Senate Opens 2024 Session with Election Reforms

Members of the majority conference present recent election reforms.

The New York State Senate approved multiple reforms and transparency measures to modernize elections in New York State and stem an increase in “calculated attacks on the rights of voters” in other states.

It’s the sixth year in a row that the Senate Majority has opened the legislative session “by passing major pro-voter, anti-disenfranchisement, pro-democracy legislation.” The 2024 proposals include banning political spending by foreign-influenced business entities in state and local elections, creating a statewide database of voting and election data, allowing portable polling locations, expanding ballot drop-off locations, modifying the candidate order of appearance on ballots, allowing the distribution of food and non-alcoholic drinks to voters waiting in line at the polls, allows the board of elections to join a multistate voter list maintenance organization, and establishes voter suppression as a criminal offense. Read the Senate Majority press release.

“Every year our first order of business as the Senate Majority has been to improve and strengthen the democratic process and to pay homage to the voters of this state who used their voices to put us in these positions,” Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We have seen so many attempts across the country of targeted and calculated attacks on the rights of voters, and we can not allow this kind of voter disenfranchisement to exist in New York. My bill, along with all the other important bills in this package, will be another step in our commitment to modernize and create a fairer, more accessible, and transparent election system for our great state.”

Bill sponsor, Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “At a time when some in other states seek to increase their power by denying eligible voters their most important democratic right, I am proud our New York State Senate remains committed to the truth that our democracy is stronger when more eligible voters participate in elections and feel invested in their government. Our democracy is also stronger when our elections are free from corporate money and foreign interference, which is why I am delighted the Senate will be passing my bill, the Democracy Preservation Act, to bar foreign-influenced corporations from spending on New York political campaigns.”

Bill sponsor and Chair of the Elections Committee, Senator Zellnor Myrie said, "Once again, the Senate Majority is putting the rights of voters at the very top of our agenda as we begin a new legislative session. This isn't a coincidence-- we truly believe that breaking down barriers for voters is central to protecting our democracy. I'm extremely proud of what's become an annual tradition, and will continue fighting to keep New York on the path "from Worst to First" when it comes to improving elections and defending voting rights."

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