State of Elections

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Category: New York (page 2 of 4)

New York: Giving Power to the People

By Fahad Naeem

“It’s not the hand that signs the laws that holds the destiny of America. It’s the hand that casts the ballot.” The power given to voters to choose who gets elected to office is a vast and important right to protect. The people vote for candidates that best represent the interests and perform the duties required of their offices. However, states can steal that power from citizens by allowing state legislators or the governor to appoint officers for vacant positions, as New York had done in its state constitution. New York’s constitution effectively deprived voters of the ability to elect a candidate of their choice. The Attorney General and Comptroller positions can be occupied from several months to several years without any check or say by the voters. That provision was inconsistent with the goal articulated by New York’s constitution in Article 1 Section 1 which states:  “No member of this state shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof . . .” Continue reading

Hurricane Sandy and Election Day in New York: What Can we Learn From Disaster?

by Emily Lippolis

Big storms tend to bring out the Eagle Scout in all of us. Nature reminds us that we are not always in control of our access to basic necessities and our ability to move freely so we stock up and hunker down. When the storm passes, most of us end up a little better off. Now we know what our contingency plan is, we have canned goods and bottled water for the next storm, and we figure out what needs to be fixed around the house. You would think that the lessons most people learn from natural disasters would also inform our voting system, but sadly, they have not. If Sandy has taught us anything, it has been how weak our system is when it comes to overcoming disasters.  Continue reading

Hurricane Sandy: A Catalyst to Ingenuity and Accommodation in Voting

by Aaron C. Carter

With an estimated cost in the neighborhood of $50 billion dollars in damage, Hurricane Sandy ravaged much of the tri-state area causing catastrophic damage.  New Jersey got the worst of the violent storm and its damning effects. Flooding, fires, power outages and gas shortages have changed life considerably for many residents in the Garden State.   Routine activities are no longer routine.  Elected officials and residents have been forced to rethink various aspects of everyday life.  With Election Day fast approaching in the wake of a tragedy of titanic proportion, the time for accommodation and ingenuity arrived by necessity.  Races for New Jersey’s 14 electoral votes, 13 congressional seats, a senate seat and local elections, forced flexibility and adaptation to make sure residents are able to vote and have their voices heard. Continue reading

NYC League of Women Voters vs. Sandy & Partisanship: The Triumph of Community Over Mother Nature and the Need to End the Partisan Election Process

by Brenden Dougherty

The October surprise for the 2012 election cycle turned out not to be a terrorist attack or an extramarital affair, but rather a devastating super-storm that flooded portions of New York City and cut out power to millions of customers.  Many wondered if the damage to the city would cripple efforts to get voters to the polls on Election Day.  However, the League of Women Voters of New York City refused to surrender to the destruction.

From now on he was to support his mother from writing an exploratory essay his earnings as an actor and performer

The League of Women Voters of the City of New York is an organization whose goal is to inform citizens about election matters and encourage citizens to vote.  On November 6, 2012, the organization pursued this mission with incredible vigor by assisting those voters affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Members set up a telephone hotline days before the election to answer questions from voters about whether their polling places would be open despite the damage from the floodwaters.  On the day prior to the election, league members answered more than 200 calls, and when the big day finally came, the League of Women Voters kept their phone hotline open from 8 in the morning until 9 at night.  Indeed, the organization was intent on ensuring that every resident in the city knew where to vote and how to get there, with particular emphasis on those without access to the Internet and those who were unable to withstand the heavy call volume coming into the Department of Elections.  As the League’s President Ashton Stewart stated on Election Day, “Our people power is minimal, but we’ve been keeping our four phone lines engaged all day, just letting people know where their nearest poll site is.”  Once the votes had been cast, the league’s work continued, with members traveling to polling locations to report the numbers to the Associated Press. Continue reading

Is there a Religious Exception for Voter Discrimination? New York’s Hasidic Community and Community Council Elections

Earlier this year, The New York Times published an article describing the requirements for voting for the leadership of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council in Brooklyn. The requirements are the following:“Jewish and religiously observant residents of Crown Heights, married, previously married or at least 30 years old, male.” The article raises the question of constitutionality of the gender discrimination in this policy, which I would like to explore further in this blog post.

The Crown Heights Jewish Community Council is described as a “social service agency” and receives annually about $2 million in government grants. Their service to the community includes distribution of food stamps and housing subsidies. While the council includes the word “Jewish” in its name and requires that voters for its leadership are “Jewish and religiously observant,” it is not a religious organization. The council’s reasons for not allowing women to vote for its leadership have ranged from female modesty to “marital tranquility”, to claiming that the discrimination against women is in fact a “one couple/one vote” rule. This specific community council has changed its policy since the publication of the article, but this is just one Hasidic community in a state that boasts the largest population outside of Israel. Hasidic Jewish communities can be found throughout Brooklyn and the “Borsht Belt” in upstate New York. This issue may come up again as more Hasidic women challenge policies that leave them disenfranchised in their own communities. Continue reading

New York’s clock continues to count down

by Alex Custin

New York’s redistricting attempts continue to show little progress towards developing a plan that both the legislature and the governor will approve.  The legislature continues to refuse to pass the redistricting commission bill that the governor proposed earlier this year.  The governor in turn has continued to state that he will veto any redistricting plan that is not formed through an independent process.  The governor has reminded the legislature that if they continue to insist upon using partisan methods to develop the redistricting plan, the courts will end up drawing the lines, and no one can truly predict what will happen if the courts get involved because of all of the changes that have to take place.

Another issue continues to add pressure on the government to develop a plan soon: the need to hold the primary early enough to be able to send absentee ballots to overseas servicemen.  New York managed to get an exemption from this requirement in 2010 – it did not have to worry about it this year because it only applies to federal elections – but its chances of getting another exemption in 2012 appear to be quite slim.  This issue adds even more complexity to New York’s election process because it appears that the government plans on keeping the current date for state and local primaries, which would mean New York would have presidential primaries in April, congressional primaries sometime around August, and state and local primaries in September.  There was some consideration given to changing the state and local primaries to match the date of the congressional ones, but in an unsurprising result, the parties could not agree on a date to change it to.  This is kind of interesting when you think about what it will mean for the congressional primaries. Perhaps the date will be set by the judge deciding New York’s suit requesting another exemption to the timeline for military absentee ballots. Continue reading

Citizens United: Does it affect New York elections?

by Andrew Bruskin

The following is a follow-up to an original article written in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

According to several New York publications, not much has changed since this decision was handed down. The Campaign Finance Board states, “NYC already bans direct contributions to candidates and employs strong requirements for disclosure in order to preserve transparency and accountability. As it has for more than 20 years, New York City’s public matching funds program provides candidates with public funds that give small donors a voice to counterbalance the impact of special interest spending.” The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) states that this decision “will not have too much affect in Albany” anyway. “It is like the Wild Wild west right now anyway,” notes Blair Horner, the legislative director of the group. He further states that New York does not have restrictions on corporate campaign finance, so this ruling is minimal when it comes to New York’s electoral process. Corporations can spend-spend-spend away, with few McCain-Feingold restrictions.

Evan Johnston of the Examiner completely disagrees with the court’s ruling and with both NYPIRG and the New York Campaign Finance Board. Mr. Johnston says, “the ruling, which was to remove any restrictions a corporation might have otherwise run into in paying for virtually unlimited advertising time to sink a candidate who might propose something like term limits, or campaign finance reform, or any number of a host of public policy options that are remotely hostile to corporate interests. That is what New Yorkers need to be concerned about.” Continue reading

NY (redistricting): New York on the clock to redistrict

by Alex Custin

New York faces a few interesting challenges in this round of redistricting. First, a law passed last year now requires inmates to be counted in the district they’re from rather than where they’re imprisoned. Second, New York is losing two congressional districts. Third, the governor has threatened to veto any redistricting plan that’s a political gerrymander. Finally, the requirement that military absentee ballots be sent out 45 days before the election means that New York has to hold its primaries earlier than usual, and the district lines have to be determined before then. The combination of these challenges means that New York has to redraw more district lines than it otherwise would and that it has to get its act together soon in order to have a plan in time.

The first challenge will affect both districts where prisons are located and districts from which the inmates came. Since population is the usual number used in order to draw district lines, districts with prisons will have to increase in size to remain equally populated and the districts that produce large numbers of inmates will have to shrink. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

Voter fraud by the Chief Election Official?: Charlie White, the Indiana Secretary of State, is being investigated by a grand jury to determine if he committed voter fraud during the May 2010 primary. White is accused of intentionally voting at the wrong precinct, a potential felony.

Misspellings can count: The Alaska Senate unanimously passed a bill on February 14 clarifying procedures for counting write-in ballots. The bill, a response to the highly-contested 2010 election of write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, allows votes that misspell the candidates name to count. The bill now moves to the Alaska House.

$2,500 recuses a judge: Elected judges in New York will no longer be allowed to hear cases where a lawyer or party has made contributions to his/her campaign in excess of $2,500 in the last two years. The decision, a new rule announced by the state’s chief judge, is designed to curtail the effects of money in judicial politics and will take effect after a 60-day comment period.

Whatever mrs extra information simpson was doing when she visited guy trundle if indeed she ever did it wasnt to have sex with him?

Optical Scanners, Punch Cards, and Levers: New York City’s Continuing War Against the Machines
Photo taken at New York’s 32nd Precinct. Voters had some difficulty with New York’s new “Terminator” voting machines.

In the fallout of the 2000 U.S.  Presidential Election, the U.S. Congress and President Bush passed the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (“HAVA”) to prevent a recurrence of the voter confusion and vote invalidation that occurred in that election.  Among its provisions, HAVA required states to create electronic voter registration lists, implement stricter voter identification standards, and transition to modern electronic voting machines.  These changes were met with resistance from voting rights advocates and state officials; nevertheless the number of HAVA compliant localities continues to increase.  New York remained among the states that did not implement key provisions of HAVA, even in the face of challenges from the U.S. Justice Department. Continue reading

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