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New Yorkers to decide fate of 5 ballot proposals that would amend state constitution

Denis Slattery, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

ALBANY, N.Y. — New Yorkers heading to the polls for the general election have the chance to make some big changes, with major ramifications, to the state constitution.

Early voting began on Saturday and will continue until Sunday, Oct. 31. Election Day is Nov. 2.

The ballots include five proposals that will let voters approve or shoot down sweeping overhauls to the state’s complicated redistricting process, enshrine environmental protections in the state constitution and even remove voter registration deadlines and potentially set the stage for the expansion of mail-in voting.

Also on the ballot is an amendment that would allow the city’s civil courts to hear and decide claims up to $50,000 instead of the current cap of $25,000.

All of the constitutional changes were approved by the state Legislature in back-to-back sessions separated by an election before going before voters.

Statewide ballot measures have a pretty good chance of getting the green light from voters based on the fate of past proposals. Of 50 initiatives proposed between 1985 and 2020, 37 were approved, according to Ballotpedia.

 

How the five proposals before New Yorkers this year will fare remains to be seen as early voting began this weekend ahead of the Nov. 2 general election.

The first measure is the most controversial and sweeping of the bunch as it encompasses several changes related to New York’s redistricting process, currently underway following last year’s census.

At the moment, an independent commission, created by a 2014 constitutional amendment, is tasked with redrawing boundaries for Congressional and state legislative districts and submitting maps to the Legislature for final approval.

The amendment changes how the Legislature approves maps presented by the commission, requiring a simple majority vote in both the Senate and Assembly regardless of which party is in control of either chamber. Democrats currently control both chambers, requiring a 60% vote to approve new maps under the existing law. If the houses were split, a majority vote would be needed.

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