Voting rights for people on parole
What is it? The restoration of voting rights for people on parole needs to be codified in law, so that restoration becomes an automatic process. There are about 30,000 people on parole at any given time in New York, and criminal disenfranchisement laws disproportionately impact people of color, removing the voice of entire communities.
Why is this a priority in 2019? Last year, the Governor issued an executive order granting 30,000 voting pardons to people on parole allowing them to vote, but this does not go far enough. This legislation would automate and simplify the process, removing confusion from eligible voters and officials that currently keeps people on parole de facto disenfranchised.
What’s the Status? This is our highest priority item — we believe it should pass soon if we can get enough co-sponsors, especially in the State Senate; and enough support, especially amongst Democrats in Long Island and the Hudson Valley. Your reps need to hear from you and your community that you want them champion this issue, and that you’ll have their backs if they do.
Automatic Voter Registration
What is it? Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) would automatically register eligible New Yorkers to vote when they interact with a government agency (i.e., the DMV, Department of Health), unless they opt out.
Why is this a priority in 2019? Participating in our democracy should never be an opt-in process, and AVR could turn more than one million New Yorkers into one million new voters.
What should it look like in New York? No two states are the same, so AVR looks different across the country. New York needs a model that is implemented at multiple government agencies and provides adequate safeguards to protect our most vulnerable populations.
What’s the status? Because of the intricacies in crafting a bill that increases equitable access to the ballot while protecting our most vulnerable neighbors, we are moving forward intentionally — with community input and in collaboration with the legislature — to determine the right path forward for New York.
Flexibility to change party affiliation
What is it? In New York, the current deadline to change party affiliation is 11 months before the primary, which is the most restrictive deadline in the country.
Why is this a priority in 2019? The change of party deadline must be shortened so people can make an informed decision when voting. Our restrictive deadline combined with a closed primary system disenfranchises countless voters each year.
What’s the status? The most likely way to fix our restrictive change of party deadline is by working it into an Automatic Voter Registration bill, because AVR will have implications on party affiliation. We are working toward one bill that will fix both problems.