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Up until 2019, New York’s voting laws were notoriously strict and outdated, but after the Legislature passed a slate of reforms this year, we have finally caught up to most other states.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.
Originally published on RepresentUS NYC. Re-posted with permission.
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