For Immediate Release: September 04, 2019
Coalition Ramps Up Campaign Demanding New York’s Campaign Finance Commission Enact Bold Reforms
Statewide Campaign Will Pressure Commission to Enact 6-1 Matching Donations, Independent Enforcement, and Lower Contribution Limits
Campaign Will Also Ensure Elected Officials Are Accountable for Commission Result
NEW YORK, NY — Today, before the New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission’s first public hearing, Fair Elections for New York announced a new statewide campaign called ‘Fair Elections Now’ that targets the nine commission appointees. The coalition, comprised of over 200 groups, will focus its organizing efforts and digital advocacy on ensuring that the commission and elected officials feel pressure to enact a bold public financing of elections program that will make New York’s democracy work for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
The new campaign will call on the commission to include at least a 6-to-1 match on small donations in primary and general elections, an independent enforcement unit, and lower contribution limits—without focusing on irrelevant political distractions like fusion voting. The campaign will also urge state elected officials to demand that the commission create a strong program, while being prepared should the commission fall short of the “model for the nation” Governor Cuomo has promised.
As the campaign’s new online countdown clock shows, the commission has less than 90 days to issue final binding recommendations on December 1, 2019. With only months to go, the coalition will launch these efforts across the state—from Buffalo to Long Island—to ensure the commission establishes a robust campaign finance system.
Over the coming months, the campaign will:
- Mobilize hundreds of New Yorkers to attend the four planned public hearings around the state in New York City (Sept. 10), Albany (Sept. 18), Long Island (Oct. 22), and Buffalo (Oct. 29) and keep pressure on elected officials to push for a strong Commission result;
- Use digital advertisements and the social media channels of the over 200 organizations connected to the campaign to educate New Yorkers about the commission and the coalition’s activities;
- Coordinate grassroots actions and press events across the state and organize voters in key districts to ensure that the appointees and local elected officials support the coalition’s policy priorities;
- Provide New Yorkers with innovative ways to communicate directly—through thousands of calls, emails, tweets, and other channels—with commissioners and the lawmakers who appointed them;
- Send a letter to the commission’s appointees on behalf of its 200 members outlining these policy priorities; and
- Launch an innovative tool to give New Yorkers an easy way to submit letters to the editor to local newspapers demanding the commission enact 6-1 matching, an independent enforcement unit, and lower contribution limits.
“For too long the voices of marginalized New Yorkers have been muted by the influence of corporate dollars. How can we combat years of racist laws and policies when we have a donor class that is 90 percent wealthy, white, and male? We are launching this new campaign to mobilize New Yorkers from all walks of life and all parts of the state so the Public Finance Commission feels our presence and hears our call for a strong people-powered small donor public financing program. With a Legislature no longer beholden to corporations and special interests, there will be less room in the budget for tax loopholes and more room for critical local needs like schools, housing, jobs, senior, and youth programs,” said Jawanza James Williams, Director of Organizing at VOCAL-NY, one of the over 200 groups organizing support for Fair Elections for NY.
The campaign will continue ramping up these efforts over the coming months ahead of the December 1, 2019 deadline.
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The Fair Elections for New York campaign includes over 200 community, labor, tenant, immigrant, racial justice, environment, faith, good government, and grassroots resistance organizations who came together to ensure comprehensive campaign finance reform, including small donor public financing, was included in this year’s state budget. The coalition plans to hold leaders accountable to their commitment in the budget to deliver Fair Elections reforms this year. Learn more at FairElectionsNY.org
New Yorkers deserve a responsive, accountable government. Voter turnout in New York is among the lowest in the nation, due in part to antiquated procedures for registration and voting that discourage participation. And our campaign finance system favors the wealthy over everyday, working New Yorkers. To tackle the crises we face in housing, living wage jobs, criminal justice, affordable health care, transportation, climate, fair taxes, and more, we must transform a campaign finance system that advantages the interests of the few over those of the many.
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