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Senate Advances Pro-Voter Election Reforms

Blair Horner, NYPIRG Executive Director, said, “New York's democracy continues to be a work-in-progress. For the last few years, the Senate Majority has consistently set the table for action to improve elections, enhance government accountability, and to plug loopholes in the state's campaign financing system. We applaud the Senate for moving this package early in session and urge the governor and state Assembly to join the effort to make New York's elections system a national leader.”

Steven Lance, Policy Counsel at NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. said, “LDF applauds the New York Senate for recognizing the urgency of protecting the fundamental right to vote and taking early action. We look forward to working with Sen. Myrie and others to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York this session to continue the state’s journey from lagging behind to national leadership on securing and advancing the freedom to vote.”

Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., Executive Director at the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY said, "Across the nation, voting rights are under siege as states pass voter suppression laws. These measures, which impact Black Americans, other voters of color, the elderly, students, and people with disabilities the most, make it nearly impossible for vulnerable voters to exercise their fundamental right at the ballot box. This is a backlash, pure and simple–engendered by political forces seeking to prevent the momentum from the massive 2020 voter turnout from repeating or gaining strength. CLSJ is committed to working with voting rights advocates and New York's elected leaders to ensure that we not only protect democracy and our access to the ballot for all Empire state voters - but also expand and strengthen this direct channel to representation and political power."

Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, NY Immigration Coalition, said, “At a time when voting rights are under attack in other states, New York is making it easier for New Yorkers to vote, not harder. The passage of this important slate of bills reduces obstacles to participation in our democracy by recognizing the impact of COVID on our lives by expanding access to absentee ballots and absentee ballot drop-off boxes, ensures voters aren't penalized for voting at the wrong polling sites, and much more. Collectively, these reforms will increase engagement and result in more voices to be heard in our elections---outcomes that are good for all New Yorkers."

Chisun Lee, Director of the Elections and Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said, “We applaud the state Senate for prioritizing legislation that will make it easier for all eligible New Yorkers to vote. If New York follows through on these important measures and other steps to modernize elections and launch its pro-voter public campaign finance program this year, it will lead the country in strengthening our democracy. At a time when the integrity of our elections and the right to vote continue to face dangerous and baseless attacks, the Senate is showing the leadership that this state and this nation need.”

Dustin Czarny, Democratic Caucus Chair, New York State Elections Commissioner Association, said, "The New York Senate Democratic Majority once again is demonstrating its commitment to Democracy. The tradition of passing bills that enhance and expand the franchise on the first day of session is something I look forward to every year. These bills that protect voters against technical challenges, invest in young voters on college campuses, and protect the health of voters to ensure a path to vote by mail during this pandemic are needed reforms. We look forward to partnering with our legislative leaders to implement these vital reforms for New York voters."

Orlando Ovalles, NALEO Education Fund Northeast Director of Civic Engagement, said “It is critical that our elections are as accessible as possible for all eligible New York voters — especially amid the challenges to voting brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York State Senate’s proposal for innovative measures to improve the state’s election processes will fortify every eligible New Yorker’s right to vote and strengthen our state’s democracy.”

Perry Grossman, Supervising Attorney, Voting Rights Project, New York Civil Liberties Union, said, “Our state Senate Elections committee is starting off 2022 with a forward-looking package of bills designed to make elections work better for the voters of New York. In particular, moving the voter registration deadline to the latest date our state constitution currently permits, 10 days before election day, will afford thousands more New Yorkers access to the ballot each election. We look forward to working with Senator Myrie and the rest of the committee to keep advancing voting rights in New York this year, including the passage of the nation’s strongest and most comprehensive state voting rights act.”

Jarret Berg, Co-Founder of VoteEarlyNY, said, “By advancing this package of key voting reforms, the Senate Majority continues to fight for the fundamental rights of New Yorkers. When enacted, these policies will improve the quality of election administration by providing better due process and rooting out persistent forms of voter suppression.”

Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY and a founder of the Let NY Vote Coalition said, “Democracy is a verb and the Senate understands the action it's called to. New Yorkers need more access to the ballot, and this package of pro-voter reforms moves New York closer to safe and secure elections for all eligible voters. Common Cause/NY urges the Assembly to seize the moment and follow suit."