Making Voting Better: At the Polls Edition

New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and it's time our voting laws reflected the diversity of the voting population.

Credit: Christopher Collins 

Earlier this year, we finally saw a host of long-overdue voting reforms signed into law, including early voting, consolidating primary election dates, automatically updating a voter’s registration when they move anywhere within New York State, and allowing 16- and 17- year olds to pre-register to vote. While these reforms will improve the election process as a whole, today we’re going to talk about reforms that we still need to implement in order to make the Election Day experience better for everyone!

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Why New York Needs to Change the Party Enrollment Deadline

Did you know that New York is currently the only state that prohibits voters from changing their party enrollment during the year of an election?

That means that if you want to be able to vote in a primary election but you’re not currently enrolled in a party, you would have had to update your party enrollment status months in advance. Learn more about why having such an early party enrollment deadline prevents voters from participating.

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Who Gets to Vote? On Race and Language Access in New York

Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to call New York City one of the most diverse and progressive cities in the country. But when it comes to voting rights and making sure that communities of color and other marginalized voters in our state have access to the ballot box, we’ve still got a long way to go.

This Black History Month, as we consider the state of voting rights in New York, it’s important to note that voting better isn’t just about convenience. It’s about addressing systemic barriers that disproportionately affect low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrants. The right to vote and have a say in our democracy is one of our most important rights. Shouldn’t we do more as a state to make sure as many eligible New Yorkers as possible have access to the ballot?   

Read on to learn more about two ways we can increase access to the ballot for these communities. 

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The Road to Longer-Term Voting Reforms for New York

Last week, Governor Cuomo signed a group of long-overdue voting reforms into law, which included establishing an early voting period, consolidating primary election dates, automatically updating a voter’s registration when they move anywhere within New York State, and allowing 16- and 17- year olds to pre-register to vote.

This was a major victory for voting rights in New York. But what you might not know is that the legislature also passed two additional bills that will provide no-excuse absentee voting and same-day voter registration.

While these reforms passed in both the Assembly and the Senate by an overwhelming majority, they also require an amendment to our State Constitution in order to become law. So, what does that mean for you as a voter?

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New York Passes Much-Needed Voting Reforms

On January 14th, New York lawmakers approved a group of voting reforms including establishing an early voting period, consolidating primary dates, automatically updating a voter’s registration when they move anywhere within New York State, and allowing 16- and 17- year olds to pre-register to vote. Today, Governor Cuomo signed these bills into law, signaling a transformation of election administration practices in New York State.

This is a major moment for voting rights in New York. Our state is consistently rated one of the lowest turnout states, ranking 41st in the country for voter turnout in 2016, but with the passage of these important reforms, it will now be easier for all eligible New Yorkers to participate in our elections. Read on to learn more about how these long overdue reforms will change how New Yorkers vote!

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Check Your Voter Status Before Election Day!

Election Day is this November 6th, and we need New York City voters to turn up to the polls. Are you ready to make an impact? 

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Join NYC Votes at NVRD 2018

National Voter Registration Day is one of the most important days of the year for voters! Register to vote with NYC Votes and our partners this Tuesday, September 25th so you can make an impact in our general election this November. 

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