In the wake of the terrible nationwide upheaval generated by last year’s suspension of normal voting safeguards amid the COVID pandemic, many states have moved to institute common sense reforms designed to protect voting integrity and restore confidence in our election system.
Predictably, New York has moved in the opposite direction, with a series of proposed state constitutional amendments that, if passed, will permanently enshrine the Democrats’ supermajority in both houses of the state legislature, while offering an open invitation to voter fraud.
Fortunately, the process for amending the state constitution in New York gives voters the final say. After both houses of the legislature pass an amendment for two consecutive sessions, it's placed on the ballot — and We the People get to vote for or against its passage.
And so on Election Day this year, we will be deciding whether to pass amendments empowering the Democratic legislature to control redistricting; enabling new voters to register on Election Day; and allowing no-excuses, universal access to mail-in absentee ballots.
Unfortunately, many voters in New York are not even aware of these ballot propositions.
There has been very little publicity or discussion about them — clearly by design. And reading the wording on the ballot will not be very helpful.
It's short and innocuous, with little explanation and no discussion of their pros and cons.
Here's what they would do:
Ballot Proposition 1: Redistricting:
This state constitutional amendment would undermine the Independent Redistricting Commission adopted by voters just seven years ago to end partisan redrawing of state and congressional legislative districts. It would empower the majority party in the legislature — the Democrats — to control redistricting to its partisan advantage.
Even Newsday, Long Island’s liberal daily newspaper, urged New Yorkers to "Vote No" on Proposition 1. "Albany’s Democratic supermajority," the paper charged in a recent editorial, "is trying here to tinker prematurely with New York’s new system for drawing state and federal district lines," in order "to trash the commission’s work and draw its own maps."
We've already seen, in just the past several years, what this one-party stranglehold on state government has meant for New York: out-of-control spending and taxes that are devastating our economy and hurting families; corruption at the highest levels of state government; no-bail legislation that is keeping violent, dangerous criminals on our streets; attacks on parental rights in the education and healthcare of our children; and a radical pro-abortion law that goes beyond even the extremes of Roe v. Wade.
Ballot Proposition 3: Same Day Registration:
This proposition would amend the state Constitution to allow Election Day registration, with no adequate time for verifying the eligibility of new registrants before they vote. And they will vote by machine, rather than paper ballot, so their votes cannot be disqualified if it's later determined that their registration is invalid.
Moreover, such last-minute new voter registration will only encourage more of the kind of 11th hour negative smear campaigns, often based on half-truths or outright falsehoods, so poisoning our political system.
Ballot Proposition 4: Absentee Ballots:
This proposition would amend the state Constitution to allow "no-excuses" absentee voting.
Currently, New Yorkers must have a reason — illness, disability, scheduled absence from home on Election Day — to vote by absentee ballot.
Allowing universal absentee voting will — as we saw last year, when such voting was allowed due to the COVID pandemic — result in extraordinary delays in tallying election results.
Worse, it is an open invitation to vote harvesting and outright fraud.
In 2005, a bipartisan commission chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Reagan and Bush White House Chief of Staff James Baker warned that "Absentee ballots remain the largest source for potential voter fraud" through such corruption as ballots being intercepted in the mail, pressure and intimidation of voters, and vote-buying schemes.
They recommended extensive safeguards against such practices before absentee balloting is expanded. None of those safeguards are included in this proposed amendment.
These three state constitutional amendments will permanently compromise voting integrity in New York and eviscerate any semblance of bipartisan balance in state government.
New Yorkers should vote "No" on Propositions 1, 3, and 4.
For three decades, Rick Hinshaw has given voice to faith values in the public square, as a columnist, then editor of The Long Island Catholic; Communications Director for the Catholic League and the N.Y. State Catholic Conference; co-host of The Catholic Forum cable TV show; and now editor of his own blog, Reading the Signs. Visit Rick’s home page at rickhinshaw.com. Read Rick Hinshaw's Reports — More Here.
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