Access to ballots, redistribution measures await voters | Local News

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ALBANY – New York voters are urged to weigh in on several proposal issues that could have significant impacts on future elections and political races.

The measurements appear on the back of the ballot for the Nov. 2 election, with early voting starting on Saturday.

Proposal 1 gives rise to considerable debate as it would revise the redistribution scheme currently used to draw new legislative and parliamentary lines.

The New York State League of Voters along with Republican officials are calling for a “no” vote on Proposition 1, while groups such as Common Cause / NY, Make the Road New York and the Working Families Party recommend its vote. approval. .

Laura Ladd Biermann, director of the League of Women Voters, said Proposal 1, if passed, would result in “a return to recent redistribution reforms that would weaken the role of the minority party in the (redistribution) commission and legislative approval of plans. . “

The coalition of lawyers supporting Proposition 1 says it aims to ensure that “incarcerated people are not used as political pawns” by banning “gerrymandering in prison”. It also aims to ensure that all residents of a political constituency are counted, regardless of their citizenship status.

Proposal 3, calling for the removal of the 10-day voter registration requirement, and Proposal 4, which would eliminate the requirement for voters to declare that they will be out of town or otherwise incapacitated on election day, also sparked heated debate. qualify for a postal vote.

Daniel Altschuler of Make the Road New York said same-day voter registration and allowing all voters to opt for postal voting would reduce unnecessary barriers to voting and improve voter turnout. .

“We believe that these measures have a high priority in other states of good functioning,” said Altschuler.

Republican Assembly leader Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, said pressure to vote absent without excuse could create more problems than it solves.

“We have had postal voting for a long time in this state and it has worked well,” Barclay told CNHI.

After last year’s election, when an executive decree based on pandemic concerns allowed voters to opt for mail-in ballots simply citing a “temporary illness,” local election councils in one congressional district was so inundated with paper ballots that it led to a prolonged recount, he recalled.

Barclay and other Republicans have also expressed concern that approving Proposals 3 and 4 would result in voter fraud.

Altschuler said Republican leaders in New York are echoing what he called the GOP leadership voter suppression program in the Red States. “We believe that our democracy is stronger when everyone can make their voice heard,” he said.

Vincent Casale, former Otsego County GOP chairman, said mail-in ballots without excuse would effectively result in a mail-in vote and invite the “ballot harvest” – a practice in which political agents collect ballots directly to voters and cast them in elections. desks.

“A single individual or a small group of people could garner thousands of votes,” Casale said.

Another ballot question, Proposition 2, would amend the state constitution by including a guarantee that “everyone has the right to clean air and water, and a healthy environment”.

Environmental groups such as Nature Conservancy say the measure would help fight pollution. But the New York State Lawsuit Reform Alliance says it could spark a wave of litigation from private lawyers trying to act as environmental authorities.

Proposal 5 on the ballot would increase the jurisdiction of the New York City civil court, allowing it to adjudicate claims of $ 50,000 or less.

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