New York To Examine Election Security


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has released a new proposal calling on state lawmakers to make New York’s elections stronger. In the proposal, Governor Cuomo says that he wants to put additional security measures in place, as well as instituting early voting and same-day voter registration.

“What we saw during the last election was a systematic effort to undermine and manipulate our very democracy,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.

A notable part of Governor Cuomo’s proposal includes an effort to tackle fake political ads on social networking sites. Representatives from popular social networking platforms including Facebook and Twitter were called before Congress earlier this year and asked to explain how they monitor advertisements for nefarious and discriminatory activity. The companies provided little in the way of answers to those questions and it appears that New York may take matters into its own hands. Cuomo is calling for the creation of an online archive that will allow users to see what ads are created and changed over time.

The proposal also calls for New York to expand its definition of political communication to include paid internet and digital advertisements. In addition to the archive and disclosures that would be required by making online ads subject to political advertising rules, Cuomo also wants to see changes in the forms users fill out online to create advertisements. The changes would include safeguards to ensure that foreign entities aren’t making the ad buys in an attempt to influence local elections.

Violations of these requirements would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each instance.

Cuomo also wants to make changes to how elections are managed at the municipal level. The proposal calls for the creation of an election support center and would also require that cities report data breaches to state authorities. In addition to security measures, Cuomo wants to institute early voting and automatic voter registration. With automatic registration, New York would join a small but growing group of states that have included voter registration as part of the process when individuals get a state ID and are of voting age.

Broadly, the set of proposals released today, would put New York’s election system in line with the policy prescriptions included in a federal election security bill  also announced today. The “Secure Elections Act” was introduced Thursday morning by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). The measure includes several provisions to improve election security and provides block grants to states to help them update old voting equipment and fortify local elections.