New York State Senator Lead Webb (SD-52) joined the Senate Democratic Majority in advancing a package of legislation regarding the state’s electoral system, allowing for portable polling locations, expanding ballot drop-off locations, establishing the Democracy Preservation Act, and the New York Voting and Elections Database, modify the ballot order, allowing food and non-alcoholic beverages to voters waiting in line at polls, establishing voter suppression as a criminal offense, and allowing the Board of Elections to join a multi-state voter lister maintenance organization.
In a release from Webb’s Office, they say the legislation continues the state’s Democratic Senate Majority’s tradition of passing major pro-voter, anti-disenfranchisement, and pro-democracy legislation.
“I thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for her leadership and for making sure that we make protecting our Democracy the Senate’s first order of business when we return to the chamber each January for the new legislative session. I was proud to vote for this package of legislation to build upon our election reforms, remove barriers to voting, end voter suppression, and to ensure that New York’s elections run fairly and efficiently. It is by breaking down barriers to participation that we will ensure every New Yorker is empowered to fully participate in the democratic process.” Senator Webb said in the press release.
The voting reforms that were passed by the State Senate Democrats can be found below:
Crimes of Voter Deception and Suppression: This bill, S263, sponsored by Senator Stewart-Cousins, prohibits deceptive practices and the suppression of voters, and increases penalties for violations of the elective franchise.
Democracy Preservation Act: This bill, S371, sponsored by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris would ban political spending by foreign-influenced business entities in New York’s state and local elections.
Refreshments at the polls: This bill, S.616, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, allows snacks and non-alcoholic drinks to be given to voters waiting in line at the polls.
Doctor John L. Flateau Voting and Elections Database and Academic Center of New York Act: This bill, S657A, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, establishes a New York voting and elections database and an academic center to maintain a statewide database of voting and election data and serve as a research hub.
Political Committee Public Website Transparency: This bill, S6675, sponsored by Senator Neil Breslin requires public-facing websites that are operated by political committees to include “paid for by” language.
Absentee Ballot Drop-off Box Locations: This bill, S610, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, allows local Board of Elections to establish absentee ballot drop-off locations to provide voters with a convenient alternative option to submit their absentee ballots.
Protecting Constitutional Rights: This resolution, B1460, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger, rescinds calls for a constitutional convention to protect all existing constitutional rights.
Portable Polling Locations: This bill, S242, sponsored by Senator Rachel May, amends the election law to allow counties the option to establish portable polling places for early voting.
Ballot Order: This bill, S5943, sponsored by Senator James Skoufis modifies the order in which candidates appear on the ballot in descending order based on the size of the electorate and requires certain federal offices to be listed before state, county, and local offices.
Multistate Voter List Maintenance Organizations: This bill, S6173B, sponsored by Senator James Skoufis, authorizes the state board of elections to join a mult-istate voter list maintenance organization such as the electronic registration information center also known as ERIC.