Proposals to improve voting access were not funded by the New York State Democratic Party.
The New York State Democratic Party did not provide any cash to encourage voters to support three ballot initiatives that would have increased voter access. In the state’s election on Tuesday, all three proposals were lost.
According to The Times-Union, New York Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs noted that political campaign committees and related groups lobbying for the initiatives never contacted the state party to ask for support. The state party would have supplied financial support if the groups had sought it, Jacobs said.
“No one asked us to start a campaign, finance it, or run it on these subjects,” Jacobs said. “Perhaps the ball was dropped in that sense, but that is not anything that came to my attention.” The following were the three proposals: Proposal 1 would have altered the state’s redistricting process; Proposal 3 would have facilitated same-day voter registration; and Proposal 4 would have permitted “no-excuse” absentee voting.
Approximately 38% of New Yorkers backed each proposal, while nearly 50% opposed it. The remaining 12% of voters did not vote at all on the proposals.
According to voter-forward advocacy groups that supported the initiatives, conservative and Republican expenditure on political advertising to reject the proposals was ten times larger than Democratic and progressive investment to favor them.
The Times-Union quoted Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, as saying, “We were really anxious about what was going to happen because you’re just seeing one side of the story being described to voters.”
Horner’s nonpartisan group and Common Cause NY, another pro-voting group, were two of several organizations that advocated for a campaign to promote the initiatives, along with various unions.
Senate Democrats approached the state party in mid-October to endorse the plans, according to Democratic state Senator Michael Gianaris. Jacobs’ claim that no one approached the state Democratic Party for help is directly contradicted by Gianaris’ remark. Gianaris was successful in getting one of the ideas on the ballot.
“The question is why the Republican Party didn’t have to be asked [to oppose the ideas], and who is the chairman waiting for to ask him to do something in the party’s best interests,” Gianaris added. This is a condensed version of the information.