Top Five NY Democracy Victories of 2019

4 mins read

With the constant deluge of bad news this year, it could be easy to get overwhelmed. Impeachment, mass protests, climate change, corruption … Is anything good happening?

The answer is a resounding YES. 2019 was a great year for democracy in New York. Reforms that advocates had been championing for literally decades finally made it into law. So to send you off on a positive note, we’ve ranked NY’s Top 5 Democracy Victories from 2019 – some of which RepresentUs NYC had a major role in.

5. Ethics reforms in New York City
Question 3 passed in November with over 70% of the vote, and while it received less press than Question 1 (Ranked Choice Voting), it will undoubtedly make for a stronger democracy in New York City: City elected officials won’t be able to lobby their branches for two years after leaving office, and members of the Conflicts of Interest Board won’t be able to participate in political campaigns. Hallelujah!

4. Public campaign finance comes to New York State (kinda)
The Public Campaign Finance Commission was the type of fiasco only Albany could produce, and we’ll have more about its failures in tomorrow’s email, but let’s focus on the positive: Starting in 2024(!?), candidates for office in New York state who show local support will be able to get public funding for their campaigns – kinda. Contribution limits are also down – kinda. Actually, it’s impossible to talk about any positive aspect of the final product without the word “kinda.” But that’s Albany for you.

3. Voting reforms in New York
Up until 2019, New York’s voting laws were notoriously strict and outdated, but after the Legislature passed a slate of reforms this year, we have finally caught up to most other states. Here’s some of the great voting legislation that passed this year:

a. Early voting
b. Voter-friendly ballot act
c. Consolidated state/federal primaries (now all in June, no more September)
d. Portable registration (when you move, your voter registration moves too)

And there’s more to come! Automatic Voter Registration and vote-by-mail are likely right around the corner.

2. Full public match for New York City campaigns
An overlooked but important victory that our chapter was a core part of: If you run for office in New York City, you have up to 89% of your campaign funds come from the city. No more needing to go to wealthy donors – you can raise money on small donors alone, and have those donations matched $8 to $1. What a beautiful thing.

1. Ranked Choice Voting comes to NYC!
All city primary and special elections will use Ranked Choice Voting from 2021! And your hard work is partly to thank for it. If we can ever reform fusion voting, we might get RCV in the general too!


Thank you for reading AND for everything you’ve done this year! Don’t forget to take our poll on what issues you’d like us to tackle next year. And stay tuned for tomorrow’s email, which will feature the five WORST Corruption Stories of 2019.

Finally, check us out on our websiteTwitter, and Facebook, and please write with any comments, tips, or suggestions.

Originally published on RepresentUS NYC. Re-posted with permission.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

RepresentUs NY is the NYC Chapter of RepresentUs, the nation’s largest grassroots, nonpartisan anti-corruption organization. For too long, political power has been concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy individuals and special interests. We fight back by passing tough anti-corruption laws in cities and states across America. Our all-volunteer chapter has been a key part of some of the biggest democracy reforms in New York City politics.

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