Democrats Push Universal, Automatic Voter Registration for New York State

The New York Observer’s Will Bredderman reports “Democrats appeared on the steps of City Hall with various advocacy groups to push their “Voter Empowerment Act.” The measure would coordinate the state Board of Elections with the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Education, Department of Labor, Department of Military and Naval Affairs and the public university systems to identify New York residents qualified to cast ballots and then place them in the voting books.

“This would just involve government agencies themselves communicating amongst themselves information that they already have, to make sure that people who are eligible to vote can show up on election day and vote without having to worry about deadlines or any other arbitrary rules and to be part of the process,” Mr. Gianaris said, noting that in 1974 5.5 million people voted, in contrast with 3.7 million in 2014—a decline he blamed on the onerous paperwork involved in registering to vote.

Mr. Kavanagh argued the bill would bring the state into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, a controversial measure obligating states to offer people applying for drivers licenses or signing up for public assistance the opportunity to also register to vote in federal elections. The Clinton-era measure has not been fully implemented in all parts of the country.”

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