On Nov. 4, 2008, a lengthy line waits to vote in the U.S. presidential election at PS 6 in Brooklyn.
On Nov. 4, 2008, a lengthy line waits to vote in the U.S. presidential election at PS 6 in Brooklyn. (Wiki)

View a PDF of this free Special Report.

We Must Be Vigilant in Addressing Existing and Emerging Obstacles

Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the state of New York, writes: Barriers to voting threaten the very foundations of our democracy and weaken our government and our society.

Promoting Confidence in the Elected Judiciary

A. Gail Prudenti, Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Unified Court System, writes: The judiciary plays a critical role in our democracy, and maintaining its independence and impartiality, as well as the public perception of its integrity, is absolutely essential.

A Look Back at N.Y.’s Language Requirement

Luis A. Gonzalez, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, writes: Notably absent from the New York State Constitution is any requirement that citizens prove themselves literate in any language prior to voting. This was not always the case.

Courts Play a Vital Role in Assuring Fairness

Randall T. Eng, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, writes: It is imperative that our courts take on a leading role in assuring fairness in the electoral process.

Healthy Democracy Requires Full Participation

Henry J. Scudder, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, writes: A healthy democracy requires participation from its citizens to ensure that decisions and policies made by elected officials reflect the values and priorities of the community they serve.

Increasing Voter Participation Is a State Bar Priority

David M. Schraver, president of the New York State Bar Association, writes: The NYSBA will continue to advocate at the state and federal levels for changes in the law to encourage increased voter participation.

Ethics, Cynicism and the Voting Booth

Carey R. Dunne, president of the New York City Bar Association, writes: We watch with concern as people risk their lives to vote in struggling democracies around the world, yet here at home we shrug our shoulders when passing up this most democratic of opportunities.

Make Your Voice Heard

Jacqueline W. Silbermann, president of the New York Women’s Bar Association, writes: It is only in exercising our right to vote that we ensure that our elected officials represent, and hear, all of us.

Exercise Your ‘Pivotal Right’

Barbara Moses, president of the New York County Lawyers’ Association, writes: History teaches that we can never take the right to vote for granted.

Reversing Traditions of Racism

Raymond J. Dowd, president of the Network of Bar leaders, writes: The “insular” doctrine is based on racism and a betrayal of the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution.

Helping Every Vote Get Cast

Clara J. Ohr, president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York, writes: Let us do what we can as lawyers to help strive toward a representative democracy, which we as a country have yet to achieve.

Rise Above Barriers to the Ballot

Matthew Skinner, executive director of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, writes: The significant challenges we face should not keep us from rising to the occasion.

Reflections on the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Holly E. Peck, president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, writes: Whenever you feel too tired, too busy or take the right to vote for granted, remember the feistiness of suffragists who refused to back down in the face of defeat.

Low Voter Turnout Is an Urgent Problem

Andrew M. Fallek, president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, writes: Compared with other states, New York has comparatively low voter registration rates and low voter turnout rates.

One Vote Can Make All the Difference

Joseph F. DeFelice, president of the Queens County Bar Association, writes: Having our policies decided by a small percentage of eligible voters harms the foundation of our democracy.

Voting Engages Citizens on Important Issues

Thomas J. Hall, president of the Richmond County Bar Association, writes: Every citizen who exercises his or her right to vote becomes engaged on the variety of issues that affect that citizen’s national, state and local government.

Monetizing Free Speech Creates a Divide

Elba Galvan, president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, writes: By monetizing free speech, the court creates a stratification between the voices and opinions of those who can afford to be heard and those who cannot, eventually silencing the viewpoints of the unendowed.