Jacobs: Dems didn’t prioritize losing propositions

By Published On: November 3rd, 2021Categories: Capitol Notes

In the wake of New Yorkers voting down three propositions championed by Democratic state lawmakers, which would have changed the redistricting process, allowed same-day voter registration and created no-excuse absentee voting, the state party chair acknowledged they could have done more to promote their passage.

“This was not something that we were taking as a priority – that we heard was a priority (from local party leaders and elected officials),” New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs told The Capitol Pressroom. “So there really wasn’t that kind of a push … as there was on the other side. We were focused on a lot of races and electing the candidates.”

“That might have been something where we should have paid more attention,” he added.

Asked whether it wasn’t a priority because the policies weren’t a priority or because the passage was seen as a foregone conclusion, Jacobs pointed to the latter reasoning. “There was an assumption they were going to pass,” he said. “I will tell you from the state party standpoint, that … we didn’t hear much from the stakeholders on the issues. So there wasn’t, you know, any direction really to engage to a large degree on these amendments.”

The opposition to the amendments, which was led by the state Republican and Conservative parties, consisted of television, radio and digital advertisements and press conferences around the state with state GOP Chair Nick Langworthy. The push from proponents of the amendments, good government groups and Democratic lawmakers, had a much lower profile and didn’t have any significant buy in from major Democratic leaders, like Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Jacobs also made the case that the successful opposition campaign underscored the ability of Republicans to sway voters in New York. “It’s not something that should be ignored … When they make a good argument, it resonates. They cannot have won without attracting blanks or independent voters, as well as even some Democrats to their side,” he said.