Senate Passes Package of Bills to Empower Voters

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., together with the Senate Democratic Majority, passed legislation to help reform campaign financing and ensure ballots are easier to understand. These common sense bills include Senate Bill S.2300-A, co-sponsored by Senator Addabbo, to enact the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, Senate Bill S.3167, that will restrict campaign contributions from anyone seeking government contracts, and Senate Bill S.3145, to make voters more aware of ballot questions.

“Ballots filled with confusing graphics and text often too small to read, makes the passage of S.2300-A, which I co-sponsor, significant,” Senator Addabbo said. “Updating the layout of ballots makes the voting process much more user-friendly and eliminates the opportunity for misunderstanding and scanner errors. I am proud to join my Senate colleagues in passing legislation that will end pay-to-play and clean up Albany after decades of inaction while continuing to make voting easier for all New Yorkers.”

The package of bills passed by the Senate include:

·         Bans campaign contributions from a company seeking state contracts to officeholders with authority over procuring entities during a restricted vendor contribution period. Under this legislation, prospective vendors will be barred from contributing when responding to any form of procurement for six months after winning a contract, or when lobbying to create a procurement opportunity (S.3167);

·         Improves campaign finance transparency by requiring political committees to disclose the occupation, employer, and employer’s address of their contributors whose total contributions equal or exceed $500. It also assures timely disclosure by requiring the filing be done in person or by express or electronic mail during the final 15 days before an election (S.2333);

·         Ensures voters are appropriately informed when their ballot is a two-sided ballot and that they are aware of important ballot questions on the other side (S.3145);

·         Eliminates the need for candidates to file electronically with both the State Board of Elections and their local campaign finance board if the latter satisfies certain requirements. The bill relieves campaigns of the burden of duplicative disclosure filings while ensuring transparency is not lost (S.3134) 

The package of bills were delivered to the Assembly.