Senate Elections Committee Continues Extensive Series Of State-Wide Hearings

October 28, 2009

October hearings focus on improving the election law and preventing voter suppression

(New York, NY) Wednesday, the Senate Elections Committee heard testimony on proposals intended to continue to explore and improve the voting process and procedures in New York. The hearing addressed the implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) across New York and the pilot program for optical scan voting machines in the primary and upcoming elections, as well as ballot access for candidates and legislation to discourage deceptive practices and voter intimidation (S. 2554-A/Stewart-Cousins).
This marks the continuation of an extensive series of state-wide hearings dedicated to increasing awareness about election policy and voting. These hearings, which began in April and continued in May and June, covered a diverse array of topics including: voter registration; voting/casting a ballot and poll-sites; and campaign finance reform.
“Today’s hearing addressed making sure that peoples’ votes are properly counted, access to the ballot for candidates and prevention of voter suppression, which are such critical aspects of the democratic and electoral process, “said Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., Elections Committee Chair. “The feedback received will allow us to continue to modernize elections so that every new Yorker who is eligible to vote can do so on Election Day with confidence that their votes matter. I look forward to continuing our dialogue with the public going forward.”
Wednesday’s hearing emphasized protecting voter rights through putting an end to voter coercion and intimidation. Proposed legislation (S. 2554-A/Stewart-Cousins) makes it a crime to produce deceptive voter information, use scare tactics, or to intentionally suppress voters’ rights.
The hearing also addressed proposals to ensure that all viable candidates receive a place on the ballot. In the past, candidates in New York have been removed from the ballot as a result of a technicality, even with the required number of petitions in support of their candidacy.
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