Gov. Cuomo Pushing For Special Elections Getting Attention

October 25, 2019

ALBANY, NY – From Governor Andrew Cuomo:

GOVERNOR CUOMO SIGNS LEGISLATION REQUIRING BOARDS OF ELECTIONS TO INCREASE TRANSPARENCY OF LOCAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION LIMITS AND PROVIDE VOTERS ADDITIONAL NOTICE OF SPECIAL ELECTIONS

S.3140/A.111 Requires Local Boards of Elections to Calculate and Publish Campaign Contribution Limits on Their Website for all County, Town, City and Village Offices

S.211C/A837-A Requires Boards of Elections to Provide Additional Notice and Information before a Special Election

Cuomo: “The democratic process only works when voters and candidates alike have the right information – especially when it comes to campaign contribution limits and election dates. By signing these measures into law, we will further increase transparency and help ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to make their voices heard during special elections.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation requiring local boards of elections to calculate and publish the contribution limits for all county, town, city and village offices on the ballot in a given year on their websites by April 15 (S.3140/A.111) and requiring boards of elections to provide additional notice and information before a special election (S.211C/A837-A). These measures build on the landmark legislation modernizing New York’s voting laws signed earlier this year, accomplishing a key component of the Governor’s 2019 Justice Agenda.

“The democratic process only works when voters and candidates alike have the right information – especially when it comes to contribution limits and election dates,” Governor Cuomo said. “By signing these measures into law, we will further increase transparency and help ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to make their voices heard during special elections.”

A key goal of the Governor’s 2019 Justice Agenda is to modernize New York’s voting laws to increase voter participation. On Saturday, October 26, early voting will go into effect for the first time, making it easier for New York voters to participate in elections without logistical burdens. These reforms will allow for eight days of early voting before an election, synchronize federal and state primary elections, allow voter preregistration for teenagers, provide voter registration portability within the state, and close the LLC loophole.

Last month, Governor Cuomo also signed legislation expediting party enrollment changes to make it easier for voters to participate in the upcoming primary elections. This removed the October 11 deadline and gives voters until February 14 to make changes to party enrollment and still vote in the April presidential and June congressional and state primaries.

S.3140/A.111 Requires Local Boards of Elections to Publish Campaign Contribution Limits

Under current law, the total number of registered voters in a district determines local contribution limits, leading to varying limits from year to year. Additionally, there is currently no requirement for boards of elections to publish these limits. This bill amends election law requiring local boards of elections to publish campaign contribution limits, which will increase transparency and awareness for voters within a local district.

Senator Zellnor Myrie said, “For democracy to work, it needs clear and public rules. This bill increases transparency by making our campaign contribution limits clear to candidates, contributors, and voters, helping to protect the health our elections.”

Assemblymember David Buchwald said, “Requiring county election boards to post campaign contribution limits for local races on their websites increases transparency and will foster compliance with campaign finance rules. Voter confidence in the integrity of our elections is fundamental to our democracy and this change in state election law means all can see the campaign contribution limits for local races. I thank Governor Cuomo for singing this measure into law.”

S.211C/A837-A Requires Boards of Elections to Provide Additional Notice and Information before a Special Election

Under current law, boards of elections must notify voters of a primary or general election occurring in their district. However, there is no such notification requirement for a special election occurring in a voter’s district; as such, many voters may be unaware and less likely to participate in special elections within their district. This bill amends election law requiring boards of elections to provide additional notice and information to voters before a special election, such as the date, time, candidates and poll site information.

Senator Brian A. Benjamin said, “As recent history has shown, every election matters and each election has the possibility to have a large impact on our state, including special elections such as the one I was elected in. When I first ran for office, the only people who knew about the election where the people my campaign notified—the Board of Elections did nothing to tell my neighbors about the race. It is imperative that voters are given the opportunity to make their voices heard in every election. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation that will require the Board of Elections to notify voters if there is a special election in their district.”

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said, “Our democracy is dependent on the active participation of all voters in every election. Unfortunately, special elections attract little attention and suffer from low voter turnout in part because of a failure to properly notify voters. This legislation will increase the notification requirements for special elections, helping to make sure that voters don’t miss an opportunity to cast their ballot.”