Electing Leaders We Can Trust
At a time when demagogues and political leaders are trying to upend our electoral process and tear apart democratic norms, it’s more important than ever that New York continues to lead the way to protecting and enhancing our democracy by strengthening voting laws. Legislation restricting voting disproportionally affects working-class communities and communities of color. This damages our democracy and silences voices that have a right to be heard.
New York has already taken great strides to reform how we elect our leaders, from passing early voting and authorizing automatic voter registration, to reforming our campaign finance laws, closing the LLC loophole, and passing public financing of our elections. But the work to a better, stronger democracy is not finished.
Reforming How we Run Elections
Our right to vote is only as strong as the people and systems we put in place to administer the vote. From changing how the Board of Elections is governed to reforming how election officials and staff are appointed, hired, and trained, there is much we have to do to ensure that our elections are run fairly, professionally, and in the most democratically-empowering way possible. I am fully committed to supporting efforts to modernize the Board of Elections and improve the functioning of our democracy.
Fulfilling the Promise of a Multilingual Democracy
As long as diverse voices in our community have trouble understanding their democratic rights, the promise of a multilingual democracy will never be realized. That’s why I am leading efforts in Albany to expand access to translator services at the polling booth, so that all citizens can participate in our democracy, regardless of their language proficiency.
Congress has consistently found that citizens with limited proficiency in English are more likely to have their right to vote denied by the use of various electoral practices and procedures. Under the federal Voting Rights Act, all election information that is available in English must also be available in the next six languages spoken within a county so that all citizens will have an effective opportunity to participate in the democratic process. Under my proposed legislation, New York would set a higher standard than federal law and expand coverage to the top ten languages spoken across a county.
Ending the Corrosive Effects of Money in Politics
Money is the single most corrupting influence in our political system. New York’s efforts to close the LLC loophole and implement a system to publicly finance our elections were necessary first steps to cleaning up the toxic pay-to-play culture that poisons our political system. We need to go further by banning corporate contributions, passing my legislation to stop politicians from spending campaign funds for personal use or at family-owned businesses, and strengthening and supporting independent investigations of corruption and campaign finance violations. New York State should also follow New York City’s lead and pass my legislation to limit contributions from people who do business with the state government.