January 16, 2019 – Senator Ken LaValle announced that the NY State Legislature approved a package of voting reform bills.
Senator LaValle said, “In today’s society, with so many people working long hours, combined with active lifestyles, the system needs to change to make it easier for individuals to participate in elections. This past week, I voted to approve several measures to make the process of voting easier and more accessible for everyone. If they become law, there will be more time to cast your vote, more clarity on primary day, and more transparency.”
Senator LaValle continued, “Additionally, and especially meaningful to me as a past teacher and principal, we approved a bill that would allow 16 and 17 year olds to preregister to vote when they reach the age of 18. It is critically important for our future that they are engaged, knowledgeable and involved.”
He concluded. “It is my hope that when the measures become law more people will take advantage of the opportunity to vote, allow more of voices to be heard, and thereby strengthen our government in the process.”
The specific bills that were approved in the Senate in a bipartisan manner:
- Early Voting: This bill, S.1102, will establish an Early Voting system to permit eligible voters in New York State to vote in person for a number of days preceding “Election Day”.
- Consolidation of Federal and State Primaries: This bill, S.1103, will save taxpayer costs and it will now make primary day on one single date instead of two. By making the state primary elections the same day as federal primary elections, it should make the process run better as well. 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, will add transparency and 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.
- Voter Pre-Registration: This bill, S.1100, 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.
The package of legislation has been approved by both the Senate and the Assembly and was transferred to the Governor for consideration.
The Legislature also approved potential constitutional amendments to make absentee voting easier. The measures would need to be approved again by the next subsequent legislature, and then they would be subject to a referendum for voter consideration statewide.