For Immediate Release: January 14, 2019
(New York, NY) Senator Serrano, together with the Senate Majority Conference passed major legislation to improve New York State’s broken electoral system. New York ranks as one of the worst voter turnout states in the nation. As the first major act this legislative session, Senator Serrano and the new Senate Majority Conference passed a series of bills that will empower New York voters and reform the state’s electoral system.
"For far too long, archaic election laws and disenfranchisement efforts have undermined the democratic process throughout our state and nation,” said Senator Serrano. “New York has consistently had some of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country. By cutting through red tape, modernizing voter registration, and enabling early voting, today’s historic actions will make it easier for New Yorkers to make their presence felt and exercise their right to vote for government representatives that reflect their needs and values."
On the first full day of the 2019 Legislative Session, Senator Serrano and the Senate Majority Conference passed a series of bills that will enable early voting and no-excuse absentee voting, modernize and expand voter registration, extend Primary Election voting hours, impose limits on LLC contributions and ensure uniformity throughout the state.
The historic legislation passed by the Senate Majority Conference includes:
- Early Voting: This bill, S.1102 introduced by Chair of the Elections Committee, Senator Zellnor Myrie, will establish an Early Voting system to permit eligible voters in New York State to vote in person during a designated period.
- Consolidation of Federal and State Primaries: This bill, S.1103 introduced by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, will save tax payer dollars and make state primary elections the same day as federal primary elections. It also ensures that New York State’s election law complies with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
- Closing the LLC Loophole: This bill, S.1101, introduced by Senator Brian Kavanagh, will amend Election Law to hold LLC’s to the same aggregate contribution limit of $5,000 that applies to corporations. The amendment would require the disclosure of the identity and proportion of ownership of all direct and indirect owners of the membership interests in the LLC. This legislation will also amend the Election Law to require all contributions made to political committees or campaigns by an LLC be attributed to each member of the LLC in proportion to the member's ownership interest.
- Same-Day Voter Registration: This bill, S.1048 introduced by Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, amends the constitution to remove the ten-day advance voter registration requirement, subject to second passage of the next legislature and approval by a statewide referendum.
- No-Excuse Absentee Voting: This bill, S.1049 introduced by Senator Leroy Comrie will amend the state Constitution to allow for any voter to request to vote by mail without declaring reason subject to second passage of the next legislature and approval by a statewide referendum.
- Voter Registration Transfers: This bill, S.1099, introduced by Senator David Carlucci, will require the Board of Elections to transfer the registration and enrollment of a voter to wherever they move in New York State.
- Voter Pre-Registration: This bill, S.1100, introduced by Senator David Carlucci, will enable 16- and 17-year olds to pre-register to vote and requires local boards of education to adopt policies to promote student voter registration and pre-registration.