Issues: Elections

Senator Gianaris and Senator DeFrancisco to be Guests on WSYR's The Jim Reith Show

Senator Gianaris has challenged Senator DeFrancisco to an on-air debate on redistricting on WSYR's The Jim Reith Show.

Check local listings or listen live at 

July 27, 4:05 PM - 4:35 PM

A debate in Syracuse

Senator Gianaris has challenged Senator DeFrancisco to a debate on redistricting to take place live on WSYR's The Jim Reith Show. Senator Gianaris is hoping for an open, honest debate on the issue. Capitol Confidential wrote about the challenge:

This should be lively: it looks like Democratic Sen. Mike Gianaris of Queens and Syracuse Republican John DeFrancisco will debate redistricting with Syracuse talk show host Jim Reith on Newsradio 570 in the near future.

Here is the interchange of letters today, triggered by Gianaris’s interview last night on Reith’s radio show, which prompted DeFrancisco to call in.

Read the full post here.

July 25, 2011

Independence is key in state redistricting

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle editorialized the importance of creating an independent redistricting commisssion so that district lines will be redrawn in a nonpartisan fashion.

For what it's worth, the New York Legislature's traveling committee on redistricting was in Rochester this week to gather public input on redrawing boundary lines for state legislative and congressional districts.

Though the four-member panel is bipartisan, includes two citizens, and is said to be committed to transparency, it was hard to take seriously. Its members, after all, were doing work that should be done by a panel independent of the legislative process.

July 25, 2011

Senator Gianaris interview on Capital Tonight

Senator Gianaris was on YNN's Capital Tonight with Liz Benjamin to discuss campaign filing numbers, the 2012 elections and the need for an independent redistricting commission.


July 19, 2011

Inmates key in redistricting issue

There is a cloud over the entire redistricting process. Albany Times Union wrote about LATFOR's continued use of prison-based gerrymandering, despite a 2010 law making it illegal.

ALBANY -- Good-government and civil rights groups charge New York's commission on legislative redistricting will break a 2010 law if it counts inmates where they are jailed.

The legislative commission, known as LATFOR, held its first meeting last week in Albany and announced it will for now ignore a 2010 law -- passed when Democrats controlled the Senate, Assembly and Executive Mansion -- that requires inmates be counted at their last known address.

July 12, 2011

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Grisanti Makes A Splash

What a difference an election makes.

A year ago, New York’s 60th State Senate District was occupied — barely — by Democrat Antoine Thompson, who thought his position entitled him to milk the public for all it was worth: swelling his office’s patronage staff; sending more than 1 million pieces of self-promotional bulk mail at a taxpayer cost of more than $400,000; voting one way but claiming to have voted the other; taking $8,600 in donations in the AEG casino bidding scandal. And more.

Things change. Today, that seat is held by Republican Mark Grisanti, who, with the help of Senate leadership, just ended his first six months in office with a whirlwind of notable accomplishments. The difference could hardly be more stark. Consider:

July 11, 2011


The lifetime achievements of Brooklyn native Dorothy Burnham were recognized and lauded by NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) during the reading of a Senate resolution, which was unanimously passed by the full Senate during the final days of the 2011 Legislative Session. The resolution paid tribute to Dorothy Burnham’s many notable contributions to our public education system, the advancement of civil rights, and to the promotion of racial and economic equality. Ms. Burnham was also honored for her designation as recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the New York Friends of the People's World. “Dorothy Burnham is a Renaissance Woman,” said Senator Montgomery.

July 11, 2011

Census gives NY office miles and miles of data

Queens Chronicle wrote about how census offices in several other states will be closed, making New York's office responsible for collecting and organizing even more data.

How many infants live in Puerto Rico? Workers at the New York regional office of the U.S. Census Bureau will soon be responsible for keeping tabs on the island and many more states, according to the bureau.

July 11, 2011

Gov. Cuomo must stand firm against Legislature's moves toward the same old partisan redistricting

The Daily News editorialized on the need for passage of an independent, nonpartisan redistrcting panel.

Defying one of Gov. Cuomo's key goals for reforming Albany, the Legislature is gearing up to shamelessly gerrymander election districts so as to protect incumbents and preserve power.

In his winning campaign, Cuomo rightly backed nonpartisan redistricting as critical to breaking the bossism that cows individual lawmakers and makes them less accountable to voters.

But now, as the time approaches for drawing the lines based on the results of the 2010 census, the Legislature has set up a commission that is steamrolling toward doing the job its way.

July 11, 2011

Senator Gianaris interview on YNN's Capitol Tonight

Senator was on YNN's Capital Tonight with Liz Benjamin to discuss the NY-9 race and the continued need for a nonpartisan redistricting process.

July 8, 2011

Senator Dilan Memo on LATFOR Guidelines & Criteria

To:       Senator Michael F. Nozzolio, Assembly Member John J. McEneny,

             Assembly Member Robert Oakes, Welquis R. Lopez, Dr. Roman Hedges

From:   Senator Martin Malavé Dilan

Date:   July 6, 2011

Re:       2011-2012 LATFOR Agenda Items


Hearing Schedule: Locations

Hearing Schedule: Hours and Time Allotments

Hearing Record

Prison Population Reallocation

Racial Bloc-Voting Analysis

Size of the Senate

Redistricting Criteria

Senator Dilan Memo on LATFOR Guidelines & Criteria

July 6, 2011

Watchdog Groups Call For Independent Redistricting

Politics on the Hudson wrote about the need for the Legislature to return to session to approve independent redistricting, in light of the first public meeting of the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR).

Remember independent redistricting?

After Gov. Andrew Cuomo scored legislative victories last month, there’s one glaring piece of unfinished piece: establishing an independent panel to draw district lines in 2012. Cuomo wants it done, but Senate Republicans balked and they left town without considering it.

But the issue will take center stage today when the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) holds its first public meeting this morning in Albany.

July 6, 2011

O'Mara legislation approved to reduce costs for local boards of elections

Albany, N.Y.—The New York State Legislature has approved legislation sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), chairman of the Senate Elections Committee, to provide cost savings to localities by reducing the time local boards of elections are required to store unopened and unused election ballots.

June 23, 2011

LaValle: Bill Enabling Discharge of Fire Commissioners For Unexcused Absences Passes Senate.

New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R, C, I-Port Jefferson) said today that his bill (S3101) enabling fire district commissioners who have excessive unexcused absences to be removed from office has passed the New York State Senate. The bill was passed on June 14. “Fire commissioners make most of the key decisions affecting fire and emergency medical service throughout New York State and sit on boards that have the authority to raise taxes and approve budgets to cover expenses including insurance,  payroll, pensions and the purchase of trucks, and other equipment,” LaValle said. Commission members, LaValle explained, set policy for fire districts, hire staff who maintain firehouses and dispatch calls.

June 16, 2011

Senator Gianaris Opening Remarks at Independent Redistricting Forum

Senator Gianaris made opening remarks at the New York State Senate and Assembly Democrats joint-forum on redistricting, which was held on June 7.

June 13, 2011

Senator Martins' Bill Allowing Fire Districts to Use Lever Voting Machines Passes Senate

A bill proposed by Senator Jack M. Martins to allow fire districts to use the traditional lever voting machines in their annual elections has passed the Senate.

Current election law requires the use of optical voting machines (scanner machines). This process would require fire districts to not only secure optical voting machines at a cost to the fire district but also fire districts would be required to purchase a paper ballot for the scanner machines for every registered voter in the district at a cost of $0.55 each.

June 8, 2011

Senate Passes Initiative and Referendum

The New York State Senate today passed a constitutional amendment  that would give New Yorkers a more direct role in the legislative process by empowering them to enact and amend laws through initiative and referendum. The bill (S.709), sponsored by Senator Joseph Robach (R-C-I, Rochester), increases the ability of New Yorkers to place an issue on a ballot for a public vote.

June 7, 2011

Redistricting reform down to the wire

The Legislative Gazette wrote an article about redistricting reform and the fact that a majority of New Yorkers support a nonpartisan redistricting process.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last Thursday indicates a majority of New Yorkers think creating a nonpartisan redistricting process for drawing state Senate, Assembly and Congressional lines is important, and those who have fought in Albany for years to achieve that end think it is closer than ever. However, a possible early primary next year could mean reform would have to be passed sooner, rather than later, to make a difference in the 2012 redistricting process.

June 7, 2011

Committee Meeting: Elections Meeting

Senate Standing Committee on Elections Senator Thomas O'Mara, Chair 12:30 PM, Monday, June 6, 2011 Room 813 LOB

June 6, 12:30 PM - 12:34 PM
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