Give Citizens More Options in Electoral Process: Add Early Voting, Campaign Finance Reform and Recall
Democrat and Chronicle
April 29, 2013
It’s one thing to propose new laws meant to help ensure greater accountability among elected leaders, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sometimes done. But it’s quite another to give citizens reliable tools to help protect themselves against political shysters.
Cuomo, who seems to be falling out of favor with growing numbers of New Yorkers based on recent polls, must make giving more power to the people a priority.
For starters, Cuomo, who has failed to act aggressively enough on his 2010 campaign pledge to seek campaign finance reform, must take this issue off the back burner.
The governor also should throw his still considerable sway behind such reforms as those that would authorize early voting and allow citizens to recall elected leaders believed no longer worthy to serve. Such measures can go far to help regain public confidence in government.
As a former state attorney general, Cuomo knows New Yorkers have little appetite for crooks and incompetents in government. What’s more, left unchecked, such malfeasance undermines the worthwhile efforts Cuomo has undertaken in recent years to clean up Albany.
While Cuomo has talked about a system similar to New York City’s that requires the state to match campaign donations of less than $250, he has yet to propose specific legislation. It’s overdue. Cuomo should also make clear his support for early voting by either getting behind Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s bill or offering his own.
These are pro-active proposals that could increase grassroots participation in the electoral process on the front end, thus helping reduce the influence of well-heeled special interests.
Finally, a state Senate proposal that would allow New Yorkers to recall office holders also deserves to move forward in the Legislature. Too many elected leaders who violate the public’s trust aren’t held accountable enough for their actions. Throw them out!
Give voters more options.