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Voting & Elections 09.7.2018

NY Attorney General Candidates Gang Up on Zephyr Teachout in Final Debate

But perhaps the most illuminating moment of the night came when moderator Brian Lehrer handed the mic to Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner, who asked how the future attorney general should use the powers of the office to protect voting rights in the state. None of the candidates seemed ready with a coherent response (Teachout, who referenced the state's lawsuit over the voter purge in Brooklyn last year, got closest.) "I'm afraid not all the candidates answered the question that was asked," lamented Lerner.

Voting & Elections 08.29.2018

A Few Questions for Cynthia Nixon Before Tonight's Debate

How would Cynthia Nixon handle over $3 billion in discretionary economic development funds? "If Cynthia Nixon were governor and she followed the Cuomo mold, she would basically have complete control over about $3 billion in economic development money," says Susan Lerner, the executive director of the good government group Common Cause New York. "It's not 20 percent of the budget, but it's still a lot of money." "It's easy to say this is wrong, and we should have some accountability. Well, lay out the right way to do it, from your point of view," Lerner says. "How are you going to parcel that money out? Are you going to give it back to the legislature? Will you abolish the Empire State Development Corporation? What will you replace it with? How are you going to do it?"

Voting & Elections 08.11.2018

Cuomo Continues to Duck Debates

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause-New York, said it's the public that loses out the most when candidates won't debate. "It is unacceptable that Gov. Cuomo has yet to agree to public debates with his primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon," she said. "Debating is an essential part of democracy that can't be replaced by 30 second television ads."

Voting & Elections 08.8.2018

NY Board of Elections Curtails Investigator's Powers

Susan Lerner, with the government reform group Common Cause, says the commissioners have a legitimate point that the chief enforcement officer has not done enough to go after the non-filers, as well as other potential violations of the campaign rules, but she says it’s a separate issue from limiting Sugarman’s investigative procedures. “The kind of detail that this newly adopted rule requires is an invitation for partisan gamesmanship,” Lerner said. Lerner says the larger problem with the Board of Elections is its makeup - the major political parties each choose two commissioners. She says other states have taken the partisanship out of their elections boards, and have avoided some of New York’s problems.

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