We face so many issues as a state and as a nation, but few are more important than protecting our right to vote. A wave of voter suppression is spreading across the country, specifically targeting Black, Latinx, and Native voters. Our elders bled in the streets to make sure we could have a voice in our democracy, but even in a state as blue as New York, it’s still far too hard for many people to cast their ballot.
While New Yorkers are preparing to go to the polls to vote for mayor, sheriff, and other local offices, what you might not know is that there will be three ballot measures to vote on that will dramatically strengthen democracy and give New Yorkers an even greater say in making sure our government works for all of us. Amid this wave of racist voter suppression, New Yorkers have an opportunity to expand the right to vote and send a message to the rest of the country.
Proposals 1, 3, and 4 will fix New York’s redistricting process, and allow for same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting. These proposals may seem like common sense, but right now New York trails behind dozens of other states on voting rights. Currently, 20 states and Washington, D.C., allow same-day registration, and 34 states and Washington, D.C., have no-excuse absentee voting. Why should New Yorkers be denied the same rights that citizens in more than two-thirds of the country enjoy?
Our democracy is in peril as Republican legislatures across the country are trying—and, in some cases, succeeding—in rolling back democracy, spreading lies about “voter fraud.” We have Republicans in Congress who refuse to hold accountable those who took part in a violent insurrection at our nation’s Capitol. Right now, in this moment of crisis, New Yorkers have a responsibility and opportunity to step up and set the example for what true, participatory democracy looks like.
We should be welcoming more people into the democratic process, not creating barriers to participation. We know all too well that our system was set up to disenfranchise Black and brown communities. It can be difficult for those of us without wealth or power to participate in our democracy.
In a democracy, nobody should be shut out. In this New York election, we have an opportunity to welcome people in. With voting rights under attack in so many places throughout this country, we have an obligation to show the country what real democracy looks like. I urge voters all across New York state to vote yes on proposals 1, 3, and 4.