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Pandemic clouds NY pandemic calendar

“Lawmakers can and must address the myriad policy issues and COVID-19 related legislation, including expanding absentee voting which is crucial to ensuring the success of our elections in June and November,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY, a government watchdog group.

Cuomo Calls New State Budget "Robust," Progressives Call It "Republican Austerity Warfare"

“It’s a totally opaque, not transparent, not sufficiently open and collaborative process to begin with, and it’s even more so now,” said Susan Lerner, the executive director of the good government group Common Cause New York. “In virtually every way possible, the individual representatives are cut out of this process, which is three leaders in a room, and now it’s even more locked down than usual.” Lerner said that lawmakers should continue voting on critical issues like election safety and security and rent after the budget is passed, and should work remotely like other sectors of the economy. The Senate and the Assembly have passed laws to allow them to work remotely, but Lerner said they were flawed. “The Assembly resolution is truly unusual in that it appears to require anyone who wants to vote in the negative to do so in the Assembly chamber in Albany,” Lerner said. “It also has a provision that if you don’t vote you’re assumed to vote yes.”

After the budget, then what? Good-government groups hope lawmakers can work remotely

Common Cause NY points out that other states like Pennsylvania, are holding public meetings, hearings, and voting remotely as of last week. “The Legislature is a co-equal branch of government that cannot cede its role to the Executive [Branch], which is correctly triaging the current state of emergency,” said Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause NY. “While the governor is figuring out how to get 40,000 ventilators, and literally keep New York alive, lawmakers need to look beyond the rapidly evolving crisis, and help plan for recovery in addition to supporting their constituents,” Lerner said. “We have the technology, the Legislature should use it.”

03.31.2020

Common Cause: Legislature Must Stay in Session Post-Budget

Susan Lerner of the good government group Common Cause NY says the legislature is a co-equal branch of government and cannot cede its responsibility to the governor by leaving town (figuratively speaking) after the budget. Furthermore, she says any claim that lawmakers can’t do their job because of technology is rubbish.

03.28.2020

New York presidential primary postponed amid record numbers of coronavirus cases

Common Cause New York, a voting rights group, had called on Gov. Cuomo and state officials to consolidate the primary, contending that officials have made it clear that they won’t have the bandwidth to conduct an entirely absentee election by late April. “We don't have the infrastructure in place to do it quite frankly, so that's anything from having enough paper to print all the ballots, to making sure that we have prepaid postage, to make sure folks can return their ballot. It's a lot of smaller logistical decisions and preparations that would need to have started weeks ago,” Sarah Goff, the deputy director of Common Cause New York had previously said.

Voting & Elections 03.28.2020

Gov Cuomo Moves Presidential Primary to June to Avoid Health Risks, Joins Congressional Contests

Common Cause/NY Executive Director Susan Lerner applauded the move. "Consolidating the presidential primary to June 23rd is the right move to protect voters' health and free up much needed funding for more immediate public health needs. We applaud Governor Cuomo for taking this step. Next, New York lawmakers must expand absentee voting to ensure all voters can exercise their right to vote -- no matter the situation," Lerner said in a release. Common Cause suggests Boards of Elections immediately inform voters of the move in primary date to June 23rd, amid other suggestions to ensure voter safety, voting accuracy, and encourage participation.

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