FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Stand Up America Joins 100+ Groups Pushing For No-Excuse Absentee Voting, Same-Day Voter Registration, and Voting Rights Restoration for Formerly Incarcerated New Yorkers
ALBANY, N.Y — Today, Let NY Vote—the largest voting rights coalition in New York State—is announcing the launch of a new statewide campaign to pressure state lawmakers to enact bold, progressive democracy reforms this year.
After major voting rights victories in previous years, including passing automatic voter registration and early voting, the coalition will continue focusing on reforms that will empower New York voters, especially those from traditionally marginalized communities. These reforms include policy changes that are vital to improving election administration by avoiding long lines at polling places, reducing voter confusion, eliminating unnecessary barriers to registration, and ensuring that every New Yorker has an equal opportunity to cast their ballot.
In 2021, Let NY Vote and Stand Up America’s top priorities in the state include:
- Finally enacting no-excuse absentee voting and same-day voter registration in New York;
- Permanently, automatically restoring voting rights to New York citizens returning home from periods of incarceration;
- Reforming the Board of Elections;
- Modernizing our state’s absentee voting rules;
- Passing New York’s version of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act; and
- Promoting youth civic engagement and youth voting rights.
“It’s time for New York to place voters first, expand access to the ballot, ensure accountability and transparency in election administration, and strengthen our democracy,” said Jan Combopiano, Senior Policy Director and Executive Committee member, Brooklyn Voters Alliance. “We look forward to these bills passing this year to continue modernizing our elections so all voters have their voices heard.”
“Voting rights for marginalized groups have been paid for with the blood, sweat, and sacrifice of courageous individuals in America’s continuous struggle for progress. Now is the time for New York to renew its own push for progress by expanding access to the ballot box, particularly for the formerly incarcerated,” said Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College-CUNY Interim Executive Director Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq. “Each of these priorities are worthy in their own right. However, elected officials must permanently, automatically restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. Restoring their suffrage will help heal our polarizing racial divide and reintegrate those who have paid their debt to society. Their ability to fully participate in our democracy, in addition to each of the other priorities, will help make New York State more equitable and just.”
“New York has passed a number of key reforms in recent years to protect and expand the right to vote, but we can’t rest on our laurels. It’s time to finally reform our Board of Elections so it represents the interests of voters and not party bosses. The time is now to pass laws that make it easier for New Yorkers to cast a ballot, like no excuse absentee voting and same day voter registration,” said Betsy Gotbaum, Citizens Union Executive Director. “Citizens Union looks forward to working with our coalition partners to improve voter engagement and access, and professionalize and modernize our elections.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended New Yorkers’ lives, but democracy does not pause, it adapts. In 2020, New York lawmakers scaled up and strengthened a previously sleepy absentee program and passed automatic voter registration. We look forward to working with lawmakers to build on this progress and enact more pro-voter legislation this session,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.
“Generation Vote and our allies are firmly committed to advancing a new vision for the future of our democracy and what it means to engage young people in the electoral process in New York,” said Brianna Cea, CEO of Generation Vote and Co-Chair of the LNYV Youth Working Group. “In the wake of unprecedented youth voter turnout in 2020 and in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the 26th amendment, we are excited to support this robust agenda to modernize our election systems, promote civic engagement in our schools and empower the next generation of voters with reforms like same-day registration and automatically restoring voting rights to New Yorkers on parole.”
“Voting rights are a cornerstone of our democracy, and Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts (PPESA) is thrilled to support this robust voting access and reform agenda. While other states may attack and chip away at voting rights, New York must lead the way to protect access to the ballot and enable more voters to participate in this civic duty,” said Robin Golston, CEO and President Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts. “At Planned Parenthood, we know that reducing barriers is fundamental to expanding access to health care, and similarly reducing barriers to voting will increase equity and engagement for New York voters.”
“The exigencies of 2020 illustrate the critical need for the next wave of voting reform,” said Jarret Berg, Attorney and Co-Founder of Vote Early New York. “When enacted, these policies will improve voter access, safeguard civil rights and ballot integrity, and modernize New York’s election infrastructure, making our democracy more equitable and resilient.”
Over the past three years, Let NY Vote has brought the issue of voting rights front and center in New York, successfully advocating for the passage of over a dozen landmark voting reforms that ensure more New Yorkers have access to the ballot and a modern election system.
Members of the coalition include 32BJ SEIU, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Brooklyn Voters Alliance, Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, Center for Popular Democracy, Citizen Action NY, Citizens Union, Common Cause/NY, Demos, Generation Vote, League of Women Voters of NYS, NAACP New York, NALEO,New York Civil Liberties Union, NYDLC, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, Stand Up America, Vote Early NY, VOCAL-NY, several local Indivisible chapters, and many more.
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About Stand Up America
Stand Up America is a progressive advocacy organization with over two million community members across the country. Focused on grassroots advocacy to stand up to corruption and voter suppression and build a more representative democracy, Stand Up America has driven over 1.4 million calls to lawmakers, registered tens of thousands of voters, mobilized thousands of protestors, and contacted tens of millions of voters.