Given the widespread issues New Yorkers routinely face at the polls, our message this election cycle is simple: Protect Your Vote, New York! Our Protect Your Vote campaign gives New Yorkers the information they need if they encounter problems at the polls. Check out our FAQ and spread the word with our share-able sample tweets and graphics for Instagram and Facebook.
In October 2017, the New York City Board of Elections (NYCBOE) settled a lawsuit with Common Cause/NY, admitting it broke state and federal law when it purged nearly 200,000 voters from the rolls ahead of the presidential primary in April 2016. As part of the settlement, the NYCBOE agreed to adopt detailed procedures to ensure that eligible voters are not designated for removal in error, reinstate improperly removed voters, and produce monthly and annual reports identifying the voters who were removed from the rolls.
In September 2018, the first major election since the settlement, New York held its state primary. A record breaking 1.5 million New Yorkers showed up at the polls, more than double the turnout for the 2014 primary. Voter turnout rose from an anemic 9.3% to 27%. Unfortunately, the surge in turnout exacerbated the systemic problems New Yorkers face when trying to cast their ballot. The widespread issues point to a potential violation of the settlement as hundreds of voters reported being removed from the voter rolls.
2016 Election Protection Program
Common Cause New York led our biggest Election Protection (EP) campaign in the fall of 2016. We trained nonpartisan volunteer poll monitors to identify voter intimidation, help voters troubleshoot problems, and report bad practices at polling places to election authorities.
We selected polling places to deploy volunteers based on historical issues identified by community activists and news research, high turnout in the 2012 election, and risk of intimidation and disenfranchisement (i.e. communities of color and Muslim communities).
The 2016 EP campaign surpassed our ambitious goals. We deployed 200+ volunteers in 51 polling places across seven counties during the general election.