Albany’s First Bills in 2019 Show New Commitment to Reforming Voting and Campaign Finance

January 14, 2019

The legislation moving today would bring early voting to New Yorkers and close the LLC loophole in state campaign finance law, among other reforms.

 

 

For Immediate Release: January 14, 2019

Contact: Alexandra Ringe, alexandra.ringe@nyu.edu, 646-925-8744

 

New York, N.Y. – A set of bills with voting and campaign finance reforms is moving through the New York State legislature. The legislation contains multiple voting reforms, including early voting, and would close the LLC loophole, which has allowed special interests to circumvent limits on political contributions and disclosure requirements. The Brennan Center has advocated for early voting in New York and across the country. It has also worked to close the LLC loophole, suing the State Board of Elections on behalf of a bipartisan group of current and former legislators.

 

Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, commented:

 

“Today's new laws are a terrific first step to modernize New York's elections. They will make it easier for thousands of New Yorkers to vote and harder for the wealthiest to evade campaign limits. It's an exciting, positive development. Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Heastie are off to a strong start. 

 

“Early voting is very popular and meets basic public demand. Across the country, one in three people vote before Election Day, but not in New York. And New York's LLC loophole was notoriously lax. Today's changes will do a lot to bring our state into line with other states. 

 

“This should build momentum for the biggest changes to reform and revitalize our system. Small donor public financing, the most important single change, would reform the state’s notoriously lax campaign finance rules. Automatic voter registration, the law in fifteen states, would register hundreds of thousands. Governor Cuomo is expected to propose these breakthrough reforms in his budget, as he has in previous years. Taken together, they would transform New York politics. They would give ordinary New Yorkers a greater voice in Albany, and make it easier for officeholders to focus on all their constituents.

 

“Today we congratulate everyone in Albany who started 2019 with democracy reform. We look forward to the next steps that will make New York’s democracy the best in the nation.”

 

For Brennan Center research and analysis on the policies above:

For the Brennan Center’s recommendations for strengthening American democracy through reforms in voting, campaign finance, the courts, redistricting, and ethics rules:

Michael Waldman and other Brennan Center experts are available for comment.