(Albany, NY) The Senate today passed legislation to help reform campaign financing and ensure ballots are easier to understand. These common sense bills include Senate Bill S.3167, that will restrict campaign contributions from anyone seeking government contracts, Senate Bill S.3145, to make voters more aware of ballot questions, and Senate Bill S.2300-A to enact the Voter Friendly Ballot Act.
Bill Sponsor and Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, Senator Zellnor Myrie said, “These bills are about cleaning up government and protecting our democracy. Anyone who wants accountability from our public officials should support the effort to protect tax dollars from special interests and make voting easier. New Yorkers want a voting system that's worthy of their trust and easy to participate in, and that's exactly what these bills will deliver.”
Bill Sponsor Senator Brian Kavanagh said, “Once again, I'm proud to join Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Elections Committee Chair Zellnor Myrie, and our Senate colleagues in taking decisive action today to strengthen our democracy. The Voter Friendly Ballot Act (VFBA) will eliminate unreasonably small print, clutter, and other confusing and distracting items from ballots, ensuring that New Yorkers can clearly understand their choices and cast their votes. Greater campaign finance disclosure and banning contributions from government vendors to officials granting the contracts will increase transparency and promote greater faith in the integrity of our government. I thank the many democracy advocates who have supported these measures, and particularly the Brennan Center and Usability in Civic Life for their work on the VFBA.”
The legislation advanced by the Senate includes:
- Senate Bill S.3167, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, which will ban 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.
- Senate Bill S.3145, also sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, which will ensure that 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.
- Senate Bill S.2300A, sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh, enacts the Voter Friendly Ballot Act that changes formatting requirements so ballots are more user friendly and easier to read.
The legislation passed by the Senate builds on the voting reform measures passed on January 14, 2019.