At least for one day, we are cheering the New York State Legislature.
We can’t remember the last time we did that.
Most importantly, the Legislature got something done in a quick and decisive manner without getting bogged down in party politics and petty disputes that placed party over state. It is hard to imagine it will last.
The Legislature passed a series of five bills while approving initial authorization for two constitutional amendments for voters to rule on in the future.
The theme was to bring the state into the 21st century when it comes to early voting, by making it easier and more convenient for New Yorkers to cast their votes. Chronic problems — most notably in New York City — has contributed to New York having one of the worst voter turnouts in the country — it was ranked 42nd of 50 states in the 2018 midterms.
New York City voting has been especially problematic with reports that some voters waited in lines up to four hours during the 2018 midterms. During the state primaries in September, there were reports many registered voters did not appear on voting rolls.
These early voting measures should alleviate most of those problems.
Before Monday, New York was among just 13 states which did not have early voting.
The new law does a lot.
It allows nine days of early voting, puts the federal and state primaries on the same day — which will save a boatload of money — allows high school students to preregister so they can vote as soon as they turn 18, allows voter registration to transfer anywhere you move in the state and caps the amount of money that limited liability companies can give to political candidates.
These are all common sense actions that make it easier for people to vote. That is democracy.
That campaign finance measure is especially important.
There have been times when we thought we would not live to see this day. Closing the LLC loophole is perhaps the most surprising step forward in campaign finance reform in a generation, and we’re shocked that it was passed with the support of a governor who has benefited greatly from the loophole.
The Legislature also pushed two other reforms forward to amend the state Constitution.
One will remove the need for an “excuse” for an absentee ballot and the second will allow same day registration for an election.
State voters would have to pass those resolutions in two consecutive elections for them to become law.
We were pleased to see Sen. Betty Little and Assemblyman Dan Stec both go along with most of the measures.
In the past, Republicans had blocked early voting measures, believing it would allow New York City voters — read that Democrats — to vote.
While it is probably true, New York Democrats already have a 3.5 million voter advantage in party members over Republicans.
We believe political parties should be concentrating on getting the best possible candidates with the best possible ideas to solve our state’s problems.
That is a better way to win elections than suppressing votes.
Sadly, at least one local member of the Legislature — new state Sen. Daphne Jordan — still seems to be fighting a partisan battle. She voted against all the early voting measure. That is startling to us and affront to democracy.
Ultimately, all the measures passed and we suspect we will see a surge in voter turnout.
New Yorkers who do not vote have no excuse.
We hope they take advantage of the new measures.