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Press release/statement

New York Lawmakers Take Important First Step Towards a Fairer Democracy  

Albany, New York  – Demos applauds New York lawmakers for passing a historic overhaul of the state’s outdated voting laws, and legislation to increase transparency around corporate donors. With this groundbreaking push for election reform, New York will shift from having some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation to being a leader in creating a just democracy.   

The 2018 election was a referendum on New York’s broken system and highlighted the need to transform outdated policies. By implementing new measures for early voting, same-day registration, pre-registration, and the consolidation of state and federal primary elections, New York has removed key barriers to the ballot box and expanded voter engagement for years to come.

Demos acknowledges Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, as well as the many legislators who prioritized this effort and worked to respond to the demand for a more democratic system. These moves will help raise the voices of low-income communities and people of color who have long been among the most heavily impacted by outdated voting laws and the outsized influence of corporate money in campaigns.

“For far too long, New York’s antiquated voting and campaign finance laws have kept the promise of a true democracy at bay. The fact that the legislature took these extraordinary steps to begin the process of reform on Day 2 of the legislative session is a testament to their commitment to change,” said Amshula Jayaram, a senior campaign strategist at Demos. “We are grateful to the legislature and confident that this is just the beginning of a process to modernize our voting system, open up our democracy, and release the chokehold of wealth on our government.”

While there is more work to be done this session, including adopting automatic voter registration, restoring voting rights for parolees and creating a public financing system for the state, Demos is optimistic, and will remain vigilant to ensure New York, and other states and municipalities across the country, make our electoral system more fair and inclusive.