Fair Elections

One reason our society is so deeply unequal is because corporations and the uber-rich have worked relentlessly to shape the political terrain to their benefit. They have been so successful, in large part, because our electoral system allows them to invest huge sums of money electing sympathetic politicians (on both sides of the aisle). This makes it more difficult for working-class candidates to compete in elections and ensures that ruling-class interests dominate local and federal politics. 

As a working-class candidate, I know how hard it is to run against the political establishment. But I’m running — and refusing corporate donations — because I believe that all New Yorkers deserve to have their votes counted and perspectives represented in Albany. New Yorkers deserve a truly democratic election system. We must ensure that working-class people, not the 1%, dictate our politics.

A democratic election system must be one in which every New Yorker is able to fully exercise their right to vote. We must confront the ugly legacy of voter suppression in our country, and combat all contemporary attempts to curtail the right to vote — whether through politically-motivated gerrymandering or the disenfranchisement of incarcerated New Yorkers.

As a state senator, I will fight for:

  • Passing public financing for state elections, similar to New York City’s public financing system. This means small-dollar contributions to candidates are matched by the state government — empowering working people in our political process by making their donations go farther and helping to curtail the influence of big money in politics. I will fight for this effort to empower grassroots donors and counterbalance the effect of special interests in our political process. I believe corporations and LLCs should not be able to fund elections. Elected officials should be accountable only to the people, and should be able to make decisions independent of the influence of corporations or corporate lobbyists. 
  • Capping sky-high donation limits for state candidates. Currently, New York has the among the highest donation limits in the country; our limits are even higher than the limits for presidential candidates. The limit for state senate candidates is $7,500. That limit is clearly not for working-class people. The limit must be lowered so regular people have the same power as the ultra-wealth. 
  • Expanding and empowering the electorate through automatic and same-day voter registration. Democracy only works if it is accessible to everyone. Making it easier and faster to register to vote will increase the electorate and ultimately empower working-class people. Turnout is way too low in New York. We must do everything we can to change that.
  • Enacting reforms that ensure our democracy better represents the will of the people. I support efforts to move New York toward a ranked-choice voting system, so that voters are able to rank their preferred outcomes instead of being forced to select only one option on a ballot. As someone who has run as a third-party candidate in the past, I believe strongly that our electoral laws must support New York’s vibrant, multi-party democracy. As such, I also support maintaining fusion voting as an option in New York state.
  • Combatting all attempts to gerrymander New York’s voting districts. I support empowering non-partisan, independent commissions with the power to make districting decisions. This process has been enacted in states such as Montana, California, Alaska and is being planned for New York. However, independent commissions alone cannot ensure that political districts are drawn fairly. Further safeguards must exist to ensure that districts meet standards of compactness, alignment with real communities of interest, and fair representation for racial minorities. 
  • State and municipal voting rights for non-citizens. I believe that all residents should have the right to vote in New York’s municipal and state elections, regardless of citizenship status. Everyone affected by our political process deserves a voice in it. 
  • Fully repealing New York’s felony disenfranchisement laws. The right to vote must be inalienable, in New York and across the country. People in prison should not lose their right to vote. In fact, state policy affects them more than almost anyone. I will fight for the right of all New Yorkers to vote — regardless of whether they are currently or were formerly incarcerated. 

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