Assemblywoman Buttenschon Passes Election Reform Package to Bring Voting Process into 21st Century

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica) announced she helped pass sweeping election reform legislation to modernize the voting process in New York State and increase transparency in campaign spending.

“Transparency, accountability and fairness – that’s what our election process and state government should be defined by,” Buttenschon said. “And that’s why I ran for office – to make that a reality and ensure the Mohawk Valley is heard.”

The Assembly legislation includes several bills aimed at increasing voter turnout, including a measure that establishes early voting in New York State, allowing voters to cast their ballots during a nine-day period leading up to any general, primary or special election (A.780). Polling locations would be required to be open for eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends and holidays during the early voting period, and offer evening hours on at least two days. A second bill allows any citizen to receive an absentee ballot upon request so any voter can cast their ballot by mail (A.778). Current law only grants absentee ballots to voters who are out of the county on the day of the election, or are sick or physically disabled. Further, the package includes a measure to combine the state and federal primary dates (A.779)

Buttenschon also helped pass several bills to make registering to vote simpler. These include measures to allow for same-day voter registration, instruct county boards of elections to automatically transfer voter enrollment for New Yorkers who move from one county to another and allow 16- and 17-year olds to pre-register to vote (A. 777, A.775, A.774).

Further, to ensure wealthy donors can’t skirt campaign donation limits, the Assembly passed legislation to close the limited liability company (LLC) loophole. The bill extends the $5,000 aggregate contribution limit already applicable to corporations to LLCs and requires LLCs to disclose the names of individuals with membership interests (A.776).

“Pay-to-play politics has no place in our electoral system,” Buttenschon said. “New Yorkers see what’s working and what’s broken every day, and they know better than anyone what they need from their representatives.”