Let NY Vote to NYS Leg: "Pass Automatic Voter Registration ASAP"

NEW YORK, NY (06/21/2019) (readMedia)-- In response to news that Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) will not pass this legislative session due to a technical error, the Let New York Coalition issued the following statement:

"After a historic session passing crucial reforms such as early voting and pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds, we are so thankful to our partners in the Senate and the Assembly for their unwavering support. Now, the New York Legislature must prioritize automatic voter registration at the earliest possible opportunity -- we know the Legislature will not let a typo prevent 1 million eligible New Yorkers from voting."

AVR would allow eligible New Yorkers to register to vote when they interact with a government agency (i.e., the DMV, Department of Health), streamlining the process and making it more accessible. Currently, there are 1.1 million New Yorkers who are eligible to vote, but unregistered. 16 states and Washington DC have already implemented some form of AVR. Last month the Senate held the first-ever hearing on AVR.

In January, the NYS Legislature passed - and Governor Cuomo signed into law -- early voting, consolidation of primaries, pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds, and registration portability, which allows New Yorkers who move within the state to have their voter registration automatically updated via the USPS.

The Let NY Vote coalition - a statewide network of over 175 member organizations - has been demanding common sense voting reform in New York for years such as:

  • Early Voting: in place in 37 other states and now New York, allowing citizens to cast ballots in person days, sometimes weeks, before an election.
  • Pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds: 13 states plus DC allow for pre-registration for voting at 16 and 17 years old. Pre-registration increases the likelihood of voter participation among young adults. Engaging potential voters at a young age and bringing them into the voting process early helps create lifelong voters.
  • Consolidation of Primary Dates: Currently New York has two primary days in June and September, confusing voters. New York is the only state with two primaries.
  • Vote by mail: No eligible voter should have to provide a reason to be able to vote absentee.
  • Same day registration: 18 states and DC have Same Day Registration. Same Day Registration enables voters to register and vote at the same time and increases voter turnout.
  • Automatic Voter Registration: where registering to vote becomes seamless, electronic, and automatic.
  • Flexibility to Change Party Affiliation: New York has the most restrictive deadline in the country, locking out hundreds of thousands of voters during the primaries. The change of party deadline must be shortened to allow people to make an informed decision.
  • Voting Rights for People on Parole: the restoration of voting rights for people on parole needs to be codified in law, so that restoration becomes an automatic process.