A coalition of 175 grassroots and community groups is pushing Albany to pass a “fair elections” package that includes such elements as small-donor public financing, closing campaign funding loopholes and early voting. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other Democratic leaders have supported various forms of such legislation in the past, but fair elections proposals had been consistently blocked by Republicans who long controlled the state Senate, organizers say. Now that Democrats control both the legislative and executive branches in New York, the Fair Elections for New York coalition wants elected officials to pass fair elections legislation right away. About 25 representatives from the coalition held a news conference Monday on the steps of Buffalo City Hall to press for the reforms.
“New York’s archaic laws continue to disenfranchise voters, give an unfair advantage to corporate candidates, and perpetuate the appearance of pay-to-play in our elections,” said Assemblyman Patrick Burke, D-Buffalo. “I’m excited that our strong Democratic majority finally has the power to radically reform this system.”
The new legislative session starts Wednesday.
Cuomo, incoming Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have each authored fair elections proposals in the past, Ravi Mangla, a spokesman for Citizen Action of New York, said before the event. The coalition now wants them to follow through.