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We are now one month away from Election Day. This election season has been unlike anything I’ve experienced in my career working in government. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who has worked so hard under difficult circumstances to ensure that amid an unprecedented global pandemic, every New Yorker has the opportunity to safely cast a ballot.
But that work is not yet done. We all have a responsibility to ensure that this election goes as smoothly as possible and that everyone has an opportunity to vote. You still have an opportunity to register to vote (the deadline is Friday, October 9) and can request an absentee ballot up until October 27. We encourage you to take advantage of Early Voting, which runs from October 24 through November 1. 
We know that President Trump will not hesitate to highlight any confusion to undermine the legitimacy of the election. New York has to get this right. There will be more on how we do that in this issue of The Reformer.



Betsy Gotbaum

Executive Director, Citizens Union/Citizens Union Foundation




REMINDER- This Friday, October 9th, is the LAST DAY you can register to vote in the November election! If you aren’t registered, you can download a form here and mail it to the Board of Elections, or drop it off at any Board of Elections office listed here. If you have a New York State-issued government ID you can register online here. If you aren’t sure you’re registered, you can check your registration status here.  




Due to the pandemic, this fall’s election will be one of the most confusing and difficult to administer. To help clear up some of the confusion, Citizens Union has created a “Voting FAQ” to arm all voters with the information they need about how to vote. 
Many of you have come to us with questions about how to request, fill out and submit an absentee ballot, early voting, registering to vote, and more. You can now find all of that information and all on our website

Please share this resource to your friends and family, and post it to your social media accounts using the hashtag #CUVotingFAQ. If you still have questions, or felt like we didn’t address something, you can contact us at [email protected].




For many New York voters, the last month has been one of confusion and changes. In Brooklyn, 100,000 voters will receive new absentee ballots after the first batch included envelopes with incorrect names and addresses on them. Additionally, around the five boroughs, a printing typo led many to believe they gotten ballots meant to military personnel. These issues only highlight the continued need to reform our election administration system to maintain public trust and simplify voting.

For now, we are working to ensure a safe and fair election in November. In collaboration with the Board of Elections, we partnered with local colleges to encourage poll worker recruitment among their students. We are encouraged by the many New Yorkers who applied to work the polls for the first time. At a recent City Council oversight hearing, we asked the Board to facilitate and improve the recruitment process for teens and youth, who are eager to contribute to their city’s democracy. We also urged the city and the state to send absentee ballots with a postage-paid return envelope; and, if not, to inform voters about the amount of postage ballots need. 



Last month we held a unique Annual Members Meeting: instead of gathering together in midtown Manhattan, we met over Zoom from our homes. But what we lacked with an in-person meeting was gained in a fascinating civic conversation about the state of policing in New York City. We were honored to host NYPD’s First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker in a discussion moderated by CUF Board member Frederick Schaffer. We discussed police accountability, addressing misconduct, and paths for reform. Thank you to everyone who joined! If you would like to be notified of future membership events, consider becoming a member today!


Citizens Union’s Gotham Greats Event brings together a wide and dynamic mix of civic, business and political leaders while raising critical operating dollars for our work. In 2020 we will be honoring Richard & Claudia Romo Edelman and Roberta Kaplan; with special remarks from Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. This year’s Gotham Greats Event will be held virtually on October 22, 2020, at 6:30pm.



Spectrum News
Citizens Union Seeks Clarity on Ballot Postage

Gotham Gazette
Efforts Launched to Encourage Early Voting and Avoid Absentee Ballot Headaches
New York Post
NYC Board of Elections torn to shreds over series of mail-in ballot blunders

Spectrum Local News
Good Government Groups: Do Not Count on Zuckerberg

New York Daily News
NYC, here’s how to get your vote counted



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.

Long-Promised Study of De Blasio’s Neighborhood Policing Program Delayed Into His Final Months In Office
Samar Khurshid


State Inaction Means New York City Won’t Launch Online Voter Registration Before 2020 Deadline

Ethan Geringer-Sameth

Scott Stringer’s Strengths and Weaknesses as He Runs for Mayor
Samar Khurshid & Ben Max

Renewed Scrutiny of Police Misconduct Includes Reexamination of Qualified Immunity for Officers
Andrew Millman



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