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Brush Up On These Five Ballot Proposals For November’s Election

Date: 10/18/2021

Not only will New Yorkers be voting for the next mayor, comptroller, and city council members in the upcoming election, but five amendments to the state Constitution are also on the ballot — and they could take effect as soon as January 1. 


While these are statewide proposals, they may disproportionately impact New York City residents. We learned about these proposed initiatives at our first in-person event held at LMHQ with the League of Women Voters. You’ll want to brush up on these proposals to be prepared to vote “yes” or “no” on the following amendments to the state constitution.


Ballot Proposal #1: Amending The Apportionment And Redistricting Process

The most complicated proposal on the ballot: The proposal is to change the way that the Independent Redistricting Commission operates, including:

  • Allowing IRC to appoint two co-executive directors by majority vote, without consideration for party affiliation.
  • Freezing the number of state senators to the current number of 63, instead of the 50 stated in the constitution.
  • Requiring the state to count all residents, including non-citizens and Indigenous Americans if the federal census fails to include them, while also removing the term “aliens” from the constitution.
  • Providing for incarcerated individuals to be counted at their place of last residence, instead of their place of incarceration.
  • Permitting a simple majority to approve or reject district maps if seven of 10 commissioners agree on the maps, rather than the supermajority, requiring 2/3rds of legislators.
  • Eliminating how certain senate district lines are drawn, including “block on border” rule which separates neighborhoods into separate legislative districts


Ballot Proposal #2: Right To Clean Air, Clean Water, And A Healthful Environment

Passing this proposal means that the following line will be inserted into the bill of rights of the state constitution: “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”


Ballot Proposal #3: Elimination Of 10-Day Advance Voter Registration Requirement

Voting “yes” to this proposal will likely lead to same-day voting registration across New York State.


Ballot Proposal #4: Authorizing No Excuse Absentee Voting

Approving this proposal would mean you could request an absentee ballot with zero reason. Much like how Governor Cuomo had temporarily approved no-excuse balloting due to the pandemic, this would permanently add this to the constitution.


Ballot Proposal #5: Increasing The Jurisdiction Of The New York City Civil Court

To reduce the workload of the New York Supreme Court, this proposal would increase the limit of NYC Civil Court to hear claims up to $50,000 from $25,000. This would be the first increase to the financial limits of small-claims civil courts since 1983.


Lastly, here are important dates to remember for the upcoming election:


  • Saturday, October 23 - Sunday, October 31: Early voting period. Find your early voting location here:
  • Tuesday, October 26: Last day to postmark application for an absentee ballot
  • Tuesday, November 2: general-election day, and the last day to postmark or deliver absentee ballot


Learn more about the five ballot proposals from the League of Women Voters and make sure you have a plan to vote!