The Gounardes era in Southwest Brooklyn politics began in earnest on Jan. 14, as freshman state Sen. Andrew Gounardes cast his first legislative vote as a newly minted lawmaker.
Gounardes, a Democrat representing a swathe of southern Brooklyn from Bay Ridge to Marine Park who defeated Republican Marty Golden, a 16-year incumbent, in a closely watched election in November, voted in favor of a series of Democratic-backed bills to reform the state’s election laws.
Gounardes, a lawyer, was a co-sponsor of the legislative package, which includes a provision allowing early voting, permits 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and consolidates the federal and state primary dates.
Technically speaking, Gounardes’ first official vote as a senator took place earlier this month, when he voted for state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins for majority leader. But the Jan. 14 vote marked the first time he has weighed in on a legislative matter, his spokesperson said.
The election reforms were sorely needed, according to Gounardes.
“Voting should be the single easiest way people can participate in our democracy. No voter should have to wait on long lines to vote, register months in advance, wonder whether their vote is actually being counted, or worry that their name has been purged from the voter registration database. New York can’t truly become the progressive beacon it is destined to be without an aggressive overhaul of our obsolescent system of elections,” Gounardes said in a statement.