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Citizens Union: Newsletter
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Dear Friend,

This has been a trying year for so many of us, but as we turn the page on 2020 I’d like to reflect on a few of Citizens Union’s accomplishments amidst these difficult circumstances.

Thanks to our advocacy, more New Yorkers were able to vote in the 2020 elections. We urged the Governor to send every New Yorker an absentee ballot application so they could safely vote in the primary. Additionally, we advocated to expand early voting hours in the fall election, so all could vote even in the pandemic. Over 1.1 million NYC residents took advantage of early voting, a reform CU has long championed.

The legislature repealed Civil Rights Law Section 50-a, making law enforcement more transparent and accountable to the public, another reform long championed by CU. We played an integral role in ensuring that New York had adequate resources for Census outreach, helping the city achieve a response rate surpassing other major US cities. Finally, a number of reform-minded candidates won election to the legislature with CU’s support.

There is much work to be done in 2021. CU will educate New Yorkers about the candidates running for city offices through our ElectNYC project, and try to finally reform the Board of Elections. In the spirit of the holidays, I ask that you support our work with a donation to Citizens Union.

Happy Holidays,


Betsy Gotbaum

Executive Director, Citizens Union/Citizens Union Foundation


Supporting Ranked Choice Voting

Citizens Union has long advocated bringing Ranked Choice Voting to NYC elections. Last fall, voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum to implement this reform ahead of the 2021 election cycle. Ranked Choice Voting is used in several cities across the country, and will foster more positive, issue-focused campaigns, give voters more choice, and ensure that elected officials are accountable to a broader spectrum of their constituents. It will also mean the end of costly, low-turnout runoff elections.

The first election to use Ranked Choice Voting will take place on February 2, when voters in Kew Gardens, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood and parts of Jamaica go to the polls for a special City Council election.

Automatic Voter Registration Signed Into Law!
In the past two years, we have seen the state pass a number of critical, pro-democracy reforms, the most recent of which is Automatic Voter Registration. Under Automatic Voter Registration, eligible citizens who interact with government agencies are automatically registered to vote, unless they decline. This increases the number of voters who can participate in the electoral process, and ensures voting rolls are more accurate. In other states where this reform has been implemented, this process has saved money.

We applaud Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for their leadership, Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Walker for introducing this legislation, and Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill.

Looking Ahead to 2021
Citizens Union has been spending December meeting with partner organizations and legislators to effectively plan for the 2021 legislative session. Working off the momentum of the 2020 election, we want to make sure we are in the best position to continue the election reform agenda of the last two years. CU’s own Rachel Bloom also facilitated the legislative planning meeting for the statewide Let NY Vote coalition. With over 40 organizations and 70 people participating virtually, it was quite a success.



Nancy Bowe first joined CU in 2004. Through her work on a number of community issues in her Brooklyn neighborhood, Nancy saw firsthand the importance of a transparent and fair local government. 
In 2008, Nancy joined the CU Board. She was later elected Treasurer, where her two decades of experience in finance is a tremendous asset to the organization. In addition to her work with CU, Nancy served as President of the Brooklyn Heights Association and as Chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. She played a major role in the planning of what is now the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Nancy is excited for CU’s latest project, ElectNYC, which will provide New Yorkers with trustworthy information about the 2021 races and about how to vote with Ranked Choice Voting. She believes CU’s nonpartisan approach to elections, combined with Gotham Gazette’s in-depth coverage, will help New Yorkers to make the best decisions for their communities. 
If you’re like Nancy, and excited to support CU’s effort to make government more accountable, transparent and accessible, join Citizens Union here today!




This year has been uncharted territory for all of us and getting by seems to be all we can do. Gotham Gazette is working hard to keep you in the know so you can make informed decisions on how to vote AND keep your family safe right now. With the pandemic stretching finances thin, keeping our team together at GG has been harder than ever. Anything you can give today would be a tremendous help.

As always, Gotham Gazette is focused on informing the public and holding government officials accountable. With COVID-19 our reporting is more important than ever and your support is needed to make it happen.  If you can make a gift of any amount today, please do so by clicking the button below. We thank you in advance.

New York City Sees First-Ever Balance Among Early, Absentee & Election Day Voting
Ethan Geringer-Sameth

City Council Speaker Unveils Comprehensive Planning Legislation
Samar Khurshid

The Status of $6.5 Billion in Federal Covid Aid to New York City and State as End-of-Year Spending Deadline

Ethan Geringer-Sameth

New York Hospitals Brace for a Second Covid Wave. Are They Ready?
Ethan Geringer-Sameth

Max & Murphy Podcast: Ray McGuire is Running for Mayor



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