As the budget clock ticks closer and closer to March14th the League is continuing to advocate to keep early voting and automatic voter registration in the final budget. Both of these voting reforms will need seed money to get them up and running. Over the course of this week we met with several legislators and urged them to put money behind Governor Cuomo’s early voting proposal. Although early voting could be achieved legislatively, without the proper funding counties will have to find their own source of funding to pay for the poll site locations and staff to man the locations.
In addition to election reform funding, the League has been lobbying to keep foundation aid in the final budget proposal. Past failures to fulfil the state’s mandated commitment to Foundation Aid has left students in overcrowded classroom with limited resources. The League has partnered with several education activist organizations and is working to make sure the legislature fulfills their commitment and funds public schools in New York State. We are advocating for a three year phase in of Foundation Aid. This year the Governor did not include the Education Tax Credit in his budget proposal but the bills have been introduced legislatively in the Senate.
We were pleased to see several of our voting reform bills move out of committee in both the Senate and Assembly. These bills include removing party emblems from ballots, allowing for the usage of email addresses on voter registration forms, the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, pre-registration for 17 year olds, and a bill to allow for the usage of electronic poll books.
We expect the Senate and Assembly to release their budgets on Monday, March 13th. Stay tuned for our analysis of their proposed budgets.