Common Cause/NY Statement on Governor Cuomo's State of the State Address
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Today Governor Cuomo proposed a robust package of campaign finance and elections administration reforms which will comprehensively improve the democratic process in New York State. Common Cause/NY is very pleased that the Governor's priorities for the coming year include a Fair Elections system of small donor matching funds, early voting, and broader campaign finance disclosure requirements, including for C4 entities and Independent Expenditures.
These proposed reforms represent the Governor's committment to a better brand of politics which New Yorkers so desperately deserve. Common Cause/NY looks forward to fighting with our colleagues in the Fair Elections Coalition and the NY State Voter Coalition in support of the Governor's efforts.
Campaign Finance Reform
As Common Cause/NY has long maintained, public financing of elections is key to any campaign finance reform. The New York City model has produced more competitive elections, and allowed demographically diverse candidates to win public office despite their resources. In contrast, the rest of the state suffers under outrageously high contribution limits and resulting high rates of incumbency. We must reduce the influence of money in politics in order to restore the public trust and encourage first time candidates to run for office. Similarly, the Governor's aggressive proposal to close loopholes in the law which allow C4 entities and Independent Expenditures to operate in the shadows is essential to achieving comprehensive reform.
Early voting is a proven success. More than half the country votes early, and there's no reason New Yorkers can't do the same. It's a safe, efficient, and sensible solution to the much reported mayhem which can occur on Election Day. The need is even more apparent after Hurricane Sandy when the Board of Elections in the affected counties scrambled to assist thousands of displaced voters, many of whom were not able to execute their constitutional right to vote.
Common Cause/NY is part of the coalition for Fair Election in New York State. The campaign for Fair Elections is focused on four key goals:
- Public Financing of Elections – establishing a voluntary system to empower small donors by matching their contributions with public money, similar to NYC's successful system.
- Lower Contribution Limits – bringing New York State's sky-high contribution limits down to reasonable levels.
- Ending Pay-to-Play – saving public dollars by preventing contributions and bundling by contractors and lobbyists from influencing decisions about state business.
- Stronger Enforcement and Transparency – ensuring that our laws are enforced in a fair, effective and timely manner