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Let NY Vote makes final push for early voting in the budget

STAFF REPORTS



NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Joining with 25 other organizations representing a variety of different issues from the Child Victims Act, to bail reform, to reproductive health, the Let New York Vote coalition made a final push for early voting in the NYS budget.

"Voting is the one truly nonpartisan issue; no matter what else we're working toward, our issues all travel through the vote," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY and a core leader of Let NY Vote. "67% of New Yorkers support early voting. In a year when the Governor, the Assembly, Senate Democrats and the IDC all agree publicly that we need to fund Early Voting and voting reform, we shouldn't be struggling to include it in the final budget. New Yorkers are demanding systematic change at the ballot box, in the criminal justice space, and beyond. The Legislature's ongoing refusal to respond to the will of the voters is itself a crisis of democracy."
"April 4 marks 50 years since Dr. King's Assassination. In his seminal Dream speech, he talked about the government writing us a "bad check." On April 1, 3 days before the anniversary of Dr. King's death, the New York State leaders must pass a budget. 

The proposed NYS budget is yet another bad check written out to marginalized communities. NY State leaders are shortchanging Dr. King's Dream. All of our leaders' promises to fight injustice and civil rights are nowhere to be found and we are calling for answers. This budget fails to deal with inequality, racial justice and democracy. Advocates all over the state are frustrated and left empty-handed in this closed room process. We are calling on our leaders to include Early Voting and fair and real progressive criminal justice reform in the budget. These initiatives need more than legislation; they need funding, and I am a New Yorker and civil rights leader refusing yet another bad check," said Rev. Al Sharpton, President & Founder, National Action Network.

In February, Governor Cuomo announced an historic 30-day amendment to his proposed budget that will provide approximately $7 million to New York counties to offer early voting. The budget is due April 1st and will be voted on at the end of this week.

A Siena Poll released in February shows that 67% of New Yorkers, including 60% of Upstate New Yorkers, 48% of Republicans, and 65% of suburban New Yorkers, support early voting. This percentage is up two points from January.

This year, Let NY Vote, formerly known as Easy Elections NY, formed as a statewide coalition of organizations & grassroots groups fighting to modernize New York's elections. The goal is to pass simple solutions in 2018 to improve our elections and remove barriers to registering and voting for all eligible New Yorkers.

The Let NY Vote coalition is made up of over thirty organizations, nonprofits, and labor unions, including Common Cause/NY, Public Citizen, New York State United Teachers, SEIU 32BJ, RWDSU, CWA District 1, as well as the statewide NAACP and the National Action Network, grassroots organizations, faith groups, civil liberties, reproductive and immigrant rights, criminal justice and re-entry groups, New American, and the LGBTQ community. 

A full list is available at www.letnyvote.org.