WXXI AM News

elections

We discuss the results of the Georgia Senate runoff elections and the impact they will have on the U.S. Senate. Democrat Raphael Warnock, an Atlanta pastor, defeated Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler. Warnock becomes Georgia's first Black senator, and the eleventh in U.S. history. The second runoff contest between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican incumbent David Perdue has not yet been decided, but Ossoff is leading. If he is victorious, the Senate will be in a 50-50 tie, making Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tiebreaker.

We discuss the impact of the runoff races and the future of the U.S. Senate. Our guests:

  • Jeremy Cooney, New York State Senator, 56th District
  • Nicole Hushla Re, long-time political consultant current serving as Assemblywoman Sarah Clark’s Chief of Staff

Two political parties survived Governor Cuomo's rules changes this year: the Working Families Party, and the Conservative Party. Both parties want candidates to run for office on their lines next year. But these are not third parties that have traditionally fielded their own candidates, trying to knock off Republicans and Democrats.

Will the changes hurt the choices for voters? What can third parties accomplish in New York State?

Our guest discusses these questions and how potential candidates can run for office:

  • Jesse Lenney, New York State committee member for the Working Families Party

Is it time to abolish the Electoral College? The question gained traction after the 2016 election, and has been the subject of heated debate in this election cycle.

Some critics say the Electoral College is an antiquated, undemocratic process that promotes minority rule. Some supporting it say it counteracts human impulses and protects the nation from dangers inherent in democracy.

We discuss the issue from several angles with our guests:

  • Allen Guelzo, director of the Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship for the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, and senior research scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University
  • Joseph Burgess, data curator for the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University

Our guest is an attorney who worked on the Bush/Gore legal dispute over the 2000 election. Jeff Wadsworth was tasked with historical research that could offer some guidance on which ballots should count, and how to protect voting rights. A lot has changed since 2000, but Wadsworth says there are attorneys already working to deal with a close and contested election this time around.

So what issues could cause a legal showdown in 2020? And what did we learn from Bush v Gore? 

freeimages.com/Kristen Price

With concerns about whether recent changes at the U.S. Postal Service will keep mailed absentee ballots from getting counted in time, State Sen. Brad Hoylman is suggesting an alternative.

The New York City Democrat wants to authorize local boards of elections to set up absentee drop-off boxes so voters can circumvent the post office.

The boxes are used in other states that have all-mail in voting, but they don't exist right now in New York. That would require legislation, due to chain of custody and security issues.

The June 23 primary was the first in New York to allow all voters the option of casting their ballots by mail. Under an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, registered voters could cite the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for filling out an absentee ballot.

The New York State Legislature held a hearing Tuesday on the primary elections to find out what went right and what went wrong.

Can we hold reliable elections during a pandemic? In June, New York State will hold primary and special elections. November is, of course, the general election. The pandemic means there will be voting from home, voting by mail, and new ways of trying to get out the vote. But will voting be truly accessible to all?

Our guests discuss this vital issue:

New York’s Democratic presidential primary is back on now that a judge has thrown out a decision by the state Board of Elections to cancel the election. The board had acted after Bernie Sanders dropped out, leaving Joe Biden as the only candidate on the ballot.

A federal judge ruled late Tuesday that canceling the presidential primary is unconstitutional. Even though the other candidates, including Sanders, have dropped out of the race, their delegates are still on the ballot. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for a national election, which will happen in six weeks. Imagine that: a national election campaign that goes from start to finish in less than two months. In the United States, the campaign is essentially endless, with official campaign events running for two years.

Which system is better? Which is more productive in allowing the population to choose a leader? Our guests weigh in:

  • Rob Shum, a Canadian who serves as a professor of public policy at the College at Brockport
  • Paul Hypolite, an American who serves as a political strategist
  • Anthony Plonczynski-Figueroa, an American who serves as a political consultant and founder of LaCumbre

New York’s senior U.S. senator said that he will push for legislation in the upcoming federal budget to provide funds for local boards of elections to harden their security against potential threats by foreign governments. 

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