Group Urges Committee to Hold Frequent Oversight Hearings
Until November to Prevent General Election Turmoil
Calls on Legislature to Pass Constitutional Amendment Dissolving
and Replacing BOEs with Independent, Nonpartisan Agencies
At today’s Joint Legislative Hearing on Elections in a Pandemic, Reinvent Albany urged the Legislature to hold frequent hearings on New York elections to check the boards of election’s progress in preparing for November. The group said that oversight is needed to ensure that clear benchmarks have been established and met over the next three months.
Reinvent Albany also called on state officials to take the following steps to prevent voter disenfranchisement and encourage registration and turnout:
- The Governor must sign S8783A/A10807 so that boards of election may begin processing applications and mailing out ballots as soon as possible.
- Boards of election should establish at least one early voting site for every 50,000 voters.
- The Assembly must pass and the Governor must sign S6463/A8473to allow Online Voter Registration in New York City.
- The legislature should make absentee ballots more voter-friendly by passing S8369/A10746 and S8368/A10744.
- The legislature should pass S8630/A5671, allowing university students to become election workers at poll sites where they aren’t registered to vote.
- The legislature should pass S8120-A/A10231-A, requiring the State Board of Elections to prepare for vote by mail in the event of an emergency.
Reinvent Albany’s testimony concluded with a call for legislators to pass a constitutional amendment dissolving and replacing state and local boards of elections with independent, nonpartisan entities. The group said that even if passing all of the supported legislation was passed, New Yorkers would still be left with an agency notorious for partisanship, patronage, and gridlock, meaning that the best way to restore New Yorkers’ faith in their institutions would be to establish a truly independent agency.