Assemblyman Stern Co-Sponsors Election Reform Legislation to Make Voting Easier and Increase Campaign Finance Transparency
Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Huntington, 10th AD) announced that he co-sponsored a historic series of bills to make voting easier and more accessible throughout New York State. Stern also noted that this important legislation improves the voter registration process and helps prevent special interest groups from unduly influencing elections.
It is long past time for New York to have early voting, same day registration, no excuse absentee voting and for local and federal primaries to be consolidated to increase voter turnout, Assemblyman Stern said. It is unacceptable for New York to rank near the bottom for voter participation. These steps will increase access to the polls for those who work long hours and commute long distances. No one should lose the right to vote because their train home is delayed.
The measures include legislation to:
- Bring early voting to New York State, which would take place during a nine-day period before any general, primary, run-off primary or special election, including weekend voting and evening hours on at least two days.
- Amend the New York State Constitution to allow no-excuse absentee voting, to increase access to mail-in ballots at home. The amendment must be passed by both the Assembly and Senate in consecutive legislative terms before it goes before voters as a ballot referendum.
- Allow for same-day voter registration, a practice already adopted by 17 other states and Washington, D.C. The bill would amend the state constitution by removing the requirement that New Yorkers register to vote at least 10 days before an election.
- Instruct local Boards of Elections to automatically transfer voter enrollment for New Yorkers who move from one county to another.
- Encourage young people to vote and become civically engaged. The legislative package includes a measure that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote.
- Consolidate the states election calendar by combining federal and state primary elections to the fourth Tuesday in June. New York is the only state that holds its federal and state primaries on different days. This measure will save taxpayers an estimated $25 million, reduce the burden on county boards of elections, and keep New York State compliant with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
- Eliminate the Limited Liability Company (LLC) loophole to end the practice of individuals and corporations making unlimited campaign contributions to the same candidate, political party or campaign committee. It also requires LLCs to disclose the names of individuals with membership interests so that contributions can be attributed. These actions will increase transparency and put the power back into the hands of the voters.
Assemblyman Stern also continued on his promise to fight against unfunded mandates to our local municipalities and school districts by supporting measures to provide funding from New York State to fully cover any costs associated with early voting and the transition to a consolidated primary date.
For far too long, pay-to-play politics and special interests have drowned out the voices of everyday New Yorkers, Assemblyman Stern said. These measures will help make voting easier, reduce the outsize influence of donors and bring more New Yorkers to the polls. I am proud to be a sponsor of these important reforms.