Union resolutions

Resolution to support the expansion of voting rights in New York

WHEREAS, New York’s state elections are a national embarrassment, plagued by poorly-designed ballots, an antiquated registration process, confusing deadlines, long lines to vote, access difficulties for the disabled, and malfunctioning voting machines; and

WHEREAS, voter turnout in New York has historically been low, with only 57 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot in the 2016 presidential election and just 12 percent of eligible voters showing up for the 2017 mayoral primary in New York City; and

WHEREAS, 37 states offer early voting but New York does not, requiring voters to give an excuse even to file an absentee ballot; and

WHEREAS, voting is a fundamental right and it is the solemn obligation of government at every level to secure that right by making voting easy, accessible and as intuitive as possible; and

WHEREAS, the United Federation of Teachers has worked to help its members and their students register and turn out to vote and supported measures at the city level, including reform of the New York City Board of Elections, to make voting easier and elections fairer and more transparent; and

WHEREAS, ranked choice voting would allow voters to more comprehensively communicate their wishes by listing candidates in each race in order of preference and would reduce the spoiler effect when more than two candidates run for one office; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the UFT endorses reforms to expand voting rights in New York State, including the establishment of early voting, automatic voter registration, flexibility to change party affiliation, the permanent restoration of voting rights to parolees, the consolidation of party primaries, same-day voter registration, well-designed ballots and working voting machines; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will call on the NYC and NYS Board of Elections to implement these reforms; and be it further

RESOLVED, supports ranked choice voting to foster vibrant competition among candidates for public office and help voters clarify their intent when casting a ballot.

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