For the last month, independents have been petitioning students and New Yorkers, in public places, engaging in a dialogue about the disenfranchisement of more than 800,000 New York voters that are kept out of the first and most crucial phase of voting. Independents have obtained signatures of registered independents, but also of registered Democrats and Republicans, in support of placing non-partisan elections on the ballot. This hard work has culminated in over 1,000 signatures by young voters in a letter to the Charter Revision Commission. Another 1,000+ signatures, diferent from the ones provided to the Commission, were included in a letter to Mayor Bloomberg. The fruits of this labor were manifested by the young people in attendance at the voter participation forum at Lehman College. The engagement of youth in attendance was evident in their testimony. Gary Allsbrook, a captivating young voter, spoke of his disappointment with the Democratic Party, "I want to tell the Democrats in this room, to step up their game and educate the people they represent."
The Charter Revision Commission has much to contemplate before making their recommendations for the November ballot. In the meantime, independents will continue to educate voters and work toward the expansion of democracy in New York City.
- Laiza Garcia
Meet Gary Allsbrook