UNY in the Buffalo News: Voters deserve term-limited politicians

Did you catch our recent OpEd in the Buffalo News? Check it out here or below.

Just last month, New York held its presidential primary. You’re forgiven if you didn’t know it. Unless you’re a die hard voter, you probably joined more than 95% of eligible voters who skipped it. Low turnout is nothing new in New York State and that’s why we need to make more changes to convince voters to go to the polls.

One way to help voters feel like their voices are being heard is to tweak the system and impose term limits for our statewide elected leaders. Over the past year, Unite NY polled voters statewide and found 80% of them said they support term limits for our statewide offices. New York can’t call itself “progressive,” when it’s one of just 13 states without any term limits for the office of governor. Thankfully, one local official has heard this call and has taken action.

Assembly member Monica Wallace, who represents Cheektowaga and Lancaster, introduced common sense legislation that meets these demands for term limits, calling for the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, and attorney general to be limited to three terms. This bill will build on voting reforms already enacted by the state legislature, including mail-in and early voting. Since 2008, two governors, a lieutenant governor and even the state comptroller were all forced to resign thanks to corruption scandals, while a state attorney general resigned over allegations of abuse. If that’s not a public service announcement for term limits, I don’t know what is.

Term limits won’t solve all the ills of state government, but are a smart first step to ensure more voters have access to better options and perspectives among our elected officials.

We need to make sure that there are more election reform champions who will give New Yorkers what they want. There is bipartisan support (the governor proposed it in her 2022 State of the State) and Republican leaders in Albany have also touted term limits). Now we need other legislators like Sen. Sean Ryan and Sen. George Borrello and Assembly members Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Mike Norris, to join their colleague Monica Wallace and give us one more reason to vote, by supporting and sponsoring term limits for New York’s statewide elected officials.

Timothy Dunn is the executive director of Unite NY, a movement focused on engaging and empowering voters on important issues of reform.