Independent gubernatorial candidate supports election reform
Independent gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra will be lending his support to advocates of early voting at a rally in Foley Square this Sunday. Giambra is the likely Reform Party candidate for Governor of New York and supports a slew of election law reforms that will begin to end Albany’s pervasive culture of corruption, including:
Term Limits for All Levels of Government. Too many elections in New York State are completely uncompetitive. This is a tremendous disservice to the voters. Term Limits create open seats and invite more challengers. Voters are the big winners when they have more choices and more voices. It often seems like the advantages of incumbency are so great that you’re more likely to die than to lose re-election.
Initiative and Referendum. Voters should have the opportunity to enact public policy directly. Giambra strongly support giving voters at the state level the opportunity to put a question on the ballot, providing they’re able to collect a reasonable amount of valid signatures. If the majority of New Yorkers vote affirmatively, that proposition should be enacted into law.
Easing Ballot Access Requirements. Giambra strongly supports reducing the minimum number of signatures required to qualify for most elective offices from 5% of those registered in a party to 1%. Additionally, the practice of allowing opposing candidates to “challenge” a candidate’s petitions needs to end. The only arbiter of signature validity should be the election administrators and officials. Finally, as an alternative to circulating petitions, candidates will have the option of paying a filing fee to qualify for the ballot equivalent to 1% of the salary of the office they’re seeking.
Non-Partisan Board of Elections. The patronage and partisanship at the Board of Elections creates a polarized, toxic atmosphere in which candidates not favored by the political establishment can’t get a fair shake. New York needs a truly non-partisan election authority, staffed with civil service hires rather than political patronage.
Same Day Party Enrollment. If you have a valid photo ID, ability to prove your citizenship, and you are an eligible voter, then your registration as a member of a political party should take effect in a single day. States that have same day voter registration lead the nation in voter turnout.
Fair Elections for State Supreme Court. Giambra is in favor of ending the practice of nominating candidates for State Supreme Court at judicial conventions. Instead, candidates should be free to run in party primaries just as they do for other judicial offices like New York City Civil Court. This would end the absurd practice of having party bosses handpick Judges, a process which has become rife with abuse.
Runoff Elections. Currently candidates for nearly every office in New York State are elected with a plurality of votes. This can lead to candidates being elected, even though a majority of voters oppose them. It also leads to the so-called “spoiler effect” in which voters are penalized for voting their conscience.
Non-partisan Municipal Elections. Giambra strongly favors all municipal elections within New York City being non-partisan in nature, with all voters being given an opportunity to vote and every candidate being given an opportunity to run, even if they’re not the nominee of any one particular party – reducing the influence of party bosses.