Democracy Advocates + Sen. Ramos + AM González Rojas Launch Campaign to Vote Yes on Proposals 1, 3, 4!

November ballot proposals will reform redistricting and expand voting access for New Yorkers

NEW YORK, NY (10/14/2021) (readMedia)-- Common Cause/NY, Make the Road New York, the NY Civic Engagement Table, and partners gathered outside Federal Hall today to launch a campaign: Vote Yes on Proposals 1, 3, and 4! The campaign will include direct outreach to voters through phone banking, text banking. Early Voting runs October 23rd - October 31st and Election Day is November 2nd, when voters across New York will flip over their ballot to weigh in on five ballot proposals that will revise the state Constitution. Proposals 1, 3, and 4 will strengthen democracy and make voting more accessible in New York.

Check out the campaign website here.

Watch the press conference here.

In addition to the anchor partners, the campaign coalition 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.

"The time is now for voters to say yes to a stronger democracy and greater voting rights. Proposals 1, 3, and 4 are vital measures to enshrine expanded voting rights and a better redistricting process into our state Constitution. Vote yes either early from October 23rd - October 31st or on Election Day, November 2nd!" said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY.

Theo Oshiro, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, said "On November 2nd, New York voters have the chance to stand up for fairer districts and voting rights by voting yes on proposals 1, 3, and 4. We're proud to be part of this effort, and eager to lead outreach efforts to tens of thousands of voters to make sure they have information they need to support these critical measures when they cast their ballots."

"New Yorkers have an incredible opportunity to improve our democracy and expand our freedom to vote! By voting YES on key ballot proposals 1, 3, and 4, we can ensure a fairer redistricting process for our communities, eliminate the voter registration deadline, and vote absentee without any excuse. It's time for our voices to be heard," said Melody Lopez, Executive Director of the New York Civic Engagement Table.

Proposal 1 will reform the redistricting process to create districts that put New Yorkers before politicians. It will:

  • 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 means 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 is passing Proposal 3, which will eliminate 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.

"While state legislatures across the country are actively trying to restrict voting access, New York has the opportunity to lead the way and model accessible, common-sense reforms that place power back in the hands of our voters. I'm urging voters to show up by November 2nd and vote yes on ballot proposals 1, 3 and 4 to ensure that we open up the ballot, and deliver a stronger democracy for the people of our state," said State Senator Jessica Ramos.

"As other states across the US are rushing to enact harsh voter suppression laws, New Yorkers have an opportunity to make voting easier for all of us. Voting is the right that protects all our other rights, and I'm proud to ask New Yorkers to vote "YES" on these proposals that would enable same-day registration, no-excuse absentee voting and more," said State Senator Zellnor Myrie.

"It is crucial that our state continue to create a democracy that works for everyone. That's why the legislature passed these meaningful and needed reforms. Voters should vote yes on proposal 1, 3 and 4 to ensure that all voices are heard in our democracy," said Assemblymember Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas.

"As red states veer sharply in the wrong direction, towards voter suppression, New York is taking the opposite approach. I'm thrilled that New Yorkers get to vote on November 2nd to safeguard people's right to vote and ensure a fairer redistricting process. I urge my fellow New Yorkers to vote yes on proposals 1, 3, and 4," said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou.

"The legislature passed these common-sense, and critical, reforms to ensure fairer districts across the state and make sure all eligible New Yorkers can easily cast their ballot. Now it's the voters' turn to support these measures by voting yes on proposals 1, 3, and 4," said Assemblymember Ron Kim.

??"Empire State Indivisible supports ballot proposals one, three, and four because these proposals will help improve and bring fairness to the redistricting process, work to further expand and safeguard voting access, and help increase civic engagement," said Danielle Brecker, co-lead organizer at Empire State Indivisible.

"APA VOICE, a coalition of New York's leading Asian-American community organizations that organizes together on civic outreach, urges our members to vote yes to Questions 1, 2, 3, 4 in the upcoming general election. We support the passage of good government, environmental justice and voting reforms in order for the communities that we serve, represented mostly by working class immigrants with limited English proficiency, have a greater voice and role in shaping the civic process. Please vote YES on Questions 1, 2, 3, 4! "

"One of the things that redistricting does to a diverse and vibrant community like ours prevents us from communicating with our elected officials together on one issue. We stand united in making sure our communities are drawn to reflect our issues and policies that help our communities to continue to thrive as one," said Mimi Pierre Johnson, president of the Elmont Cultural Center.

"At a time when other states are imposing Jim Crow-era restrictions on voting, New York has an opportunity to become a national leader on voting rights and redistricting by voting yes on 1, 3, and 4. We encourage New Yorkers to support these key ballot measures in order to ensure that each of us has fair representation and a vital voice in our democracy," said New York Working Families Party State Director Sochie Nnaemeka.

"As Co-Chairs of the Forest Hills Green Team, we support Proposals #1,3 and 4, which will go a long way to help us elect legislators who will support addressing common sense approaches to deal with climate change, but we also encourage people to support Proposal # 2, which will immediately impact our environment," state Mark Laster and Dan Miner.

"While states across the country are trying to make it harder for Americans to vote, on November 2nd everyday New Yorkers will actually have an opportunity to expand our freedom to vote and strengthen our democracy," said Christina Harvey, Executive Director of Stand Up America. "This election season, voters should flip their ballots and vote 'YES' on ballot proposals 1, 3 and 4 to ensure fairer redistricting, easier voter registration, and access to no excuse absentee voting for everyone."

"The Asian American Federation is proud to endorse the "Yes on 1, 3 & 4" campaign to support fair representation and voter accessibility for all New Yorkers. All New Yorkers have a right to be included in the decision-making processes that affect them and their communities, and their ability to vote should not be hindered by lack of time or by lack of access to absentee voting, especially as the pandemic continues. That is why by voting yes on ballot proposals 1, 3 & 4, our communities are joining the fight to build a New York that is equitable, fair and representative of the diverse communities that call this state home." said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director, Asian American Federation