Voters to Answer Five Referendum Questions on November Ballot

On Nov. 2, New York City will hold a general election. In addition to New York City races, the following referendums will appear on the ballot. Below you will find a summary of each of the Constitutional Amendments. DC 37’s Executive Board voted on each on Sept. 14 after PEP Talk went to press. You can find the union’s positions on our blog.

No Excuse Absentee Ballot

Passed both houses in 2019 (S.1049) and 2021 (S.360)

Purpose: Authorizes ballot by mail by removing cause for absentee ballot voting.

Right To Clean Air And Water & A Healthful Environment

Passed both houses in 2019 (S.2072) and 2021 (S.528)

Purpose: Recent water contamination and ongoing concerns about air quality have highlighted the importance of clean drinking water and air, as well as the need for additional protections. Several other states, including Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Montana, have constitutional protections in place to ensure access to clean air and water. This proposed constitutional amendment would follow those models and ensure that clean air and water are treated as fundamental rights for New Yorkers.

New York City Civil Court Jurisdiction

Passed Both Houses in 2019 (A.7714)

Purpose: Increase the jurisdiction of City Civil Court for actions and proceedings in the recovery of money or property worth no more than twenty-five thousand dollars to no more than fifty thousand dollars.

Same Day Voter Registration

Passed both houses in 2019 (S.1048) and 2021 (S.517)

Purpose: Removes 10-day advance voter registration requirement.

Independent Redistricting Changes

Passed Both Houses in 2019 (S.8833) and 2021 (S.515)

Purpose: Make several changes to the independent redistricting commission process adopted and ratified in 2014 including:

Moves up timelines for the submission of plans to the Legislature. (Under the current constitutional timeline, the Independent Redistricting Commission is not required to submit its first redistricting plan to the Legislature until Jan. 15 of the year ending in two and, in the event the Legislature or Governor reject the first plan, is not required to submit its second redistricting plan until Feb. 28. This proposed constitutional amendment would require the Commission to submit its first plans by Nov. 15 and its second plans by Jan. 1, except in 2022, when the first plans would be required by Jan. 1 and the second plans would be required by Jan. 15.)

Repeals the higher vote threshold for adopting redistricting plans when the legislature is controlled by a single party. (Currently, if control of the legislature is divided, then a simple majority vote is required for the legislature to adopt maps. If the legislature is controlled by a single party as it is now, then a two-thirds majority vote is required for the legislature to adopt maps.)

Caps the number of state senators at 63.

New York would be required to count residents of the entire state, including people who are residents but not citizens, should the federal census fail to do so. New York would also be required to count incarcerated persons at the place of their last residence for redistricting purposes.

The ballot measure also would remove the block-on-border rules for cities in state Senate districts, which has already been done for the Assembly.

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