Assemblymember Walter Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) yesterday reiterated his position that while he remains in favor of publicly financed state elections, it should not be tied to getting rid of fusion voting, which allows the same candidate to be listed on the ballot from multiple parties.
In testifying before the Public Financing Reform Commission, which is commissioned with setting up a public campaign-finance system on the state level, Mosley noted he has spent his entire career studying the laws and Constitution of New York State, especially in relation to campaign financing and fusion voting, and he believes tying the two together violates Article III of the New York State Constitution.
“I am here today to voice my support for the fair elections proposals that this commission has been tasked with deciding. The implementation of a publicly funded campaign finance system is critical to increasing participation in the democratic process and revitalizing our constituents trust in state government. It’s crucial that the system provide at least 6 to 1 match on small donations to ensure that participating candidates are able to raise significant sums from small donors, cover all statewide and state legislative races for both primary and general elections. It’s pivotal that public financing should happen,” said Mosley in his testimony.
“However, while this commission takes on the important task of examining that issue, I am deeply concerned by the inclusion of fusion voting within this commission’s purview. You, as commissioners, should think long and hard about the precedent being created by including such a politically charged issue like fusion voting. You are here to improve our democracy and make it more inclusive. Eliminating fusion voting would do the exact opposite.
“Fusion voting is unrelated to public finance and any assertion to the contrary is disingenuous. The commision was formed in response to objections around big money in politics. The statute is clear that the Commission is to be focused only on matters relevant to establishing a public financing program.
“The fusing voting system is a valuable part of our election system, which gives voters more choice and brings light to more issues. I strongly believe that any attempt from this commission to end fusion voting will violate our state’s constitution.
“Do not allow this decision on a public finance commission to become stained by ending fusion voting.
“I trust this commission and its members will do the right thing on both of these issues and will improve our democracy with the implementation of a public campaign financing program and the continuation of the fusion voting system.
The commission is tasked with coming up with a $100 million state public financing system—which would match private campaign contributions with taxpayer dollars—by December 1.
Democratic State Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs, who sits on the commission, told the Wall Street Journal the commission hoped to release a final report by the day before Thanksgiving, a time frame Republicans denounced. Members of the Legislature then have 20 days to reject or modify its findings, otherwise, they become law, according to the WSJ.