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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.

Upcoming Events

Citizens Union’s Annual Gotham Greats Awards Dinner
Save the Date!
Our 2019 Gotham Greats Dinner will be held on October 24th, 2019.

Citizens Union’s Awards Dinner

To see our 2019 honorees and for more information click the logo above.


Our Most Recent Press Releases

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.”


Statement from Citizens Union Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum on the Passing of Former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau

Last night, New York lost a brilliant public servant and legal mind. For over four decades, first as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and then as Manhattan’s long-serving District Attorney, Bob worked tirelessly to make New York a safer and fairer place for all. He was relentless and fearless, taking on corporate greed, organized crime and crooked politicians in the pursuit of justice.

I have been a friend of “the boss” for many years and was honored to be the executive producer of the documentary about his life. I send Lucinda and the family all my love and best wishes.


Statement from Citizens Union on Supreme Court Decision on Citizenship Question

Contact: Jake Oliver, [email protected], (347) 361-9983

Citizens Union, a leading good government group committed to fostering accountability, accessibility, and transparency in our government issues the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision, denying the Commerce Department’s request to include a “citizenship question” on the 2020 census is a victory for democracy. The desire to include this question was both partisan and racist. The question was intended to send a clear message to areas, like New York, with large immigrant populations—drop dead. 

Read the full statement here


Citizens Union Issues Preference for Gregory Lasak in Democratic Primary for Queens District Attorney

Contact: Jake Oliver, [email protected], (347) 361-9983
Visit Citizens Union’s Online Voters Directory for the Primary Election Here

New York, N.Y. (June 17, 2019)– After undertaking a rigorous evaluation of candidates running in the upcoming Democratic Primary for Queens District Attorney Citizens Union, New York’s preeminent nonpartisan good government groups today announced its preference of Gregory Lasak.

Read the full release here


Citizens Union Applauds Mayor, City Council, for Funding Census Outreach


Citizens Union, New York’s preeminent nonpartisan good government group, issues the following statement from executive director Betsy Gotbaum, applauding the Mayor de Blasio and City Council for funding census outreach in the city budget:

“Citizens Union applauds the Mayor and the City Council for ensuring that we have the funds necessary for a fair and accurate census count in New York City. The census is critically important for the future of our city and 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.

“This funding underscores that the City understands what we’re up against. The Trump administration is going out of its way to ensure communities with large immigrant populations, like New York, are undercounted to strip them of political power and financial resources. Their motives have been exposed as brazenly political and racist.

This money will ensure that trusted community-based organizations in hard to count communities have the resources they need to ensure all New Yorkers participate in the 2020 census. We thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Council Members Carlos Menchaca and Carlina Rivera for making census funding a priority in this year’s budget.”


We Applaud Mayor de Blasio for including funding for early voting in city budget

Citizens Union, a leading good government group committed to fostering accountability, accessibility, and transparency in our government issues the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum:

For too long, New York has lagged behind other states when it comes to encouraging civic engagement and participation in the democratic process. The recently passed reforms, including early voting, are an important first step. But reforms without the funds to properly implement them are not enough. The Mayor’s budget, which includes $75 million for early voting, demonstrates a commitment to protecting and expanding the right to vote. We call on the Board of Elections to work with the administration to ensure that New Yorkers are fully able to participate in early voting by making convenient early voting sites available to all.

Citizens Union Calls for Oversight of Board of Elections

Citizens Union, a leading good government group committed to fostering accountability, accessibility, and transparency in our government issues the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum:

Reforms recently passed in Albany are an important first step to protecting and expanding New Yorkers’ right to vote, but they must be implemented carefully and in good faith. The New York State Board of Elections is correct in denying the New York City Board of Elections’ request to circumvent the process for approving touchscreen voting machines. It should follow the proper approval process and be thoroughly vetted.

The Cost of Progress for New York Voters

In 2018, Citizens Union commissioned a Policy Capstone Project from a team of graduate students at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. The team looked at the cost of implementing early voting and electronic pollbooks and how much the state would save by consolidating the primary elections for federal and state offices. The Report finds that implementing early voting, electronic pollbooks and a combined primary would cost NYS $49.5M over ten years, and result in ongoing savings in small and rural counties. Citizens Union calls on Governor Cuomo and the legislature to include funding for early voting in the State budget.

Read more

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