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Dueling Cuomo/Silver election law ideas floated

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – In today's can't-we-all-just-get-along entry:

As Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman were making their way down a Capitol hall this afternoon to unveil a plan for early voting procedures in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aides hit the send button on a bill with the governor’s own ideas on the topic of election laws.

The measures floated by the governor, which included new election law enforcement powers at the state election board, was blasted to reporters' email accounts just minutes before Silver took to the microphone to tout his new voting plan.

The Assembly Democratic package, backed by Schneiderman, would let New Yorkers start voting 15 days early for general elections and eight days early for primaries. The extra costs, for poll watchers and keeping offices open into the evenings and on weekends, would be covered by the counties, not the state, Silver said.

The Assembly leader said the goal is to improve the 59.5 voter turnout level New York saw in 2012. In 2010, Schneiderman said, New York’s voter turnout ranked 48th in the nation.

"We can do better," Silver said.

Cuomo’s plans floated in two batches Tuesday included reducing the number of signatures needed for candidates to get onto a ballot, a step he says will help challengers take on incumbents. He would also let people vote in the wrong polling place as long as they vote in the county of their residence, and residents could register to vote 10 days before an election instead of the current 25 days. His set of ideas also included a new enforcement officer at the state elections board, who he would appoint, to ensure lawmakers and donors are following election laws and limiting the power of local political party bosses to give ballot line spots to candidates not enrolled in their parties.

Missing from the governor’s plan was any mention of his initiative to permit a taxpayer-funded campaign system.

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Albany | Andrew Cuomo
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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