Legislature Passes Major Election Reforms
Albany, NY Reforming New York States elections was priority number one for the New York State Assembly as the 2019 legislative session began. The Assembly passed a package of legislation Monday designed to ease the voter registration process, increase turnout at the polls, and eliminate the influence of corporate money in state elections. Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo was once again a co-sponsor of all seven bills passed on Monday.
These reforms are long overdue, Lupardo said. The Assembly has supported and passed these measures for years, but until this year they have sat idle in the Senate. Voting is the bedrock of our democracy and these bills will make it easier for everyone to participate and make their voices heard.
The bills that passed in both houses of the Legislature include provisions that will:
- Create a nine-day early voting period, which would take place before any general, primary, run-off, or special election (A780);
- Add a constitutional amendment to allow no-question absentee balloting (A778); under current law, residents can only receive absentee ballots if they expect to be absent from their county the day of the election, or if they have an illness or physical disability;
- Add a constitutional amendment to allow for same-day voter registration, a practice already adopted by 17 other states and Washington D.C. (A777); each amendment to the state constitution must be passed by both the Assembly and Senate in consecutive legislative terms before it goes before voters as a ballot referendum;
- Allow county boards of elections to automatically transfer voter enrollment for voters who move to another county within NYS (A775);
- Allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote so that their registration takes effect as soon as they turn 18 (A774);
- Combine state and federal primaries to the fourth Tuesday in June (A779). Currently, New York is the only state to hold these two primaries on different days; this is estimated to save taxpayers $25 million, increase turnout in primaries, reduce the burden on county boards of elections, and keep the State compliant with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act;
- Close the LLC loophole (A776); under current law individuals and corporations can make unlimited contributions to the same candidate, party, or campaign committee by creating multiple LLCs. This bill would extend the $5,000 aggregate contribution limit, already applicable to corporations, to LLCs and require LLCs to disclose the names of individuals with membership interests.