YONKERS – City Council Democrats will wade into a national debate on voter rights with two resolutions they plan to introduce when the body meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Yonkers City Hall, 40 S. Broadway.
One resolution states the Democrats’ opposition to new laws in some states requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls; the other opposes the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision allowing corporations and unions to contribute unlimited amounts to so-called independent political groups.
The public will have a chance to weigh in at the Tuesday council meeting.
Click “more” to read the full press release from City Council President Chuck Lesnick’s office.
COUNCIL DEMOCRATS PUT FORWARD RESOLUTIONS
AGAINST VOTER ID AND CITIZENS UNITED CAMPAIGNS
“Yonkers to Approve Measures Tuesday that Condemn Proposed
Voter Suppression Bill and US Supreme Court Decision that
Allows Big Money to Buy Elections”
Yonkers, New York: March 23, 2012 – With New York’s Presidential Primary less than a month away, Yonkers will step onto the American stage Tuesday night when the City Council’s four Democrats introduce resolutions that take on the national issues of voter identification laws and the Citizen’s United case that allows for corporations to independently spend millions of dollars on elections without federal regulation.
The council resolution on voter ID laws encourages candidates and officeholders in every municipality across the country to stand in opposition to voter suppression tactics and to oppose, in active and visible ways, the current attacks on voting rights.
Calling voting a fundamental right, the council Democrats point to an alarming national trend or “concerted campaign” to prevent millions of Americans from casting ballots in that, since 2010, 38 states legislatures have introduced bills making voting more difficult, and seven states have enacted new photo ID rules for voters, with more states looking to pass similar laws. The New York Times recently reported “that Hispanic voters were 46.5 percent to 120 percent more likely to lack such identification than were non-Hispanics.”
The resolution cites that, “America’s workers are under vicious and unrelenting attacks across the country from politicians using the same old politics to silence their voices and eliminate their ability to check corporate power through their unions,” and makes reference that “11% of the general population lack photo IDs,” of which 15% are “eligible low-income voters, 18% [of]young voters, and 25% [of]African-American voters.”
The resolution states “in South Carolina, one must produce a state-issued ID, which one can obtain free of charge – but to get one, you’ll need a passport or a birth certificate, and those cost money (and a considerable investment of time) to obtain if one doesn’t have one already.”
The second resolution stems from the Citizens United v. FCC case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 21, 2010 which held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from regulating political expenses by unions and corporations. The Associated Press reported recently that “more than half of the $60 million collected to date by independently-run political action committees supporting presidential candidates, the so-called ‘super PACs,’ came from 24 wealthy Americans.”
Various state legislatures have approved similar resolutions. Earlier this week, the State of California joined New Mexico and Hawaii to vote to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision and plans to move ahead to introduce a constitutional amendment calling for Congress to do the same.
The local resolution in Yonkers opposes the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution in Citizens United regarding the constitutional rights of corporations, and supports amending the Constitution to provide that corporations are not entitled to the entirety of protections or “rights” of natural persons, specifically so that the expenditure of corporate money to influence the electoral process is no longer a form of constitutionally protected speech, and calls on Congress to begin the process of amending the Constitution.
Those residents who wish to come to City Hall and share their opinions on the resolutions can speak during the Committee of the Whole at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. To sign up to speak, call the clerk’s office prior to 3:00p.m. on Tuesday, March 27th at 914.377.6020 or email City Clerk Joan Deierlein at firstname.lastname@example.org.