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Statement from Randy Mastro, Chair of Citizens Union

July 15, 2024 - The recent attempt on the life of a former President and current Presidential candidate is a shocking and reprehensible act of violence. Our democracy is built on the principles of peaceful discourse and the rule of law, and any act of violence against our leaders, past, present or future, is an attack on these fundamental values.

Citizens Union Report Finds Ample Opportunities for Public Input on Public Safety Bills in the City Council

July 8, 2024 - There is already ample opportunity for the public to comment on Public Safety bills before the New York City Council, according to a comprehensive analysis released today by Citizens Union. The report found that there were no major differences in time awarded for input on public safety bills compared with other bills; that the current Council does not provide less time for public input on public safety bills compared to previous Councils; and that high-profile public safety bills that drove the conversation took longer to approve than many other contentious bills.

Advocates respond to last-minute attempts to exclude New York City from even-year election reform

June 4, 2024 - The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Brooklyn Voters Alliance, Citizens Union, Common Cause/NY, Disabled In Action of Metropolitan NY, Dutchess County Progressive Action Alliance (DCPAA), New York Civic Engagement Table, Reinvent Albany, Stand Up America, Village Independent Democrats, and YVote issued the following joint statement in response to a bill introduced in the state legislature yesterday (S9826 Skoufis/A10538 Jacobson) that would move local elections throughout New York State, excluding New York City, to even-numbered years

Citizens Union urges the City Council not to rush through advice and consent expansion

May 29th, 2024 - Citizens Union submitted a testimony in response to proposed legislation that would amend the City Charter to require the advice and consent of the City Council for 21 commissioner appointments. In the testimony, Citizens Union urges the Council not to rush through this Charter amendment process, and to allow for more time, committee meetings, and public hearings to fully consider the implications of this proposal.

Citizens Union Supports Disqualifying Candidates Who Engaged in Insurrection from the Ballot in New York State 

January 25, 2024 - Citizens Union released a statement urging the State Legislature to create a viable mechanism for disqualifying candidates under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. This issue has been raised in a number of states, including Colorado and Maine, that have disqualified former President Donald Trump from appearing on their state’s ballots. The New York State Board of Elections is meeting on February 6th to finalize the state’s ballot for the upcoming presidential primary election. 

State Ethics Commission Is Constitutional Say Civic and Watchdog Groups in Amicus Brief 

December 18, 2023 - Citizens Union joins six other groups in an amicus brief for consideration to the Third Department, Appellate Division of the NYS Supreme Court in Cuomo v. NYS Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. In sum, the brief underscores the compelling need for an independent statewide ethics commission in New York; identifies the failures of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE); and supports the constitutionality of the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (COELIG) appointment process. 

Citizens Union Analysis of the November 2023 Election Finds Significant Voter Turnout Drop in Off-Year Local Elections

November 15, 2023 - In last week’s elections, voter turnout decreased significantly across New York State, including in areas with important local races, according to an analysis from Citizens Union. The analysis compared voter turnout in key races for county and city offices in 2023 with voter turnout in overlapping areas in November 2022, finding that turnout in last year’s elections was higher by 42 percent to 169 percent. According to unofficial election night results, only 18 percent of eligible New York voters cast their ballots in the November 2023 general election. This highlights the need to shift local elections to even-numbered years and consolidate them with federal or statewide races, which see higher voter turnout. 

Citizens Union Applauds NYC Campaign Finance Board for Recommending Moving Local Elections to Even-Numbered Years in 2022-23 Voter Analysis Report

May 1, 2023 - Citizens Union has released the following statement from executive director Betsy Gotbaum in response to the New York City Campaign Finance Board recommending moving local elections to even-numbered years in their 2022-23 Voter Analysis Report. Citizens Union issued Moving Elections to Even-Numbered Years in January, a report detailing the benefits of aligning New York City elections with gubernatorial or presidential elections
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