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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

Statement from Citizens Union on Proposal to Eliminate the Commission on Judicial Nomination

April 12, 2023 - “Eliminating the Commission on Judicial Nomination, which recommends candidates for the Court of Appeals to the Governor, would further politicize the judiciary and erode the public’s faith in our court system. The Commission is appointed by all three branches of government, and serves as an effective mechanism to ensure that the Governor’s nominees are made on merit. The Commission also is essential to keeping our judicial branch independent and inoculated from political horse trading between the legislative and executive branches. The public must have confidence that our judicial system is run by, and composed of, judges who can exercise independence and focus on the fair and impartial administration of justice.”

Good Government Groups Call on Governor and Legislature to Abandon Flawed, Last Minute Proposal Changing Method for Appointing Judges to the NYS Court of Appeals

March 30, 2023 - Citizens Union, the League of Women Voters of New York State, and the Committee for Modern Courts, released the following statement calling on the Assembly to reject Governor Hochul’s proposed “program bill” (A5983/S06061) which passed the Senate this morning and will change the selection process for appointing judges to the New York State Court of Appeals:

Citizens Union Calls on New York City to Move Municipal Elections to Even-Numbered Years

January 27, 2023 - Citizens Union issued a report outlining the benefits of moving New York City’s municipal elections to even-numbered years. This move would bring elections for city offices in line with gubernatorial or presidential elections. Municipal elections in New York City, which are currently held in odd-numbered years, have consistently seen lower voter turnout than elections held in even-numbered years. Consolidating municipal elections with presidential or gubernatorial elections will increase voter turnout, giving more New Yorkers a say over who governs them at the local level.

Watchdog Groups Oppose Legislative Pay Raise Bill

December 20, 2022 - Legislative leaders introduced a bill late last night giving hefty raises to the next state legislature. The leaders are proposing base salaries of $142,000 starting January 1, 2023, with a limit on outside income of $35,000 beginning in 2025 (about 25% of the increased salary).

Transparency and Disability Groups Ask Legislature for Open Meetings Webcasting Rules

December 19, 2022 - Citizens Union joined more than a dozen transparency and disability groups in calling the legislative leaders pass new rules that ensure that all public meetings in the Legislature are webcast. Due to changes in the Open Meetings Law (OML) approved by the Legislature in April, if the Senate and Assembly intend to use videoconferencing to allow members to participate remotely in public meetings, they must adopt a one-time joint resolution after a public hearing to authorize videoconferencing.

Citizens Union, other good government groups demand Council hold hearings to vet Board of Elections nominee

December 19, 2022 -- Citizens Union, Common Cause NY, the League of Women Voters of the City of New York, NYPIRG and Reinvent Albany have sent a letter to NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Majority Leader and Rules Committee Chair Keith Powers, calling on the Council to hold a public confirmation hearing for the New York County Democratic nominee for Commissioner of Elections and take transparent measures that would vet the nominee’s experience and fitness to administer elections. 
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