Target: New York State Senate
Goal: Create fairly financed public elections in New York, eliminating the disproportionate influence of private special interest
Efforts in New York to close the loopholes that allow the wealthy a disproportionate influence over elections are gaining momentum state-wide. Governor Andrew Cuomo has spoken out against the fundraising process he finds “deeply unpleasant” and is looking to pass campaign finance reform.
“The least favorite part of my job is the fundraising part. But until the rules are changed I don’t have an alternative,” Cuomo said about the $22 million he has already raised for his reelection campaign next year. He notes his lack of personal wealth combined with the status quo of the system as a justification to actively fundraise. Cuomo has expressed frustration at groups spending endless amounts to influence politics in Albany, and wants to put an end to that system.
In this day and age, running a campaign without a personal supply of wealth presents incredible challenges. In his State of the State address, Cuomo said he wants a new disclosure law that makes donations over $500 publicly available within two days. Cuomo is also now undertaking a telephone town hall meeting to discuss the issue with constituents. He believes lawmakers all over the state are frustrated by the same status quo, and is thus optimistic about the chances of actually accomplishing real reform.
The organization “Fair Elections for New York” laments and protests the ability of multinational corporations to avoid taxes by utitilzing offshore shelters, while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to support political candidates who are sympathetic to their own special interests. The advocates at Fair Elections support a system of public campaign financing, which they believe will put elections “back in the hands of voters.” Take action now to support fair election financing in New York by signing the petition below.
Dear New York State Senate,
The disproportionate influence of the very wealthy in elections is directly antagonistic to the mission of a true democracy. All votes are meant to be equal in America, and the ability of corporations and affluent individuals to overpower those votes and influence elections as they please destroys one of the central goals of democracy. Additionally, such a system discourages people from engaging civically in politics, as they feel their opinions and efforts will not make a difference.
Please set an example for the rest of the country and take this important step to reform campaign finance laws in New York. As a state that prides itself on diversity and tolerance, you have a responsibility and an historic opportunity to set the tone to create more equitable elections all over the country, and bring democracy back to its true meaning.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alex Lee via Flickr