In opposing a constitutional convention this fall, the New York State Legislature insisted that it has the power to pass reforms like early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, automatic voter registration and meaningful campaign finance reforms. That’s true, but they haven’t done it. What we need is comprehensive voting and ethics reforms so that people don’t feel tainted by participating in the electoral process, or turned off by arcane rules that serve to keep people from exercising their right to vote.
This fall the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County registered voters at 14 different venues throughout the county, distributed voter registration forms to hundreds more, gave out absentee ballot applications. We held public educational and candidate forums, issued press releases, posted information and videos on our website, passed out Facts for Voters and brochures on the ballot questions. We provided candidate information to several thousand voters.
We did everything we could to educate voters so they could make an informed decision based on facts, not rhetoric. So did other groups and candidates. But it wasn’t enough — only 35 percent of the registered voters in Saratoga County went to the polls.
If our representatives are serious about improving our democracy, they need to act now. Tell your state Assembly member, senator and the governor to pass comprehensive voting reforms and bring our election and ethics procedures into the 21st century!
Barbara Thomas, co-president, League of Women Voters of Saratoga County