Monday, April 18, 2016

TOMORROW IS ELECTION DAY IN NYS: Presidential Primary, Special Elections and Special Help Hotline - read below!
Polls are open on Primary Day from 6 a.m. to 9 the following localities: New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie. In all other counties in New York State, polls are open on Primary Day from 12 noon to 9 p.m.

The purpose of the Presidential primary is to select delegates to a national convention of a political party. Voters must be registered in the Democratic or Republican party to vote in that party’s primary. In New York State, the Republican and Democratic Presidential primaries are organized differently.

REPUBLICAN VOTERS will be issued a ballot with candidates listed. The voter will choose one candidate, but will not vote for delegates. Please be advised that some candidates have withdrawn from the race but are still listed on the New York Ballot. Delegates for the Republican Party’s national convention are selected by the state’s Republican Committee.

DEMOCRATIC VOTERS will be asked to vote for the Presidential candidate AND delegates for the democratic convention. The delegate distribution will be determined by the number of votes each Presidential candidate receives. Based on the population of your congressional district, you will vote for 5-7 delegates (indicated on the ballot instructions). Outside of NYC, the delegates listed in the same row across from the Presidential candidate are the delegates for that candidate. In NYC, the delegates are listed in a separate column next to the column of Presidential candidates; the name of the candidate that they are pledged to support is indicated under the delegate’s name .
For any questions regarding your ballot please call your County Board of Elections office or call our State League office at (518) 465-4163

If you are registered to vote in Lower Manhattan, Central Nassau, South Shore of Staten Island, or South East Brooklyn you will have the opportunity to vote in a special election for state legislators representing your Assembly or Senate district. Go to and enter your address for information about each of these races and the candidates. You do not need to be registered in a party to vote in a special election, but must be registered to vote.
• Lower Manhattan: Assemblyperson for the 65th District
• Central Nassau: Senator for the 9th District
• South Shore Staten Island: Assemblyperson for the 62nd District
• South East Brooklyn: Assemblyperson for the 59th District
As New Yorkers will head to the polls to vote in the New York presidential primary election on April 19, 2016, Election Protection (EP) – the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) – will ensure that all eligible New Yorkers have an equal opportunity to vote and provide voters with information, guidance and assistance. The 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) hotline will be available to answer calls live on primary Election Day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT.

Hours for Live, Real-Time Assistance:
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
6 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT for English assistance (866-OUR-VOTE)
5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. EDT for bilingual English/Spanish assistance (888-VE-Y-VOTA)
Election Protection’s toll-free hotlines, 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for English, and 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) administered by NALEO Educational Fund for bilingual assistance (English/Spanish), are available to any voter who needs information, assistance or guidance in understanding their rights. Assistance is also available in six Asian languages—Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Bengali, Urdu and Tagalog—through the 888-API-VOTE hotline, which is managed by Asian Americans Advancing Justice—AAJC and APIA Vote. However, for the primary election, the 888-API-VOTE hotline will not be providing real-time assistance on April 19; voters will be asked to leave a voicemail.
Spring recess is upon us. The League spent the final week before spring break running to Assembly and Senate Committee meetings on Monday and Tuesday. We will be spending most of our break gearing up for our May 10th Lobby Day and our Student’s Inside Albany program which will take place from May 22nd until May 25th.

Enjoy the nice weather everyone!

Monday, April 4, 2016

This was the week that we didn’t think would ever end and as of Friday afternoon (right now 2:58 pm) the Assembly is STILL in session only now taking up the education, labor, housing, and family assistance budget bill.  The Senate, following a grueling all night session, adjourned at 9:37 am today. One has to feel disheartened that legislators had to endure no sleep and an inability to read what the Governor called “a remarkable budget” and “the best plan produced in decades”.  This budget process has been the most secretive process in several years. At one point, negotiations were taken off the Capitol Campus to the Governor’s private residence where it is impossible for reporters to go.
Monday started with several press events including a press conference outside the Senate where the good government community discussed the lack of ethics and transparency in the budget, including lump sum discretionary funds. After our press conference we taped a segment with Susan Arbetter and the local television stations. In the afternoon we pulled Assembly members off the floor reinforcing our opposition to the Education Tax Credit and support for increasing Foundation Aid. Late afternoon, early evening was spent exchanging intel with coalition members for any leaks of information from the second floor (the Governor’s office).

Tuesday rumors circulated that the Senate was planning to trade minimum wage for the Education Investment Tax Credit. The League quickly issued a memo restating our opposition to the EITC and asking that members stay strong in their opposition. That ended a long day and long evening.
On Wednesday we went up to the Capitol late in the day, amid rumors that the charter school increases were now attached to minimum wage by the Senate and the Governor’s office. Does anyone see a theme here? We sent some time speaking with the Education Chair and other legislators to again reiterate our support for public education.

Much of Thursday was spent waiting for the republican Senate conference to end and the budget debate to actually start. The Assembly took up bills unrelated to the budget while waiting for final negotiations to be hammered out. The Senate finally began debating budget bills at 4:30 pm. The debate started contentiously with Senator Gianaris and Senator Young raising their voices. Senator Gianaris was particularly disturbed and vocal about the lack of transparency and the fact that bills would be debated without any opportunity to first read the language. The same complaints were being echoed by the Assembly republicans during their debates.

Thursday night debate of the budget dragged on in the Assembly until approximately 2:00 am when they stood at ease so the legislators could actually read the budget bills on their computer. The Assembly came back in at 2:50pm to continue their debates. The interesting thing to note is that the Assembly democrats do not debate these budget bills. The Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Denny Farrell, stands on his feet throughout the debate to answer the questions of the Assembly minority. The debate is all one sided for a reason, because the Assembly is so large if every democrat in the majority rose to debate, the session would go on endlessly so democrats are told to rise to explains their votes only when absolutely necessary.

Although this has been a secretive process, which we have repeatedly criticized for a lack of transparency, and insufficient time for legislators to thoroughly review budget language, the League and our allies were  successful during this process in preventing the EITC from being included in the final budget. We were also pleased to see the legislature pass the Governor’s minimum wage and paid family leave proposals, both of which we supported. We continue to be disappointed with the lack of process on comprehensive ethics reforms and we will continue to advocate post budget for these common sense reforms.