Today, 89% of New Yorkers say that corruption in Albany is a serious problem. Only 31% of eligible voters vote. It’s time to stand up and #Demand DemocracyNOW.
New Yorkers, like all Americans, are raised to believe in the fundamental right to vote and to have their vote represented in political decision-making. It’s the cornerstone of participatory democracy and representative government. Yet widespread voting irregularities in recent elections and low registration and turnout have illuminated how hard it is for New Yorkers to vote and to have their votes count.
Then there’s money, which effectively determines that the rich and powerful—the new “billionaire class”—count more in our political system than average New Yorkers.
Faced with our two legislative leaders in Albany sentenced to prison for corruption and voting irregularities that denied the right to vote to numerous qualified New Yorkers, a coalition of community, labor, faith, and advocacy organizations has put forward a plan to resolve the crisis of democracy in New York State.
Under the name “Demand Democracy,” the groups have united behind a platform of bold changes to voting, ethics, and campaign finance laws. If enacted, these changes would limit the influence of the wealthy over our government and break down barriers to voter participation. The coalition is insisting that Governor Cuomo and the Legislature act on these changes NOW, before the end of this year’s legislative session.
Here’s the platform:
- Publicly funded elections, with small-donor contributions matched with public dollars to elevate the voices of everyday New Yorkers
- Comprehensive campaign finance reform that limits big money and its influence over elections. Measures include closing the LLC loophole, lowering contribution limits for candidates and committees, and limiting transfers, while supporting the federal call to overturn Citizens United.
- Modernization of voting to strengthen democracy through automatic registration, online registration and updating, and flexible voting opportunities, including early voting, to reduce the hurdles that prevent people from getting to the polls
- Expansion and protection of voting rights by restoring the right to vote to some 40,000 New Yorkers currently on parole, investigating purges of voter rolls, and instituting support, training, and oversight by non-political, non-partisan boards of election
- Meaningful ethics reform that restores faith in democracy. This entails eliminating pension benefits for convicted officials and creating a full-time legislature with strong conflict-of-interest rules, full disclosure of outside income, and bans on personal use of campaign funds.
In short, we’re demanding that voting be easy, that all votes count, and that politicians work for #allofus, not just the few.
You can find out more about this effort (including the names of the huge and growing coalition) at DemandDemocracy.org. But here’s what you can do right away:
SIGN THE PETITION to #DemandDemocracy–then share!
ATTEND THE PRESS CONFERENCE in New York City this Thursday (TOMORROW):
WHAT: NYC Kick-Off Press Event
WHEN: Thursday, May 26, 11:00 AM
WHERE: Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street, NYC 10007
PARTICIPATE IN THE WEEK OF ACTION, June 6-13, with house parties, protests, rallies, forums, social media actions, and much more. Hit the streets! Watch the Demand Democracy website and Facebook for more information.