As those of you who read my Jan. 1 “My View,” I am passionate about voting reform in New York. Now two voting reform bills have moved from the New York State Senate Elections Committee to the Senate Rules Committee.
They are Senate Bill 3304A, sponsored by Sen. Michael Gianaris, the Voting Empowerment Act, which, among other things, enables automatic voter registration, and Senate Bill 7400A, sponsored by Sen. Brian Kavanagh, which enables early voting. The chair of the Rules Committee is Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. It’s his call whether these bills move from the Rules Committee to the floor for the Senate for a vote. This is time sensitive – the current legislative session ends on June 20.
When I moved from California last year, I was amazed to find out how much more difficult it is to vote in New York, and how much lower the voter turnout is. Now there is a chance to make voting in New York easier, and perhaps even improve voter turnout. I urge everyone who cares about making voting easier in New York to get in touch with Majority Leader Flanagan and respectfully request him to move these two senate bills to the floor of the senate. The words the editors of this paper chose to emphasize in my column were: “Every elected official should protect and encourage the right of every citizen to vote.”
I continue to have high hopes that the citizens of my new state can have these rights supported during the current legislative session through passage of SB 3304A and SB 7400A. But for this to happen, we citizens need to make our voices heard, loud and clear, right now!