Kavanagh Joins Distinguished Panel to Discuss the Mechanics of Elections and the Future of Election Administration

April 1, 2010

On April 1, 2010, New York University Law School’s Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, in conjunction with the Brennan Center for Justice, hosted the “Helping America Vote: The Past, Present, and Future of Election Administration” Symposium and invited Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh to join the “Mechanics of Elections” Panel. As Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement and a graduate of the New York University Law School, Kavanagh welcomed the opportunity. Kavanagh was joined by three acclaimed Election Law scholars: Lawrence Norden from the Brennan Center for Justice, Michael Pitts from Indiana University School of Law, and Charles Stewart from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From the perspective of his work on the Subcommittee, Kavanagh was able to share with the panel and audience the practical application of current New York election law and the status of New York’s compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Kavanagh drew from his experience during the November 2009 elections during which Kavanagh and his staff visited poll sites in 10 counties around the State and spoke with New Yorkers who voted on optical scanner voting machines, rather than the lever machines, for the first time – as well as election officials and pollsite workers.

Kavanagh also discussed opportunities made available with the new optical scanner voting machines to make the administration of elections more fair, efficient, and convenient for voters in New York. Two of these opportunities, instant runoff voting and early voting, are embodied in pending legislation sponsored by Kavanagh.