Along With Anti-Bribery Measures, Gov. Cuomo Proposes Election Reform

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Might as well use this recent scenario to hit two birds with one stone.

Last week, Governor Cuomo announced the Public Trust Act. The bill, which came in the wake of the scandals that rocked New York politics this month, would expand the powers given to state bribers to locate and detain those involved in bribery. It would also make it much easier for a prosecutor to bring a case against this type of corruption. It was Albany's reaction to the Holleran/Smith and Stevenson controversies, both of which gave the public a rough glimpse into the dirty world of money and politics.

Moving beyond that, the governor has used the opportunity for something else. At a press conference yesterday, Cuomo proposed another idea he's been talking about for a while now (with the backing of President Obama's Organizing for America squad, too): reforming the means by which we elect our representatives in New York state.

Here's the governor's statement:

"Our state's election system must promote a fair, democratic process that ensures that voices of New York's voters are heard loud and clear and voters have real choices in an election. The reforms we are proposing today will help prevent corruption and strengthen our democracy by ensuring that candidates need not bankroll their way on to other parties' ballots and giving voters the ability to change their party registration and vote in a primary in the same year. Further, today we are taking action where the Board of Elections has failed to act, and empowering a new enforcement unit with real teeth so the people of New York can have confidence in our electoral process."

And here is that statement broken down into more digestible English:

  • On top of the four-commissioner State Board of Elections, an Independent Enforcement Unit would be created to make sure the board's actions were carried out. It'd basically be like a cop force, but made up of attorneys and strictly for sniffing out electoral fraud. Call 'em the Ballot Busters.
  • In 1947, New York State passed the Wilson-Pakula Act, which required that any candidates who wanted to run on another's party ballot had to get the permission of that party first. In turn, this has lead to promises of gifts and kickbacks for party sponsors and presumptive nominees (See: Malcolm Smith). This reform bill would get rid of that provision.
  • If you register with a new party in New York state, your vote isn't effective until the next general election year. That doesn't make any sense whatsoever so the new proposal would be to cut that time down to three months, allowing voters to participate in their new party's primaries much sooner.

As Dean Skelos pointed out last week, corruption is inevitable in politics. That is the damn truth. But, once agin, here's to trying something new.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JohnSurico]

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3 comments
mikeRS
mikeRS

Corruption? Self dealing? You mean like this: Obtaining luxury seats for himself and top aides at the Buffalo Bills’ stadium in a deal to keep the state’s only NFL team from leaving or taking his gal-pal and his kid's friends on state helicopters at tax payer expense. Not surprised he has no real interest in combating corruption. Funny for an ex Attorney General


This is more double speak, here's the reality... Under Cuomo NY has experienced the demise of 39,453 NY state businesses last year, Cuomo is raiding $1.75 billion from the reserves of the off-budget State Insurance Fund (SIF). Coumo can not even hold on to his democratic majority which is in the middle of a corruption scandal and “show-me-the-money culture” and “pay-to-play politics.” He has disenfranchised the Northern and Western part of New York with his SAFE Act.. He can’t make a decision, either way with respect to fracking. New York has the highest taxes in the nation, is the most indebted state, with 33 percent of income dedicated to borrowing. It is ranked as the least "business-friendly" state in the country and if that were not bad enough NY has the distinction of being the least free state in the union and is called the “Nanny State” with politicians legislating what we eat and drink. Municipal governments from Nassau County to Yonkers to Syracuse are teetering. And during Mr. Cuomo’s time in office, unemployment has risen above the national average. 9% of the state’s 2000 population left for another state between 2000 and 2011 — the highest such figure in the nation," see the study by George Mason's libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center.

Kyle L. Wilson
Kyle L. Wilson

Stop giving them the power to exercise dominion and let the people do as they please.

ndaloise
ndaloise

"your vote isn't effective until the next election year. That doesn't make any sense whatsoever "

No, that sentence doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Someone who changes their party can still vote, regardless of any deadline, primary of the party they are currently enrolled in until it changes and in the general election without restriction, as they'd have been doing.

This time requirement prevents people from switching their registration just to meddle with minor party lines.

Uninformed journalism begets uninformed readers.

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