New York is a blue state, at least in the aggregate. We are often at the forefront of progressive policy, especially in New York City, and we send twice as many Democrats to Washington as Republicans. Yet the voting laws in New York State are shockingly outdated and burdensome. New York has no early voting, nor does New York have automatic registration, and compared to states that have open primaries or allow their voters to change affiliation closer to primaries, New York ranks dead last.
Why aren’t we a leader in policies that promote voting? In part because those policies cost money, and in part because the Republican party doesn’t want to promote voting. The money part is easy to understand. But if this is a blue state, why would it matter what Republicans want? Because Republicans effectively control our State Senate. They are a minority, yet they have been able to essentially bribe eight Democrats to vote with them on most issues, so they control the agenda. These Democrats call themselves the IDC, or Independent Democratic Conference, and they are bribed, for example, with committee memberships that pay extra. This NYT story details the troubling situation in Albany:
Recently, $7 million has been earmarked by the Cuomo administration to fund an early voting system, which is wonderful, but early voting must first be authorized by the State Senate, and this is where our problem lies. The State Senate, controlled by Republicans, is resisting the change.
For activists in NY-19, early voting is an important policy to push. Early voting helps working people who may not have the time or flexibility to go to the polls on voting day, and thus reduces the power of the plutocrats who can afford to vote whenever. We are fortunate that many organizations and advocacy groups from across the state have come together to form a coalition called “LetNYVote” that presses our legislators to support early voting, and they need our help to raise the profile of this important initiative and push our State Senators. Please check out the information and resources at this website:
Then, call your State Senator and press for support of early voting. If you happen to be in NYC this Sunday, LetNYVote is also holding big rally:
Upgrades like early voting are essential to expand our grass-roots reach and impact, so please lend some time to this vital initiative. Change starts at the local level, and our state reps (in Dutchess, Sue Serino) need to know that we are paying attention to their voting record, and will punish them at the polls if they don’t support crucial issues like early voting. The more awareness and action we can bring to this issue, the closer we will get to Firing John Faso and derailing the Trump train.