Long Island GOP officials urge voters to reject expanded voting and environmental rights ballot proposals
Republican lawmakers on Long Island urged residents to vote “no” on several proposals on the ballot in New York. The proposals would make it easier to vote through same-day voter registration and “no excuse” absentee ballots. Another would add clean air and water to the state’s Bill of Rights.
State senator Alexis Weik said New Yorkers already made clear they don’t want to overhaul the state’s founding document when they rejected a 2017 proposal to hold a constitutional convention.
“These are changes to the New York State Constitution, and people should understand that they're being bypassed, that their word meant nothing to the Senate Majority,” Weik said. “These proposals are just underhandedly undermining what New Yorkers widely said ‘no’ to.”
Weik said the proposals to change voting procedures could lead to fraud, and the current 10-day window between registration and voting is sufficient.
“We've never had a problem with it,” she said. “There's no reason for same-day registration.”
The Suffolk County Board of Elections and law enforcement are investigating at least two cases of election fraud out of the 380,000 people who voted in recent presidential elections.
Another ballot proposal would amend the state constitution to guarantee clean air and water. Other states, starting with Pennsylvania in 1971, have adopted similar environmental amendments into their Bill of Rights.
Environmental advocates hope the amendment would steer the state to consider environmental impacts and their implications for these rights when making decisions. The New York League of Conservation Voters said it would also help hold private businesses accountable for pollution and proved a “strong legal foundation preventing damage to the environment.”
In June, a Siena Poll showed that 80% of registered voters in New York support the passage of this green amendment.
Still, Weik said the state’s proposal is too vague and would allow residents to sue, leading to frivolous lawsuits.
“It sounds really great... like something every Long Islander would want,” Weik said. “However, it has absolutely no specification of how we're going to achieve that. So what the fear is, is if we pass this, you could suddenly be in trouble for owning a gasoline car.”