FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2006
Contact: Maggie Williams or Jessica Willis
(718) 838.7882 (718) 838.7843
(917) 362.8778 (646) 335.3807
BETTER BALLOTS, launched by the Voter Enfranchisement Project in partnership with the Drop the Rock Coalition, the New York Campaign for Telephone Justice, and the Prison Policy Initiative, puts critical issues on candidates' agendas and provides concrete information to New York voters in order to increase civic participation, especially in communities that are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system.
BETTER BALLOTS: 2006 New York Voter Guide connects upstate and downstate communities by covering all statewide races in both the primary and general elections, and State Assembly and State Senate races in the general election for many districts in New York City and across New York State.
The website, www.BetterBallotsNY.org generates individualized versions of the Guide enabling voters and community advocates to tailor the Guide to include only the races that are relevant to their region. By providing voters and activists with candidate photos, statements, and an easily searchable Guide, BETTER BALLOTS plans to increase turnout among infrequent voters and new registrants across New York State.
BETTER BALLOTS believes that infrequent voters and new voters are more likely to vote when they learn where candidates stand on issues such as Election Day Registration, the Rockefeller Drug Laws, and the exclusive contract between Verizon/MCI and the New York State Department of Correctional Services. BETTER BALLOTS will increase voter participation by broadcasting candidate positions on issues that resonate with communities that are historically underrepresented at the polls.
This is not a scorecard or a ranking system of candidates. Instead, BETTER BALLOTS has elicited thoughtful responses that are approximately 50 words in length to six important questions - enabling voters to connect more effectively with candidates running for office in New York State. As explained by Maggie Williams, the Project Director of the Voter Enfranchisement Project, "Better Ballots is valuable because it helps voters determine who is running for which positions and learn where the candidates stand on critical issues. Centralizing this information in one place empowers New York voters and makes our democracy more accountable to all communities."
The Voter Enfranchisement Project
The Bronx Defenders
Drop The Rock Coalition
The Correctional Association
New York Campaign for Telephone Justice
Prison Policy Initiative