A controversial casino gambling referendum and five other proposed changes to the state Constitution will be up for vote November 5 on the general election ballot.
Voters hitting the polls to elect city candidates will also decide whether to authorize up to seven full-scale casinos in New York, though opponents say the referendum’s one-sided language is tilted in favor of its passage.
According to the ballot’s wording, the amendment would promote job growth, increase aid to schools and lower property taxes through generated revenues.
A lawsuit filed by Brooklyn bankruptcy lawyer Eric Snyder criticized the measure’s “advocacy language” and sought to stop it. The suit was dismissed October 16 by Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Platkin, according to the New York Times.
NYPIRG said it “has been deeply troubled by the ballot question” and language “that seems to go beyond explanatory or descriptive.”
The amendment’s language, the nonpartisan group said, describes “predicted benefits” by casino boosters and fails to include negative impacts feared by opponents like the potential increase in gambling addiction and harmful effects on neighborhoods surrounding the casino.
“The language appears to be worded in a way that would incline a neutral voter to vote ‘yes.’ NYPIRG believes that New Yorkers are entitled to a neutral ballot proposal, not one which subtly or overtly nudges a voter in a particular direction,” the group said.
Also up for vote are amendments that would give additional civil service credit to veterans who are rendered disabled after their civil service appointment or promotion and one that would increase the maximum age until which some state judges may serve.
Two more items on the ballot relate to land exchange between the state and private companies in Long Lake, Hamilton County and Lewis, Essex County.