and lack of competent poll workers illustrated justhow antiquated New York’s election law is. Clearlyour current election system could not handle thenumber of New Yorkers who attempted to cast aballot. We need to institute a voting process that iseasy, efficient and secure as possible.
Assembly Member Kellner voting on Election Day -- after waiting an hour and a half
I believe mail-in balloting is a solution that NewYork State should study. It has proven to be aneffective and secure method of voting in other states,such as Oregon and Washington. It provides voterswith the same capacity to make their vote count withconvenience and without the human or technicalerror that New Yorkers faced in this last Presidentialelection. Vote-by-mail elections improve theaccuracy of voter registration and also simplify theelectoral process.
Oregon's voting is done 100% by mail. Their ballotmarking program allows voters to mark, review, andprint a ballot for return. Washington State also votesprimarily through mail-in ballots. Ballot materialsare mailed or made available to voters at least 18days prior to an election. The ballots are completedby the voter and placed in an inner securityenvelope. That envelope is then placed in the outerreturn envelope where the voter signs an affidavit toensure a ballot’s authenticity, making mail-in votingsafe and secure. Signed envelopes are then mailed nolater than Election Day.
I have also signed onto legislation which establishesearly voting in New York State. This legislationwould enact a number of fixes to help alleviateproblems our state may face in future elections. Allregistered voters would be able to cast their ballotsas early as two weeks before a general election andone week before a special election. Also, at leastfive polling places would be required in each of our62 counties. I think these are much needed steps onthe way to reforming our entire elections process andI look forward to making this legislation a reality.New Yorkers deserve a voting system that is bothsimple and convenient.
The Co-op and Condo Tax Abatement
Many condo and co-op owners on the Upper EastSide, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island have been ableto remain in the city due - in large part - to aproperty tax abatement making it affordable. Thetax abatement expired this year and, unfortunately,the legislature ended its session without anagreement to extend it for co-op and condo owners.Those who are worried about receiving a higher taxbill next month have nothing to fear. The New York City’s Department of Finance will send outestimated tax bills as if the abatement is still inplace. When the legislature reconvenes in January,our first priority is the vote to reauthorize theprogram retroactively. It is important to me tocontinue to fight keep this abatement in place so thatNew York’s property owners will not be priced outof their homes.
The Fight Continues AgainstHydrofracking in New York
For several years, there has been an effort underwayto allow drilling for natural gas in upstate New York through a process known as hydraulic fracturing,commonly referred to as “hydrofracking”.Hydrofracking uses a mixture of nearly 600chemicals, many of them kept secret from the public,and millions of gallons of water, which are blastedunderground in order to destabilize rock and shale toextract natural gas.I have opposed hydrofracking from the verybeginning because it is not yet proven that it can bedone safely and without poisoning our water orcausing other environmental damage.Hydrofracking poses a real danger to our state and -last year - I sponsored a bill in the Assembly to banit entirely.