voice for democracy

Editorial: Democracy depends on you – Albany Times Union

Poll worker Sarah McCoy, center, hands out ballots to voters at the Ancient Order of Hibernians on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Albany. (Paul Buckowski/Times Union)
You can read the Times Union’s news and editorials on the election atwww.timesunion.com/elections
Read the text of state proposals and find your polling place at www.elections.ny.gov
If you need a reason to vote this year, consider this: Across the country, some state legislatures are working hard to find ways to keep certain people from casting their ballots.
Nothing, we suspect, would encourage such politicians to keep trying to erode the right to vote more than an electorate that doesn’t exercise it.
And voting is more than a right; it’s a responsibility. It’s the role every citizen in a democracy can play in the peaceful transfer of power. Just look to Jan. 6 if you doubt it could be otherwise in America.
This year we endorsed in races in two communities that were particularly competitive. We also offered readers our view of four of the five statewide propositions (the fifth concerns raising the monetary threshold for New York City Civil Court; we take no position on that).
Here are our endorsements:
Supervisor: Kelly Mateja, a Democrat , has a stronger combination of resume, vision and skills than Republican Peter Crummey.
Mayor: Ron Kim, a Democrat, struck us as far more prepared for the job and the candidate most likely to help bring this city together after a year of turmoil.
Commissioner of Public Safety: James Montagnino, a Democrat, would bring unquestioned knowledge and experience to this critical post.
Commissioner of Finance: Minita Sanghvi, a Democrat, impressed us with her goals of a stronger rainy-day fund, a more inclusive government, a more year-round tourist economy, and green initiatives.
Commissioner of Accounts: Angela Rella , on the independent Accountability Party line, stands out for her extensive resume and her goals of making assessment grievances more fair and increasing diversity in the city’s boards, commissions and contracts.
Commissioner of Public Works: Domenique Yermolayev, a Democrat, offers some sensible, user-friendly ideas, including better informing the public of when services like snow removal and leaf pickup will be done.
Proposal 1: Yes. This proposal would primarily amend the state constitution to fix some issues surrounding redistricting. While the redistricting process is not independent and should be thoroughly overhauled, this proposal would at least improve it.
Proposal 2: Yes. The proposed amendment reads: “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.” What’s to argue with? Yes, it’s broad, as statements of rights should be; as with the Bill of Rights, courts and future legislatures will fine-tune the parameters over time.
Proposal 3: Yes. This “same day registration” proposal would allow people to register to vote right up to Election Day. Elections boards are as capable of handling this at election time as they are the rest of the year.
Proposal 4: Yes. This would make no-excuse absentee voting a right in New York. Last year showed it can be done. It should be made permanent.