By Kat Massey
Rod Watson’s recent commentary in The Buffalo News, titled “For real reform, check out the back of the ballot on Nov. 2” essentially provided a public service announcement.
On voting days, he stated that ballot proposals often get little attention, since the main focus is on the candidates running for offices. However, he reminded that the “structural underpinnings of democracy [i.e. foundation] will be decided via proposals . . . .”
There will be five proposals on the November 2 ballot. He highlights three of them “will directly impact the process of democracy.”
• Proposal 3 – would eliminate the requirement that a person be registered at least 10 days before an election in order to vote.
(Getting rid of the provision would increase turnout and allow New York to join other states that have implemented same-day voter registration.)
• Proposal 4 – would [permanently] authorize no-excuse absentee ballot voting.
• Proposal 1 (partial information): It would freeze the size of the State Senate at the current number of 63 — require the state to count all residents, including non-citizens — for purposes of apportionment [i.e., division and distribution of Representatives among the states]. And, it would mandate that prisoners be counted at their last place of residency for redistricting instead of the prison’s location.
Mr. Watson’s article included, the president of the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara statement, “Too many voters forfeit their right to be heard [due to] never even turning over the ballot to find the proposals on the back.”
Freeze above Point! Raise your hands! How many didn’t know or forgot the (fairly recent) scannable ballots may contain proposals on the back?? My hand is raised.
(Previously, Proposals — with the descriptions — were prominently mounted in Voting Booths near the voting levers.)
BOARD OF ELECTIONS — a suggestion: Post the Proposals and the instruction for voters to enter Proposal choices on the back of the Ballot — on the inside of each cardboard divider — at the tables where voters complete the ballots.