New York State Senate Standing Committee on Elections Public Hearing – 03/03/20

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OKAY. SO I THINK WE ARE GOING TO GET STARTED. A PROGRAMMING NOTE THAT THE MICS WILL BE CONTROLLED BY THE A.V. FOLKS SO WE DON’T HAVE TO KEEP PRESSING ON AND OFF. SO I WANT TO WELCOME EVERYONE TO THE PUBLIC HEARING ON THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT. IT IS SUPER TUESDAY SO THERE WILL BE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WATCHING ELECTIONS AND CABLEVISION NETWORKS LATER ON TONIGHT TO BE IN TUNED WITH THE RESULTS OF ELECTIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY BUT MILLIONS MORE ARE WATCHING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE WE HAVE OUR OWN SUPER TUESDAY RIGHT HERE IN ALBANY. BUT IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE FOR COMING TODAY. THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT ISSUE. WE KNOW THAT IN 1965, THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS PASSED WHAT MANY WOULD CONSIDER THE STRONGEST CIVIL RIGHTS LAW IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY. THAT WAS THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT. AND WE SAW THAT IN THE WAKE OF 1965’S PASSAGE, THAT VOTER PARTICIPATION AND REGISTRATION RATES WENT THROUGH THE ROOF. BUT IN 2013, THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT GUTTED THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT AND WE SAW THE STRONGEST PORTION OF THAT ACT, SECTION 5, THAT DEALT WITH PRECLEARANCE COMPLETELY EVISCERATED. SO WE FEEL A RESPONSIBILITY HERE IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK TO STEP UP FOR OUR VOTERS TO PROTECT THE FRANCHISE, TO PROTECT THE RIGHT THAT PROTECTS ALL OTHER RIGHTS. AND IT IS OUR HOPE THAT TODAY IN TALKING WITH THE EXPERTS AND THE FOLKS WHO ARE CHARGED WITH ADMINISTERING OUR ELECTIONS, THAT WE CAN MAKE THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT A REALITY AND HAVE NEW YORK CONTINUE ITS JOURNEY FROM WORSE TO FIRST. AND SO I WANT TO MAKE SURE I’M JOINED BY MY CO-SPONSOR OF THE BILL, SENATOR MAY WHO I WELCOME TO MAKE ANY OPENING REMARKS IF SHE WOULD LIKE.>>THANK YOU. I JUST WANT TO THANKS SENATOR MYRIE FOR HIS LEADERSHIP ON VOTING RIGHTS IN GENERAL IN NEW YORK STATE. IT HAS BEEN EXCITING IN THE LAST YEAR AND A COUPLE OF MONTHS TO SEE THE PROGRESS THAT WE’VE MADE HERE. AND I THINK THIS IS A REALLY DIRECTION. NEW YORK STATE DOESN’T SEEM LIKE A STATE WHERE THESE ISSUES SHOULD BE AT THE FOREFRONT, BUT VOTER SUPPRESSION IS REAL IN THIS STATE AND WE REALLY WERE ONE OF THE WORST STATES A YEAR AGO FOR VOTER PARTICIPATION, VOTER TURNOUT, VOTER– THE FEELING THAT VOTERS HAD THAT THEY WERE WELCOME TO BOTH REGISTER AND VOTE AND SO WE ARE CHANGING THAT. WE ARE WORKING VERY HARD TO CHANGE THAT AND I THINK THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT STEP IN THAT DIRECTION AND I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING TESTIMONY, ALTHOUGH I WILL BE IN AND OUT TODAY.>>THANK YOU, SENATOR MAY. AS A PROGRAMMING NOTE, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO COME UP TO ALBANY ON TUESDAYS, YOU KNOW THAT TODAY IS A VERY HECTIC DAY. I SEE WE ALSO HAVE WITH US OUR CHAIR OF ELECTIONS IN THE ASSEMBLY, ASSEMBLYMEMBER CHUCK LAVINE. YOU CAN’T SEE HIM IN THE CAMERA BUT A SURE YOU THAT HE IS HERE. AND SO FOLKS WILL BE IN AND OUT, BUT IT IS NOT AN INDICATION OF HOW IMPORTANT THE ISSUE IS AND I SUSPECT THAT I WILL BE JOINED BY A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MY COLLEAGUES THROUGHOUT THE HEARING. WE ARE STARTING OFF WITH THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS WITH BOB BREHM. I WOULD BE REMISS IF I DIDN’T AGAIN THANK YOU. WE PASSED 53 AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW ELECTION LAW LAST YEAR. WE HAVE GIVEN THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS A LOT TO DO AS A LEGISLATURE, AND YOU HAVE DONE A PRETTY GOOD JOB AT IMPLEMENTING WHAT THE LEGISLATURE HAS PASSED. SO I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR THAT AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. EVERY TESTIFY TESTIFIER WILL HAVE FIVE MINUTES AND WE WILL START WHEN YOU ARE READY.>>GOOD MORNING, SENATOR MYRIE AND SENATOR MAY. THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK TODAY ON THE SUBJECT OF THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT JUST IN GENERAL, THE STATE BOARD HAS NOT TAKEN A POSITION ON THE SPECIFIC PROPOSAL BUT MY COMMENTS IN GENERAL ARE IN RELATION TO THE DRAFTING OF THE BILL. JOINING ME IS BRIAN QUELL, ONE OF OUR COUNSELS AT THE STATE BOARD AND WE PROVIDED WRITTEN TESTIMONY AND I’LL HIGHLIGHT IT AND SAVE TIME FOR QUESTIONS, CERTAINLY. BUT MAKING MEANINGFUL THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO VOTE IS A GOVERNING IMPERATIVE, AS THE SUPREME COURT RIGHTLY OBSERVED IN 1964. NO RIGHT IS MORE PRECIOUS IN A FREE COUNTRY THAN THAT OF HAVING A VOICE IN THE ELECTION OF THOSE WHO MAKE THE LAWS UNDER WHICH AS GOOD CITIZENS WE MUST LIVE. OTHER RIGHTS, EVEN MORE BASIC ARE LOSERY IF THE RIGHT TO VOTE IS UNDERMINED SO CERTAINLY THE RIGHT THAT GUARANTEES ALL OTHER RIGHTS IS THE RIGHT TO VOTE. THE LEGISLATION AS PROPOSED IS CERTAINLY, YOU KNOW, ESTABLISHES A LOFTY GOAL, A BEACON TO FOCUS ON THAT THE VOTE SUPPLEMENTING THAT FEDERAL POSITION IS QUITE IMPORTANT. CERTAINLY WE, IN MY TIME AT THE STATE BOARD, WE HAVE HAD A CONTINUING DIALOGUE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, BOTH DURING THE PERIOD OF TIME WHEN WE HAD PRECLEARANCE AND EVEN AFTER PRE–CLEARANCE. WE CONTINUE THAT DIALOGUE ON IMPLEMENTING VARIOU COMPONENTS THAT IMPACT ON FEDERAL ELECTIONS. BUT I AM SOMEWHAT CONCERNED OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT AND THE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE THAT THE LEGISLATURE ENACTED AFTER WATERGATE, WHICH BASICALLY TOOK ELECTION ADMINISTRATION OUT OF THE HANDS OF A SINGLE POLITICAL AUTHORITY AND PUT IT INTO A BIPARTISAN AUTHORITY. I THINK SOME OF THE EXAMPLES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY THAT ARE STILL ALARMING ARE WHERE ELECTION ADMINISTRATION IS UNDER A SINGLE AUTHORITY AND I THINK WE’VE SEEN WHERE THE DISENFRANCHISEMENT EFFORTS HAVE BEEN GREATER IN THAT MODEL. CERTAINLY I APPRECIATE THE REFERENCE TO THE 53 PIECES OF LEGISLATION. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT WE HAVE RECEIVED NO MONEY FOR ANY OF THOSE PROPOSAL EXCEPT A VERY SMALL AMOUNT AND THE TATE BOARD CONTINUES TO BE CHRONICALLY UNDERFUNDED EVEN WITH THE EXECUTIVE PROPOSAL THAT WE HAVE TODAY WHERE 1.5 MILLION IN A DEFICIT POSITION. IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO DO THE MEANINGFUL PLANNING TO IMPLEMENT THE REFORMS THAT YOU ENACTED WHICH ARE IN AND OF THEMSELVES PROOF THAT NEW YORK IS ON A PATH TO END FRANCHISING NOT DISENFRANCHISING VOTERS. AND NO ONE OF THOSE BILLS IS A MAGIC SOLUTION, BUT THE MIXTURE OF THEM, I THINK, WILL REALLY HELP TO PROVIDE MEANINGFUL SERVICES TO PEOPLE ACROSS THE SPECTRUM THE OTHER THING THAT I THINK ALSO CONCERNS IS TWO FOLD. YOU KNOW, THERE ARE MANY RESOURCES, AND THE STATE BOARD IS NO DIFFERENT THAN MANY COUNTY BOARDS, ESPECIALLY THE SMALL RURAL COUNTY BOARDS, OVER 40 OF THEM ARE VERY SMALL AND PROBABLY HAVE TWO FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES, TWO PART-TIME EMPLOYEES AND EVEN THEIR COUNTY I.T. SUPPORT IS SMALL. SO IT’S DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO PUT TOGETHER MEANINGFUL RESPONSES AND PLANS TO HAVE TO SUBMIT THOSE FOR PROCESS THAT IS TIME CONSUMING. AND IT ALSO, YOU KNOW, I MENTIONED THIS BILL WAS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY WITH MANY IMPACTS. MANY OF THOSE 53 BILLS WERE EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. THE L.L.C. LOOPHOLE GAVE ME SEVEN DAYS TO IMPLEMENT. BUT IT PUTS OFF THOSE IMPLEMENTATION DATES UNTIL THIS STEP CAN HAPPEN, ALSO. THE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, THEY CANNOT LEGISLATE. THEY CAN ONLY REVIEW PROPOSALS AND MAKE DECLARATIONS THAT THEY MIGHT IMPACT NEGATIVELY ON ENFRANCHISEMENT. BUT YOU, THE LEGISLATURE, MAKE THE LAWS. IT COULD BE MORE EFFICIENT TO UP FRONT A GOAL, TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE IMPLEMENTED BETTER AT THE UP FRONT THAN PERHAPS A PROCESS ON THE FLIP SIDE. IT ALLOWS AN ATTORNEY GENERAL, NOT NECESSARILY THIS ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND ANY JUDGE THAT IS LOOKING AT THIS, TO VACATE A CURRENT STATUTE WITHOUT A STANDARD IN THE LANGUAGE AS TO WHAT WOULD BE A SUFFICIENT FINDING. SO WE COULD HAVE A PATCH PATCHWORK OF SOLUTIONS THAT ARE OUT THERE. THE BENEFIT OF ELECTIONS IS UNIFORMITY TO KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE TREATED FAIRLY AND EQUALLY FROM ONE JURISDICTION TO THE OTHER, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE, ESPECIALLY IN A SENATE DISTRICT OR THOSE JURISDICTIONS THAT GO TO MULTIPLE COUNTIES. YOU WANT TO KNOW THERE IS A UNIFORM WAY THAT WE ARE APPLYING THE ELECTION FOR THOSE VOTES. THOSE ARE CERTAINLY SOME OF THE CHALLENGES, WHETHER THEY’RE ADDRESSED IN A DRAFTING OF THE BILL OR JUST A CLEARER UNDERSTANDING OF THE IMPACT. BUT THERE WILL BE AN IMPACT ON COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO MAKE PLANS AND TO BUILTER FILTER ALL OF THE PLANNING PROCESS AND IT’S– YOUR GOAL MAY EITHER WORK THIS WAY, OR PERHAPS JUST MAKING A CLEARER DIRECTION OF HOW TO IMPLEMENT THE BILL IN THE FIRST PLACE SO WE NEVER GET TO THIS STEP MIGHT ALSO BE A GOOD INCENTIVE.>>THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU FOR YOUR TESTIMONY. I ECHO WHAT MY COLLEAGUE SAID ABOUT WE’VE PUT A LOT ON YOUR PLATE THIS YEAR. DO YOU HAVE AN ESTIMATE OF WHAT THIS IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS WOULD COST OR WHAT ADDITIONAL COSTS YOU MIGHT…>>IT’S HARD TO FACTOR THAT-BECW WILL WE GET 53 CHAPTERS? I HOPE ONE. BECAUSE IT DOES– EVERY ONE OF THOSE LAWS IS DIFFERENT. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT PRECLEARANCE FOR POLLING SITES, THERE ARE ALSO CHANGES TO POLLING SITES. SO I DON’T HAVE A REAL NUMBER YET. BUT CERTAINLY IT WILL DEPEND ON THE PROCEDURE PUT IN PLACE BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO SUBMIT PLANS AND THEN WHAT IS THAT PROCESS. IT COULD TAKE AS LONG AS 60 DAYS. THERE ARE EXTENSIONS THAT ARE PROVIDED FOR– THERE WERE TIMES WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE THAT WE WOULD GO LONGER THAN SHORT. BUT ON MANY OF THE ISSUES WHEN WE WERE ROLLING OUT THE NEW VOTING EQUIPMENT, AT THE BEHEST OF A FEDERAL JUDGE, SOME OF THOSE IMPLEMENTATION WE GOT PRECLEARANCE REALLY QUICKLY AND WHEN WE HAD HURRICANE SANDY, WE GOT PRECLEARANCE FROM THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WITHIN HOURS. SO IT DEPENDS ON WHAT WE ARE DOING AND THE CONTINUING DIALOGUE WE HAVE WITH THE ENTITY THAT IS REVIEWING IT. THAT DIALOGUE, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROCEDURES, REALLY IS, I THINK, THE BASIS OF BEING ABLE TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION. IF YOU HAVE A CLEAR PATH TO FOLLOW, YOU FACTOR THAT INTO YOUR PLANNING IN THE BEGINNING. IF IT’S UNKNOWN WHERE THAT IS GOING, THEN IT’S HARD TO KNOW THAT IF THERE IS A JUDGE SOMEWHERE THAT HAS A DIFFERENT VIEW THAN A JUDGE SOMEWHERE ELSE, HOW DO YOU PREPARE TO MEET THEIR NEEDS? IT’S HARD TO ANTICIPATE.>>THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU, SENATOR MAY. I DO HAVE A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS AND I WOULD AGREE WITH YOU WHOLEHEARTEDLY THAT THE FUNDING NECESSARY FOR THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IS AN ISSUE FOR WHICH THIS LEGISLATURE SHOULD BE FIGHTING FOR, WE WILL BE FIGHTING FOR, BECAUSE WE CANNOT BE IMPOSING CHANGES THAT WE ALSO DON’T GIVE THE RESOURCES FOR. SO WE WILL CONTINUE TO ADVOCATE FOR THAT. THERE HAVE BEEN SOME GAPS IN THE EXECUTIVE BUDGET ON THAT FRONT AND I THINK WE CAN ANTICIPATE THAT THE LEGISLATURE WILL BE FIGHTING TO FILL THOSE GAPS. CAN YOU SPEAK– YOU MENTION A NUMBER OF CONCERNS AND CHALLENGES AND I’M GLAD THAT WE ARE ABLE TO HAVE THIS DISCUSSION AND THIS HEARING. CAN YOU SPEAK TO WHAT YOUR COMPLIANCE APPARATUS WAS LIKE, WHAT SECTION 5 ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL PRE-2013 AND WHETHER YOU HAD THE SAME CONCERNS ABOUT THE IMPOSITION ON THE LOCAL BOARDS OR STATE BOARD. I STARTED IN FEBRUARY OF 2006. ONE WEEK LATER THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CAME TO VISIT US ON NEW YORK STATE’S IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT. THEY LEFT IN 2013 WHEN THE LAW CHANGED. AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE COMPARE NEW YORK TO OUR COLLEAGUES% THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, WHEN THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WOULD VISIT THEM AND WE WERE AT A NATIONAL CONFERENCE AND WE WOULD TALK ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCES, THEY WERE ALWAYS A LITTLE FEARFUL WHEN THE HAVE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CAME. OUR APPROACH IS IT’S NEVER FEARFUL. IT’S A DIALOGUE. IT’S A CONVERSATION. WE ARE NEVER SO RIGHT IN OUR POSITION THAT WE ARE AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT IT CERTAINLY MORE EARS AND EYES ON A PROCESS HELP TO DISCUSS AND THINK OF THINGS WE DIDN’T, MAYBE A PERSPECTIVE WE DIDN’T LOOK AT ORIGINALLY. BUT SOME OF THOSE CONVERSATIONS, I THINK, MIGHT BE BETTER UP FRONT TO BUILD THAT STRUCTURE OF DIALOGUE UP FRONT. I MEAN WE FOLLOW THE STATE PROCESS FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS ON REGULATIONS, ET CETERA, TO POST THEM AND PUBLISH THEM. WE TRY TO PUT THEM ON OUR WEBSITE. IT’S HARD TO REACH OUT TO UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES WHEN WE DON’T HAVE ANY RESOURCES FROM THE DAY TO DAY FOR THE BOARD TO ANSWER THE PHONE. AT OUR CONFERENCE ON EARLY VOTING IN NOVEMBER, ONE OF YOUR COLLEAGUES ASKED WHO DID WE REACH OUT TO ON THE COMMUNICATION PLAN. IT PAINED ME TO SAY NO ONE BECAUSE WE HAD NO MONEY TO EVEN– NONE OF THE RESOURCES AND RESPONSIBILITY OF THE BILL CAME TO THE STATE BOARD. NOT THAT WE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT BUT WE DIDN’T HAVE ANY RESOURCES TO DO ALL THE OTHER THINGS YOU ASKED UTION TO DO. WE HAD NO ABILITY TO DO THE EXTRA. SO THE BUDGET, TO ME, IS THE BIGGEST BARRIER TO US COMPLYING WITH THE RULE OR THIS PROPOSAL. IS IF THE BUDGET PROPOSAL HAD TO GO THROUGH PRECLEARANCE, MAYBE I WOULD BE MORE CONFIDENT THAT I COULD STAND HERE TODAY AND TELL YOU THAT WE COULD DO IT. NOT THAT IT’S JUST MONEY. I THINK THE MIND SET THAT WE HAVE TO DISCUSS IT ANYWAY, IT’S NOT ONE PHILOSOPHY. I GO ACROSS THE HALL AND TALK TO MY COLLEAGUE. WE DON’T AGREE ON EVERYTHING. WE DON’T DISAGREE ON EVERYTHING, EITHER. WE AGREE ON MORE THAN WE DISAGREE. AND THIS COULD BE A PROCESS THAT THIS COULD BREAK TIES AND BOARDS. I’M NOT CONFIDENT THAT IT HAS THAT ABILITY. I THINK IT HAS MORE ABILITY ESPECIALLY WITH THE COURT INTERVENTION THE WAY IT’S WORDED, TO REALLY FRAGMENTIZE POLICY. AND FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, I THINK UNIFORMITY IS A VERY GOOD GOAL FROM ONE END OF THE STATE TO THE OTHER. SO THAT DOES CONCERN ME. I THINK THERE ARE WAYS YOU COULD PROBABLY WORK WITHIN THE DRAFTING OF THE BILL TO ADDRESS THOSE.>>WE HAVE A SAFE HARBOR PROVISION IN THE BILL THAT SEEKS TO PREVENT THIS FROM GOING TO THE COURTS AND FROM LITIGATION AND TO PROTECT TAXPAYERS DOLLARS. AND THE GOAL IS TO GIVE JURISDICTIONS AND LOCAL BOARDS THE OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT ANY VIOLATIONS OR ALLEGED VIOLATIONS BEFORE LITIGATION AND SO I’M HOPING IF COULD YOU SPEAK TO THAT BECAUSE I THINK IT’S A VALID CONCERN THAT WE TRY TO ADDRESS THROUGH THIS SAFE HARBOR PROVISION.>>YES, THE SAFE HARBOR PROVISION OF THE BILL DOES SEEK TO DO THAT, BUT IT MAY INVITE SOME ADDITIONAL ISSUES, ONE OF WHICH IS THAT IT WOULD ALLOW IN THE PROCESS OF CORRECTING A PROBLEM, TO PERMIT THE CIVIL RIGHTS BUREAU AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE TO ESSENTIALLY ABROGATE ANY LOCAL OR STATE LAW FOR THE PURPOSE OF REMEDYING THE VIOLATION. AND THE REMEDY PART IS OF NO CONCERN. THE ISSUE IS WHEN HAVE YOU NO DEFERENCE SHOWN TO EITHER THE STATE OR THE LOCAL LAW, YOU INVITE THE PATCHWORK QUILT OF ELECTION ADMINISTRATION TO OCCUR WITHOUT ANY FINDING OF NECESSITY. SO ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WAS MENTIONED IN THE WRITTEN TESTIMONY IS THAT WHILE THERE MAY BE INSTANCES WHERE IT IS NECESSARY TO ABROGATE A STATE OR LOCAL LAW THAT IS AND OF ITSELF THE PROBLEM, THERE SHOULD BE SOMETHING IN THE LEGISLATION THAT WOULD PREFER ADEQUATE REMEDIES THAT FIT WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF EXISTING LAW. BOTH STATE AND LOCAL. AFTER ALL, IT IS THE LEGISLATURE WHEN YOU MADE THE 52 CHANGES TO THE STATUTE, YOUR EXPECTATION IS THAT THE PEOPLE WHO YOU TASKED WITH IMPLEMENTING THAT, VARIOUS BOARD OF ELECTIONS AROUND THE STATE WOULD DO THAT. I DON’T THINK THE LEGISLATURE IS ANTICIPATING THAT A BUR OKAY BUREAUCRACY WITHIN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE COULD ABROGATE THOSE LAWS FOR NO PARTICULAR SHOWING OTHER THAN THEY JUST WANT TO IN ORDER TO REMEDY SOMETHING. SO THE NECESSITY COMPONENT AND THE REMEDY, I THINK, IS SOMETHING THAT YOU MAY WANT TO LOOK AT WITH THE DRAFT.>>I APPRECIATE THAT. I WILL NOTE THAT WE HAVE BEEN JOINED BY SENATOR BRAD HOYLMAN AND SO I THINK WE COULD GO BACK AND FORTH ON THAT. WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE OTHER STATES THAT HAVE STATE VOTING RIGHTS ACT, NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH IS CALIFORNIA, WHO HAVE BEEN ABLE, I THINK THERE ARE STUDIES THAT SUGGEST PART OF THE STATED GOAL TO INCREASE PARTICIPATION AND TO HAVE VOTERS ELECTED OFFICIALS THAT LOOK LIKE THEM, THAT THAT HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED BY THE CALIFORNIA VOTING RIGHTS ACT, IT IS A LARGE JURISDICTION WITH MANY BOARD OF ELECTIONSES AND I’M WONDERING IF THERE ARE ANY MATERIAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CALIFORNIA AND NEW YORK THAT YOU THINK THAT SPEAKS TO THE PATCHWORK.>>IN PARTICULAR I THINK IN TERMS OF WHAT CALIFORNIA IS DOING AND IN TERMS WHAT HAVE NEW YORK WOULD DO, JUAN OF THE THINGS TO LOOK AT IS OVER TIME WHAT IS THE OVERALL IMPACT ON THE LANDSCAPE. A COUPLE THINGS THE BILL AIMS AT DOING IN NEW YORK, FOR EXAMPLE, THE SUBJUDIS IS THAT THERE ARE POTENTIALLY PROBLEMS WITH AT-LARGE FORMULATIONS. AND AMONG THE POSSIBILITIES WOULD BE ACTUALLY CHANGING THE STATE LAW TO UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCE OR IN GENERAL OVER A CERTAIN SIZE, YOU WON’T- HAVE AT-LARGE REPRESENTATION. AND/OR AMENDING STATE LAW TO PERMIT OR EVEN REQUIRE IN CERTAIN INSTANCES SOME OF THE REMEDIES THAT ARE SPOKEN TO IN THE BILL LIKE LIMITED VOTING OR CUMULATIVE VOTING. AND MAKING THOSE POLICY DECISIONS BECAUSE WHAT YOU CAN ENVISION, WHETHER IT’S IN CALIFORNIA OR IN NEW YORK, OVER TIME, THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT A PARTICULAR JURISDICTION WILL ALTER STATE ELECTION LAWS OR EVEN ELECTION DAYS IN CERTAIN INSTANCES WHICH CERTAINLY IS A PATCHWORK, WOULD BE BASICALLY UP TO A BUR ROCKCY IN THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE AND SO THE ISSUE IS HOW BEST TO EFFECTUATE THE REMEDIES.>>YOU MENTION IN YOUR WRITTEN TESTIMONY ABOUT A PORTION OF THE BILL REQUIRING NEW DATA GATHERING AND DISSEMINATION AND CORRECT ME IF I’M WRONG, YOU MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE DONE WITHIN THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND NOT AS THE BILL PROPOSED IN SUNY AND I’M HOPING YOU CAN SPEAK TO WHY YOU BELIEVE THAT IS.>>SO ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS TO LOOK AT WITH RESPECT TO THAT QUESTION IS SORT OF THE FEDERAL ANALOGUE WHICH IS YOU HAVE THE CENSUS BUREAU OF COMMERCE SORT OF CREATES THE DATA AND THEN CURRENTLY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TAKES A LOOK AT EVERY COUNTY IN THE COUNTRY AND THROUGH A RULES POSTING, DETERMINES WHAT LANGUAGE SERVICES ARE REQUIRED IN EACH COUNTY IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. LARGELY, YOU KNOW, MINISTERIAL ACT. THIS BILL CLEARLY GOES MUCH FURTHER. ONE OF THE THINGS IT DOES OBVIOUSLY IS IT LOWERS THE THRESHOLDS FOR LANGUAGE ACCESSIBILITY SERVICES. INSTEAD OF LOOKING AT JUST POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AS COUNTIES, THE WAY I READ THE BILL, IT REQUIRES AN ANALYSIS OF EVERY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, SCHOOL DISTRICT OR ANY DISTRICT AND WHERE YOU MEET THE CRY CRITERIA, HAVE YOU TO REQUIRE THE SERVICES. THOSE ARE MINISTERIAL CALCULATIONS AND THE DATA SET IS THERE AND THERE ARE RESOURCES INVOLVED BUT YOU CAN TELL THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO CALCULATE THAT. IN ADDITION, THE BILL GOES MUCH FURTHER IN REQUIRING A SIGNIFICANT OVERLAY OF DATA AND ANALYSIS ASSOCIATED WITH NOT JUST THE CENSUS DATA BUT PUTTING THAT TOGETHER WITH ELECTION RESULTS AND WHAT WOULD I CALL SPECIFICALLY VOTER DEMOGRAPHICS. THOSE COMMANDS TO DEFINITELY BE DONE WITHIN WHATEVER ORGAN OF GOVERNMENT THE SENATE SAYS HAS TO DO IT. AND WHATEVER CRITERIA THAT YOU HAVE FOR THE DIRECTOR PERSON IN CHARGE OF THAT, I KNOW THIS BILL SPECIFIES POST DOCTORAL EXPERIENCE ON THE PART OF THE DIRECTOR OF WHAT WOULD BE A NEW SUNY BUREAUCRACY TO ACCOMPLISH THAT. YOU COULD MANDATE THAT WITHIN THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND DETERMINE THE CRITERIA YOU WANT AND FOR THAT PURPOSE. REQUIRE RESPECTIVE WHAT THE CURRENT POLICY IS IF YOU WANT A DATA CLEARING HOUSE, BEST PLACE TO PUT IT IS CLOSEST TO WHERE THE DATA CURRENTLY IS AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BEST SUITED TO PREPARE IT, PARTICULARLY WITH THE MINISTERIAL ASPECTS OF IT. IT WOULD SEEM THAT WOULD MAKE A LOT MORE SENSE TO HAVE THAT REST WITH THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS BUT THAT’S A POLICY CHOICE.>>IN ADDITION TO THAT, IT’S JUST THE NATURE OF WHERE WE HAVE MANY ENTITIES ADMINISTERING ELECTIONS WITHOUT ADEQUATE RESOURCES AND CERTAINLY DURING THE BUDGET SEASON, YOU KNOW, THE BALANCE OF ALL OF THE STATE’S DEMANDS AND HOW TO FUND THEM ARE THERE BUT, YOU KNOW, IF WE HAVE THAT SKILL SET AT THE BOARD WITH FUNDING WHATEVER EXTRA FUNDING WOULD MAKE THAT AVAILABLE, IT CERTAINLY WOULD BE HELPFUL IN THE PLANNING PROCESS, TOO. TO BE ABLE TO HAVE THAT INTERACTION. IT’S MORE DIFFICULT IF THEY’RE SILOED IN DIFFERENT AGENCIES THAT REALLY CAN’T DO LONG-TERM FORECASTING AND PLANNING EASILY TOGETHER BECAUSE PERHAPS NEITHER OF THEM HAVE ENOUGH RESOURCES BUT SYNERGY AND ONE ENTITY WOULD BE BETTER, COULD BE BETTER. I DON’T KNOW IF IT WOULD BE BUT IT COULD BE.>>THANK YOU. SENATOR BRAD HOYLMAN.>>THANK YOU SENATOR MYRIE AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP IN INTRODUCING THIS, YOU KNOW, I WOULD SAY GROUNDBREAKING PIECE OF LEGISLATION TO PROTECT THE FRANCHISE AND THE STATE OF NEW YORK AND REALLY, WHILE IT’S REVOLUTIONARY IN NEW YORK, IT’S SOMETHING OTHER STATES HAVE DONE; PARTICULARLY IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT HAS BEEN EVISCERATED BY THE CURRENT FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION AND COURTS. APPARENTLY KOWTOWING TO THEIR WISHES. ON THAT POINT, I WANT TO ASK YOU WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN AS ELECTION ADMINISTRATORS SINCE THE RECENT COURT DECISIONS ABOUT THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT. WHAT ARE YOU WITNESSING IN OR EXPERIENCING IN TERMS OF COMPLIANCE WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT? NOW THAT THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT AND THE ISSUE OF PRECLEARANCE IS BASICALLY DORMANT AT THE MOMENT, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOU ON A PRACTICAL BASIS?>>WELL, CERTAINLY THE CONVERSATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IMPLEMENTING ANY LAW, YOU KNOW, WE WOULD GET PRECLEARANCE FOR EVERY CHAPTER LAW THAT WAS ADOPTED, CERTAINLY THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A CHALLENGE LAST YEAR BUT IT INVOLVES A CONVERSATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE I THINK AN EXAMPLE–>>AND SO NOW YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT. IT’S NOT THAT WE DON’T HEAR FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. WE CONTINUE TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH JUSTICE OVER THE VOTER REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, THE VOTING EQUIPMENT CERTAINLY OUR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MILITARY VOTER EMPOWERMENT ACT. AREAS WHERE WE HAD A CONSENT DECREE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OVER VARIOUS ISSUES, MOSTLY THE MOVE ACT. BUT WHAT DO I SEE SINCE THEN? AN EXAMPLE WAS THE VOTER ISSUES THAT HAPPENED IN BROOKLYN, YOU KNOW, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TOOK ONE POSITION IN NEW YORK AND THE EXACT OPPOSITE POSITION IN A SISTER STATE IN THE MIDWEST. THAT WAS A LEVEL OF CONFUSION THAT WAS HARD TO SEE OUT OF THE SAME DEPARTMENT THAT SAID IT’S A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW HERE FOR BROOKLYN TO DO IT ONE WAY BUT THE EXACT OPPOSITE IN THE OTHER STATE. SO THERE HAD BEEN A LITTLE CONFUSION COMING OUT OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IN AREAS LIKE THAT, SO I DON’T KNOW IF THEY REINSTATED THAT LEVEL OF CONVERSATION. WE HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED A DIALOGUE WITH THE PROFESSIONAL STAFF DURING THAT TIME DOING PRECLEARANCE. MANY OF THE INDIVIDUALS ARE STILL THERE THAT WE WORK WITH AND CONTINUE TO TALK TO. I WANT TO SAY IT HAS BEEN A POSITIVE SITUATION FOR I THINK NEW YORK STATE AND FOR OUR INTERACTION. HOW WOULD WE HAVE ROLLED OUT THIS MANY LAWS SO QUICKFULLY WE HAD TO DO IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A NIGHTMARE BECAUSE IT IS HARD TO ROLL OUT THIS MANY CHANGES IN GENERAL BUT PRECLEARANCE ON ALL OF THE MOVING PARTS OF EARLY VOTING REALLY WOULD HAVE BEEN A CHALLENGE. THERE WAS A TREMENDOUS BENEFIT TO US TO HAVE ROLLED OUT THAT PILOT LAST YEAR. SO THAT WE COULD WORK OUT WHAT WE NEED TO FIX FOR THIS YEARS AT A PERIOD OF TIME WHEN IT’S A LOW TURNOUT. BUT TO HAVE DONE THAT WITH ALL THE MOVING PARTS, CERTAINLY I THINK, YOU KNOW, CHANGE IS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE. IT’S HARD TO LOOK AT HOW WE WOULD DO 50 LAWS IF THIS WERE IN EFFECT LAST YEAR BUT IF THIS WERE IN EFFECT THREE OR FOUR YEARS EARLIER PROBABLY LAST YEAR WE COULD HAVE MADE IT MORE SMOOTH BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE EARLY IMPLEMENTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE. THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE BILL WHERE IT’S EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY BUT PERHAPS THE ENFORCEMENT OR THE OTHER ISSUES THAT YOU PUT OUT A FEW YEARS, I THINK IS HELPFUL FOR OUR UNDERSTANDING OF LET’S, WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER, HOW DO WE IMPLEMENT THIS AND MAYBE WE’LL MAKE SOME TWEAKS ALONG THE WAY.>>THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAD NOT OBJECTED TO A NEW YORK STATE PRECLEARANCE APPLICATION OR AN APPLICATION ON THE PART OF ANY ENTITY WITHIN NEW YORK STATE SINCE 1999. THERE IS A FANTASTIC WEB PAGE ON THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WEBSITE AND BY EACH STATE IT LISTS ALL THE PRECLEARANCE APPLICATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN DENIED AND IT IS TELLING WHEN YOU CLICK INTO EACH OF THOSE STATES AND YOU SEE WHAT IS THERE, YOU CAN SEE THE POWER OF WHAT PRECLEARANCE DID AND HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS. AND IN CERTAIN PLACES FAR MORE SO THAN OTHERS. IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND, I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE CONFLATE PRECLEARANCE ISSUES WITH OTHER SUBSTANTIVE ASPECTS OF FEDERAL LAW THAT ARE VERY MUCH STILL IN FORCE AND APPLICABLE. ALL THE PROVISIONS ARE. IT’S JUST THE PRECLEARANCE PROVISIONINGS PROVISION IS NOT, UNFORTUNATELY. AND WE ALSO HAVE IN NEW YORK STATE THROUGH THE CIVIL RIGHTS BUREAU OFFICE AND ROBUST LITIGATION, A NUMBER OF AVENUES TO ENFORCE AND ENSURE THAT THOSE LAWS HAVE MEANING IN THIS GREAT STATE.>>THANK YOU.>>I WOULD NOTE AND APPRECIATE THE FEEDBACK IN ANSWERS TO SENATOR HOYLMAN’S QUESTIONS. PART OF THE SUPREME COURT’S RATIONALE FOR GUIDE GUTTING SECTION 5 IS THAT WE ARE IN DIFFERENT TIMES AND SUPPRESSION LOOKS DIFFERENT NOW THAN IN 1965 AND THAT IT WORKED AND WE COULD REMOVE IT. ONE OF THE JUSTICE’S RESPONSE TO THAT WAS YOU DON’T THROW AWAY YOUR UMBRELLA BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT GETTING WET IN THE RAIN. AND SO THE NOTION THAT, YOU KNOW, OUR PRECLEARANCE APPLICATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN DENIED, I THINK, ACTUALLY SPEAKS TO WHY WE WOULD NEED TO, AS A STATE, STEP IN IN THE ABSENCE OF FEDERAL ACTION AND I WOULD ALSO NOTE ON EARLY VOTING THAT PART OF OUR CONCERN, AND WHY WE FEEL THIS IS STILL NECESSARY IS THAT WE SAW THE PLACING OF CERTAIN EARLY VOTING SITES THAT WE BELIEVE DISENFRANCHISED BLACK VOTERS HERE IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. AND SO WHILE IT MAY HAVE DELAYED THE IMPLEMENTATION THAT MAY HAVE, I THINK IT IS A WORTHY DELAY IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE FRANCHISE. BUT I KNOW WE HAVE A LOT MORE FOLKS AND A LOT MORE WITNESSES HERE TODAY AND I WANT TO BE RESPECTFUL OF PEOPLE’S TIME. I APPRECIATE YOUR TESTIMONY. WE’LL CONTINUE TO HAVE THE DISCUSSION AS THE BILL PROGRESSES BUT I THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>NEXT UP, DUSTIN CZARNY, ELECTIONS COMMISSIONER FOR ONONDAGA COUNTY.>>THANK YOU, SENATOR. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE COMMITTEE AND NEW YORK STATE SENATE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE FOR HOLDING THIS IMPORTANT HEARING ON THE PROPOSED NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT. I BELIEVE THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION. AND WHILE I SHARE SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES TREPIDATION ON HOW IT’S GOING TO AFFECT LOCAL BOARDS, I’M GENERALLY IN FAVOR OF THIS. I NEED TO POINT OUT THAT I AM ALSO THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIR FOR THE NEW YORK STATE ELECTIONS COMMISSIONER ASSOCIATION AND NEITHER THE NEW YORK STATE ELECTION COMMISSIONER ASSOCIATION NOR MY CAUCUS HAVE TAKEN AN OFFICIAL POSITION ON THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION. BUT I’M HERE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT WHAT I BELIEVE WAS A DETRIMENTAL DECISION BY THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT TO ELIMINATE THE PRECLEARANCE SECTION OF THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT AND WHY I UNDERSTAND THE WISH FOR NEW YORK STATE TO IMPLEMENT ITS OWN OWN LEGISLATION. I’VE SUBMITTED TESTIMONY WHICH I’LL HIGHLIGHT SO WE CAN GET TO QUESTIONS AND I KNOW WE HAVE A LONG LIST OF SPEAKERS THAT WANT TO SPEAK TODAY AND IT IS TUESDAY IN NEW YORK STATE SENATE SO EVERYBODY IS VERY BUSY. I ALSO, BEFORE I BEGIN, WILL ALSO POINT OUT THE NEED FOR FUNDING FOR ANY PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT IS PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE. THE STATE BOARD IS A TREMENDOUS RESOURCE FOR ALL OF OUR 62 COUNTIES OF LOCAL ELECTION BOARDS AND THEIR FUNDING LEVELS THAT ARE IN THE CURRENT EXECUTIVE BUDGET FOR THEIR CURRENT MANDATE IS NOT ENOUGH AND WE ARE ASKING THEM TO SHOULDER THE BURDEN ON ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION AND AUTOMATIC HOPEFULLY VOTER REGISTRATION IN THE NEAR FUTURE BUT ALSO THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE PORTION OF OUR ENFORCEMENT IS ALL BURDENED BY THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS NOW AND THEY ARE IN NEED OF FUNDING NOT JUST FOR THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION BUT FOR EVERY PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT HAS BEEN PASSED BECAUSE THEY SHOULDER THE BURDEN FOR A LOT OF OUR LOCAL COUNTIES AND AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BREHM SAID, A LOT OF OUR LOCAL COUNTY BOARDS DON’T HAVE STAFF. SMALLER BOARDS MAY HAVE AS LITTLE AS FOUR STAFF AND ONLY TWO FULL TIMERS. WE ONLY HAVE 28 STAFF. WE HAVE PART TIMERS THAT COME AROUND ELECTION TO HELP OUT AS WELL PUTTING THE BURDEN ON LOCAL BOARDS TO SHOULDER A LOT OF THIS, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF TIMES WE LEAN ON THE STATE BOARD TO GIVE US GUIDANCE TO GIVE US STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES TO COME UP WITH RESOURCES FOR US TO BE ABLE TO PLUG INTO. I BELIEVE IT SETS UP A FRAMEWORK WHERE WE CAN ADEQUATELY GIVE AVENUES FOR VOTING RIGHTS ACTIVISTS AND BOARDS OF ELECTIONS THAT MAY BE IN DISAGREEMENT TO HAVE AN ARBITRATOR THAT IS MAYBE NOT THE COURT SYSTEM OR A STREAMLINE PASS THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM THAT COULD ELIMINATE COSTS. I’M A PROPONENT OF THE CURRENT NEW YORK STATE ELECTORAL SYSTEMR ELECTIONS, I THINK IS A MODEL FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. OUR BIPARTISAN COMMISSIONERS HAVE TO COME TO AGREEMENT. AND MOST OF THE TIME, ARE ABLE TO PUT IDEOLOGY ASIDE TO BENEFIT THE WILL AND NEED OF THE VOTERS. BUT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THEY ARE IN DISAGREEMENT OR SOMETIMES THEY COME UP WITH SOMETHING THAT IS, YOU KNOW, NOT IS NOT, YOU KNOW, ACCEPTABLE TO THE VOTERS THAT THEY SERVE AND HAVING A SYSTEM IN PLACE THAT COULD GIVE A BETTER AND MORE STREAMLINED APPROACH TO HOW TO ARBITRATE THOSE DECISIONS IS IMPORTANT. WE DID SEE WITH EARLY VOTING WELL ABOVE THE MINIMUM. SOME COUNTIES DID JUST THE MINIMUM. WE SAW THAT, YOU KNOW, ISSUES WITH COUNTIES KEEPING EARLY VOTING CENTERS OUTSIDE OF URBAN VOTING CENTERS RIGHT NOW WE HAVE A DEADLINE COMING UP ON MARCH 15 WHERE WE ARE GOING TO BE SETTING OUR EARLY VOTING SITES FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. MOST LIKELY THOSE BE THE EARLY VOTING SIGHTS FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION IN MOST CASES IN MOST COUNTIES, YOU KNOW, SO THERE IS NO CLEAR PLAN IN PLACE FOR IF THERE IS DISAGREEMENT AT THE BORDER AND HAVING A SET OF GUIDELINES AND PERHAPS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AS AN ARBITRATOR BEFORE IT GOES TO COURT, BEFORE IT GOES TO JUDGES THAT MAY NOT NECESSARILY KNOW ELECTION LAW, MAY NOT HAVE STUDIED THIS MAY NOT HAVE THE TIME. WE’VE HAD COURT CASES THAT GO WELL BEYOND THEIR MINIMUMS. I HAD A COURT CASE IN ONONDAGA COUNTY IN 2018 THAT DELAYED THE PRINTING OF MY ABSENTEE BALLOTS FOR WEEKS WHILE A JUDGE WAITED FOR A LAW CLERK WHO WAS SICK TO COME BACK AND WRITE A DECISION. EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO WRITE THE DECISION WITHIN ONE DAY OF THE HEARING BECAUSE IT WAS SO LATE IN THE CALENDAR, THAT JUDGE DECIDED NOT TO DO THAT. AND THAT DELAYED AND COST OUR BOARD A LOT OF MONEY. AND IT WAS IN A DISPUTE THAT OUR BOARD HAD NO PART IN BUT IT WAS BECAUSE IT AS A DISPUTE THAT OTHER PARTIES WERE PART OF BUT I WOULD LIKE TO EXPLORE THIS AS THE LAW EVOLVES AND AS THIS LAW IS DISCUSSED. WHILE THE LAW IS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, SOME OF THE ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS ARE SEVERAL YEARS DOWN THE ROAD AND WHILE WE IF THIS LAW IS TO BE PASSED, IS HAVING A COOPERATIVE DISCUSSION WITH THE LOCAL BOARDS, WITH THE STATE BOARD AND THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS ON HOW THEY COULD WORK WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OR WHATEVER AUTHORIZED BODY TO HELP BRING IN A STREAMLINED SYSTEM SO THAT THE BURDEN ON THE LOCAL BOARD IS AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE I’VE SUBMITTED MY WRITTEN TESTIMONY AND WELCOME TO TAKE QUESTIONS ON ANY OF THIS.>>THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LEGISLATURE. THANK YOU FOR THE WORK THAT DO YOU IN IMPLEMENTING THE CHANGES THAT WE’VE MADE. I’M HOPING YOU CAN SPEAK TO– YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR ORAL TESTIMONY, BUT ALSO IN YOUR WRITTEN TESTIMONY, THE NOTION OF DISAGREEMENT WITH COMMISSIONERS AND HOW YOU FEEL HOW THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT MIGHT ASSIST IN THE PROCESS. WE HAVE BEEN JOINED BY SENATOR JOHN LIU. AND REJOINED BY SENATOR MAY.>>SO CURRENTLY IF THERE IS A DISAGREEMENT AMONGST COMMISSIONERS, THERE ARE SOME STATUTES WHERE IF COMMISSIONERS DISAGREE ON COUNTING A BALLOT OR COUNTING A PETITION, THEN, YOU KNOW, THE TIE GOES TO THE RUNNER SO TO SPEAK, IT’S ASSUMED VALID SO IF THERE IS NOT AGREEMENT BY BOTH COMMISSIONERS TO THROW SOMETHING OFF, THEN IT IS ASSUMED VALID AND UP TO THE PARTIES TO GO TO COURT TO GET THAT OVERTURNED BUT WHERE THERE IS DISAGREEMENT ON POLLING PLACES, EARLY VOTING PLACES, THERE ISN’T REALLY A GREAT GUIDANCE OF WHERE TO GO. NOW I HAVE TO SAY I BELIEVE IN THE BIPARTISAN ELECTIONS COMMISSION STRUCTURE BECAUSE MOST OF THE TIME WE DO COME TO AGREEMENT AND WE ARE ABLE TO COME TO SOME KIND OF AGREEMENT, BUT WE ALSO DO SERVE THE PARTIES THAT NOMINATE US AND THE LEGISLATURES THAT APPOINT US AS WELL AND SOMETIMES THOSE OUTSIDE FACTORS CAN UM INTO PLAY. AND WITHOUT A CLEAR PATH OF HOW TO RESOLVE THESE TYPES OF DISAGREEMENTS, SOMETIMES SOLUTIONS COME ABOUT THAT MAY NOT BE THE BEST FOR VOTERS. THERE IS GREAT AMOUNT OF PRESSURE TO RESOLVE THAT AT THE BOARD LEVEL. AND I AGREE WITH THAT PRESSURE. IT SHOULD BE, IF IT CAN BE. BUT SOMETIMES IT CAN’T BE AND SOMETIMES WE NEED AN OUTSIDE PARTY AND THERE IS A FEAR OF COSTING OUR HOST COUNTIES MONEY BY FIGHTING IT IN COURT OR A FEAR OF EVEN A PATH TO DOING THAT BEFORE STATUTORY DEADLINES COME ABOUT THAT WILL DISENFRANCHISE OUR VOTERS. MY LOCAL BOARD HAS TO DECIDE WEE ON OUR EARLY VOTING SITES FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. I BELIEVE WE HAVE AN AGREEMENT IN PLACE SO THAT’S GOOD. BUT IF WE DID NOT, THEN I WOULD HAVE TO INSTITUTE A LAWSUIT BEFORE MARCH 15 AGAINST MY COUNTERPART TO CHANGE OR MOVE SALES AROUND OR WHATEVER. AND THAT IS A HARD BURDEN ON A LOCAL BOARD TO INSTITUTE,-ESPECT LAWYERS OURSELVES. WE THEN WOULD HAVE TO GO TO OUR COUNTY LAW DEPARTMENT. OUR COUNTY LAW DEPARTMENT IS SUPPOSED TO SERVE BOTH COMMISSIONERS SO THEY HAVE TO DECIDE WHETHER THEY’RE GOING TO GET OUTSIDE ATTORNEYS. THIS IS AN ARDUOUS PROCESS TO GO THROUGH THAT. SO IT’S RESERVED FOR THE MOST GRAVE OF SITUATIONS. BUT IF THERE WAS A DIFFERENT PROCESS IN PLACE AND I’M NOT SO SURE THE CURRENT LEGISLATION ACTUALLY PROVIDES THAT, AND MAYBE THAT’S SOMETHING THAT COULD BE WORKED INTO ANOTHER FORM OF THIS LEGISLATION WHERE OR CHAPTER AMENDMENT BECAUSE THERE IS NO PATH IN THE CURRENT LEGISLATION FOR IF COMMISSIONERS DISAGREE. BUT SETTING UP SOME KIND OF EXPEDIENCY WITHIN THE JUDICIARY OR AN OUTSIDE BODY LIKE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, TO, ON SOME OF THESE ISSUES COULD, YOU KNOW, AT LEAST PROVIDE A FRAMEWORK IN THE FUTURE FOR ADDRESSING THAT TYPE OF ISSUE.>>I’M SORRY I MISSED YOUR TESTIMONY. BUT I HAD ONE QUESTION ON YOUR WRITTEN TESTIMONY WHERE YOU SAY THAT THIS VOTING RIGHTS ACT COULD SERVE AS AN AFTER MU FOR VOTERS TO PROPERLY ADDRESS IN WHAT THEY DISAGREE WITH IN A COST AND EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT MANNER. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT YOU MEAN BY THAT?>>ANY TIME A DECISION IS MADE BY THE BOARD, THE ONLY WAY TO OVERTURN THAT AT THIS POINT IS TO GO TO COURT. AND TO, AND THAT’S JUST COSTLY FOR MANY PUBLIC ADVOCATES GROUPS, FOR MANY CAMPAIGNS FOR WHATEVER, THE VOTERS IN GENERAL AND IT’S ALSO A LABRINTH OF A PROCESS MANY TIMES, THAT PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND AND THEN OF COURSE MANY TIMES ONCE THEY GET THROUGH PROCESS, THEY’VE, YOU KNOW, MISSED SERVING DEADLINES OR WHATEVER AND THEIR CASES ARE NOT EVEN DECIDED ON THE MERITS. THEY’RE DECIDED ON ARBITRARY RULES. IF THERE WAS A PRECLEARANCE SECTION, THE SAFE HARBOR PROVISION MENTIONED EARLIER, YOU KNOW, IF PERFECTED AS WHAT THE STATE BOARD HAS SUGGESTED COULD SERVE TO DO THAT AS WELL SO WE COULD PREVENT SOME OF THIS SOME OF THIS LITIGATION BUT ALSO, AGAIN, IF THERE IS A SET OF GUIDANCE OF WHAT, YOU KNOW, IF THERE IS PRECEDENT SET WITH OTHER CASES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY AND SOME OF THESE ASH ARBITRATIONS OR STREAMLINED COURT CASES THEN THAT COULD ALSO PREVENT BAD DECISIONS IN THE FUTURE BECAUSE WE WOULD HAVE MORE GUIDANCE AND MORE PRECEDENT SET. AND WE WILL BE ABLE TO HAVE THAT ON OUR INTERNAL DELIBERATIONS AS WELL.>>THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TESTIMONY. SO NEXT UP WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A PANEL OF TWO AND THAT WILL BE MICHAEL PERNICK OF PAUL WEISS AND ERIC FRIEDMAN, AND IF ANY OF YOU KNOW THE NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, IF ANY OF YOU KNOW PERRY, YOU KNOW THIS WILL BE A VERY SUBDUED TESTIMONY. SO WE ARE GOING TO GIVE EACH OF YOU FIVE MINUTES APIECE. YOU CAN SUBMIT THAT UP HOWEVER YOU WOULD LIKE. YOU CAN DEFER TO EACH OTHER. BUT YOU WILL HAVE 10 MINUTES TOTAL AND YOU CAN SPLIT THAT UP HOWEVER YOU LIKE.>>THANK YOU, CHAIR MYRIE, MEMBERS OF THE STATE SENATE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFY TODAY. MY NAME IS MICHAEL PERNICK. I’M A LITIGATOR AT PAUL WEISS, I’M APPEARING TODAY ON BEHALF OF THE NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION. MY LEGAL PRACTICE INCLUDES REPRESENTING PARTIES AND VOTING RIGHTS ANDY ELECTRICS LAW CASE– AND ELECTION LAW CASES INCLUDING CASES BROUGHT UNDER THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT AND WOULD I LIKE TO FOCUS MY TESTIMONY TODAY ON THE VOTER SUP APPRECIATION AND VOTE DILUTION CAUSES OF ACTION THAT ARE LAID OUT IN SECTION 17-206 OF THE BILL. BY POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS THAT WOULD DENY OR ABRIDGE THE RIGHT OF RACIAL OR ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS. FOR EXAMPLE, THIS PROVISION COULD BE USED AS MANY HAVE REFERENCED, TO PREVENT BOARD OF ELECTIONS FROM PLACING POLLING SITES IN COMMUNITIES THAT ARE ACCESSIBLE TO WHITE NEIGHBORHOODS BUT NOT NEIGHBORHOODS OF COLOR. IT COULD BE USED TO PREVENT BOARDS OF ELECTIONS FROM PUNKERRING VOTERS IN A MANNER THAT DISPROPORTION DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTS VOTERS OF COLOR. SO THESE ARE THE SORTS OF TOOLS THAT ARE AVAILABLE UNDER THIS BILL THAT WOULD BE EXTREMELY HELPFUL TO MINORITY COMMUNITIES. THE VOTE DILUTION RIGHTS OF ACTION ADDRESSES METHODS OF ELECTION THAT DILUTE THE VOTES OF RACIAL OR ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, AS HAS BEEN REFERENCED, IF THERE IS A MINORITY COMMUNITY THAT USES AN AT-LARGE STRUCTURE FOR ITS LOCAL ELECTIONS OR AWE JURISDICTION THAT USES AN AT-LARGE STRUCTRE FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS AND THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL MINORITY COMMUNITY THAT HAS BEEN UNABLE TO ELECT CANDIDATES OF THEIR CHOICE, THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO USE THIS RIGHT OF ACTION TO ACTUALLY HAVE A VOICE IN THEIR LOCAL GOVERNMENT. SIMILARLY, IF THERE IS A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, MUNICIPALITY THAT DRAWS LINES IN A PARTICULAR WAY THAT DILUTE THE RIGHTS TO VOTE, SO, FOR INSTANCE, IF YOU HAVE A MINORITY COMMUNITY THAT IS PRETTY SUBSTANTIAL BUT SPLIT INTO OUR COUNTY LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS AND THEY’RE UNABLE TO GET ANY REPRESENTATION AT THE COUNTY LEVEL, THAT’S THE SORT OF RACIAL GERRYMANDERING THAT COULD BE ATTACKED UNDER THIS RIGHT OF ACTION. NOW, TO BE CLEAR, THESE SORTS OF CLAIMS CAN BE BROUGHT UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT. AND WE’VE SEEN PLENTY OF THAT LITIGATION HERE IN NEW YORK STATE. BUT THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT IS A DIFFICULT BILL TO SUE UNDER BECAUSE IT INCLUDES A PATCHWORK OF ELEMENTS LAIRED ON BY DECK DECADES OF FEDERAL LAW AND THE RESULTS WE HAVE TODAY IS A VERY COMPLEX CAUSE OF ACTION, VERY BURDENSOME FOR PARTIES TO LITIGATE ON BOTH SIDES IN ORDER TO BRING ONE OF THESE CASES YOU NEED A TEAM OF SPECIALIZED LAWYERS. YOU NEED TO HIRE EXPERT WITNESSES AND TO DEFEND THESE CASES, JURISDICTIONS NEED THE SAME. THAT BEING SAID, THERE ARE MANY MUNICIPALITIES ACROSS NEW YORK CITY THAT HAVE BEEN SUED UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE FEDERAL ADVOCATOR. COUNTIES SUCH AS ALBANY TOWNS, BABYLON, CITIES, SUCH AS NIAGARA FALLS, BUFF BELOW NEW ROCHELLE, VILLAGES AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS SUCH AS MOUNT VERNON AND EAST RAMBO POE. THESE CASES INVOLVED YEARS OF LITIGATION COST TAXPAYERS MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN LEGAL FEES, FOR EXAMPLE, THE VOTE DILUTION CASE THAT RESULTED IN THE TOWN OF HAMPSTEAD FROM AN AT LARGE STRUCTURE TOOK OVER 12 YEARS TO RESOLVE DUE TO THE COMPLEX AT THISES IN THE LITIGATION AND IN A RECENT CASE THAT’S REPORTED THAT A DEFENDANT JURISDICTION WOULD BE SPENDING OVER $6 MILLION IN LEGAL FEES AND TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO DEFEND ONE OF THESE CASES BROUGHT UNDER THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR MANY REASONS NOT LEAST OF WHICH IS THAT IT FIXES THESE PROBLEMS IN LITIGATION BROUGHT UNDER CURRENT FEDERAL LAW. SETS FORTH CLEAR AND PREDICTABLE STANDARDS AND WOULD ELIMINATE THE UNNECESSARY BURDENS IMPOSED BY FEDERAL LAW ON LITIGANTS ON BOTH SIDES. IT WOULD MAKE IT EASIER TO ADDRESS VIOLATIONS AND REDUCE THE COST AND BURDEN OF LITIGATING THESE CASES. I WANT TO SAY A WORD ABOUT THE NOTICE AND SAFE HARBOR PROVISION WHICH HAS BEEN DISCUSSED IN SOME OF THE OTHER TESTIMONY. IT’S A PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT PART OF THE BILL. IT CREATES A NEW MECHANISM FOR PARTIES TO RESOLVE VOTER SUP APPRECIATION AND VOTE DILUTION CLAIMS WITHOUT HAVING TO GO TO COURT. NOW, HERE IS HOW IT WORKS. A PLAINTIFF OR PROSPECT OF PLAINTIFF WOULD SEND A LETTER TO THE JURISDICTION. THEY WOULD BE REQUIRED TO SEND A LETTER TO THE JURISDICTION BEFORE THEY WOULD BE ALLOWED TO INITIATE LITIGATION. AND THE JURISDICTION WOULD HAVE 50 DAYS TO JUST TAKE INITIAL STEPS TOWARDS RESOLVING THE POTENTIAL VIOLATION. AND IF THEY TAKE THE INITIAL STEPS THEY WOULD BE GRANTED EXTENSIONS AND THEY COULD HAVE MORE TIME TO TRY TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE BEFORE THEY HAVE TO GO TO COURT. THIS PROVISION WILL PREVENT UNNECESSARY LITIGATION. IT WILL SAVE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS. THE PROVISION IS ALSO IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT RESOLVES DIFFICULTY LITIGATING THESE CASES WHICH IS SOMEWHAT UNIQUE TO NEW YORK STATE. IN OTHER STATES, MUNICIPALITIES SUED UNDER THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT OFTEN HAVE SUFFICIENT HOME RULE AUTHORITY TO RESOLVE VIOLATIONS ON THEIR OWN WITHOUT THE NEED FOR A COURT TO INTERVENE, SO THIS SORT OF NECK MITCHELL IS LESS IMPORTANT IN SOME OF THOSE OTHER STATES BUT THAT’S FREQUENTLY NOT THE STATE HERE IN NEW YORK. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU LOOK AT SECTION 85 OF THE TOWN LAW, IT WOULD PREVENT A TOWN THAT IS SUED OVER ITS AT-LARGE STRUCTURE FROM UNILATERALLY TRANSITIONING TO A DISTRICT-BASED ELECTION OR SOME OTHER REMEDY IN ORDER TO ADDRESS ITS ISSUES. SIMILAR RESTRICTIONS EXIST IN STATE LAW AND MUNICIPAL CHARTERS ACROSS THE STATE WHICH MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR JURISDICTIONS TO RESOLVE VIOLATIONS ON THEIR OWN IN MANY OF THESE CASES. SO AS A RESULT, MUNICIPALITIES THAT ARE SUED ARE PUT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. THEY CAN LITIGATE THE CLAIM AND EXPEND MILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS AND ALL OF THE EXPERT COSTS AND ATTORNEYS FEES OR THEY CAN EXPECT THERE IS A VIOLATION OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT WHICH HAS EXTERNAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THE JURISDICTION TO STIPULATE TO A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW. SO IT’S REALLY A TOUGH DECISION THAT WE PUT MUNICIPALITIES IN. THIS PROVISION SOLVES THOSE ISSUES BECAUSE IT CREATES A MECHANISM FOR MUNICIPALITIES TO SOLVE VIOLATIONS AND IT DOES HAVE A CLEAR STANDARD THAT’S LAID OUT IN LAW ITSELF. SO I’LL STOP THERE. BUT I’M HAPPY TO ANSWER IN I QUESTIONS AND TUSH IT OVER TO PERRY.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH SENATOR MYRIE, SENATOR MAY. SENATOR LIU. VERY GOOD TO SEE YOU. I WROTE 18 PAGES OF WRITTEN REMARKS. I HOPE YOU’LL READ THEM. WOULD I CALL THEM MY COMPREHENSIVE THOUGHTS ON THE LAW BUT I COULD PROBABLY WRITE 300 PAGES ON THIS LAW AND NOT BE DONE. NEEDLESS TO SAY I THINK IT’S A FANTASTIC LAW IN EVERY RESPECT. I WOULD SAY THAT IT’S LIFE WORK EXCEPT IT IS NOT LIFE’S WORK. IT IS THE COLLECTIVE WISDOM OF HUNDREDS OF YEARS OF WORK FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY BY VOTING RIGHTS ADVOCATES. PEOPLE, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN PRACTICING VOTING RIGHTS LAW FOR DECADE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT BEST PRACTICES AND APPLY THEM IN THE STATE WHERE WE CAN GET THINGS DONE, RIGHT? IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN ALABAMA OR CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE, TEXAS, DO SOMETHING BETTER HERE, RIGHT? LET’S BUSH THE ENVELOPE– PUSH THE ENVELOPE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AGAINST THE STATES PUSHING THE MFL IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. I JUST WANT TO BREEZE BRIEFLY THROUGH THE PROVISIONS OF THE LAW AND WHY I THINK THEY’RE ALL INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT. I WANT TO DWELL ON PRECLEARANCE JUST A LITTLE BIT BECAUSE I’M A LITTLE BIT ANNOYED BY SOME OF THE REMARKS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE SUGGESTING THAT PRECLEARANCE IS A BURDEN AND I WOULD LIKE TO OFFER A LITTLE BIT OF TESTIMONY FROM SOMEONE OTHER THAN MYSELF. THE CURRENT GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK WHO IN 2009 WROTE A BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF PRECLEARANCE AT THE SUPREME COURT. WE’LL MAKE SURE TO GET THAT FOR YOU IN THE NEXT AS WELL. THE FIRST THING THAT’S IMPORTANT IS THE LAW INSTITUTES WHAT IS CALLED A DEMOCRACY CONNON. THE IDEA THAT WE SHOULD INTERPRET THE ELECTION LAW IN WAYS THAT ALLOW FOR VOTES TO GET COUNTIED BY QUALIFIED VOARS VOTERS. RIGHT NOW THERE IS TOO MUCH GAME PLAYING TO KEEP PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE PROCESS. THE LAW SHOULD BE INTERPRETED TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE ARE ABLE TO VOTE. MIKE JUST SPENT A GREAT DEAL OF TIME AND BY THE WAY, HAVE I TO MAKE A SPECIAL THANKS TO MIKE. I HAVE NEVER HAD MY OWN LAWYER BEFORE. MIKE IS AN EXCELLENT ONE. HE WORKED REALLY, REALLY HARD ON PUTTING TOGETHER OUR THOUGHTS ON THIS AND I WANT TO REALLY GIVE A SPECIAL THANKS TO HIM I TOOK A DAY OFF TRIAL. MY CO-COUNSEL IS HANDLING IT. THERE IS A WITNESS ON THE STAND RIGHT NOW BEING CROSS EXAMINED. THAT TRIAL IS THREE YEARS IN THE MAKING. IT HAS COST US MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO BUILD THE CASE. THE SCHOOL DISTRICT THAT WE ARE FIGHTING, THE EAST RAMAPO CENTRAL CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS SPENT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FIGHTING THIS. THAT’S MONEY THAT CAN BE SPENT ON TEACHERS, MONEY THAT CAN BE SPENT ON PROGRAMS. MONEY THAT CAN BE SPENT ON SOCIAL WORKERS AND GUIDANCE COUNSELORS AND EDUCATING CHILDREN BUT BECAUSE WE LET JURISDICTIONS FIGHT NON-STOP WITH WHATEVER LAWYERS THEY WANT, PAY WHATEVER LEGAL FEES THEY THINK NECESSARY TO DEFEND THEIR OWN POWER, WE ARE LETTING TAXPAYER DOLLARS GO DOWN THE DRAIN BY NOT HAVING A MORE EFFICIENT SYSTEM IN PLACE. TO ECHO WHAT MIKE SAID, WE ARE WATCHING A BAD SYSTEM ALL THE TIME. AS THE GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS NOTED, YES, 9 ENTIRE VOTING RIGHTS ACT WAS NOT GUTTED BY SHELBY COUNTY BUT SECTION 2, WHICH IS THE MAIN SECTION OF THE LAW WHICH ALLOWS US TO BRING THESE SUITS PUTS SUCH A HEAVY SCALE ON THE JURISDICTION AND EXPENSIVE TO LITIGATE, IT’S NOT THAT WE DON’T HAVE THAT MANY VOTING RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NEW YORK. WE ONLY HAD THE LAWYERS IN PLACE TO LITIGATE A COUPLE CASES AT A TIME. SO HAVING A MUCH MORE STREAMLINED, MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE PROCESS IN PLACE FOR BRINGING THOSE SUITS IS IMPORTANT. IN CALIFORNIA IT’S BEEN EFFECTIVE AND WE CAN EXPAND UPON WHAT 2450E6 DONE THERE. I THINK SECTION 3 OF THE LAW WHICH CREATES THE STATEWIDE DATABASE IS MAYBE THE BEST AND MOST IMPORTANT THING BECAUSE IT ADDS TRANSPARENCY TO A BAD PROCESS. RIGHT NOW IF YOU WANTED TO GO GET ELECTION INFORMATION FROM MOST OF THE JURISDICTIONS IN NEW YORK, WHICH MOSTLY RUN THEIR OWN ELECTIONS, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SCHOOL DISTRICTS, VILLAGES, YOU WOULD HAVE TO SEND ABOUT 2,000 FOILS BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL HOLDING THEIR OWN ELECTIONS DATA. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IS NOT THE REPOSITORY FOR VERY MUCH. THE COUNTY BOARDS OF ELECTIONS ARE NOT THE REPOSITORY FOR VERY MUCH. WE NEED A CENTRAL REPOSITORY OF DATA TO UNDERSTAND WHAT ELECTIONS LOOK LIKE IN NEW YORK STATE AND TO ALLOW THE BOARDS OF ELECTIONS TO ALLOW THOSE SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND VILLAGES ACCESS TO THE DATA TO CREATE BEST PRACTICES. WE’RE NOT DOING THAT NOW. AND WE SHOULD BE. WE SHOULD BE PROVIDING THE FOUNDATION FOR DATA-DRIVEN DECISION MAKING TO ENFRANCHISE PEOPLE AND PROVIDE EQUITABLE ACCESS TO THE FRANCHISE. SECTION 4. LANGUAGE ACCESS. WE HAVE AMAZING LANGUAGE DIVERSITY IN NEW YORK STATE AND THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THAT ADEQUATELY. I THINK WE HAVE A SENATOR WHO REPRESENTS AT LEAST PART OF QUEENS ON THE DAIS HERE AND QUEENS IS HORRIBLY UNDERRECOGNIZED IN THE AMOUNT OF LANGUAGE DIVERSITY AND WHAT ELECTION ASSISTANCE SHOULD BE PROVIDED TO VOTERS. WE SHOULD HAVE THE DATA AVAILABLE TO DISAGGREGATE AND FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT LANGUAGES THE VOTERS ARE SPEAKING AND PROVIDE THEM THE ASSISTANCE THEY NEED WHERE IT’S REQUIRED. WE SHOULD HAVE ACADEMICS, PEOPLE WHO HAVE REAL FACILITY AND UNDERSTANDING WHAT THIS DATA AND WHAT IT MEANS WORKING ON IT. PUTTING IT IN THE HANDS OF THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS WHICH IS BARELY ABLE TO MANAGE THE LIMITED AMOUNT OF DATA IT HAS, MUCH OF WHICH IS DUE TO ITS OWN LACK OF FUNDING AND I RECOGNIZE THAT AND APPRECIATE THAT BUT WE NEED PROFESSIONALS WE CANS PEERNS ON HOW TO WORK WITH DEMOGRAPHIC AND ELECTIONS STATISTIC. I THINK SUNY IS THE RIGHT HOME FOR THAT. I THINK THE LAW DOES WELL BY IT. PRECLEARANCE. THERE IS NO MORE EFFECTIVE CIVIL RIGHTS LAW IN U.S. HISTORY THAN SECTION 5 OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT. IT IS THE CROWN JEWEL OF SIMPLES LAW AS WE KNOW IT AND IT HAS NOT ONLY STOPPED DISCRIMINATING JURISDICTIONS FROM IMPLEMENTING BAD PRACTICES, HERE IN NEW YORK, I THINK IT HAS FORCED US TO MAKE MUCH BETTER CHOICES. AND I WOULD LIKE TO JUST PUT INTO THE RECORD, A COUPLE POINTS THERE WAS CONCERN ABOUT THE COST. THIS IS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK’S BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF SECTION 5, THE NAME ANDREW M. CUOMO ATTORNEY GENERAL APPEARS ON THE BRIEF. THE PRECLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 5 DO NOT IMPOSE UNDUE COSTS ON JURISDICTIONS. ADMINISTRATIVE PRECLEARANCE IS EXPEDITIOUS AND COST EFFECTIVE. THE PROCESS IS NEITHER DIFFICULT NOR COMPLICATED, RATHER SECTION 5 PRECLEARANCE IS ONE OF THE MOST STREAMLINED ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSES WITHIN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. MOST PRECLEARANCE SUBMISSIONS CAN BE COMPLETED WITHIN A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. MOREOVER, EVEN WITH RESPECT TO COMPLICATED SUBMISSIONS SUCH AS REDISTRICTING AND ANNEXATION, THE AMOUNT OF WORK NECESSARY TO PREPARE THE SUBMISSION IS A SMALL FRACTION OF THE TIME REQUIRED TO MAKE THE ELECTION LAW CHANGE IN THE FIRST PLACE. PRECLEARANCE IS GOING TO HELP MAKE OUR ELECTION ADMINISTRATORS MAKE BETTER DECISIONS ON THE FRONT END. IT WILL HELP THE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE HERE MAKE BETTER DECISIONS ON THE FRONT END BECAUSE INSTEAD OF HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT RESEARCHING THE IMPACT OF LAWS ON THE BACK END, IF WE DO IT ON THE FRONT END WE ARE GOING TO SAVE TIME AND IMPLEMENT NEW ELECTION CHANGES QUICKLY AND EXPEDITIOUSLY AND WITH THE CONFIDENCE THEY’RE NOT HURTING MINORITY VOTERS AND FINALLY JUST TO CLEAN UP THE BACK END OF THE LAW, VOTER INTIMIDATION IS SOMETHING WE ARE SEEING IN A MORE WIDESPREAD WAY. THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN SINCE 2015-16 HAS MADE IT OBVIOUS IT’S AN IMPORTANT STRATEGY OF THEIRS. WE HAVE SEEN FRANKLY REPUBLICANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK ENGAGE IN TACTICS, INTIMIDATING AND DECEIVING IN ORDER TO KEEP VOTERS, ESPECIALLY MINORITY VOTERS FROM THE POLLS. RIGHT NOW WE DO NOT HAVE A STATE LAW PROVISION THAT WOULD ALLOW VOTERS TO SUE OVER THAT AND TO MAKE SURE THAT WHEN DECEPTIVE ADS OR THREATS LIKE BASELESS THREATS TO SEND D.M.V. RECORDS TO ICE THAT CONTAIN VOTER REGISTRATION INFORMATION, WHEN THOSE SORTS OF BASELESS AND RIDICULOUS THREATS ARE MADE, THAT THERE ARE REMEDY ARE AVAILABLE SUCH AS KEEPING POLLING PLACES OPEN LONGER REQUIRING JURISDICTIONS TO ENGAGE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGNS AND ANYTHING THAT WOULD HELP REMEDY THESE DECEPTIVE AND INTIMIDATING PRACTICES SO I THANK YOU SO MUCH, SENATOR MYRIE FOR INTRODUCING THIS BILL. I APPRECIATE YOU, SENATOR MAY AND SENATOR LIU FOR SITTING THROUGH ONE OF MY TYPICAL RANTS AND FOR ALL THE WORK MICHAEL HAS DONE ON THIS AND ANY QUESTIONS YOU OR ANY OF YOUR COLLEAGUES HAVE ABOUT THIS LAW, IT IS MY PLEASURE TO ANSWER IT.>>THANK YOU BOTH VERY MUCH. WE ARE GOING TO START WITH SENATOR LIU.>>THANK YOU FOR HOLDING THIS HEARING. AND I APPRECIATE THE TWO OF YOU FOR SPENDING YOUR TIME WITH US TODAY. I KNOW IT’S NOT EASY. BUT NONETHELESS THESE ARE ISSUES THAT ARE VERY IMPORTANT. CHAIRMAN MYRIE HAS TAKEN UPON HIMSELF TO CHANGE OUR ENTIRE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK AND BY EXTENSION FAR BEYOND. BUT THE TWO OF YOU HAVE HAD SOME REALLY IMPORTANT INPUT MY MAIN QUESTION TO THE BOTH OF YOU BECAUSE YOU BOTH ALLUDED TO IT IN YOUR TESTIMONY WE ARE VERY COGNIZANT OF THE FACT THAT WE HAVE REDISTRICTING COMING UP IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE CENSUS AND YOU BOTH MENTIONED THINGS ABOUT REDISTRICTING THAT MIGHT BE AFFECTED I THINK BENEFICIALLY OR POSITIVELY BY IF BEE WERE TO PASS THE NEW YOR VOTING RIGHTS ACT. CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT KIND SOME OF THE DIRECT IMPACTS WOULD BE OF THIS BILL ON THAT REDISTRICTING PROCESS. THANK YOU, SENATOR LIU FOR THAT QUESTION. SO THE FIRST SORT OF THROAT CLEARING POINT, THE PRECLEARANCE REGIME WOULD ONLY APPLY TO MUNICIPALITIES AND JURISDICTIONS THAT FALL UNDER A FORMULA SO THE STATEWIDE… FALL UNDER A FORMULA SET NORTH IN THE BILL. SO THE STATEWIDE REDISTRICTING PLANS WOULD NOT FALL UNDER PRECLEARANCE. ONE PART OF THE BILL THAT COULD AFFECT THE STATEWIDE MAPS FOR THE SENATE AND STATE ASSEMBLY WOULD BE THE VOTE DILUTION CLAIM. SO THIS WOULD MAKE IT EASIER AND MORE STREAMLINED TO BRING A CLAIM THAT HAS THE EFFECT OF DILUTING MINORITY VOTES. IF IT IS WRITTEN IN A WAY THAT DOESN’T RESPECT MINORITY COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST, RIGHT NOW THE ONLY FEDERAL LAW THAT IS REALLY AVAILABLE TO ADDRESS THAT ISSUE IS SECTION 2 OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT. YOU CAN ALSO BRING A CLAIM UNDER THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES. THOSE CASES ARE COMPLICATED. THEY’RE DIFFICULT TO PREDICT. THE PARTIES DON’T REALLY KNOW HOW THEY’LL TURN OUT UNTIL YOU GO THROUGH THE PROCESS, THEY’RE VERY EXPENSIVE AND THEY TAKE A VERY LONG TIME. THIS WILL GIVE PARTIES CLARITY IF THERE ARE MAPS DRAWN THAT DO HAVE A DILUTIVE EFFECT ON CERTAIN COMMUNITIES. IF THE MAPS CRACK COMMUNITIES IN WAYS THAT MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR MINORITY OR ETHNIC GROUPS TO COME TOGETHER AND ELECT CANDIDATES OF THEIR CHOICE. THE OTHER, THERE ARE OTHER COMPLICATIONS IN FEDERAL LAW THAT THIS STREAMLINES THAT COULD BE IMPORTANT BOTH FOR CHALLENGES TO THE STATEWIDE MAPS AS WELL AS CHALLENGES TO MAPS DRAWN BY MUNICIPALITIES. FOR EXAMPLE, THIS LAW DOESN’T ALLOW JURISDICTIONS TO ARGUE THAT DIFFERENT MINORITY SUBGROUPS MIGHT NOT ACTUALLY BE IN ALIGNMENT AND DEFEAT CLAIMS USING THOSE SORTS OF ARGUMENTS. THIS LAW DOESN’T ALLOW JURISDICTIONS TO ARGUE THAT PARTISAN EXPLANATIONS ARE THE REAL REASON WHY VOTING PATTERNS ARE EXHIBITED IN THE WAY IN WHICH THEY LOOK AND RACE DOESN’T PROVIDE A SUITABLE EXPLANATION. SO THE UPSHOT OF ALL OF THIS, THE CLAIMS WOULD BE EASIER TO TO BRING, MORE PREDICTABLE, MORE STREAMLINED. WOULDN’T COST AS MUCH AND YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO OBTAIN RESOLUTION ON A FASTER TIMELINE THAN YOU WOULD IF YOUR ONLY TOOL WAS SECTION 2 OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT.>>SO I’LL ADD JUST A COUPLE OF THINGS. THE FIRST IS I DON’T THINK THIS IS NECESSARILY GOING TO LEAD TO A RASH OF REDISTRICTING LITIGATION. WHAT I DO THINK IS THAT THE SPECTOR OF THE LAW IS GOING TO MAKE PEOPLE BEHAVE THEMSELVES IN THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS. IF YOU HAVE STRONG TOOLS TO CORRECT RACIAL GERRYMANDERING, PEOPLE ARE LESS LIKELY TO ENGAGE IN RACIAL GERRYMANDERING BUT ONE OF THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS IS GOING TO POSITIVELY IMPACT REDISTRICTING IS THE PROVISIONING OF THE STATEWIDE DATABASE. IF THE DEMOGRAPHIC ELECTION, THAT ELECTION INFORMATION IS ALL AVAILABLE AT SUNY AND PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO DIG IN AND SEE WHAT THE GUTS OF THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS ARE LIKE IN A MEANINGFUL WAY, SUNSHINE IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT. THAT IS GOING TO LEAD TO BETTER AND MORE PUBLIC FACING PROCESSES AND I THINK IS GOING TO IMPROVE HOW WE PROVIDE REPRESENTATIONS THROUGH DISTRICTS. SO REDISTRICTING IS OBVIOUSLY A PROCESS THAT DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN AT THE STATE LEVEL, RIGHT? WE SEE IT AT THE NEW YORK CITY LEVEL. WE SEE IT WITHIN COUNTIES, COUNTY LEGISLATORS AND SUCH AND I THINK THE MORE INFORMATION AND SCRUTINY, THE MORE LIKELY WE ARE TO HAVE FAIR MAPS.>>SO WERE YOU SUGGESTING Mr. PERNICK THAT THIS BILL OR THIS PROPOSED BILL SHOULD GO FURTHER TO POSITIVELY ADDRESS STATEWIDE REDISTRICTING BECAUSE YOU SAID IT DUBTS HAVE AN IMPACT ON STATEWIDE REDISTRICTING. I THOUGHTS THAT WHAT YOU SAID. THE PRECLEERNTION REGIME DOES NOT.>>YOU THINK THAT SHOULD BE BEEFED UP OR YOU THINK IT’S FINE THE WAY IT IS? FOR ITS PURPOSE?>>SO I THINK IT’S AN EXCELLENT QUESTION. I THINK WE CAN DEBATE THAT. I THINK AT THE MOMENT THE RIGHT– SO WE HAVE THE FIRST ITERATION OF THE NEW END REDISTRICTING COMMISSION WORKING ON THE STATE MAPS, RIGHT. BENEFICIALLY WE ONLY HAVE TWO STATE MAPS TO DEAL WITH CIALGHT R. THE ASSEMBLY MAP AND SENATE MAP AND WITH THE DETERRENT PROCESS THAT THE VOTE DILUTION CAUSE OF ACTION PROVIDE, THAT MIGHT BE ENOUGH ON ITS OWN BUT IF THERE ARE CONCERNS ABOUT HOW THE INDEPENDENT RESTRICTING PROCESS MAY OPERATE SUCH THAT WE THINK THERE IS A NEED FOR PRECLEARANCE THERE AS WELL JUST ADD THAT TO THE LAW AND YOU ARE COVERED. I THINK IN GENERAL PRECLEARANCE IS A FABULOUS IDEA BECAUSE IT SHIFTS THE BURDEN FROM THE PEOPLE BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST TO PROVE WHY THEY’RE BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST TO THE PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE PERPETRATING DISCRIMINATION TO PROVE THAT WE ARE THOUGHT DISCRIMINATING AT ALL. I LIKE THAT AS A GENERAL REGIME. I DON’T LIKE THE VOTERS TO HAVE TO SUSS OUT WHEN THEY’RE HARMED. SO TO PUT THE BURRED ESPECIALLY ON THE STATE IS NOT A BAD ONE BUT FORTUNATELY FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS CYCLE WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION. I DON’T KNOW HOW PRESUMPTIVELY SKEPTICAL I AM OF IT.>>IT’S POSSIBLE THAT I THINK YOU CALLED IT THE REGIME COULD MAKE AN ARGUMENT THAT IT IS NOT JUST– THAT IT IS NOT DISCRIMINATORY WHEN IN FACT THE RESULTS COULD BE DISCRIMINATORY, IN WHICH CASE IT WOULD STILL BE UP TO THE VOTERS. I MEAN I FIND THAT IN GOVERNMENT THEY DO A LOT TO GET TO THE ANSWER THEY WANT. IT MAY NOT BE THE CORRECT ANSWER. AND WOULD I LIKE YOU BOTH TO EXPLAIN, YOU BOTH USED THE WORD MINORITY. WHAT EXACTLY IS A MINORITY? HOW ARE YOU USING THAT WORD?>>THE WAY WE USE MINORITIES, RAITH RACE, ETHNICITY AND COLOR. IT IS NOT SIMPLY NECESSARILY A NUMERIC MINORITY OR NOT NECESSARILY COVERING EVERY CONDITION SEEFABLE DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTIC. WE’RE SPECIFICALLY REFERRING TO.>>SO IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A GREEK COMMUNITY TO BE GERRYMANDERED?>>IT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE FOR A GREEK COMMUNITY TO BE GERRYMANDERED BUT THEY WOULDN’T NECESSARILY HAVE A CAUSE OF ACTION UNDER THIS PARTICULAR LAW THAT SAID, IT IS POSSIBLE– GREEK IS A NATIONAL ORIGIN. THERE MAY BE GREEKS OF COLOR. I BELIEVE THERE IS AN EXCELLENT ONE PLAYING FOR THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS SO I WAS DON’T WANT TO BE PRESUMPTUOUS TO SAY THAT GREEKS NECESSARILY BUT.>>HOW ABOUT A RUSSIAN SPEAKING COMMUNITY?>>UNDER THIS PARTICULAR LAW, IN TERMS OF VOTE DILUTION, I DON’T KNOW THAT A RUSSIAN SPEAKING COMMUNITY WOULD HAVE A CAUSE OF ACTION. THIS IS LIMITED TO RACIAL ETHNIC MINORITIES AND ISSUES OF COLOR.>>AND WHAT ABOUT COMMUNITY EMIGRATING FROM BANGLADESH?>>I’M MAKING DEMOGRAPHIC ASSUMPTIONS HERE WOULD PROBABLY FALL WITHIN THE ETHNIC MINORITY BECAUSE THEY FALL WITHIN THE CATEGORY THAT WE UNDERSTAND AS CAUSATION.>>FOR REDISTRICTING PURPOSES, YOU ARE SUGGESTING THAT THERE WOULD BE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BANGLADESHY VOTERS AND PAKISTANI VOTERS?>>FOR REDISTRICTING PURPOSES I DON’T KNOW THAT I WOULD SAY THERE WOULD BE NO DIFFERENCE. WHEN WE ENGAGE IN REDISTRICTING THERE IS A SET OF CRITERIA THAT WE REFER TO AS RESTRICTING PRINCIPLES LIKE CONTINUE GUT, THE DISTRICTS ALL HAVE TO BE IN ONE PIECE, COMPACT, CLOSE TOGETHER. JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE WHO MAY LOOK ALIKE BUT OTHERWISE HAVE VERY DIFFERENT INTERESTS, THAT MAY MAKE THEM SEPARATE COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST AND DIVIDING THEM MAY BE AN ENTIRELY DEFENSIBLE AND WISE POLICY CHOICE IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES. I DON’T HAVE THE FACILITY WITH THE CULTURAL HISTORY TO MAKE A JUDGMENT THERE. THAT SAID, IF YOU ARE TRYING TO BACK A LOT OF BROWN VOTERS IN ONE DISTRICT BECAUSE YOU WANT TO DILUTE THEIR VOTING STRENGTH, THAT WOULD NOT BE OKAY UNDER THIS LAW. SO TO THE EXTENT THAT…>>THAT WOULD BE THE RACIAL FACTOR AS OPPOSED TO THE ETHNIC FACTOR.>>POTENTIALLY YES. I WOULD SAY TYPICALLY THE TERM ETHNICITY FACTORS IN HERE BECAUSE HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN IS USUALLY CONSIDERED TO BE AN ETHNICITY COMPARED TO A RACE. SO THAT HAS EVOLVED SEPARATELY IN THE VOTING RIGHTS. WHETHER WE ARE CONSIDERING, YOU KNOW, BANGLADESHI VERSUS PAKISTANI ORIGIN, FOR EXAMPLE, AS RACE OR ETHNICITY IS SOMETHING WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT A LITTLE MORE BUT CERTAINLY THE COLOR ASPECT OF IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS VERY MUCH WITHIN THE TRADITIONAL PURVIEW OF THE VOTING RIGHTS. WE NEVER THINK IT’S OKAY TO JUST DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF PEOPLE’S SKIN. IF THERE ARE OTHER REAL DIFFERENCES THAT ARISE OUT OF LEGITIMATE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS.>>DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, FOR EXAMPLE.>>SURE. AND LANGUAGES IS A TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY OF INTEREST, RIGHT? AND YOU MAY LOOK AT OBVIOUSLY WITHIN THE CATEGORY OF ASIAN VOTERS, THERE ARE TREMENDOUS LANGUAGE DIVERSITY AND IT MAY MAKE SENSE, CULTURAL DIVERSITY AS WELL AND IT MAY MAKE SENSE TO SPLIT UP EVEN COMMUNITIES FROM THE SAME NATIONAL ORIGIN.>>MY LAST CHALLENGE TO YOU.>>PLEASE.>>Mr. CHAIRMAN. WHAT ABOUT A DOMINICAN VERSUS A PUERTO RICAN COMMUNITY OR, SINCE YOU BROUGHT UP QUEENS, AN ECUADOREAN VERSUS COLUMBIAN% COMMUNITY? SAME LANGUAGE.>>I’M FAMILIAR I THINK THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND PUERTO RICO ARE NOT THAT FAR APART GLOBALLY EITHER SO THE ANSWER IS IS IT PRESUMPTIVELY WRONG TO TREAT PUERTO RICANS AND DOMINICANS AS DIFFERENT FOR REDISTRICTING PURPOSES IF THEY HAVE SEPARATE INTERESTS ARISING OUT OF NATIONAL ORIGIN OR OTHER ISSUES? POTENTIALLY, RIGHT. WHAT WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IS WHEN GROUPS GET PACKED TOGETHER BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN. THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY LEGITIMATE ABOUT SAYING, YOU KNOW, WE ARE GOING TO PUT A LOT OF BLACK AND BROWN VOTERS IN ONE PLACE JUST BECAUSE WE THINK THEY’RE LIKELY TO VOTE AGAINST US AND WE WANT TO DILUTE THEIR VOTING STRENGTH. THAT IS NOT OKAY. WHAT MIGHT BE OKAY AND I HAVEN’T DELVED INTO IN THE PARTICULAR GROUPS YOU’VE RAISED IN ORDER TO EXPLAIN WHY IT MIGHT BE OKAY, IS WHERE YOU HAVE REAL COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST DERIVING OUT OF A SHARED CULTURAL BACKGROUND, THERE MAY BE SOMETHING THERE. BUT PRESUMPTIVELY, I WOULD SAY IF YOU ARE TRYING TO GROUP TOGETHER PUERTO RICAN AND DOMINICAN VOTING, PACK THEM TOGETHER BASED ONLY ON THEIR SHARED ETHNIC HERITAGE, I’M A LITTLE BIT SUSPICIOUS.>>THANK YOU. I WILL NOTE THAT I THINK BOTH OF YOU TALKED ABOUT GERRYMANDERING AND DILUTING THE VOTE OF A COMMUNITY OF COLOR BY PACKING THEM TOGETHER. I WAS OFTEN UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU DILUTE A COMMUNITY OF COLOR BY SPLITTING IT APART AS OPPOSED TO PACKING THEM TOGETHER, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WAS DONE TO THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY WHEN ASSEMBLY DISTRICT BOUNDARY WAS DRAWN RIGHT DOWN>>SO LET ME SAY, COULD IT GO BOTH WAYS, RIGHT? LET’S SAY YOU HAVE ENOUGH ASIAN AMERICAN VOTING…>>BUT FOR ASIAN AMERICANS, USUALLY THE CONCEPT IS DIVIDING A CLUSTER INTO TWO PIECES OPPOSED TO PUTTING IT TOGETHER.>>IF HAVE YOU ENOUGH ASIAN AMERICAN VOTERS TO HAVE TWO COUNCIL SEATS AND YOU ARE PACKING THEM INTO ONE TO DEPRIVE THE COMMUNITY OF A SECOND REPRESENT, THAT’S WHERE PACKING CAN COME INTO PLAY BUT CRACKING IS EQUALLY SEAR YAWS PROBLEM AND ONE THIS LAW WOULD ADDRESS.>>CRACKING VERSUS PACKING.>>WE CAN TALK ABOUT SHACKING LATER, TOO. WAIT. THAT DIDN’T SOUND SO GOOD.>>THIS IS A FAMILY SHOW.>>I WOULD ASK IN CONCLUSION, FIRST I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH FOR YOUR WORK AROUND THIS ISSUE, FOR YOUR WORK ON THIS BILL AND BEING INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS. WE’RE VERY GRATEFUL FOR THAT. I THINK WE HAVE SOME PEOPLE VIEW THESE SORTS OF TOPICS AS ESOTERIC AND THAT YOU KNOW, THE LAWYERS START TALKING AND IT GOES ABOVE THE HEADS OF A LOT OF PEOPLE. AND I’M HOPING THAT YOU COULD, IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO THE EVERYDAY NEW YORKER TO EXPLAIN TO THEM WHY IT’S IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE A PIECE OF LEGISLATION LIKE THIS BECOME THE LAW.>>SO THE WAY I LIKE TO IMPART TO PEOPLE JUST HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS IS TO THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH YOUR VOTE COUNTS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR DISTRICT MEANS. SCHOOL DISTRICT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPACTFUL LOCAL GOVERNMENT ENTITY. IT’S BUDGET IS ENORMOUS. IT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN AND OUR TURNOUT IN DISTRICT ELECTIONS IN NEW YORK STATE IS ABYSMALLY LOW URBAN COUNTIES RATE? PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WE ARE LUCKY TO HIT 60%. MID TERMS IN THE LOW 40S. MAYORALS IN NEW YORK CITY LOOKING AT 30. SCHOOL DISTRICTS FREQUENTLY UNDER 5%. THIS IS THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN. IF WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CITIES AND LOCAL ELECTIONS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT POLICING, TALKING ABOUT PARKS, FIRE SANNIZATION, TRANSPORTATION, TRANSPORTATION EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES AND IN PLACES WHERE ELECTIONS ARE DECIDED BY DOZENS OF VOTES, NOT MILLIONS OF VOTERS NOT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VOTES, YOU AND A BUNCH OF YOUR FRIENDS CAN GET TOGETHER AND DECIDE THE OUTCOME OF THINGS. AT THOSE MARGINS, IT’S INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO MAKE THAT EVERY VOTE IS GETTING COUNTED AND EVERY VOTE QUALIFIED TO CAST A VOTE IS ABLE TO DO SO BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO IMPACT HOWIE LECTED OFFICIALS– HOW ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE RESPONSIVE TO YOU AND YOUR NEEDS IN TERMS OF EVERYDAY BASIC SERVICES. RIGHT NOW IN NEW YORK THAT’S NOT HAPPENING. RIGHT NOW IN NEW YORK WE HAVE WE HAVE COUNTY BOARDS OF ELECTIONS MAKING DECISIONS WITHOUT THE BEST DATA AVAILABLE TO THEM, WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WHERE PEOPLE LIVE, WHERE THEY VOTE AND HOW TO MAKE DECISION THAT ARE TO INCLUDE PEOPLE RATHER THAN EXCLUDE PEOPLE. SO TO MAKE SURE THAT THE SERVICES THAT YOU DEPEND ON FROM GOVERNMENT ADDRESS YOUR NEEDS YOUR FAMILIES NEEDS, YOUR NEIGHBORS NEED, YOUR COMMUNITIES NEEDS. WE NEED THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.>>THE ONE POINT I’LL ADD, VOTING SHOULD BE EASY. VOTING SHOULD BE FAIR. AND WHEN WE HAVE COMMUNITIES WHERE IT’S EASIER FOR PEOPLE IN ONE NEIGHBORHOOD TO VOTE THAN FOLKS IN THE NEXT NEIGHBORHOOD OVER OR WHEN YOUR VOTE IN ONE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNTS A LOT LESS THAN YOUR NEIGHBOR’S VOTE, THAT’S A PROBLEM. AND WE KNOW THAT HAPPENS IN JURISDICTIONS ACROSS THE STATE. WE KNOW THAT THAT HAPPENS IN COMMUNITIES WHERE CERTAIN VOICES JUST ARE NOT HEARD AND CERTAIN VOTERS ARE NOT COUNTED IN THE SAME WAY OR HAVE OTHER OBSTACLES THEY HAVE TO OVERCOME. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THESE ISSUES IN THIS COUNTRY FOR MANY, MANY DECADES AND THERE IS STILL WORK TO GO AND THAT’S WHY THIS BILL IS SO IMPORTANT FOR VOTERS ACROSS THE STATE IN EVERY COMMUNITY TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY VOTE IS EQUAL AND THE VOTING PROCESS IS AS EASY AS POSSIBLE AND PAINLESS AS POSSIBLE ON AN EQUAL PLAYING FIELD NO MATTER WHAT COMMUNITY YOU ARE FROM, WHERE YOU ARE FROM, WHAT YOUR BACKGROUND IS, WHAT LANGUAGE YOU SPEAK REALLY MAKING THAT PROCESS OPEN AND ACCESSIBLE TO ALL.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND THANK YOU BOTH FOR YOUR TESTIMONY.>>THANK YOU BOTH VECH.>>NEXT UP WE HAVE ERIC FRIEDMAN FROM THE NEW YORK CITY CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD.>>THANK YOU, AWE TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW BUT I’LL DO MY VERY BEST. I’M ERIC FRIEDMAN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR NEW YORK AFFAIRS FOR THE NEW YORK CITY CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD. I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME PROVIDE TESTIMONY FOR THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT TODAY. FOR THE. C.F.B. IS MANDATED BY NEW YORK CITY CHARTER TO ENCOURAGE AND FACILITATE VOTER REGISTRATION AND VOTING BY ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS IN NEW YORK CITY BUT PARTICULARLY AMONG POPULATIONS UNDERREPRESENTED BY CITY VOTERS. IT IS OUR MISSION, OUR GOAL TO ENSURE THAT ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS ARE FREE TO CAST A BALLOT WITH EASE AND WITHOUT SCRIM ANYWAYS. WE BELIEVE THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT IS AN IMPORTANT STEP IN ENSURING ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS NEW YORKERS OF VOTING AGE NO MATTER THEIR RACE, AGE, SEX, GENDER, COUNTRY OF ORIGIN OR LANGUAGE ABILITY HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO THE BALLOT. WE DON’T HAVE BROAD RESPONSIBILITY FOR ADMINISTERING ELECTIONS ON NEW YORK BUT I’LL FOCUS MY TESTIMONY TODAY ON A FEW ISSUES THAT HAVE PARTICULAR IMPACT ON THE WORK OF THE C.F.B., PARTICULARLY HAVING TO DO WITH PROVISION OF FOX TO VOTERS WITH LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY. AS YOU KNOW, THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS OUTLINES LANG WIN MINORITY PROVISIONS TO ENSURE INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT EXCLUDED FROM THE ELECTORAL PROCESS. WHILE NEW YORK CITY CURRENTLY PROVIDES INTERPRETATION SERVICES AND TRANSLATION OF ELECTION-RELATED MATERIALS, INCLUDING THE C.F.B. VOTER GUIDE IN SPANISH, CHINESE, KOREAN AND BENGALI IN ADDITION TO ENGLISH, HUNDREDS OF OTHER LANGUAGES ARE SPOKEN BY NEW YORK CITY RESIDENTS. OUR 1.8 MILLION LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY RESIDENTS, ABOUT 300,000 SPEAK LANGUAGE THAT IS NOT COVERED UNDER THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT. PROVIDING INTERPRETATION SERVICES AND TRANSLATING TO MORE LANGUAGES FOR UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS IS ESSENTIAL IN PARTICIPATING IN OUR DEMOCRACY. OFTEN TIMES THESE COMMUNITIES DO NOT RECEIVE ADEQUATE GUIDANCE AT THE POLLS WHICH CAN PREVENT THEM TO VOTE AS THEY INTENDED OR DETER THEM FROM VOTING AT ALL. OUR RESEARCH INTO VOTING BEHAVIOR SHOWS LACK OF INFORMATION IS MAIN BARRIER TO PARTICIPATING IN THE ELECTIONS. THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT COULD EXPAND THE REQUIREMENT TO PROVIDE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION SERVICES FOR BALLOTS, POLL SITE ASSISTANCE AND VOTER GUIDES TO INCLUDE SEVERAL LANGUAGES NO THE INCLUDED IN THE FEDERAL FORMULA. THIS WILL REPRESENT A SIGNIFICANT AND WORTHWHILE INVESTMENT IN EXPANDING ACCESS TO VOTING INFORMATION AUTHORIZE THESE CURRENTLY UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS. OUR ANALYSIS OF VOTING BEHAVIOR SHOWS THAT TURNOUT IS ESPECIALLY LOW IN NEIGHBORHOODS WITH HIGH NATURALIZATION RATES WHICH ARE OFTEN NEIGHBORHOODS WITH LIMITED ENGLISH PROCEED EFFICIENCY VOTERS. FOR THIS REASON WE HAVE SET AN AMBITIOUS GOAL TO REGISTER AND ENGAGE 20,000 NATURALIZED CITIZENS IN 2020 AND DRIVE UP TURNOUT IN 10 NEIGHBORHOODS ACROSS BROOKLYN AND QUEENS THAT HAVE HIGH NATIONALIZATION RATES AND PER PERSISTENTLY LOW VOTER TURNOUT MY EXPANDING VOTING MATERIALS ACROSS THE BOARD, IT WILL HELP THE C.F.B. BETTER THROUGH THE PROVISION, THE C.F.B. WILLINGLY PROVIDED WITH PRECLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE FEDERAL V.R.A. UNTIL THE SUPREME COURT EFFECTIVELY ELIMINATED THEM IN 2013. AND WE SUPPORTED PREVIOUS EFFORTS NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT RESTORES THIS IMPORTANT OVER SIGHT MECHANISM WHICH WILL ENSURE JURISDICTIONS CAN NOT ROLL BACK BY VOTERS. REQUIRING THEM TO SEEK APPROVAL PRIOR TO CHANGING VOTING PROCEDURES IS AN IMPORTANT PROTECTION TO ENSURE NO NEW YORKER FACES OBSTACLE. SITUATING THE REVIEW IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE MUCH AS THE FEDERAL VOTE VIADUCTS DID IS THE APPROPRIATE PLACE. THE BUREAU HAMS VIOLATIONS OF THE VMPLET R.A. SO THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS THE LOGICAL LOCATION FOR THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT PRECLEARANCE PROVISION. THE C.F.B. WELCOMES THIS IMPORTANT OVERSIGHT THAT AIMS TO GUARANTEE ACCESS TO THE POLLS THAT AND WILL NOT BE UNDERMINED BY ANY FUTURE ADMINISTRATE @ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION. IN SHORT THE C.F.B. SUPPORTS THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT PREVIOUSLY AFFORDED BY THE PREVIOUS VOTING RIGHTS ACT WE URGE THE ENACTMENT OF THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION THAT WILL ENSURE ALL NEW YORKERS OF VOTING AGE HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO THE BALLOT. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE TESTIMONY AND I’M HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SENATOR LIU.>>THANK YOU, Mr. CHAIRPERSON. THANK YOU Mr. FRIEDMAN FOR JOINING US AND I APPRECIATE YOUR TESTIMONY I HAVE WHAT I THINK IS A PRETTY SIMPLE QUESTION FOR YOU WHICH IS WHEN THE C.F.B. REGISTERED VOTERS AND I MAY OR MAY NOT APPLAUD THE EFFORTS TO REGISTER VOTERS. HERE IS MY QUESTION, WHEN A GOVERNMENT AGENCY LIKE C.F.B. REGISTERS VOTERS, WHAT DO YOU ADVISE OR EDUCATE NEW VOTERS OR PEOPLE COMPLETING THE VERT REGISTRATION FORMS ABOUT HOW TO CHECK OFF THE PARTY ENROLLMENT BOX?>>THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION AND I RECOGNIZE THAT WE ARE A NON-PARTISAN AGENCY, WE ARE INDEPENDENT FROM CITY HALL AND WE STUDIOUSLY ATTEMPT TO STAY BIPARTISAN IN ALL.>>HOW DOES THE C.F.B. ADDRESS THAT?>>THAT’S A REQUESTY WE GET A LOT AND IT’S REALLY A STRAIGHTFORWARD EXPLANATION OF I THINK THIS IS PARTICULAR WE FIND WHAT IS A PRIMARY ELECTION AND WHAT IS A GENERAL ELECTION AND EXPLAINING TO VOTERS THAT THEY CANNOT VOTE IN A PRIMARY ELECTION OF THAT PARTY UNLESS THEY’RE REGISTERED AS A MEMBER OF THAT PARTY. YOU KNOW IT IS A QUESTION WE GET A LOT FROM IN THE FIELD.>>THE C.F.B. ENCOURAGES PEOPLE TO REGISTER TO VOTE. DOES THE C.F.B. ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO ALSO VOTE IN PRIMARIES AND DO WHAT IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO VOTE IN PRIMARIES?>>I THINK FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF REMAINING NON-PARTISAN WHAT WE CAN DO EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTION AND SAY EXPLAIN THAT…>>IN THE PAST WHEN THE C.F.B. REGISTERS VOTERS HAVE THE C.F.B. LOOKED AT THE ENROLLMENT RATES OF THE PEOPLE THE C.F.B. HAS REGISTERED TO VOTE?>>I’M SORRY.>>SAY THEY GO OUT AND REGISTER A THOUSAND PEOPLE. WHICH IS NOT EASY BUT YOU GO OUT AND REGISTER A THOUSAND PEOPLE. DOES THE C.F.B. LOOK AT, YOU KNOW, OF THOSE THOUSAND PEOPLE HOW MANY REGISTERED ARE DEMOCRATS, REPUBLICANS OR CHOSE TO REMAIN INDEPENDENT OR CHOSE ANOTHER PARTY?>>WE HAVE NOT TAKEN A CLOSE LOOK AT HOW MANY OF VOTERS WE REGISTER…>>I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU TO GO BACK TO THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD AND IN THESE UPCOMING EFFORTS, WHEN YOU GET THE REGISTRATION FORMS BACK BECAUSE I ASSUME IT’S ALWAYS THE BEST PRACTICE TO TAKE THOSE FORMS BACK OPPOSED TO LETTING PEOPLE FILL IT OUT AT THEIR LEISURE AND PROMISING THEY WILL MAIL IT IN. YOU TAKE IT BACK TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS. THAT IS THE BEST PRACTICE. WHEN YOU DO SO, YOU CAN LOOK AT HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE REGISTERING DEMOCRATS, REPUBLICANS, NON-YOU KNOW, UNENROLLED AND OTHER PARTIES? AND MY GUESS IS THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE– MOST PEOPLE THAT THE C.F.B. REGISTERS ARE GOING TO BE UNENROLLED. AND I SAY THAT BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I’VE HEARD. I DON’T HAVE ANY EVIDENCE TO BACK THAT UP. BUT IT IS AN ABSOLUTE– I DON’T WANT TO SAY ABSOLUTE BUT IT IS A LARGE PROPORTION OF THE CASES, ESPECIALLY IN A CITY LIKE NEW YORK, ACTUAL DISSERVICE TO A POTENTIAL VOTER BY NOT ENCOURAGING THEM TO CHECK OFF A PARTY BOX BECAUSE THEIR VOTE BECOMES IRRELEVANT IN THE PRIMARY. THEY DON’T HAVE A VOTE IN THE PRIMARY. IN THE GENERAL ELECTION, AS YOU THE GENERAL ELECTION DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING. DOES NOT DETERMINE ANYTHING. SO THE ELECTION IS DETERMINED IN THE PRIMARY. BUT IF A C.F.B. GOES OUT THERE AND ADMIRABLY REGISTERS A TON OF VOTERS, THE VAST MAJORITY OF WHOM DO NOT CHECK OFF A PARTY BOX, YOU ARE ACTUALLY MAKING IT HARDER FOR THOSE PEOPLE IN THE JEX AND SUCCESSIVE YEARS TO START ENGAGING IN THE PRIMARY VOTE. THAT’S SOMETHING I THINK WE NEED TO BE VERY CAREFUL OF. I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN’T BE PARTISAN. BUT I THINK EVEN THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD CAN ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO TAKE PART IN THE PRIMARY PROCESS. NOT SIMPLY BY ENCOURAGING THEM OR EDUCATING THEM AND HOW TO VOTE IN THE PRIMARY BUT REALLY OUTRIGHT ENCOURAGING THEM, CHECK OFF A PARTY BOX.>>SO I’LL SAY THIS AND AGAIN BEING MIND IF WILL THAT WE ARE VERY CAUTIOUS NOT TO URGE VOTERS TO REGISTER IN ONE PARTY OR ANOTHER.>>OF COURSE. I CERTAINLY WOULD NEVER SUGGEST THAT.>>WE HAVE NOT, TO MY KNOWLEDGE, DONE RESEARCH INTO THE PARTISAN ENROLLMENT OF VOTERS. IF THAT IS DATA THAT WE CAN GET OUR HANDS ON, THAT’S WORDS GETTING A LOOK AT. THAT SAID, ONE OF THE OBSERVATIONS I WOULD MAKE IS THAT, YOU KNOW, I THINK A LOT OF THE OBSTACLES PEOPLE TALK ABOUT TO VOTING, THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE IS LACK OF INFORMATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROCESS. AND AGAIN…>>SOMETIMES FEAR.>>TRUE. PARTICULARLY AMONG SOME OF THE COMMUNITIES WITH LIMITED ENGLISH SO IT IS PARTICULAR…>>IT IS NO THE EVEN LIMITED ENGLISH.>>IT’S A CHALLENGE TO PROVIDE THAT…>>YOU ARE TALKING ENGAGING 20,000 NATIONALIZED CITIZENS. A LOT OF TIMES PEOPLE, IMMIGRANTS ARE EMIGRATING FROM COUNTRIES WHERE, YOU KNOW, IT’S NOT A GOOD THING TO BE A PARTY MEMBER. HERE, BEING A PARTY MEMBER MEANS YOU JUST CHECK THE DAMN BOX AND YOU CAN VOTE IN THE PRIMARY. WE NEED TO EDUCATE AND ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO DO THAT. THE NEXT STEP THE C.F.B. CAN UNDERTAKE IS LOOK AT THE 20,000 PEOPLE WHO YOU ENGAGE AND REGISTER AND LOOK AT WHAT RATES THEY’RE CHECKING THE VARIOUS BOXES IN THE ENROLLMENT SECTION. ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO DO THIS THE RIGHT WAY TO GET IT RIGHT. SO I’M HAPPY TO TAKE THAT FEEDBACK AND CONSIDER IT. WITH ONE NOTABLE EXCEPTION THAT I WILL NOT MENTION RIGHT NOW BUT IS THERE GOING TO BE A REPORT THAT DISCUSSES THE VOTER REGISTRATION EFFORTS, YOU KNOW, THE AMBITIOUS GOAL OF REGISTERING 20,000 PEOPLE? ARE WE, YOU KNOW, MAYBE LIKE TOWARDS THE END OF 2020 WE CAN GET ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE C.F.B. REPORTS THAT TALK ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY REGISTERED AND ENROLLMENTS AND, YOU KNOW, PROBLEMS, ISSUES AND WHAT COULD BE DONE BETTER OR PERHAPS ADDITIONAL CHANGES IN THE STATE LAW THAT OUR CHAIRMAN CAN CONSIDER?>>UNDER THE CITY CHARTER WE PUBLISH EVERY APRIL VOTER ANALYSIS REPORT WHICH CONTAINS A LOT OF THE INFORMATION YOU DESCRIBED. A SUMMARY OF OUR ACTIVITIES AND NUMBERS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE REGISTERED AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THOSE ACTIVITIES. IT HAS CONTAINED IN PAST YEARS AND WILL AGAIN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RORMTS TO STATE ELECTION LAW TO HELP INCREASE ACCESS TO ELECTIONS. WE’RE CURRENTLY AT WORK ON THIS YEAR’S REPORT, WHICH AGAIN WE EXPECT TO PUBLISH IN THE MIDDLE TOWARD THE END OF NEXT MONTH.>>THANK YOU, Mr. FRIEDMAN. Mr. CHAIRMAN.>>THANK YOU, SENATOR LIU. I JUST HAVE ONE QUESTION ON THE LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY ATTEMPTS. YOU KNOW, WE, AS YOU STATED IN YOUR TESTIMONY AND WE APPRECIATE EXPRESSION OF SUPPORT, WE ARE DECREASING THE THRESHOLD AND INCREASING THE ABILITY OF THE STATE THAT SURPASSES THE FEDERAL MANDATE TO HAVE LANGUAGE ACCESS. AND THERE ARE SOME FOLKS WHO HAVE EXPRESSED RESERVATIONS ABOUT THAT WHO HAVE SAID THAT THAT MIGHT POSE AN ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN TO PRESENT LANGUAGE ACCESS TO THE EXTENT THAT WE ARE REQUIRING IT. I HOPE YOU CAN SPEAK TO WHY YOU ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THAT PROVISION IN OUR BIM AND WHAT YOU SEE THROUGH THE C.F.B.’S EXPERIENCE IN PROVIDING LANGUAGE ACCESS AND THE NEED TO EXPAND IT.>>WELL, AGAIN, I’LL GO BACK TO, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING PERRY SAID WHEN HE WAS FINISHING UP THAT THE MAIN BARRIER, I THINK, FOR JUST ABOUT ANY VOTER WHETHER THEY SPEAK ENGLISH OR ANOTHER LANGUAGE AS THEIR PRIMARY LANGUAGE IS THE LACK OF INFORMATION ABOUT HOW VOTING IN LOCAL ELECTIONS OR STATE AND FEDERAL ELECTIONS HAS AN IMPACT ON THEIR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE. ON THE ISSUES THAT THEY CARE ABOUT; YOU KNOW, WHEN THEY WAKE UP AND GO TO SLEEP. YOU KNOW, AND SO I THINK ONE YOU PAINT THAT PICTURE FOR FOLKS, THEY’RE GOING TO WANT ALL THE INFORMATION THEY CAN ABOUT HOW DO I VOTE, WHERE DO I VOTE, WHAT DOES A PRIMARY ELECTION MEAN WHAT DOES A GENERAL ELECTION MEAN SO WE HAVE CURRENTLY A LARGE NUMBER IN NEW YORK CITY WHO ARE NOT SERVED WHERE THAT INFORMATION IS NO THE AVAILABLE. WE PROVIDE THAT INFORMATION TO MANY VOTERS WITH LIMITED ENGLISH THROUGH THE VOTER GUIDE. WE WOULD LIKE TO DO MORE. BEING PRODDED TO DO MORE AND HAVING THAT MANDATED IN LAW IS AN IMPORTANT PROVISION AND PROTECTION FOR THOSE VOTERS BECAUSE YOU ARE RIGHT, THERE IS WORK INVOLVED WITH TRANSLATING ALL THAT MATERIAL INTO VARIOUS LANGUAGES. IT’S WORK THAT WE HAVE DONE FOR 30 YEARS THROUGH THE PUBLICATION OF THE VOTER GUIDE. IT REQUIRES AN INVESTMENT OF RESOURCES AND STAFF TIME. BUT IT’S AN IMPORTANT ONE. IF WE ARE TRULY COMMITTED TO BRINGING EVERYBODY, EVERY RESIDENT OF NEW YORK CITY NEW YORK STATE WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE INTO OUR DEMOCRATIC PROCESS BRINGING THEM INTO THE CONVERSATION ABOUT, YOU KNOW, WHAT IS AT STAIRK AT EVERY ELECTION IS AN IMPORTANT ONE MAKING SURE THAT THEY’RE ABLE TO NAVIGATE THAT POLLING PLACE WITH CONFIDENCE IS AN IMPORTANT ONE AND SO IT ABSOLUTELY DOES REQUIRE AN INVESTMENT OF RESOURCES AND TIME. IT’S ONE WORTH MAKING AND IT’S SUPREMELY IMPORTANT TO LEGITIMACY AND THE RESPONSIVENESS OF OUR DEMOCRACY.>>I’LL NOTE WE HAVE BEEN JOINED BY SENATOR JAMAAL BAILEY. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TESTIMONY. NEXT WE HAVE SUSAN LEARNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF COMMON CAUSE NEW YORK.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE INHAVE I INDICATION TO– INVITATION TO TESTIFY. I START WITH AN APOLOGY THAT WE WERE UNABLE TO COMPLETE OUR WRITTEN TESTIMONY IN ADVANCE. WE WILL DO BETTER. BUT I WILL BE SURE THAT WE HAVE OUR WRITTEN TESTIMONY TO THE COMMITTEE BY THE END OF THE WEEK. I WOULD LIKE TO TALK IN MORE GENERAL TERMS BECAUSE OF DETAILED COMMENTS ON LANGUAGE AND SPECIFIC PROVISIONS, WE’LL GO INTO DETAIL IN OUR WRITTEN TESTIMONY. FIRST– SORRY, LET ME GET SOME WATER. AS I THINK YOU ARE AWARE, ONE OF THE MAJOR ISSUES WHICH COMMON CAUSE NEW YORK WORKS ON IS VOTING RIGHTS. AND ENSURING TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY THAT EVERY ELIGIBLE NEW YORKER HAS ACCESS TO THE BALLOT AND THAT THEY ARE CONFIDENT AND THAT, INDEED, THEIR BALLOTS ARE SECURE AND ACCURATELY COUNTED. WE SEE THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT AN IMPORTANT PART OF ACHIEVING THAT GOAL. AND WE ARE PART OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE FOR THE LET NEW YORK VOTE COALITION AND THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT IS ONE OF THE LEGISLATIVE PRIEFORTS PRIORITIES FOR THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION. SO WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AT THE BILL AND TO DISCUSS IT. IN ALL HONESTY FROM MY POINT OF VIEW, I THINK THIS IS AN EXTRAORDINARILY IMPORTANT AND PRECEDENT SETTING PIECE OF LEGISLATION. AND ENACTED IN LAW, IN ANY FORMAT, WOULD HAVE A HUGE IMPACT. TO ME PERSONALLY, WHAT REALLY STRUCK ME FIRST IS HOW EXTRAORDINARY THE PROVISIONS IN SECTION 17-200 AND 17-202 ARE IN THE CONTEXT ARE ON ELECTION LAW AND HOW, IF ENACTED INTO LAW, WOULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON EVERY SINGLE VOTER, NO THE JUST VOTERS OF COLOR WITHIN OUR STATE BECAUSE OUR EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN THAT OUR ELECTION LAW IS VERY, VERY STRONGLY BIASED TOWARDS% PARTIES AND CANDIDATES AND IN MOST INSTANCES OVERLOOKED VOTERS AND THIS WAS BROUGHT HOME TO ME VERY SHARPLY WITH A STORY THAT ASSEMBLYMEMBER ABINANTI LIKES TO TELL THAT WHEN HE WAS PRACTICING ELECTION LAW AS A PRIVATE LAWYER, HE WAS HIRED BY A WOMAN WHOSE AFFIDAVIT OR ABSENTEE BALLOT WAS CHALLENGED BY CANDIDATES AND WAS GOING TO BE LITIGATED IN COURT AS TO WHETHER HER VOTE WOULD COUNT OR NOT AND SHE HIRED HIM TO GO INTO THE COURT AND ADVOCATE ON HER BEHALF AS A AND TOM ABINANTI TELLS THE STORY THAT HE WAS TOSSED OUT. HE HAD NO STANDING. AS A VOTER IN A CONTEST WHETHER THEY ARE VOTE WOULD COUNT, SHE HAD NO VOICE. SO I SEE THESE TWO PROVISIONS AS ABSOLUTELY MAKING A HUGE IMPACT IN THAT REGARD, ALLOWING THE COURT TO FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO THE VOTERS AND REMINDING THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS THAT AS DUSTIN SARAN SAID, THEY ACTUALLY NEED TO SERVE THE VOTERS. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE CANDIDATES AND THE PARTIES. IT IS ABOUT THE FRANCHISE FOR ALL ELIGIBLE NEW YORKERS, WHICH IS WHY THE REST OF THE PROVISIONS ARE SO IMPORTANT, BECAUSE OF PROBLEMATIC HISTORY OF OUR STATE THAT WE NEED TO BE SURE THAT THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN DENIED THE FULL ACCESS TO THE FRANCHISE ARE PROTECTED. AND FROM MY POINT OF VIEW, AS SOMEBODY WHO DOES EXTENSIVE WORK ON REDISTRICTING, WHO IN THE LAST CYCLE HELPED TO DRAW REFORM MAPS AND HOPEFULLY WILL HAVE THE RESOURCES TO DO THAT IN THE FUTURE, THE PROVISION WHICH REQUIRES THAT INFORMATION ACTUALLY BE CENTRALIZED ALSO HAS A HUGE IMPACT. ONE OF THE THINGS WHICH MAKES IT MOST DIFFICULT TO DO, REFORM WORK AND TO PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS ACROSS THE STATE, AND IT’S A PROBLEM WE AT COMMON CAUTION SEE ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IS THAT PRE-CLEARANCE GAVE US CENTRALIZED INFORMATION. AS PERRY POINTED OUT, THE PROBLEM WITH THE SHELBY CASE IS THAT IT PUTS ALL OF THE OWN US ON THE CHALLENGER. THAT IS TIME INTENSIVE AND FRANKLY SOMETIMES WE JUST DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE PROBLEMS, WHERE PRE-CLEARANCE ALLOWED US TO SEE WHAT DIFFERENT JURISDICTIONS WERE DOING. SO WE AT COMMON CAUSE NOW HAVE HAD TO FILE LAWSUITS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IN GEORGIA, IN NORTH CAROLINA, IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS, WHICH I BELIEVE WOULD HAVE BEEN UNNECESSARY WITH PRE-CLEARANCE. HAVING A REPOSITORY OF ACCURATE INFORMATION THAT JUST AUTOMATICALLY EVERY SINGLE JURISDICTION THAT RUNS ELECTIONS HAS TO REPORT TO WILL MAKE ALL OF OUR JOBS MUCH EASIER, AND I DO AGREE WITH PERRY THAT IF PEOPLE KNOW THAT THEY HAVE TO REPORT, THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE CAREFUL. I DON’T THINK THERE’S ANY GUARANTEE THAT SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE BOUND AND DETERMINED TO DO NEFF NEFARIOUS THINGS WILL BE CONSTANTLY DISCOURAGED, BUT SHINING A LOIT ON IT AND MAKING IT ACCESSIBLE — SHINING A LOIT ON IT AND MAKING IT ACCESSIBLE TO WATCHDOGS AND THOSE OF US WHO ARE INTERESTED IN WHAT’S GOING ON WILL SEE A TREMENDOUS BENEFIT P AS WITH PRE-CLEARANCE, COMMON CAUSE HAS FILED THREE LAWSUITS IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS AROUND ELECTION LAW. ONE WHERE WE FILED TO BE SURE THAT THE BALLOT IN 2014 ACCURATELY DESCRIBED THE REDISTRICTING COMMISSION AND THE COURT AGREED WITH US, IT’S NOT AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION. BUT THEN WE’VE ALSO HAD TOW FILE AGAINST THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD AND AGAINST THE STATE BOARD REGARDING REGISTRATION PRACTICES THAT REALLY WERE PROBLEMATIC. PRE-CLEARANCE WILL TAKE A BURDEN OFF THE ADVOCACY COMMUNITY, AND AGAIN PUT THE OWN US ON THOSE WHO ARE ACTUALLY IN CONTROL RATHER THAN FORCING US TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE CAN GET THE RESOURCES TO DO THE NECESSARY RESEARCH TO BRING A LAWSUIT, WHICH IS INCREDIBLY TIME INTENSIVE AND EXPENSIVE. THE LEGAL FEES, THE PRO BONO LEGAL FEES FOR THE SUIT THAT WE BROUGHT AGAINST THE STATE BOARD TOTALED OVER $1 MILLION, AND IT TOOK A YEAR AND A HALF OF LAWYER AND ADVOCACY TIME AS WELL AS EXPERT TESTIMONY. PRE-CLEARANCE SIMPLIFIES THE PROCESS AND IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. AGAIN, I THINK THE DETAILS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. AND THAT’S WHAT I’LL ADDRESS IN MY WRITTEN TESTIMONY. I DO AGREE WITH NYCLU, DO NOT PUT THE REPOSITORY IN THE STATE BOARD. THE STATE BOARD HAS A HARD ENOUGH TIME KEEPING TRACK OF THE DATA THAT THEY HAVE TO KEEP TRACK OF FOR ELECTION PURPOSES AND FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE PURPOSES. THIS DATA IS TOO IMPORTANT AND IT NEEDS TO BE MANIPULATED IN A VERY NON-PARTISAN AND SCHOLARLY, ACCURATE WAY, AND ONE OF THE THINGS WHICH UNFORTUNATELY WE SEE IN OUR ELECTION SYSTEM, WHICH DUSTIN’S ALREADY TOUCHED ON WITH THE DIFFERENT CONCLUSION THAT I REACHED, IS THAT THE PARTISAN NATURE OF OUR BOARDS OE THEM GOOD REPOSITORY FOR WHAT NEEDS TO BE VERY ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION THAT IS AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC, TO ADVOCACY GROUPS, TO SCHOLARS. AND SO SUNY REALLY IS THE RIGHT PLACE, BUT AGAIN WE’RE GOING TO NEED RESOURCES. AS HAS BEEN POINTED OUT EARLIER. I WILL HAVE MORE TO SAY ABOUT THE SPECIFICS OF THE WAY IN WHICH LAWSUITS WOULD BE DETERMINED, BUT I DO WANT TO SAY THAT I DID AGREE SOMEWHAT WITH BOB BREHM. WHEN WE’RE TALKING ABOUT CERTAIN PRESUMPTIONS, I THINK IT WOULD BE SURPRIING TO THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THE DETERMINATION TO HOLD LOCAL AND SCHOOL BOARD AND OTHER LOCAL JURISDICTION ELECTIONS ON OFF YEARS, THAT THERE’S A PRESUMPTION THAT IS DONE ONLY TO DISCOURAGE MINORITY VOTERS. I WOULD POINT OUT IT DISCOURAGES ALL VOTERS. AND SO IF WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A PRESUMPTION AGAINST THAT PRACTICE IN ONLY CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, I WOULD URGE FROM A GOOD GOVERNMENT POINT OF VIEW, LEASE HAVE AN HONEST DISCUSSION ABOUT THE PROS AND CONFERENCE DOING IT CONFERENCE DOING IT FOR EVERYBODY BECAUSE IT DOES DECREASE TURNOUT. ON THE OTHER HAND, PEOPLE ARGUE THAT THE CONCERN IS THAT IF YOU HAVE ALL OF YOUR ELECTIONS AT THE SAME TIME, THERE’S A HUGE FALLOFF WITH THE DOWN BALLOT ELECTIONS AND PEOPLE WILL JUST OVERLOOK THE LOCAL AND SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS. I THINK IT IS A DISCUSSION WORTH HAVING, AND I THINK THAT THERE ARE MORE PROBLEMS THAN SIMPLY THE IMPACT OF HAVING OFF-CYCLE OR OFF-YEAR ELECTIONS FOR OUR LOWER JURISDICTIONS THAN ITS IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AND TRADITIONALLY MARGINAL I’D COMMUNITIES. SO LEASE HAVE A DISCUSSION ABOUT THAT. LET’S ALSO HAVE A DISCUSSION ABOUT WHETHER WE SHOULD HAVE AT LARGE DISTRICTS, AT-LARGE DISTRICTS AT ALL, WHETHER WE SHOULD GO TO A DISTRICTED SYSTEM THROUGHOUT RATHER THAN TAKING ONLY THIS PORTION OF THE PROBLEM. IT HAS A LOT OF CONSEQUENCES, AND IT OFTEN IS NEGATIVE. PERHAPS WE SHOULD JUST ADDRESS THAT SEPARATELY, NOT SIMPLY WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF ITS IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR BUT RATHER CHARGE A LARGER DISCUSSION ABOUT WHETHER IT IS SOMETHING WHICH SHOULD REMAIN WITHIN, AS WAS POINTED OUT, OUR HOME RULE LAW THAT MAKES IT THAT MUCH DIFFICULT FOR A JURISDICTION TO DECIDE ON THE OWN. SO THOSE ARE AREAS WHICH I THINK WE SHOULD BE HAVING A MORE GENERAL DISCUSSION. VOTER INTIMIDATION AND DECEPTION AGAIN, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE SOME SPECIFIC COMMENTS ON LANGUAGE. WE’RE VERY SUPPORTIVE. IT IS BADLY NEEDED. IN EVERY ELECTION CYCLE, WITH OUR ELECTION PROTECTION EFFORTS, BOTH ON THE GROUND AND WITH THE PHONE HOTLINE, WE GET CALLS FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE RECEIVED MISINFORMATION, EITHER THROUGH PHONE CALLS OR THROUGH MAILERS WHICH ARE DESIGNED TO CONFUSE THE VOTER. AND WE’LL MAKE SOME SUGGESTIONS BECAUSE I THINK THERE WOULD NEED TO BE FURTHER TOOLS WITHIN THESE PROVISIONS THAT ALLOW TO YOU TRACK DOWN WHO ACTUALLY IS DISSEMINATING THIS MISINFORMATION BECAUSE THOSE OF US WHO TRY AND COUNTER THE INFORMATION AND THEN TRY AFTER THE FACT TO HOLD THE SPEAKERS RESPONSIBLE, IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO TRACK THEM DOWN, AND SO I THINK WE MAY NEED TO DO SOME THINKING ABOUT THAT. LASTLY, WE’RE VERY SUPPORTIVE OF EXPANSION OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR LANGUAGE ASSISTANTS HAVE ASSISTANCE. OUR EXPERIENCE IN TRYING TO GET THE WORD OUT FOR EARLY VOGTS, OUR EXPERIENCE IN — VOTING, OUR EXPERIENCE IN TRYING TO COMMUNICATE OTHER POSSIBLE VOTING REFORMS IN NUMEROUS DIFFERENCE LANGUAGES, TO AT LEAST NEW YORK CITY VOTERS AND VOTERS IN OTHER PLACES, INDICATE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS AND ALSO HOW CHALLENGING, SO I THINK WE NEED TO HAVE SOME DISCUSSION ABOUT WHAT IS THE APPROPRIATE NUMBER. 5,000 IS TOO HIGH. IS 2,000 TOO LOW? I HAVE NO IDEA. BUT I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE DATA AND SEE WHICH JURISDICTIONS WOULD BE BROUGHT IN IF WE HAVE — WHICH NUMBER. THE NUMBER CLEARLY SHOULD BE SOMEWHERE, IT COULD BE 2,000. IT NEEDS TO BE BELOW 5,000. THIS I THINK WOULD BENEFIT FROM SOME ANALYSIS OF WHICH JURISDICTIONS WOULD BE DRAWN IN. AND THOSE ARE REALLY MY HIGHLIGHTS IN TERMS OF THE THINGS THAT WE’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IN RELATION TO THIS REALLY SALUTARYIN AND CREDIBLY IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION.>>THANK YOU, FIRST AND I REFER THIS LEGISLATION, YOU SPOKE ME ABOUT THIS AND THE CHAIR OF OUR ELECTIONS COMMITTEE YOU’RE DOING ONE HELL OF A JOB. I HAD TO MAKE SURE WE DID THAT EDITORIAL STATEMENT, AND WE REALLY BELIEVE YOU’RE DOING A PHENOMENAL JOB AND SO HAVE ALL THE ADVOCATES WHO TESTIFIED PRIOR TO MY ATTENDANCE. I HAVE TO LEAVE BUT I WANT THOU FOR YOUR TESTIMONY AND YOUR COMMITMENT TO ENSURING THAT WE PRESERVE THE RIGHTS OF THE VOTERS. SUSAN, THANK YOU. JUST A — I GUESS I WOULD JUST SAY A COMMENT FOR YOU, AND I AWAIT THE WRITTEN TESTIMONY TO SEE SOME OF THE MORE SPECIFICS. I KNOW HOW DETAILED YOU AT COMMON CAUSE ARE. I WOULD JUST SAY THAT THE LANGUAGE ACCESS PORTION TO ME IS A CRITICAL POINT. I DIDN’T GET A CHANCE TO TALK TO THE CFB FOLKS BECAUSE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT NEW IMMIGRANTS IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND OUR SOCIETIES AND THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT LANGUAGES AND DIFFERENT DIALECTS AND I JUST WANT US TO BE MINDFUL OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE ONE PART OF THE CORNER, WE SAY GET OUT THERE AND VOTE, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS OR ELSE YOUR VOICE DOESN’T COUNT AND WE MAKE THESE GRAND STATEMENTS. BUT IF WE’RE NOT GIVING PEOPLE THE ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM TO ACTUALLY BE INVOLVED MEANINGFULLY IN THE PROCESS BECAUSE THERE’S A LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT THAT WE CAN HAVE AND SAY WEEK REGISTER TO VOTE BECAUSE WE WE WANT YOU TO VOTE BUT THERE’S AN EDUCATION OF PEOPLE KNOWING WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT AND NOT JUST THE BALLOT QUESTIONS. I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE FOR ME LANGUAGE ACCESS IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, AND I HOPE WE CAN HAVE MORE OF A CONVERSATION ABOUT YOUR COMMITMENT TO ENSURING THAT WE CAN GET MORE LANGUAGE ACCESS BECAUSE IN MY DISTRICT THERE IS A HEAVY, HEAVY BANGLADESHI POPULATION WHO ARE GROWING IN NUMBER EVERY SINGLE DAY, AND SOMETIMES THEY FEEL DISENCHANTED BECAUSE THEY CAN’T PARTICIPATE AT THE LEVELS THAT THEY WANT TO. AND WE TELL THEM TO GO VOTE, BUT THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND — WE’RE NOT GIVING THEM THE TOOLS TO BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO DO THAT. SO I WOULD JUST MAKE SURE WE MAKE THAT STATEMENT.>>I THINK IT’S AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THIS BILL. I THINK THAT IT REALLY FILLS OUT ITS GOALS VERY, VERY WELL. MY ONLY QUESTION IS WHAT’S THE RIGHT LEVEL TO DECIDE TO ADD LANGUAGE ACCESS. ONE OF THE FUN — ONE OF THE MOST FUN DAYS WE HAD IN OUR RANK CHOICE VOTING CAMPAIGN WAS HELPING TOW BETWEEN THREE BANGLADESHI SPEAKERS IN TRANSLATION FOR THE MATERIALS WE WERE PUTTING OUT FOR BANGLADESHI COMMUNITY. SO THE IT’S A FASCINATING PROCESS. I’VE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT VOTING IN OTHER PLACES BECAUSE OUR SYSTEM IS SO DIFFERENT FROM SO MANY OF THE SYSTEMS THAT THAT OW AMERICANS USED TO. THERE’S A LOT OF EXPLAINING THAT WE NEED TODAY AND WE’RE VERYSUP. MY ONLY QUESTION IS LET’S PICK A LEVEL THAT HIT THE RIGHT NUMBER OF PEOPLE SO THAT WE ARE USING OUR RESOURCES MOST SIGNIFICANTLY.>>THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU, SENATOR BAILLEY AND THANK YOU, SUSAN, AGAIN FOR YOUR TESTIMONY. WE VERY MUCH LOOK FORWARD TO THE WRITTEN TESTIMONY AND CONTINUED DISCUSSION ON HOW TO MAKE THIS THE BEST BILL POSSIBLE BUT WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL FOR THE WORK THAT YOU DO, SO THANK YOU.>>GREAT. THANK YOU.>>NEXT UP WE HAVE L. JOY WILLIAMS. PRESIDENT OF THE BROOKLYN NAACP. I WILL ALSO NOTE THAT WE RECEIVED WRITTEN TESTIMONY FROM THE NAACP’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND IN SUPPORT OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT, BUT WE WILL HEAR FROM L. JOY NEXT.>>GOOD MORNING.>>MORNING.>>KIND OF DEAD IN HERE.>>IT’S 12 MINUTES AFTER 12:00 SO WE ARE IN THE AFTERNOON NOW.>>ALL RIGHT. GOOD AFTERNOON.>>GOOD AFTERNOON.>>ALL RIGHT. GOOD MORNING TO SENATOR AND TO THE STAFF. BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE — THE STAFF I KNOW ARE WORKING VERY DILIGENTLY AND HARD ON THIS LEGISLATION AS A FORMER STAFFER, AS THEY SAY ONCE A STAFFER, ALWAYS A STAFFER. AND THE INSTANCES I CAN HIGHLIGHT THE WORK OF STAFF WHO PUT THIS TOGETHER I WILL CERTAINLY DO SO. FOR THOSE THAT ARE NOT SURE I’M L. JOY WILLIAMS AND THE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF BROOKLYN NAACP, THE LEGISLATIVE COORDINATOR FOR FOR THE NAACP CONFERENCE OF BRANCHES, AND I BRING TESTIMONY ON BEHALF OF THE THOUSANDS OF MEMBERS OF THE 51 ACTIVE NAACP BRANCHES ACROSS THE STATE OF NEW YORK WHICH IS UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF OUR NEW YORK STATE CONFERENCE PRESIDENT HAZEL DUKES. I THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFY. THIS IS PART 1 OF OUR TESTIMONY ON THIS BILL, AND PART OF A NUMBER OF ACTIONS THAT THE NEW YORK STATE NAACP WILL BE TAKING ON THIS ISSUE. THE LONGSTANDING MISSION OF THE NAACP IS TO ENSURE THE POLITICAL, EDUCATIONAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY OF RIGHTS OF ALL PERSONS, AND TO ELIMINATE RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION, AND THE RIGHT TO VOTE HAS ALWAYS BEEN ONE OF THE UTMOST PRIORITIES OF THE NAACP. AND FOR ALMOST A CENTURY WE HAVE FOUGHT AGAINST THOSE WHO WISH TO SUPPRESS THE VOTES OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND OTHER RACIAL OR ETHNIC MINORITY AMERICANS THROUGH UNFAIR OR UNJUST LAWS, DECEPTION AND/OR INTIMIDATION. AS A RESULT OF THE SUPREME COURT DECISION IN 2013, THERE ARE CURRENTLY NO JURISDICTIONS WHICH ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH THE PRE-CLEARANCE DIRECTIVE UNDER SECTION 5 AND THAT’S MAINLY WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO FOCUS THE CONVERSATION ON THIS AFTERNOON. SEE? MEANS STATES WITH JURISDICTIONSE CHANGES TO THEY ARE LAWS AND POLICIES YOU THE WOULD PROVING THAT THOSE PROPOSED CHANGES WILL NOT DISENFRANCHISE ANY VOTERS. NEW YORK ITSELF HAS AN EXTENSIVE HISTORY OF DISCRIMINATION BEANS RACIAL AND MINORITY GROUPS AND THERE EXISTS A PERSIST GAP BETWEEN WHITE NEW YORKERS IN POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND ELECTED REPUTATION. AND DUE TO THAT ABHORRENT HISTORY, SEVERAL COUNTIES MAIMED COVERED JURISDICTIONS UNDER THE FEDERAL DRA, BUT I DON’T WANT TO FEED THE NARRATIVE THAT VOTER SUPPRESSION THAT IS ONLY OCCURRED IN THE PAST OR THAT VOTER SUPPRESSION ACTIONS COME ONLY FROM EVIL MEN IN WHITE ‘HOODS WITH THE EXPRESSED INTENT TO GYM INNATE AND SUPPRESS POLITICAL PARTICIPATION OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR. VOTER SUPPRESSION REGULARLY OCCURS HERE IN NEW YORK TODAY. THAT CAN INCLUDE MOVING POLE SITES WITHOUT ADEQUATE NOTICE TO VOTERS. THAT’S VOTER SUPPRESSION. LACK OF FUNDING FOR US, PROVIDING VOTER EDUCATION AND ELECTION NOTIFICATION IS PART OF VOTER SUPPRESSION, AND THE USE OF AT-LARGE ELECTIONS WHICH ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO MINORITY VOTE DILUTION, WE ALSO ASSERT THAT THAT IS VOTER SUPPRESSION. SO VOTER SUPPRESSION AS WE SAY AT NAACP OR DISCRIMINATION, DOES NOT AS HAVE TO BE WELL-INTENTIONED POLICY. IT IS NOT IMPLEMENTED CORRECTLY OR WITH ALL COMMUNITIES AND ALL VOTERS IN MIND AND HOW THOSE POLICIES AND LAWS WOULD IMPACT THOSE COMMUNITIES. THAT IS SUPPRESSING OF THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO VOTE. TO THAT POINT, ON RECENT VOTER SUPPRESSION, I WILL JUST HIGHLIGHT IN ONE PARTICULAR CASE THAT NI HAVEYCLU NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION JOINED US AT THE SPRING VALLEY BRANCH OF THE NAACP, IN 2017. THIS TRIAL HAS GONE ON, TO CHALLENGE THE AT-LARE ELECTING OF SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS AND SIGNIFICANTLY. I AM IMPACTS THE EDUCATION OF BLACK AND LATINO STUDENTS. AT LARGE VOTING BOOSTS THE ELECTORAL STRENGTH OF MINORITY AND DIMINISHES ELECTORAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR MINORITY VOTERS. THE SUPREME COURT ITSELF NOTED THIS CHALLENGE AND THE POTENTIAL DISCRIMINATION FOR AT-LARGE VOTING, STATE THAN VOTERS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF A RACIAL MIN EATER MIGHT WELL ANYBODY THE MAJORITY OF ONE DISTRICT BUT IN A DECIDED MINORITY IN THE COUNTY AS A WHOLE. AT-LARGE VOTING WOULD THEREFORE NULLIFY THEIR ABILITY TO ELECT THE CANDIDATE OF THEIR CHOICE JUST AS WOULD PROHIBITING THEM FROM VOTING AT ALL. THE NAACP IS FULLY COMMITTED AND SUPPORTS ALL OF THE PROVISIONS OUTLINE IN THE NEW YORK STATE VOTING RIGHTS ACT, AND THIS LEGISLATION IS CENTRAL TO OUR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA. ALL OF OUR BRANCHES AND REPRESENTATION OF OUR MEMBERS WILL BE HERE ON THE 17th OF THIS MONTH, CONTINUING THE ADVOCACY, NOT ONLY FOR THE NEW YORK STATE VOTING RIGHTS ACT BUT IN ALL OF OUR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA ITEMS, AND CENTRAL TO THAT AGENDA IS THE NEW YORK STATE VOTING RIGHTS ACT BECAUSE WE BELIEVE POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND REPRESENTATION AND ACCESS TO THE FRANCHISE TO VOTE IS CENTRAL TO EQUITY IN OUR POLITICAL REALM. SO WE EMPHATICALLY SUPPORT THIS LEGISLATION, BUT TO MAKE NOTE THAT SOME OF THE ADVOCATES HAVE ALREADY MADE, IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO JUST PASS THIS WITHOUT ANY FUNDING THAT WOULD ALIGN FOR WHETHER IT’S FOR THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE IN TERMS OF PRE-CLEARANCE STANDARDS, IN TERMS OF ALL OF THE LOCAL BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND OTHER PLACES AND REGIONS OF THE STATE WHO WILL NEED ONGOING SUPPORT AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES IN ORDER TO IMPLEMENT OR EVEN AS FURTHER DOWN THE LINE THEY TRY TO IMPLEMENT DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF ELECTION LAW, SO JUST AS A SAID BEFORE, THAT WELL-INTENTIONED THINGS CAN BE VOTER SUPPRESSION, PASSING THE NEW YORK STATE VOTING RIGHTS ACT WITHOUT IN YOU CLEAR INDICATION OF HOW ALL OF THE COUNTIES WILL BE ABLE TO COMPLY, MAKING SURE THAT THE RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE AND OTHER BOARD OF ELECTIONS IN THE STATE HAVE THE RESOURCES TO FOLLOW SUIT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. SO NEW YORK HAS MADE COMMENDABLE STRIDE TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO THE FRANCHISE BY ENACTING MANY ELECTION REFORMS THAT THE NEW YORK STATE NAACP HAS ADVOCATED FOR FOR DECADE. BUT MANY SCRIM NATIVE PRACTICES REMAIN, AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISCRIMINATION REMAIN WIDELY AVAILABLE. WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO PUT IN PLACE PROCEDURES THAT WILL EY TO END DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES BUT ALSO MUTT PUTT IN PLACE A STRUCTURE THAT THE PREVENT ANY INTENTS, WHETHER INTENTIONAL OR NOT, IN THE FUTURE. THANK YOU FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. AND SEEING AS THOUGH NONE OF MY COLLEAGUES HAVE ANY QUESTIONS — [LAUGHTER]>>– I WILL SAY WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE SUPPORTIVE FROM THE NAACP. I THINK SOMETHING YOU SAID IS REALLY IMPORTANT IN THAT VOTER SUPPRESSION, PART OF WHAT MAKES IT SO UNI SAID JUST IS THAT IT’S HARD — INSIDIOUS IS THAT IT’S HARD TO FIND AND HARD TO DETECT AND HARD TO SEE. WE KNOW WHO COMES TO THE POLLS. WE DON’T KNOW WHO DOESN’T AND WHY NECESSITY DIDN’T, AND IF NAACP, MUNKS FOR HAVE BEEN FIGHO REPRESENT THOSE WHO ARE UNSEEN AND HAVE BEEN PUSH OUT. WE ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO MAKE THIS THE STRONGEST PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT WE HAVE TO PROTECT THE FRANCHISE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TESTIMONY TODAY. AND NEXT — YES, ROUND OF APPLAUSE. ROUND OF APPLAUSE. NEXT WE HAVE JUAN ROSA FROM — WHO IS THE NORTHEAST DIRECTOR OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT FOR THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LATINO ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS.>>WHILE I DO APPRECIATE THE PAY RAISE, NAMES BENNY.>>I’M SORRY.>>IT IS ACTUALLY –>>CONGRATULATIONS.>>THANK YOU. THAT’S ACTUALLY A COMPLIMENT, SO THANK YOU. CHAIRMAN MYRIE, THANK YOU SO MUCH, AND THANK YOU MEMBERS OF THE ELECTION COMMITTEE IN SPIRIT. THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFY TODAY IN SUPPORT OF THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT. ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LATINO ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS OR FOR A LESS OF A MOUTHFUL THE NALEAO EDUCATIONAL FUND. IT IS A LEADING NON-PROFIT NON-PARTISAN THAT HAS FULL LATINO PARTICIPATING IN THE AMERICAN POLITICAL PROCESS, FROM CITIZENSHIP ALL THE WAY TO PUBLIC SERVICES, OUR CONSTITUENCY ENCOMPASSES THE MORE THAN 6800 LATINO ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS. NATIONWIDE AND INCLUDES REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS AND INDEPENDENTS. IN NEW YORK, PERSISTENTLY LOW VOTER PARTICIPATION RIGHTS RATES ARE STRONG EVIDENCE THAT ELECTION LAWS AND PROCEDURES CAN AND MUST IMPROVE. WE ARE PARTICULARLY CONCERN THAT SIGNIFICANT DISPARITIES PERSIST AND THE TURNOUT RATES OF VOTERS OF DIFFERENT RACES AND ETHNICITIES, FOR EXAMPLE, DURING THE 2018 GENERAL ELECTION, A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF NON-HISPANIC WHITE NEW YORKERS THAN OF NEW YORKERS OF ANY OTHER RIRES ETHNICITY CAST BALLOTS, AND THE DISPARITIES WERE STARK. JUST 32.4% OF EL JUB ASIAN-AMERICANS AND — ELIGIBLE ASIAN AMERICANS AND 49% OF ELIGIBLE LATINOS VOTED COMPARED TO NEARLY 53% OF NON-HISPANIC BAPTIZE THE COMMUNITIES OF VOTERS WHO EXPERIENCED SAVAGE UNDISGUISED DISCRIMINATION BEFORE AND DURING THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA ARE THE SAME COMMUNITIES THAT ARE TARGETS OF CONTEMPORARY DISCRIMINATION. THEY CONTINUE TO BE UNDERREPRESENTED IN NEW YORK POLLING PLACES IN ELECTION AFTER ELECTION IN THE MODERN ERA. LAWS AND ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES GOVERNING THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS THAT ARE DESIGNED TO DISCRIMINATE AND HAVE DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICAL EFFECTS ARE A REASON FOR THE STATE’S PERSISTENT LOW OVERALL VOTING RATES AND FOR THE DISPARITIES 2 THE ELECTORAL PARTICIPATION RATES OF NEW YORKERS OF VARYING RACES AND ETHNICITIES. THE HISTORY IN THE STATE OF IMPLEMENTATION OF DISCRIMINATORY VOTING PROCEDURES PORTEND FUTURE DANGER AND DEMONSTRATES THE IMPORTANCE OF STRONG DEFENSE THE EQUAL RIGHT TO VOTE. FOR EXAMPLE, ON THE DAY OF THE 2016 PRIMARY, NUMERAL VOTERS IN KINGS COUNTY WENT TO THE POLLS TO DISCOVER THAT THEIR NAMES DID NOT APPEAR TO POLL BOOKS. EVENTUALLY, ADVOCATES LEARNED THAT MORE THAN 122,000 BROOKLYN VOTERS HAD THEIR REGISTRATIONS CANCELED LESS THAN A YEAR PRIOR TO THE HOTLY CONTESTED PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY. THIS EXTENSIVE PURGE OF VOTER REGISTRATION RECORDS EMPLOYED IMPROPER METHODS AND ITS VICTIMS WERE DISPROPORTIONATELY LATINO AND ASIAN-AMERICAN VOTERS. ACCORDING TO TO AN ANALYSIS BY THE RADIO STATION WNYC THIS OPERATION REMOVED 15.2% OF ALL LIKELY LATINO VOTERS IN THE BOROUGH BUT 9.5 OF NON-LATINO VOTERS. ANOTHER ENDURING CHALLENGE OF NEW YORK VOTERS OF COLOR SIN SUFFICIENT PROVISION OF LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE, AS MENTION EARLIER. THE MANIFEST INCIDENTS SUCH AS THE ASIAN-AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUNDS AB OBSERVATION OF CHINESE INTERPRETERS TRYING TO ASSIST KOREAN-SPEAKING VOTERS AT A POLLING PLACE IN QUEENS IN 2014 DUE TO PERSONNEL SHORTAGES. NOW A LITTLE EDUCATIONAL FUND IN AND OUR PARTNERS IN THE ELECTION PROTECTION RECEIVED VOTERS REPORTS ON ELECTION DAY IN 2018 MISSING OR INADEQUATE SPANISH MATERIALS AND INTERPRETERS AT MULTIPLE OCCASIONS IN QUEENS AND BROOKLYN FOLLOWING A PATTERN WE OBSERVED IN THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTION AND PREVIOUS CYCLES. ON ELECTION DAY 2018, THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS NOTED THAT IT RECEIVED MORE THAN 10,000 CALLS ABOUT EQUIPMENT BREAKDOWNS, MORE THAN FIVE TIMES AS MANY AS THEY RECEIVED IN 2016 DURING A HIGHER TURNOUT ELECTION CYCLE. THESE FAILURES PRO DEUCES DUDES LONG LINES TO VOTE, A PROBLEM THAT OCCURS MORE FREQUENTLY IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AROUND THE NATION. NUMEROUS STUDIES RELYING ON DIFFERING INDICATORS OF FOUND THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN, LATINO, AND OTHER VOTERS OF COLOR WAIT LONGER AT POLLING PLACES THAN NON-HISPANIC WHITE VOTERS AND DISPROPORTIONALLY LIKELY TO FACE WAIT OF 30 MINUTES OR MORE. MANY VOTERS BE UNABLE OR UNWILLING TO ENSURE THESE WAITS AND EXPERTS SUGGEST THAT MANY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VOTES, AT LEAST, ARE LOST IN TAPE CAL FEDERAL ELECTION BECAUSE OF LONG LINES. THESE EXAMPLES ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF OTHER SIMILAR INCIDENTS AND ILLUSTRATE HOW LAW AND POLICY MAKING MAY BRIDGE OR DENY THE RIGHT TO VOTE TO MEMBERS OF HISTORICALLY UNDERREPRESENTED COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT NEW YORK. IT IS PARTICULARLY ESSENTIAL THAT STATES AND LOCALITIES TAKE ACTION IN 2020 AND BEYOND TO DEFEND EQUAL VOTING RIGHTS AGAINST ENCOURAGEMENT LYING THESE ABUSE THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT IS NOT AT FULL STRENGTHED AND WEAKENED BY FEDERAL ANTI-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS HAVE MADE IT MORE POSSIBLE AND LIKELY THAT DISCRIMINATORY ELECTION POLICIES GO UNCHALLENGED AND MAR OUR DEMOCRACY. WE APPLAUD THE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE FOR TAKING THIS TEP TODAY TO EXAMINE THE HOME OF UNEQUAL ACCESS TO THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND TO MAKE THE LAW, TO REDATES. THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT, THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT AS COMPREHENSIVENESS AND ATTENTION TO EMPOWERMENT — BLESS YOU — OF ALL THE STATE’S MANY DIVERSE HISTORICAL UNDERREPRESENTED COMMUNITIES ARE GUARANTORS OF ITS FUTURE SUCCESS IN ENSURING THAT NEW YORK ELECTIONS ARE EQUALLY OPEN TO EVERYONE OF ITS CITIZEN. THANK YOU FOR ROLLING THIS HEARING AND THANK YOU FOR TAKING OUR VIEWS IN UNIONS CONSIDER THIS LEGISLATION.>>THANK YOU, MR. POI. I WILL NOTE THAT WE’VE BEEN JOINED BY SENATOR KAVANAGH WHO FOR MANY YEARS CARED THE MENTALLY OF VOTER PROTECTION AS THE RANKING MEMBER ON THE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE AND SO WE’RE HAPPY TO HAVE HIM. I DO NOT HAVE ANY QUESTIONS BUT JUST WANTED TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE. WE HAVE REVIEWED THE WRITTEN TESTIMONY THAT WAS SUBMITTED WHICH WAS EXHAUSTIVE, AND SO WE PLESH THE EFFORTS THAT WENT INTO IT, AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH NALEAOIA ON EFFORTS TO MAKE AT A STRONG BILL.>>THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP.>>THANK YOU. NEXT WE HAVE JENNIFER WILSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF LEAFING WOMEN VOTERS.>>GOOD AFTERNOON, SENATOR KAVANAGH, SENATOR MIRY. THANK YOU, SENATOR MYRIE OR INTRODUCE THEN LEGISLATION, ALSO FOR HOLDING THIS HEARING TODAY. THE NEW YORK STATE VOTING RIGHTS ACT IS A THOUGHTFUL COMPREHENSIVE POLICY THAT WILL ENSURE STRONG PROTECTIONS FOR VOTERS AND INCREASE TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN NEW YORK’S ELECTIONS PROCEDURES. WE ARE PLEAD THAT YOU COLLABORATED WITH THE NEW YORK STILL HAVE LIBERTIES INNUENDO AND NAACP ON CRAFTING THIS VERY THOROUGH POLICY AND THERE ARE MANY IMPACT OF CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS THAT HAVE ALREADY TESTIFIED AND WILL STILL TESTIFY TODAY AND I BELIEVE THEY HAVE DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB DESCRIBING EXACTLY HOW THIS POLICY IMPACTS THE COMMUNITY THEY SEARCH. SO AS NOT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE REST OF TESTIFIERS TODAY I ONLY WANT TO HIGHLIGHT ONE ASPECT OF THIS REFORM THAT DIRECTLY IMPACTS THE WORK OF THE LEAGUE AND OUR GRASSROOTS MEMBERS. SECTION 3 OF THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT WILL CREATE A STATEWIDE DATA BASE OF PUBLIC ELECTIONS INFORMATION INCLUDING VOTER LISTS, LOWER THE VOTER LIFTER HISTORY FILES, MAPS OF LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS. EACH PROVIDES COMPREHENSIVE ELECTION INFORMATION THROUGH OUR ONLINE BALLOT PRAHM. WE COVER ALL RACES FROM THE DOG CATCHER TO THE U.S. PRESIDENT AND WE PROVIDE STRICTLY NON-PARTISAN INFORMATION. THE BALLOT MANY PRAHM IS VIEWED BY OVER A HALF UNTIL VOTERS IN NEW YORK EACH YEAR, AND THIS YEAR WE PARTNERED WITH NALEAO TO TRANSLATE OUR DIED INTO SPANISH AS WELL. THE GUIDE USES JIS MAN’S OF LEGISLATIVE DISTRITS TO GIVE VOTERS A PRECISE BALLOT THAT THOSE EVERY SINGLE RACE THAT GOING TO BE ON THEIR BALLOT. IT CAN BE VERY DUFFY TO SOURCE THESE MAPS AND A COMPLETELY-LIST OF CANDIDATES. WE’RE LUCKY TO HAVE DIRECTOR CHAPS THAT HAVE RELATIONS WITH OTHER. BUT OTHER TRYING TO REPLICATE THIS PROGRAM MIGHT NOT BE AS FORTUNATE. THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT WILL RESTORE MUCH NEEDED TRANSPARENCY NECESSITY OUR ELECTION PROCESS AND AGAIN WE THANK YOU THE SPONSOR FOR INTRODUCING THIS LEGISLATION AND WITH AN TO REMIND THE SENATE UNLIKE OTHER POLICIES, THIS HAS THE. — IN LIGHT OF CONTINUING BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS WE URGE THE SENATE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER THE IMPACT — THE IMPACT THAT THE COST OF THIS POLICY AND OTHER NEW ELECTIONS POLICIES WILL HAVE ON LOCALITIES AND THE STATE. WITHOUT FUNDING ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATORS WILL BE UNABLE TO RESPOND TO COURT SANCTIONS, PROVIDE INFORMATION TO A STATEWIDE DATA BABES ADD ADDITIONAL EARP THE TERRACE OR BALLOTS IN OTHER LANGUAGES OR RESPOND TO THE PUBLIC ABOUT A POLICY. WE APPRECIATE THE IMMENSE CONSIDERATION THAT HAS GONE INTO CRAFTING THIS POLICY BUT WE HOPE LAWMAKERS WILL CONSIDER THE IMPORTANCE OF FUNDING SUCH REFORM STOW IT CAN BE REAL REALIZED TO ITS FULL PO TECHNICIAN. THE THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFY FOD AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO THIS ACT BEING PASSED INTO LAW.>>THANK YOU. AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE. WE APPRECIATE THE WORK THAT LEAGUE IS DOING.>>YOU HAVE A GREAT LIST OF TESTIFIERS TO. HAPPY EVERYONE CAME OUT NEXT UP WE HAVE AMY TORRES. WE’LL DO AROUND APPLAUSE FOR EVERYBODY. NEXT UP WE HAVE AMY TORRES WHO IS THE DIRECTOR OF POLICY AT THE CHINESE-AMERICAN PLANNING COUNCIL.>>GOOD AFTERNOON. THANK YOU, CHAIR MYRIE. GOOD AFTERNOON, SENATOR KAVANAGH. NAMES AMY TORRES. I’M IF DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND ADVOCACY AT THE CHINESE-AMERICAN PLANNING CROWNS. CPC IS THE NATION’S LARGER SERVICE ORGANIZATION FOR PACIFIC ISLANDERS AND N. IN THE STRIP WE’RE WE’VE LOOTED IN NEW YORK CITY PROVIDING SERVERS TO 60,000 IMMIGRANT AND LOW INCOME WORKERS EACH YEAR. WE DO THAT ACROSS 30 DIFFERENT SITES IN FAMILY SUPPORT, EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMMING, AND WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT THE RIGHT SOCIAL SERVICES CAN INSIGHT SOCIAL CHANGE WHICH IS WHY WE ALSO DO CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, VOTER EDUCATION AND VOTER EMPOWERMENT WORK AS WELL. SO I HAVE HAD SO MUCH FUN SIT IN ON TODAY’S HEARING, HEARING EVERYONE SHARE THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE NEW YORK STATE VOTING RIGHTS ACT. I’D LIKE TO FOCUS MY SPOKEN TESTIMONY ON THE BARRIERS FACED BY LOW-INCOME GRANT AND I ASIAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITIES [email protected] THE CENTRALIZED DATABASE. SO ASIAN-AMERICANS AND IMMIGRANT NEW YORKERS, IMMIGRANT NEW YORKERS IN PARTICULAR A GROWING ELECTORATE. THEY MAKE UP ONE IN FIVE NEW YORKERS AS AN IMMIGRANT IN TERMS OF IMMIGRANT VOTERS. THEY MAKE UP ONE IN FOUR, OVER 80,000 NEW YORKERS NATURALIZE EACH YEAR, SO IT IS A GROWING ELECTORATE, THE DIVERSE 29TH THIS GROUP MAKES UP THE DIVERSITY OF THE REST OF THE WORLD. ASIAN AMERICANS ARE THE FASTEST GROWING RACIAL GROUP AND ALSO TAKING YOU UP A LARGER SHARE OF THE ELECTORATE. THEY’VE BEEN VOTING TREND IN VOTER PARTICIPATING AND TURNOUT SO IN THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION, 30% OF ASIAN AMERICANS PULLED ON A NATIONWIDE SURVEY SAY THAT THEY SANFORD FIRST TIME, AND DURING THE MIDTERMS IN 2018 ASIAN-AMERICAN VOTER TURNOUT INCREASED BY 40%. SO DESPITE THE GROWTH OF THIS ELECTORATE THERE ARE STILL SEVERAL SOCIETAL AND SYSTEMIC BARRIERS THAT PREVENT ASIAN AMERICANS FROM EXERCISING THEIR BE AND PLEDGE POWER. LANGUAGE DIVERSE CITI QUITE PERHAPS ASIAN AMERICANS COME FROM OVER 30 NATIONS SPEAKING 100 LANGUAGES AND COUNTLESS DIALECT WITHIN THOSE LARGE AND THEN THEY ALSO SAY IT CROSS SECTIONS OF DIFFERENT IDENTITIES. SO WHETHER THOSE ARE NATIONAL TUBES WITH ETHNIC TIES, THERE ARE DEEP ROOTS OF TRADE, MIGRATION AND HISTORY OF COLONIZATION IN ASIA THAT PEOPLE CARRY INTO THEIR IDENTITIES WHEN THEY MOVE HERE TO THE U.S. LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY PRESENT CHALLENGES FOR VOTERS AND BOASTERS ELECTION ALIKE, SO IN THE 2000 STATE SUPREME COURT RACE, LANGUAGE, MISTRANSLATIONS ON CHINESE BALLOTS DIRECTED VOTERS TO SELECT TWO, AND IT THEN IN THE SIMPLIFIED OR THE TRANSLATION BETWEEN SIMPLIFIED AND TRADITIONAL WERE INCORRECT, CAUSING SEVERAL OF THOSE BALLOTS TO THEN BE DISCARDED. AND THEN WE KNOW THAT BOARDS ELECTIONS ARE ALSO URUGUAY USING SURNAME ANALYSIS IN THEIR PROVISION SERVICES, BUT AS AN ASIANMAN WITH THE LAST NAME TORRES, BUT THERE’S A LOT OF US AND WE’RE NO SPANISH SPEAKERS BUT IT’S A LEGACY OF A LONG HISTORY THAT MEANS THAT SURNAME ANALYSIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE MOST EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR SERVICE PROVISION. SO FROM REGISTRATION TO THE POLLS, A LACK OF TAILORED LANGUAGE, ACCESS SERVICES CONTINUES TO PREVENT PARE BARRIERS SO WHEN WE’RE LOOKING AT THINGS LIKE A CENTRALIZED DATABASE, ON ELECTION DATA WE HAVE A FEW RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WE’D LIKE TO SHARE. OFTEN THE GROWTH RATE OF COMMUNITY MEANS THAT THE DATA COLLECTION AND DATA FIELDS AREN’T NECESSARILY RESPONSIVE, AND SOME OF THE FASTEST-GROWING COMMUNITIES FOR IMMIGRANTS AND ASIAN AMERICANS IN NEW YORK STATE ARE IN PLACES THAT DO NOT COLLECT THAT DATA OR NOT YET BE WELL REFLECT IN THE CENSUS REPORTS, AND EVEN WITHIN THE ACS, IN THE AMERICAN SURVEY COMMUNITY, SOME OF THE CATEGORIES DO NOT FULLY CAPTURE LANGUAGES THAT COULD BE PROVIDED AS IS IN THE BILL RIGHT NOW. SO THE HIGHEST ASIAN LANGUAGE SPOKEN IS CHINESE. THE SEC HIGHEST LANGUAGE IS THE CATEGORY “OTHER LANGUAGES.” SO IF YOU ARE LOOKING PURELY AT ACS YOU HAVE TO HAVE HAVE WOULD HAVE TO GO INTO THE PUBLIC USE MICRODATA SURVEY PUMS, TO BACK INTO WHAT THOSE OTHER LANGUAGES ARE BUT THE PUMS REPORT DOES. AND THEN THE ACS ITSELF IS A LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT.% SO WE WOULD LIKE TO RECOMMEND THAT THIS DATABASE CLEARINGHOUSE INCLUDES PUBLICALLY AVAILABLE DATA FROM PUBLIC OFFICES EVEN IF THEY THEMSELVES MAY NOT BE STATEWIDE. THERE WERE DATA DISARGUE GRATION BILLS — THERE WAS A DATA DISAGGREGATION BILL PASSED IN THE SENATE WITH ONE OF THE MEMBERS OF THE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE AND PASSED THROUGH THE ASSEMBLY AS IT HAD A NUMBER OF YEARS BUT DID NOT BECOME LAW BUT WE KNOW LOCALITIES OF PASSED THEIR OWN DISAGGREGATION BILLS AND THAT PUBLICALLY AVAILABLE DATA COULD POTENTIALLY FILL GAPS IN WHAT THE ACS SURVEYS REPORT. AND THEN OUR OTHER RECOMMENDATION WOULD BE THAT IN WHATEVER FORMULA THE CENTRAL DATABASE IS CONSIDERING IS THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE A LAG BETWEEN THE CENSUS BYERS PUBLISHING OF SCHEDULES AND THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO AGE INTO CITIZEN VOTING AGE POPULATION, AS WELL AS PEOPLE WHO NATURALIZE INTO — IN THE TWO TO THREE-YEAR LAG BETWEEN THE COLLECTION OF DATA AND THE PUBLICATION OF IT AND THEN THE EVENTUAL IMPLEMENTATION OF IT. SO ESPECIALLY WITH REFORMS LIKE PRE-REGISTRATION AT 16 AND 17-YEAR-OLDS, WE CAN PRESUME THAT A CAROLINA NUMBER OF 1818-YEAR-OLD WILL NOW SHOW UP IN THE POLLS, AND WITH OVER 80,000 NEW YORKERS NATURALIZING EACH YEAR, WE THINK THAT SHOULD BE A CONSIDERATION AS WELL. I WOULD LIKE TO BRIEFLY TALK ABOUT PRE-CLEARANCE. AND CIVIL LIABILITY. I MAY JUST SKIP TO CIVIL LIABILITY FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, IN ADDITION TO THE VOTER ENGAGEMENT AND EDUCATION WORK THAT CPC DOES, WE ALSO LIKE TO HEAR BA FROM TOWER COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND KEEP THEM ENGAGED IN THE PROCESS, SO EVEN BEFORE PEOPLE ARE ELIGIBLE TO NATURALIZE, THEY CAN SERVE AS POLL WORKERS AND POLL INTERPRETERS. WE ALSO HAVE A NUMBER OF STAFF WHO TAKE ELECTION DAY OFF IN ORDER TO SERVE AT THE OTHER POLLS AND PROVIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS SERVICES. AND WHEN WE HEAR BACK FROM COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND WHEN I HEAR BACK FROM MY OWN COLLEAGUES, SOME OF THE COMMENTS THAT I HEAR ARE VERY DISHEARTENING. PEOPLE FEEL RUSHED TO FILL OUT THEIR BALLOT. PEOPLE ARE UNCLEAR ABOUT WHETHER THEY CAN ASK AN INTERPRETER FOR HELP, WHETHER THEY CAN BRING SOMEONE OF THEIR OWN CHOOSING INTO THE POLLS WITH THEM, AND THEN WE’VE ALSO HAD A STAFF WHO RECENTLY TURNED UP TO THEIR SHIFT AND THEY WERE TOLD, THIS IS FOR CITIZEN VOTERS ONLY. YOU CANNOT COME IN, AND HE HAD TO SAY, I AM A POLL WORKER AND I CAN COME IN. SO THE PERPETUAL FOREIGNER MYTH CONTINUES TO IMPACT OUR COMMUNITY MEMBERS, AND PARTICULARLY AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME. SO WHILE WE KNOW THERE IS CRAME NALEAO STATUTE WHERE LANGUAGE IS CENTERED ON EXPLICIT THREATS OF VALENTINE VICINITY OR INJURY, WITH THE FEDERAL ANTI-IMMIGRANT RHETORIC AS WELL AS HATE CRIMES THAT ARE RYANS CLOSER TO HOME, PEOPLE ARE MORE RETICENT TO STAND UP AND ENFORCE THEIR RIGHTS FOR FEAR OF RETALIATION. AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT THIS THREAT OF THE SPECTER OF VIOLENCE DOESN’T NEED TO BE EXPLICIT, AS SENATOR LEO MENTIONED, A NUMBER OF OUR COMMUNITY MEMBERS COME FROM PRESS IS I HAVE REGIMES AT HOME — REPRESSIVE REGIMES AT HOME. PEOPLE OFTEN MISTAKE ASIAN AMERICANS AS BEING APOLITICAL BUT IT’S A COMMUNITY THAT RECEIVES A HIGH NUMBER OF ASYLUM APPLICATIONS BECAUSE THEY ARE SHOW POLITICAL THAT THEY ARE COMING HERE. THERE’S A LOT OF THAT HOLDOVER ANXIETY BUT WE DON’T NECESSARILY NEED TO EVEN LOOK OVERSEAS TO HAVE HISTORICAL PRECEDENCE VOTER SUPPRESSION AND VIOLENCE. IT WEIGHS HEAVILY ON ALL OF US THAT THIS IS THE TUESDAY AFTER THE 55th ANNIVERSARY OF BLOOD SUNDAY TO HAVE THIS HEARING WHICH IS SO HISTORIC AND SO IMPORTANT AND SO EXCITING. SO WE’RE VERY PLEASED TO SEE THAT THE CIVIL LIABILITY FOR I VOTER INTIMIDATION IS INCLUDEDIL BURDEN AND RISK ASSOCIATED WITH LITIGATION WOULD BE LIFTED. SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME, AND WE’RE VERY PLEASED TO CONTINUE TO PARTNER WITH YOU.>>I WILL JUST COMMENT. THANK YOU FOR — IS THAT BETTER? JUST IN THE INTERESTS OF TIME BECAUSE WE HAVE A NUMBER OF THINGS WE NEED TO GET TO TODAY BUT I JUST WANT THOU FOR YOUR TESTIMONY, FOR ALL YOUR TREMENDOUS WORK IN CHINATOWN AND THROUGHOUT NEW YORK TO REPRESENT THESE COMMUNITIES, AND OBVIOUSLY WE WILL BE REVIEWING WRITTEN AND COMMENTS AS WE GO FORWARD. AND I ALSO JUST WANT TO, SINCE YOU HAVEN’T SPOKEN BEFORE, JUST THANK THE CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE FOR PUTTING FORTH THIS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT AND THOROUGH PIECE OF LEGISLATION, WHICH WE LOOK FORWARD WORKING TO ADVANCE. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU.>>YEAH, AGAIN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ALL OF THE WORKS.AS YOK THROUGHOUT THE STATE BUT ALSO IN MY DISTRICT IN SUNSET PARK, AND I’VE HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH A NUMBER OF CPC EMPLOYEES THAT DO DEMOCRACY WORK, AND WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL FOR THAT AND APPRECIATIVE, PARTICULARLY AROUND EARLY VOTING, WHICH HAS BEEN VERY HELPFUL, AND WE HAVE REVIEWED THE SUBMITTED TESTIMONY, WE LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING TO WORK WITH THE — I THINK YU ALREADY ADDRESSED, I WAS GOING TO ASK THAT YOU FELT THE BIGGEST FACTORS WERE THAT DISCOURAGED PARTICIPATING OF THE API COMMUNITY. I THINK YOU’VE ALREADY ADDRESSED SOME OF THAT. BUT IF YOU COULD, I GUESS, SUCCINCTLY SAY KIND OF WHAT THE MAIN PROTECTION YOU GUYS WOULD BE SEEKING, WHAT WOULD HELP DRIVE UP PARTICIPATION.>>I THINK LANGUAGE ACCESS IS SO KEY. I HAVE A LOT OF THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THIS. I THINK HANDLE ACCESS, REALLY LOWERING THE THRESHOLD IS SO CRITICAL IMPORTANT. THIS ISN’T CURRENTLY A MECHANISM TO CAPTURE ALL OF LANGUAGES SPOKEN ACROSS THE STATE, AND CERTAINLY THE DIVERSITY WITHIN THE ASIAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IS REFLECT ACROSS MANY OTHER IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES AS WELL. I THINK THAT IS A LARGE BARRIER AND PEOPLE ARE — MANY IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES, IF NOT POLITICAL AT HOME, ARE CERTAINLY POLITICIZED IN THE CURRENTLY ENVIRONMENT, AND I THINK IT’S NOT FOR LACK OF WANT, IT’S THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT WE’RE PRESENTING, AND AS SENATOR BAILEY SHARED, THE TOOLS THAT WE’RE PROVIDING TO THE COMMUNITY TO MAKE SURE WE’RE MITT BEGINNING AT ALL OF THOSE OTHER SYSTEMIC BARRIERS AND HURDLES AS WELL, AND I THINK THT SUCCINCT. SO THANK YOU.>>NO, THAT WAS PRETTY GOOD. SENATOR LUE.>>THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN. THANK YOU, AMY, FOR JOINING US. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SHE SAID, MR. CHAIRMAN, BASE JUST WALKED IN. I TRIED TO GET BACK HERE IN TIME TO HEAR HER TESTIMONY. BUT WHATEVER THE HELL SHE SAID, I AGREE WITH. IT WAS.>>IT WAS VERY EL WENT, REST ASSURED. — VERY ELOQUENT, REST ASSURED. THANK YOU, SENATOR LUE. NEXT UP OUR END. ULTIMATELY TESTIFIER. YES, ROUND OF APPLAUSE. IS ELANA CANTILLO FROM THE NEW YORK IMMIGRATION COALITION.>>GOOD AFTERNOON. CHAIRMAN MYRIE AND MEMBERS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HOLDING THIS HEARING AND ALLOWING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO. MY NAME IS ELANA CANTILLO AND I’M THE SENIOR DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY AT THE NEW YORK IMMIGRATION COALITION. ON BEHALF OF THE NYIC AND OUR 200 NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERS ACROSS THE STATE TO WORK WITH IMMIGRANT WORKERS WE WANT TO AFFIRM OUR STRONG SUPPORTIVE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS PACTING AS PREVIOUSLY STATED, THE NEED FOR THESE PROTECTIONS DATED BACK TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S ENACTMENT OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965. IN RESPONSE TO THE JIM CROW LAWS AND WIDESPREAD VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT AND INTIMIDATION. THIS ACT GAVE THE GOVERNMENT THE ABILITY TO ACTUALLY ENFORCE THE 14th AND 15th AMENDMENTS WITH ONE OF THE MAIN TOOLS THAT HAS BEEN SPOKEN TO AT LENGTH, INCLUDING BEING PRE-CLEARANCE. THE PRE-CLEARANCE REQUIREMENT PROHIBITED CERTAIN JURISDICTIONS FROM IMPLEMENTING ANY CHANGES THAT MIGHT AFFECT VOTER ACCESS, AND THIS INCLUDED THE PRE-APPROVAL FROM THE U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE U.S. DISTRICT COURTS TO ENSURE THAT THESE CHANGES DID NOT ALLOW FOR DISCRIMINATION AROUND CERTAIN KEY COMMUNITIES. NINE STATES AND THE SOUTH WERE COVERED IN THEIR ENTIRETY WITH SELECT COUNTIES AND OTHER STATES THAT INCLUDED NEW YORK STATE’S OWN BRONX, KINGS AND NEW YORK COUNTIES. THE U.S. SUPREME COURT EXCISION DECISION IN 2013 LARGELY INVALIDATED THE PRE-CLEARANCE REQUIREMENT, AND AS A RESULT MANY STATES HAVE BEGUN SUSTAINING ASSAULT ON VOTING RIGHTS, SPECIFICALLY TARGETING NON-WHITE VOTERS. SOME OF THESE CHANGES HAVE ALSO BEEN HIGHLIGHTED HERE AND THEY INCLUDE CHANGES TO POLL SITE HOURS AND LOCATIONS, ELIMINATING EARLY VOTING OPPORTUNITIES, INJURE MEANDERING AND GROOSING — GERRYMANDERING AND I. DI REQUIREMENTS. ENFORCEMENT OF THE VOTING IT’S ACT DEPENDS ON THE BILLINGNESS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS TO OUR CITIZENS AND IT’S BEEN MADE CLEAR THAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTERING HAS NOT MADE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO DO SO. ALTHOUGH MOSTLIY ASSOCIATED WITH THE SOUTHERN STATES, VOTER SUPPRESSION AND DISENFRANCHISEMENT ALSO HAS A LONG HISTORY IN OUR STATE OF NEW YORK, AND NOW IT IS UP TO EACH STATE TO DEFEND THE VOTING RIGHTS OF ITS RESIDENTS. SEVERAL STATES HAVE PASSED THEIR OWN VERSION OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT, AND NEW YORK MUST FOLLOW AND DO THE SAME. THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT WOULD BE THE STRONGEST AND MOST COMPREHENSIVE STATE LAW OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT TO DATE AND WILL ESTABLISH NEW YORKERS AS A NATIONAL LEADER ON VOTING RIGHTS. SOME OF THE KEY COMPONENTS OF THE LAW INCLUDE THE LEGAL TOOLS TO FIGHT VOTER SUPPRESSION OR PROTECTIONS, CLEAR PROTECTIONS UNDER FEDERAL LAW. THE VITAL PRE-CLEARANCE PROGRAM, THE ABILITY FOR NON-PROFITS AND OTHER LEGAL PROVIDERS TO BRING THE CASES, BRING CASES AGAINST VOTER DISCRIMINATION, THE LANGUAGE ACCESS COMPONENT, AND PROTECTIONS AGAINST VOTER INTIMIDATION AND DECEPTION. THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT IS A VITAL AND NECESSARY TOOL TO SAFEGUARD THE RIGHT TO VOTE ALL ACROSS NEW YORK AND MUST BE PASSED THIS YEAR. WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND LOOK FORWARD TO SUBMITTING OUR TESTIMONY AFTER THIS AND I’M HAPPY TO FOLLOW UP WITH ANY QUESTIONS.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TESTIMONY AND THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND THE WORK. WE LOOK FORWARD TO REVIEWING YOUR SUBMITTED TESTIMONY.>>AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO PARTY NEARING WITH YOU IN THE FUTURE. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO. LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, MAYA CONTRERAS FROM THE ALL WOMEN’S PROGRESS PARTY.>>GOOD AFTERNOON. LET ME ADJUST MY MIC HERE. THANK YOU, SENATOR KAVANAGH. THANK YOU, SENATOR LUE. THANK YOU, CHAIRMAN MYRIE FOR HAVING IN CRITICAL, CRITICAL HEARING ON VOTING RIGHTS. MY NAME IS MAYA CONTRERAS I AM A VOTING RIGHTS ADVOCATE AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE NON-PARTISAN NOT-FOR-PROFIT ALL WOMEN’S PROGRESS POLICY SECTOR. I RESPECTFULLY SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING TESTIMONY IN STRONG SUPPORT OF THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT. MY WORK AS A VOTING RIGHTS ADVOCATE IS TO BRING AWARENESS TO THE OBSTACLES THAT ELIGIBLE VOTERS AND MARGINALIZED GROUPS FACE WHICH ATTEMPTING TO CAST THEIR BALLOT HERE IN NEW YORK STATE AND THROUGHOUT THE U.S. ACCESSING THE BALLOT BOX FOR BLACK, LANT, AAPI, NATIVE, TRANS AND DISABLED VOTERS HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY CHALLENGING AND AS REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LEWIS STATE, THE SUPREME COURT STRUCK A DEARING INTO THE HEART OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT. PROTECTIONS WERE NARROWED AFTER RAISING THE THRESHOLD FOR LIABILITY UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE VRA AND DISMANTLING SECTION 5 PRECLEARANCE. ALL TOGETHER THE SUPREME COURT SHELBY COUNTY DECISION. THE ABSENCE OF SECTION 5 PRE-CLEARANCE HAS MADE IT DIFFICULT TO IDENTIFY HARMFUL VOTING CHANGES BEFORE THEY TAKE EFFECT BECAUSE STATES AND LOCALITIES ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED TO NOTIFY FEDERAL OFFICIALS OF THE CHANGES TO VOTING LAWS. THE ABSENCE OF SECTION 5 HAVE LED TO THE PROLIFERATION OF VOTER SUPPRESSION, VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT AND VOTER INTIMIDATION. I WANT TO BLUNTLY STATE THE PURPOSE OF THE DEPLOYMENT OF VOTER SUPPRESSION TACTICS. IT’S NOT ONLY TO DENY ELIGIBLE VOTERS AND MARGINALIZED GROUP ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX BUT TO KEEP THEM FROM ATTAINING ANY REAL POLITICAL POWER HERE IN OUR DEMOCRACY, AND I APPLAUD THE IMMENSE PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN MADE IN NEW YORK STATE THIS PAST YEAR ON VOTING RIGHTS WITH OUR NEW SENATE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY. AND I’M SO THRILLED TO SEE THAT A SERIES OF BILLS TO ESTABLISH EARLY VOTING, NO EXCUSE ABSENTEE VOTING, MODERNIZE AND EXPAND VOTER REGISTRATION TO MAIM A FEW, BUT WITHOUT THE PROTECTIONS OF THE VRA ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL, OUR STATE DESPERATELY NEEDS A NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT THAT SENATOR MYRIE INTRODUCED FOR CONSIDERATION. MANY THINK OF NEW YORK AS A LIBERAL BASTION WHERE VOTER SUPPRESSION COULD NEVER HAPPEN BUT ONLY A NEW MILES WHEN WHERE I SIT RIGHT NOW VOTER SUPPRESSION TOOK PLACE IN TROY, NEW YORK WHEN OFFICIALS — TO CHECK IF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WERE ILLEGALLY REGISTERING TO VOTE. THAT WOULD AMOUNT TO VOTER FRAUD. FURTHER, FRAUD IS ALMOST NON-EXISTENT IN THE UNITED STATES. AS MY FRIEND AT THE BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE HAVE STATED, IT IS MORE LIKELY THAT AN AMERICAN WILL BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING THAN TO IMPERSONATE SOMEONE AT THE POLLS, AND I WILL ADD ALSO TO VOTE UNDOCUMENTED. WHAT DOES EXIST IS VOTER DILUTION, VOTER SUPPRESSION, VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT, VOTER INTIMIDATION, PARTISAN AND RACIAL GERRYMANDERING, DISINFORMATION, LACK OF INVESTMENT AND VOTER MOBILIZATION AND A PERCEIVED LACK OF POWER OR IMPORTANT IMPORTANCE AS A VOTER. WITH THE PASSAGE OF CNYVRA NEW YORK STATE WOULD JOIN CALIFORNIA AND WASHINGTON IN HAVING OUR OWN STATE VOTING RIGHTS ACT THAT WOULD BUILD UPON THE COMPREHENSIVE FRAMEWORK OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965. THE NYVRA WOULD BOTH ADDRESS A WIDE VARIETY OF OVERLOOKED INFRINGEMENTS ON THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND PUT IN PLACE RECOLLECTIONS PROTECTIONS THAT WOULD BE AMONG THE STRONGEST IN THE COUNTRY. NEW YORK COULD SEND A POWERFUL SIGNAL TO THE REST OF THE UNITED STATES THAT ILLUSTRATES THAT WE VALUE THE VOICES OF ALL OUR ELIGIBLE VOTERS EQUALLY, NOT ONLY TO PICK THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS BUT TO HAVE A REAL SAY IN CRITICAL POLICIES THAT AFFECT THEIR LIVES IN THE MOST VULNERABLE NEW YORK. AS SENATE MAJORITY LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS SAID WE NEED MORE VOTERS IN OUR DEMOCRACY NOT VIEWER. THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT WOULD BE THE MOST ROBUST AND WOULD FIRMLY SHOWCASE THE EMPIRE STATE AS A LEADER IN PROMOTING AND PROTECTING POLITICAL PARTICIPATION. I COULD HOPE OR, THAT WE WOULD SOON HAVE A USE CONGRESS THAT WOULD CHAMPION VOTING RIGHTS AND RESTORE AND EXPAND UPON THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965. BUT WE IN NEW YORK STATE CANNOT WAIT FOR THAT EXALTED DAY. THE CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY ON THE SUPREME COURT HAVE INDICATED TO US WITH THEIR 2013 SHELBY V HOLDER DECISION THAT THEY HAVE LITTLE INTEREST IN VERSING THEIR DECISION TO RESTORE THE MOST EFFECTIVE CIVIL RIGHTS LAW IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY. SINCE THE GUTTING OF THE VOTING A NATION 1688 POLLING CLOSURES, AND MOSTLY BLACK AND LATIN X COMMUNITIES. 16 MILLION VOTERS WERE PURGED BETWEEN THE FEDERAL ELECTIONS 2014 AND 2016. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE A RECORD 6.1 MILLION AMERICANS WHO ARE FORBIDDEN TO VOTE BECAUSE OF FELONY DISENFRANCHISEMENT NOR THE ONE-THIRD OF ALL PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES REPORTED HAVING DIFFICULT ACCESSING THE POLLS BECAUSE OF A LACK OF ACCESSIBILITY. AND STRICT VOTER ID STATES WITNESS TRANS WOMEN AND MEN FACE BARRIERS BECAUSE OF DIFFICULTIES OBJECT TANK IDs THAT ARE DEAL WITH BIAS BECAUSE OF MISUNDERSTANDING OF LAW WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR GENDER. THESE ARE JUST A FEW EXAMPLES OF WHY WE DESPERATELY NEED AN EFFECTIVELY CIVIL RIGHTS LAW, MORE OF THEM, NOT LESS OF THEM. I, ON BEHALF OF ALL WOMEN’SPROGE PASSAGE OF NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT WITHOUT DELAY. I THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND FOR YOUR TESTIMONY. WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU AS WELL. THERE WE GO. [APPLAUSE] AND SO — BUT BEFORE WE CONCLUDE, THERE’S ONE MORE ROUND OF APPLAUSE TO GIVE. WITHOUT THESE FOLLOWING PEOPLE, THIS HEARING WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE. A LOT OF THE WORK THAT WE DO WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE. SO I WANT TO THANK THE STAFF, ENTER THEIR MY NAME IS INTO THE RECORD. MARIAH PICKARD, SIGHAN, NICK PETITIONLER. JONATHAN, OUR CENTRAL STAFF, ANDREW, LIZ ROBINS AND ALL OF OUR TECH PEOPLE WHO CAN’T SEEN ON THE CAMERA BUT WHO ARE MAKING THIS HAPPEN. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [APPLAUSE] AND ALSO TO OBVIOUSLY THE MILLIONS OF VIEWERS AT HOME. THANK YOU FOR STING WITH US THIS MORNING, AND THAT CONCLUDES –>>WAIT! ONE MORE APPLAUSE.>>OKAY.>>FOR OUR CHAIRMAN EXTRAORDINAIRE. [APPLAUSE]>>PARDON THE INFRUITION.>>THANK YOU, SENATOR LUE. WE NOW CONCLUDE THE PUBLIC HEARING ON THE NEW YORK VOTING RIGHTS ACT. THANK YOU

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