New York Voters Approve New Environmental Rights, Disapprove Voting and Redistricting Reforms
*Reposted from Gotham Gazette. Written by Ethan Geringer-Sameth*
With more than 100,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted, New York voters thus far appear to have approved two state constitutional amendments on the general election ballot and voted down three others. It is unlikely that the mail-in ballots will be enough to sway some or all of the outcomes, setting the stage for only two of the five ballot referendums to pass, though it is not impossible.
The statewide results lend traction to environmental advocates but deliver a major blow to election reformers seeking to continue the momentum of the last three years. They also settle the latest contentious chapter of the state's legislative redistricting reforms, which divided good government groups and elected officials this year -- just as they did in 2014 when another referendum made major changes to the state constitution.
Yorkers will now have a constitutional right "to clean air and water, and a healthful environment," something only a handful of other states have. The proposal, which was Question 2 on the ballot, received roughly 61% of the statewide in-person vote, according to the State Board of Elections' unofficial results.
A second successful amendment, what was Question 5, will broaden the jurisdiction of the New York City Civil Court, allowing claims to keep up with inflation and for cases to be more evenly distributed among the courts. It garnered about 54% of in-person votes from early voting and Election Day.
But the measures to allow for same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting both appear to have failed. As does the amendment containing new rules for the decennial drawing of state legislative and Congressional district lines, which will be finalized by Albany lawmakers next year. It would have made changes related to population apportionment, including how prisoners and undocumented immigrants are counted, the size of the State Senate, and how district lines get approved.
For the full article visit: https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/10879-new-york-voters-constitutiona…