Electoral Reform

We have allowed our electoral system to become very undemocratic.  It is set up so that those in power stay in power even if it is not the will of the people.  That is one of the reasons I am running as a Green.  I believe in the values of the party, but I also want to be a candidate that breaks the hold corporate parties have on us.  We need a complete overhaul of our election system at the Federal, State, and Local levels.  As your State Senator, I will work with you to implement the following in New York State:

UPDATE: Move All Municipal Elections to Coincide with State and Federal Elections - This will increase voter turnout and save money on the number of elections held.  This will include Federal primary elections that are currently held in June.  There is already a bill on the table on this.  I will sign on to S.382

Make Election Day a Paid State Holiday – Our democracy is that important.  This should a Federal law, but as I am running for a seat in the New York Senate, I’ll start with New York. 

New Voting Machines – They must be made by companies with NO ties to any political party.  The machine must use open source software.  They must be completely accessible to all people with disabilities.

A Paper Receipt for Every Voter – you will get a piece of paper that shows you whom you voted for so that you have evidence that your vote was counted correctly.

Enforce Regulations on Poll Place Accessibility - There is no excuse for a single inaccessible polling place in New York State.  No exceptions.

All State and Local Elections Should Use a Form of Ranked Choice Voting – Instead of just picking one candidate for an office, voters should be able to rank the offered candidates and write-ins. More on RCV.

Early Voting – All elections should have a two week window in which voters can vote at their local Board of Elections and other approved locations (such as City/Town Hall, etc.)

Opt Out Registration – All citizens of New York should be registered to vote once they turn the appropriate age (see below).  One must “opt out” to not be registered. 

Lower the Voting Age to 16 – Decisions made by so-called “adults” directly affect our teens.  Therefore they should have a direct say in how budgets are developed, schools are run, and our environment is protected.  

Same Day Registration – For those who have not registered after moving into the state or in case of some other unforeseen circumstance, or if a person has moved and not yet changed their registration, same day registration should be allowed.  This will obviously require an upgrade in infrastructure, but this is necessary anyway.

Public Financing of All Elections – All State and Local elections should be financed by tax dollars.  If you are on the ballot for an office, you should have the same financial resources as all other candidates.  This will end the buying of elections by rich individuals and their corporate backers.

End Gerrymandering – Legislation requiring a non-partisan commissions to draw district boundaries at state and local levels must be enacted.

End Fusion Voting – Being able to run on more than one party line has not produced choice and has not held elected officials accountable.  It has only solidified the elite’s hold on power.  It has also opened up third parties’ risk of tampering from larger, corporate parties. 

Eliminate Opportunity to Ballot – Opportunity to Ballot is constantly used by individuals and political parties to hijack another party’s ballot line.  Civicjuice.com says that “in some cases, candidates running in other major parties have organized efforts to get their names on multiple ballot lines for the general election, whether or not the parties sanctioned them.”  As long as there are political parties, those who have registered in a party should feel confident that people who run on that line share their values.  OTB is undemocratic and should be abolished.

Ease the Requirements for Political Parties – Currently the only way to become or continue to be a political party in New York State is to get 50,000 votes for your candidate for governor.  Your party then has ballot status for the next 4 years.  I propose that be reduced to 20,000 votes and add the opportunity to become a party by collecting petition signatures by at least 100 people in 50 counties in New York. 

All Registered Voters Should be Allowed to Work at the Polls – In some counties only Democrats and Republicans are allowed to work at polls on Election Day.  This needs to be opened up to citizens of no and third parties.

While there is some overlap, I am in complete agreement with the Green Party of New York’s platform plank on Electoral Reform and will be instrumental in enacting those provisions as well.  Such provisions include ending gerrymandering, public financing of campaigns, and allowing initiative and referendum votes on the ballot. 


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  • David Sutliff-Atias
    published this page in Issues 2018-04-25 17:18:35 -0700