Early voting begins this Saturday, October 23rd, and in addition to voting on all City offices, voters will be asked to weigh in on 5 ballot proposals. First, the tl;dr: I recommend voting YES on all 5 ballot proposals. Below I will elaborate on my reasoning for each one, but I believe that on the whole, each of these proposals will be a net positive for our state.
Ballot proposal #1 is by far the most complicated proposal, so I will address it last.
Ballot Proposal 2 - VOTE YES Right to Clean Air, Clean Water, and a Healthful Environment This amendment would establish the right of each person to clean air and water and a healthful environment. While some groups (mostly oil and gas companies) have argued that the amendment is too vague and could lead to costly and unnecessary litigation, I believe that this amendment will give New Yorkers a constitutional basis on which to challenge environmentally harmful actions. I am voting yes.
Ballot Proposals 3 & 4 - VOTE YES!
Eliminating Ten-Day-Advance Voter Registration Requirement & Authorizing No-Excuse Absentee Ballot Voting These two proposals are no-brainers as far as I’m concerned. Currently the state legislature cannot enact no-excuse absentee voting, nor allow same day voter registration because of constitutional barriers. This amendment would simply eliminate those barriers and allow the legislature to enact these measures if they so choose. I am enthusiastically voting yes on both proposals.
Ballot Proposal 5 - VOTE YES Increasing the Jurisdiction of the New York City Civil Court
The proposed amendment would increase the New York City Civil Court’s jurisdiction by allowing it to hear and decide claims for up to $50,000 instead of the current jurisdictional limit of $25,000. This change simply allows more cases to be heard in civil court, taking some of the load off of the state supreme court. I am voting yes.
Ballot Proposal 1 - VOTE YES
Amending the Apportionment and Redistricting Process
This is a long one. The proposed constitutional amendment would freeze the number of state senators at 63, amend the process for the counting of the state’s population, delete certain provisions that violate the United States Constitution, repeal and amend certain requirements for the appointment of the co-executive directors of the redistricting commission and amend the manner of drawing district lines for congressional and state legislative offices.
I am supportive of this amendment because in addition codifying the end of prison gerrymandering and ensuring that ALL New Yorkers are counted for the purposes of drawing districts, it also simplifies the redistricting process and provides more time for the public and the legislature to examine proposed maps. While I’m agnostic on some portions of the proposal, on the whole I believe these changes are for the better, and so I will be voting yes. For more information on early voting, visit NYC VOTES. You can find your sample ballot HERE.