Electeds Kallos and Walker Discuss Voting Improvements

Electeds Kallos and Walker Discuss Voting Improvements

On Thursday, March 26th, members of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council had the pleasure of speaking with two legislators, both of whom share the Council’s commitment to protecting and expanding the right to vote. 

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos explained the most important voting rights issues facing New York today, and about how NYDLC members can be active in addressing those issues.

Article written by Steering Committee Member Sam Linn

On Thursday, March 26th, members of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council had the pleasure of speaking with two legislators, both of whom share the Council’s commitment to protecting and expanding the right to vote. The respective Co-Chairs of the Legislative Affairs and Minority Voting Rights Committees invited New York City Council Member Ben Kallos (District 5) and New York State Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (District 55) to speak with members of the NYDLC about the most important voting rights issues facing New York today, and about how NYDLC members can be active in addressing those issues.

            First to speak was City Council Member Kallos, who was a founding member of the NYDLC and is now the Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee on the City Council. For Kallos, being the Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee allows him to oversee many aspects of campaign finance, which is one of the most important components of running fair elections in New York City. One of his achievements has been to strengthen the disclosure requirements by independent expenditure-only committees when they communicate with voters. In addition to his voting rights victories, Kallos also has much that he would like to accomplish. He is particularly focused on pre-registration for sixteen and seventeen year olds and called on NYDLC members to assist with the legal research for such major legislation. He also raised the possibility of expanding the New York Voter Guide to be translated into a total of eight languages. Lastly, he spoke about the benefits of a new system of simultaneously registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot, followed by an absentee ballot tracking system.

            Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, serving her first term in Albany as a member of the Assembly’s Election Law Committee, spoke about her heavy involvement in the latest round of redistricting in New York State. She would like to involve the NYDLC in ensuring that New York State is accurately represented during the next round of the process. She also presented a very exciting idea for a New York State Voting Rights Act and called upon NYDLC’s members to become involved with the drafting of and advocacy for such legislation.