Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams today called for partnership between New York City and New York State government to improve election administration and expand voting rights to marginalized communities. In testimony to the New York State Senate Committee on Elections, the Public Advocate detailed several areas where improvement is clearly necessary, as illustrated by perennial issues in management, administration, and implementation, as well as recent issues spotlighted during elections in 2020 and 2021. He emphasized that in order to make meaningful change, commitments are needed from both city and state agencies and elected leaders.
"It seems like after every election, we have the same conversation," argued Public Advocate Williams. "We identify the multitude of problems that voters faced and yell at the Board of Elections, but when the next election rolls around, the dysfunction remains. Rinse and repeat. We owe it to New Yorkers to end this toxic cycle now. I’m confident that with the leadership of this committee as well as the welcome change in the executive branch, we can build on the important legislative reforms of the last few years and make necessary fundamental changes in election administration."
Among the areas of action proposed by the Public Advocate in his Tuesday testimony are:
- Restructuring the Board of Elections
- Enfranchising Incarcerated Individuals, and Non-Citizens in Municipal Elections
- Effective Implementation of Ranked Choice Voting
- Improving Vote By Mail
- Expanding Staffing and Sites for In-Person Voting
- Enhancing Voting Accessibility
- Modifying and Expanding the Campaign Finance System
- Reforming the Board of Elections' Contracting Process
- Protecting the Rights of Non-Major Parties
- Conducting Greater Public Outreach on Ballot Measures
The Public Advocate's full testimony can be downloaded here.