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Good Government

NYPIRG is a leading voice in the campaign to repair New York’s democracy. NYPIRG is a major advocate for eliminating barriers to voting, fighting for better ethics oversight and limiting the role of powerful interests in elections. In recent years, NYPIRG has fought for more secure voting systems, proposed new ethics standards based on “best practices” in other parts of the nation, and regularly released reports monitoring the power of interest groups in elections and policymaking.

Due to NYPIRG and its allies’ advocacy over the years, campaign finance information for state and local candidates is now available on the Internet, lobbying of state agencies and local governments are now reported, voter registration requirements have been expanded, new penalties for ethical misconduct are in place, and the legislative and budgetary processes are more open. However, much more needs to be done in order to make New York a model for the rest of the nation.

Issues

Campaign Finance Reform Research and Advocacy: NYPIRG monitors New York State and local governments and issues reports on special interest influence in Albany and New York City. In 1998, NYPIRG played a lead role in winning important changes to New York City's campaign finance law, widely considered the most comprehensive local reform program in the nation. In 2005, NYPIRG successfully fought to have candidates for local office throughout the state electronically disclose their fundraising in the same manner as statewide candidates. This year, NYPIRG is fighting to improve disclosure requirements, strengthen enforcement of campaign finance violations, and close several loopholes in New York's election law.

Election Reform Advocacy & the Help America Vote Act: NYPIRG plays a leading role in New York State to strengthen and protect the right to vote. Every year, college campuses with NYPIRG chapters register thousands of students to vote. We recently secured a major victory ensuring that the vast majority of New Yorkers will have access to secure, reliable voting machines for the 2010 elections.

Redistricting Reform: The New York State Legislature is infamous for drawing gerrymandered district lines in such comical shapes as "Abraham Lincoln Riding a Vacuum Cleaner" and "Bug Splattered on a Windshield." NYPIRG is pushing for creation of an independent redistricting commission, ensuring that legislative districts are drawn to best represent New Yorkers, rather than improve a legislator's shot at reelection.

Ethics Reform: Recent scandals in Albany highlight the need for a strengthened ethics commission, improved legislative financial disclosure reports, and a prohibition of "personal use" of campaign funds.

Fiscal Reform: New York State needs a more open and modern system of public finance. NYPIRG is pushing for greater government consolidation of services as well as better accountability of state spending. In 2009, NYPIRG supported legislation that established more independent oversight over state public authorities.

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