaign from Trump conservatives, many supporters of these measures remained complacent and did not invest the energy and resources needed to correct the record and win. As we look forward to 2022, we must all stand ready to fight for the democracy we deserve," said Theo Oshiro, executive director of Make the Road New York.
"This election was a unique opportunity to improve our democracy and expand our freedom to vote, and the failure of ballot proposals 1, 3, and 4 underscores how much our democracy is under attack, even in New York. The fight continues – the New York Civic Engagement Table and our partners are dedicated more than ever to advocating for our BIPOC, immigrant, and working class communities," said Melody Lopez, executive director of New York Civic Engagement Table.
Ballot proposals 1, 3, and 4 were endorsed by Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and 9 members of Congress including Reps Nadler, Ocasio-Cortez, Velázquez, Maloney, Bowman, Meng, Jones, Jeffries, and Rice; 6 key labor unions including 1199 SEIU, 32BJ, CWA District 1, NYSNA, CIR SEIU, and DC37; Mayor de Blasio; state legislators including Senators Brisport, Kaplan, Hoylman, Myrie, Salazar, Ramos, Assemblymembers González-Rojas, Darling, Gallagher, Lavine, Ramos, Rosenthal, Solages, and 50+ civic engagement groups.
The Yes on 1, 3, 4 campaign, is anchored by Common Cause/NY, Make the Road NY, and the New York Civic Engagement Table.The coalition also includes: the New York Public Interest Research Group; Asian American Federation; Stand Up America; Empire State Indivisible; New York Progressive Action Network; and Forest Hills Green Team; New York Working Families Party; MinKwon Center; New Reformers; Community Votes; Elmont Cultural Center; The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Communtiy Center; Churches United for Fair Housing; Women Creating Change; Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY; Faith in New York; and Citizen Action of New York, New Kings Democrats, Center for Popular Democracy, and more.
Learn more at: yeson1-3-4.org/
Background on Proposals 1, 3, and 4
Proposal 1 would reform the redistricting process to create districts that put New Yorkers before politicians. It would:
- Guarantee that political districts include all residents regardless of citizenship status - as originally intended in the U.S. Constitution - for the purposes of redistricting. While this is current practice, enshrining this into the state constitution will ensure that New Yorkers are protected if federal law excludes noncitizens from the Census.
- Enshrine a ban on prison-based gerrymandering in the state constitution, thus ensuring that incarcerated people are not used as political pawns.
- Adjust the redistricting timeline so that final maps will be finished in time for 2022 candidates to make a decision and begin circulating nominating petitions in the actual districts they will run in. Because New York's primaries were moved in 2019 from September to June, if Proposal 1 does not pass, the timeline for finalizing maps will be out of sync with the election cycle.
- Reduce the ability of political parties to manipulate the mapmaking process by freezing the number of State Senators at 63. The State Legislature has decided in the last 3 redistricting cycles to change the number of senators for partisan advantage.
- Get rid of the need for the Independent Redistricting Commission's co-executive directors to represent each party, in favor of co-executive directors elected by a majority vote of the bipartisan commission. This will not only simplify the commission's process, but reduce the State Legislature's control over the mapmaking process and minimize partisan bias.
- Require a uniform vote to approve maps, regardless of which parties are in control of the State Legislature. Currently, a two-thirds vote is required to approve maps if one party controls the legislature, and a simple majority is required if there is bipartisan control. This complicates the map approval process, acting as a pseudo-filibuster when a two-thirds vote is required. Proposal 1 will eliminate the shifting standards for map approval based solely on election outcomes and replace them with one clear, unchanging standard.
Proposal 3 would mean no more voter registration deadlines. The most reliable way to increase voter turnout is with a combination of early voting (which New York already has) and eliminating the unfair and unnecessary disenfranchisement that is caused by arbitrary voter registration deadlines. New York has two different voter registration deadlines: one is the 10 day cutoff in the state constitution that Proposal 3 would eliminate, and the other is the 25 day cutoff that is part of state law. The first step to doing away with voter registration deadlines and ultimately paving the way for implementing same-day voter registration in New York eliminating the 10 day cutoff for voter registration in the state constitution.
Proposal 4 would make voting more accessible for all New Yorkers by allowing voters to request an absentee ballot, no excuse needed. The pandemic led to expanded absentee voting, allowing over 1.5 million people in 2020 to vote by citing "temporary illness" as their excuse to request an absentee ballot. However, that will end this year, and New York's more restrictive absentee voting laws, which require voters to prove they will either be out of town or otherwise incapacitated to vote in person, will be back in force. Typically, only 3-5% of voters met these eligibility requirements. Proposal 4 would delete these narrow requirements from the constitution and have New York join the 34 states and Washington, D.C. that allow no-excuse absentee voting.