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Citizens Union and Citizens Union Foundation are committed to reforming New York City and State government by fostering accountability, accessibility, transparency, honesty and the highest ethical standards. Always nonpartisan, since 1897, we have devoted ourselves to holding our government accountable and the enfranchisement of all New Yorkers.

Our Most Recent Press Releases

Citizens Union Calls for Ranked Choice Voting To Go Ahead as Planned in 2021 Elections

 

Citizens Union, issues the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum in response to calls to suspend the implementation of Ranked Choice Voting: “Last fall, over 73 percent of New York City voters voted to approve Ranked Choice Voting. This reform will foster more positive, issue-focused campaigns, give voters more choice, ensure that elected officials are accountable to a broader spectrum of their constituents and avoid costly, time consuming and unnecessary runoff elections.”

Read the full statement here

 

 

Statement from Former NYC Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum on the Passing of Mayor David Dinkins

 

Betsy Gotbaum, Former NYC Public Advocate and current Executive Director of Citizens Union issues the following statement on the passing of Mayor David Dinkins: “With the passing of David Dinkins, we have lost an iconic New Yorker and a giant of our city’s public life. Mayor Dinkins was elected as New York’s first Black Mayor at a difficult time, and his administration set our city on the path to an era of prosperity and growth.” 

Read the full statement here

 

 

Citizens Union Announces Historic Endorsement of Joe Biden for President

 

For the First Time in the Organizations 120 Year History, Citizens Union Issues Preference in Race for President. Good Government Group Also Issues Preferences for Senator Andrew Gounardes, Assembly Members Mathylde Frontus and Rebecca Seawright, and Brandon Patterson for an Open Assembly Seat in Staten Island and Brooklyn.

To view Citizens Union’s nonpartisan online voter guide, click here

 

 

Statement from Betsy Gotbaum on Passing of Former First Lady Joyce Dinkins

 

A wonderful, gentle and kind person has left us. Joyce Dinkins was a tremendous advocate for the city that she loved. I extend my deepest sympathies to Mayor Dinkins, their children, and Joyce’s many friends and loved ones.
 
 

 

Statement from Betsy Gotbaum of Citizens Union on Reports of New Yorkers being sent incorrect absentee ballots

 

Citizens Union has issued the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum in response to the reports of voters in New York City being sent incorrect absentee ballots: “The recently reported absentee ballot mishaps in Brooklyn and Queens have only exacerbated what was already poised to be a difficult and confusing election for voters. New York has to get this right. We know that President Trump will seize on anything he can to attempt to undermine the legitimacy of mail in ballots in New York City.”
 
 

 

Statement on Behalf of Citizens Union from Randy Mastro, Citizens Union’s chair

 

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it has. In the space of a week, President Trump bypassed Congress, declaring he has seemingly limitless powers to decree whatever he wishes in the guise of a “national emergency;” and he started systematically dismantling the U.S. Postal Service to try to deny millions of Americans their right under state law to vote by mail in the upcoming Presidential election. 
 
 

 

Statement from Citizens Union Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum on the Passing of Former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman

 

“This weekend, New York lost a dedicated public servant in former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman. I first got to know Claire when we worked together on the construction of the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and was struck by how effective an advocate she was for Queens.”
 
 

 

Citizens Union Foundation Launches Nonpartisan Voter Education Campaign in Advance of the 2021 New York City Elections

 

Citizens Union Foundation, New York’s preeminent nonpartisan good government group, announced the launch of ElectNYC, a nonpartisan voter education effort that will provide New Yorkers with crucial information about next year’s local New York City elections.
 
 

 

Trump’s Memorandum Excluding Immigrants from Being Counted in 2020 Census

 

Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum: “Much like the unconstitutional citizenship question that was struck down by the Supreme Court a year ago, the motivation behind President Trump’s memorandum banning immigrants from being counted in the Census is clear.”
 
 

 

With Voter Registration Brought to a Standstill Due to COVID-19, Citizens Union Calls for the State to Allow Online Voter Registration in New York City

 

Citizens Union has renewed its call to allow New York City residents to register to vote online in advance of the November 2020 election.
 
 

 

Citizens Union Announces Candidate Preferences in June Elections

 

Citizens Union Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum today announced Citizens Union’s candidate endorsements in 12 contested races for Assembly, State Senate and Queens Borough President
 
 

 

Statement on Behalf of Citizens Union From Randy Mastro, Citizens Union’s Chair

 

Citizens Union has issued the following statement from Board Chair Randy Mastro: As our country lurches from one crisis to the next, New York once again finds itself on high alert. And our country once again finds itself lacking the leadership and empathy we so desperately need from our federal government.
 
 

 

Spring for Reform: A VIRTUAL Event, Wednesday, May 13th from 7-8 PM

 

Thank you to ALL who tuned in for our Virtual Spring for Reform on May 13 – and a special thank you to our great speakers: Dr. Eitan Hersh; State Senator Zellnor Myrie; Rachel Konowitz and Citizens Union Foundation Board Member, John Avlon. You can watch a recording of the event (1 hr) right here
 

 

Citizens Union Applauds Governor Cuomo’s Announcement of Executive Order on Absentee Voting

 

Citizens Union has issued the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum, applauding Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement of an executive order ordering the New York State Board of Elections to send a postage paid absentee ballot application to every registered voter in the state for the upcoming June primary election
 
 

 

Citizens Union Reacts to Publicly Financed Elections Being Included in State Budget

 

Citizens Union has issued the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum in response to the inclusion of publicly financed elections in the state budget:
 
 

 

Statement from Citizens Union on the Passing of Father Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., Founding Chair, New York City Campaign Finance Board

 

Citizen’s Union, New York City’s leading good government group, issued the following statement on the passing of Father Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J:
 
 

 

Citizens Union Reacts to Postponement of April Primary Elections

 

Citizens Union has issued the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum reacting to the news that the primary elections scheduled for April 28 will be postponed until June 23:
 
 

 

Wondering what happens to the 2020 Census amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?

 

On March 24th Citizens Union hosted a virtual conversation to answer that. We were delighted to be joined by NYC Census Director, Julie Menin and Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Chinese American Planning Council, Amy Torres to hear about all the ways in which the city and community based organizations are adapting their 2020 Census outreach and “get-out-the-count” strategy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
Click to watch the video of the event HERE and for more info on the Census go HERE.

Read more

 

Reformers Urge NY Government to Adopt New Measures to Do the People’s Business

 

Among the many challenges that New York State faces in coping with the massive impact of COVID-19, is the disruption to the normal in-person functioning of government. New York State government – its executive, legislative and judicial branches, both state and local – needs to adapt to remote systems and continue doing the people’s business just like the largest public school system in the country, companies large and small, non-profits, universities and service providers are doing.
 
 

 

Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak, Citizens Union Calls on Legislature and Board of Elections to Take Steps to Ensure 2020 Elections Run Smoothly

 

Citizens Union has issued the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum, urging the New York State Legislature and Board of Elections to take measures to ensure the 2020 elections in New York State run smoothly, while protecting public health and reducing community transmission of COVID-19.

Read here

 

As New York Tackles Coronavirus Outbreak, Citizens Union Urges New Yorkers Not to Forget to Fill Out Census Forms

 

As the world grapples with how to address the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and New Yorkers are encouraged to practice social distancing, Citizens Union, New York’s preeminent nonpartisan good government group, encouraged New Yorkers to remember to complete the 2020 census.

Read here

 

Citizens Union Applauds State Supreme Court for Ruling Public Campaign Financing and Election Commission Unconstitutional

 

“Citizens Union is delighted that the State Supreme Court has ruled the Public Campaign Financing and Election Commission unconstitutional, and sincerely hopes that this ruling serves as the catalyst for true campaign finance reform that empowers everyday New Yorkers and addresses the culture of corruption in Albany.”

Read here

 

Statement of Randy Mastro, Chair of Citizens Union

 

A cornerstone of our republic has always been a justice system committed to fairness, honesty and integrity. The rule of law is only as strong as the dedicated men and women who enforce it on our behalf in the U.S. Justice Department. But now, their work is under political attack by a President who thinks it appropriate to call for the prosecution of his political enemies and the protection of his political allies. If we are to keep our republic, this latest affront to our democracy cannot go unchecked and unchallenged. 

Read here

 

Citizens Union Applauds Senate for Passing Automatic Voter Registration and On-Campus Polling Site Bills

 

We have issued the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum applauding the Senate for passing Automatic Voter Registration and on-campus polling site bills

Read here

 

Citizens Union Calls on Legislature to Reject Down Proposals Put Forth by the New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission

 

We urge the State Legislature to reconvene and reject proposals put forth by the New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission

Read more

 

Citizens Union Applauds Governor Cuomo for Allocating Funding to Count Every New Yorker in the 2020 Census

 

We thank Governor Cuomo for this funding that will help ensure that all New Yorkers are counted in the 2020 census. The census will determine—for the next 10 years—federal funding for such programs as food assistance to needy families, early childhood education for low-income children and maintenance for our bridges and roads, as well as the number of congressional seats and electoral college votes the state has.

Read more

 

Citizens Union Celebrates Passing of Ranked Choice Voting and Reforms to the Civilian Complaint Review Board

 

We’re pleased that New York City voters have embraced reforms to make our city elections more democratic, and increase oversight of the police department.

Read more

 

New York Implements Early Voting, Long Championed By Citizens Union

 

Thanks to the advocacy of Citizens Union, this fall New York becomes the 38th state to implement early voting. We applaud the State legislature and governor for passing this important reform, and the mayor for funding early voting in the city budget.

Read more

 

Citizens Union Endorses Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate; Melinda Katz for Queens District Attorney

 

After undertaking a rigorous evaluation of candidates running in the upcoming elections for New York City Public Advocate and Queens District Attorney, Citizens Union, New York’s preeminent nonpartisan good government groups today announced its endorsements of Jumaane Williams and Melinda Katz.

View Citizens Union’s Online Voters Directory Here

 

Citizens Union Announces Positions On Ballot Proposals For 2019 General Election

 

Citizens Union Board Chair Randy Mastro and Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum today announced Citizens Union’s recommendations on five proposals New York City voters will see on their ballots in this November’s election, or starting October 26 for those New Yorkers taking advantage of early voting.

Read the recommendations

 

Statement from Randy Mastro, Chair of Citizens Union

Randy Mastro, Chair of Citizens Union, has issued the following statement on behalf of Citizens Union on recent events in Washington:

For the past 125 years, Citizens Union has sounded a clarion call for good government in New York, holding state and local officials accountable for their actions. But of late, we have also had to speak up for the first time in our history about events unfolding in Washington that are so troubling they compel people of conscience to call them out. Sadly, now is once again such a time.

Full statement

 

Citizens Union Applauds Charter Revision Commission for Putting Ranked Choice Voting, CCRB Reforms on November Ballot

“While this fall’s elections may be an afterthought to some, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to reform the City Charter by voting on ballot proposals that cover several important issues. Voters will have the opportunity to make our city elections more democratic and increase oversight of the police department.”

“Citizens Union is pleased that the Charter Revision Commission has heard our recommendations and will allow New Yorkers to vote to bring Ranked Choice Voting to city elections, reform the Civilian Complaint Review Board and provide a minimum budget for the Public Advocate and Borough Presidents. We have advocated for all of these reforms in a number of different fora, and look forward to spending the next few months educating New Yorkers about these proposals to ensure we have robust voter turnout in November.”

Read more

 

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