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Oppose BOE Weakening Independent Enforcement

Oppose BOE Weakening Independent Enforcement

For immediate release: August 7, 2018

Hawkins Opposes Proposed Board of Election Rules to Restrict Powers of Independent Enforcement Unit

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, said he opposed the efforts by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the state board of elections to reign in the powers of its independent enforcement unit, presently headed by Rita Sugarman.

“The major parties have used their control of the Board of Elections primarily as a patronage mill and as a weapon against maverick and independent political candidates. The Board has been toothless in reigning in corruption and voter suppression in our electoral system. While questions have been raised about the independence of Sugarman from Cuomo, the solution is not to increase the control of the State Board of Elections,” said Hawkins.

The Green Party has long argued that the constitutional requirement that the Board of Elections be operated by the two parties with the highest vote totals for Governor makes a mockery of the concept of democracy. “Having two foxes guard the hen house means the hens will be eaten,” noted Hawkins.

The Times Union noted State Attorney General Barbara Underwood's office has submitted comments opposing the new rules, as have five former members of the Moreland Commission, who in a report before its shuttering by Cuomo recommended the creation of the independent office to bulk up longstanding lackadaisical election law enforcement.

A recent N.Y. Post article identified illegal corporate contributions above the $5,000 state limit received by several statewide candidates, including Democrat Andrew Cuomo for Governor, Republican Marc Molinaro for Governor, Democrat Jumaane Williams for Lt. Governor, and Democrat Latisha James for Attorney General. NYPIRG’s Blair Horner, who was quoted in the article, said, “This law has been routinely violated. I don’t know of anyone punished for doing this.”

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