Brian Kavanagh, Democratic New York State Assemblymember, has said that the state’s fundamental services and values are under attack by Donald Trump’s administration.
“These are very perilous times for our country. We are looking at a situation where, across this country and in New York State, some of our basic services and our basic values are under attack,” said Kavanagh, speaking at a rally against voter suppression held at Battery Park on Sunday.
In light of growing concerns about the future of healthcare, housing, and immigrant rights, Kavanagh urged people to stand up for voter rights in New York, which is one of the worst states in the country for voter participation. “We’re worried about our healthcare, our housing, the rights of immigrants who came to this country and built it, and continue to do so, but in addition to paying attention to those substantive rights, we have to take care of the democracy itself, of the most basic aspects of our democracy, which is the right of ordinary citizens to participate in their government,” said Kavanagh.
Sunday’s rally was called to pressurize Governor Cuomo to put voting modernization reforms, including automatic voter registration and an early-voting option, into the state budget by the April 1 deadline.
“We need to modernize the system; we need to bring people into the system. If we want to stand up and say everything else that’s going on round the country is wrong, we’ve got to get it right here,” said Kavanagh.
The Rally to Resist Voter Suppression was co-sponsored by Common Cause/NY, SEIU 32BJ, the NY Immigration Coalition, TWU 100, Hispanic Federation, The Brennan Center, NYC Votes, Make the Road New York, 2 Hours A Week, Brooklyn NAACP, Womens’ City Club of NY, and Public Citizen.
“We cannot afford to have the voting rights of millions of eligible Americans undermined at the national and state level. We need election reform now to ensure the voices of our family, friends, and neighbors are heard on the issues that matter to us. Automatic voter registration and an early-voting option have already been taken up by several other states–and would help make NYS the truly progressive state that Cuomo and lawmakers claim it to be! But they must hear us NOW – while the budget is being negotiated,” organizers said before the event.
Photo Credit: Alice Teeple