From Mayor deBlasio’s Press release:
Mayor Bill de Blasio met with New Yorkers in Brooklyn to talk about voting reforms that could make New York’s electoral system fairer and more open, and to help register students and community residents ahead of Friday’s voter registration deadline. The Mayor was joined by volunteers from the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit as part of City Hall’s outreach efforts to help sign up eligible voters who have yet to register before Friday’s deadline. There are currently two million eligible but unregistered voters in New York.
The Mayor also called for the federal government to clear the citizenship application backlog of more than 57,000 pending applications in the New York and Queens USCIS service centers, and more than half a million nationwide, in order for those residents to register and vote in the November 8 election.
This year, the City has increased accessibility to voter registration for citizens with limited English proficiency by providing translated versions of the voter registration form in 11 new languages at www.nyccfb.info. In addition to the four translations that were already available – Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Bengali – the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, and the Campaign Finance Board have now provided translations in Russian, Haitian Creole, Arabic, French, Urdu, Albanian, Greek, Tagalog, Yiddish, Polish, and Italian. These efforts ensure that over 90 percent of limited English proficient eligible voters in New York City are able to register to vote on a form in their language.
FAIRER, MORE OPEN ELECTIONS
The Mayor called for the passage of a slate of reforms at the state level that would make New York’s voting process fairer and more open.By removing barriers to absentee and early voting, cutting down lines at the polls, making registration and voting easier and more streamlined, we can ensure that every New Yorkers’ vote counts and stop preventing voters from casting their ballot due to unavoidable employment, health care or family responsibilities.
These reforms include:
Allow Same-Day Voter Registration
- This legislation would remove the requirement in the State Constitution that requires voter registration no later than 10 days before Election Day.
- This reform would allow eligible voters to register on the day of Election Day, ensuring more voices are heard at the polls.
- Thirteen states and the District of Colombia have same-day voter registration.
Early Voting Measures
- Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia provide for in-person early voting or mail-in voting. New York State does not.
- Legislation should be passed to allow New York to employ methods of early voting including vote by mail, “no-excuse” absentee voting and early in-person voting.
“No Excuse” Absentee Voting
- Currently, in order to vote absentee in New York State, a voter must have one of several permissible reasons, such as being out of New York City on Election Day, temporary illness or disability.
- This proposal would remove all of the conditions precedent for absentee ballots and allow voters to request an absentee ballot as an alternative to in-person voting.
Electronic Poll Books
- This legislation would authorize the use of electronic poll books to ease the voting process and mitigate the issue of long waits at voting sites.
- Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia already use electronic poll books.
Consolidation of Primary Elections
- This legislation would consolidate all of the primary elections into one day, making it easier and more streamlined for New York residents to vote in primary elections.
- This legislation would amend the Federal Military Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which currently requires the State to conduct two primary elections, or three in presidential years. This is very costly to local boards of election as well as confusing and burdensome to voters
- Reformatting the way ballots are laid out – including font size, placement of instructions, placement of candidate names – can make them more legible and user-friendly for voters.
- This legislation would make it easier to read a ballot and reduce errors in voting.
Pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds
- This proposal would allow 16- and 17-year olds the opportunity to pre-register to vote, including in schools at the time that students register for class selection each year. The preregistration would be optional.
- Once registered, the local board at elections shall maintain registration on file and registration shall automatically become active when the registrant turns 18 years of age.
The Mayor called for the federal government to clear the large backlog of pending naturalization applications.
- There are currently more than 57,000 pending applications in the New York and Queens USCIS service centers, and more than half a million nationwide. Many immigrants who applied for citizenship months ago will be unable to register to vote without swift federal action.
- The de Blasio Administration calls on the federal government to process pending applications as quickly as possible to ensure that immigrant New Yorkers are able to vote.
Two week extension for recent citizens
- Immigrants who naturalize after the October 14 voter registration deadline can still register to vote in the November 8 election. These new citizens must register in person at their borough’s Board of Elections office no later than October 29.
FACILITATING VOTER REGISTRATION
There are currently 2 million eligible but unregistered voters in New York State. The de Blasio Administration is fighting to ensure every vote counts this Election Day by streamlining the process, engaging voters and making it simpler for voters of all languages to register. Below are a few of the de Blasio Administration’s wide reaching efforts to increase voter participation.
Voter registration forms in more languages
- New Yorkers can now access registration forms in a total of 16 languages at voting.nyc.
- In addition to the four translations that were already available – Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Bangla – the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, and the Campaign Finance Board have now provided translations in Russian, Haitian Creole, Arabic, French, Urdu, Albanian, Greek, Tagalog, Yiddish, Polish, and Italian.
- Voters can access the forms at voting.nyc.
- These efforts ensure that over 90 percent of limited English proficient eligible voters in New York City are able to register to vote on a form in their language.
Voter registration during civil service exams
DCAS provides direct electronic access to voter registration for all who sign up for civil service exams and the City is in process of adding additional agencies.
The Campaign Finance Board launched “voting.nyc” to provide easy access to all voting related services.
- City Hall’s #NoshTheVote campaign, inspired by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s “GuacTheVote” voter registration drive, stationed volunteers at 12 food trucks across the five boroughs on Tuesday, October 11 to help register more New Yorkers and raise awareness that there is still time to register to vote in the November 8 election.
- Volunteers distributed hundreds of forms to New Yorkers, and raised awareness across the five boroughs.
- Voter drive efforts continue across the city through our agencies and partner organizations.
From NY City Hall:
“I encourage everyone who is eligible – no matter your background, no matter your language – to register to vote,” said Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “We’re very proud to help immigrants register to vote for the first time as a citizen.”
Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, “As a young man, I proudly marched from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders to stand up for our most important right: the sacred right the vote. We must continue to protect and expand access to the ballot and lift restrictions that prevent too many people from making their voice heard. I applaud Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to make it easier for New Yorkers to cast their vote and ensure they are counted.”
“As-of-right absentee voting, early voting, and same-day registration are crucial reforms to make voting easier and fairer in New York State, and frankly they are all policies that have worked well for years in other states,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “In the 21st century, these limits on voting have outlived their purpose and just get in the way of letting all New Yorkers freely exercise their right to cast a ballot.”
“With New York’s voter registration deadline just a day away and with two million eligible voters still unregistered in New York State, I am proud to join Mayor de Blasio to tell every New Yorker to get registered so your voice can be heard on Election Day,” said State Senator Adriano Espaillat. “USCIS must also ensure the half a million pending citizenship applications nationwide are processed so everyone that should be able to register can, and we must reform our election system to make it fairer for everyone, including allowing same-day registration.”
State Senator James Sanders Jr. said, “It is our duty and our responsibility as Americans to make our voices heard. We have the power to effect change, but we lose that power when we don’t exercise our right to vote. By enacting these reforms, it is my hope that more New Yorkers will sign up to take part in the Democratic process.”
State Senator Jose Peralta said, “It is critical that we reform and modernize our electoral system to ensure more and more people become involved in the democratic process. We should simplify, both voter registration and voter access to the polls, in order to combat voter apathy, and for example, allow early person voting. I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio for his efforts to modernize our democratic process.”
“Voting is the most fundamental right of a citizen in our democracy, and voter participation is the best way to ensure our government functions for the common good. There are still too many barriers preventing many New Yorkers from casting a ballot. It’s time for our state to take the lead in improving voting access and participation, by passing common sense reforms that help everyone get to the polls and have their voices heard. I thank Mayor de Blasio for highlighting the need for action,” said State Senator Liz Krueger.
State Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “Imagine Bill Gates calls you up to ask for your advice on how to spend $81 billion. He wants to know what steps to take to improve health, education, justice, anything that impacts the quality of life of your community. Would you hang up the phone on him? That is what not voting is, except actually, it’s much worse. Government spending in NYC is about $82 billion, in New York State it’s about $150 billion a year, and total government spending in the United States is somewhere around $6.5 trillion a year – that’s trillion with a ‘T.’ In electing our leaders, we are setting the course of that spending and much more. Will we prioritize public transportation and public education? Will we chart a course that looks out for those falling on hard times? Will we promote opportunity for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or background? That’s what’s at stake in this election and every election. So use your voice. Vote!”
State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “New York’s disgraceful voter turnout rate of 20 percent in the recent September 13 primary was just the latest example of New York’s broken electoral system. Despite the obvious need for reform, Albany has turned a blind eye to a problem that eats away at the very legitimacy of our democratic form of government. I’m thankful to Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for backing these sensible reforms to expand voter access and ensure that everyone eligible to cast a ballot has the opportunity to do so.”
“New York State Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that would finally bring No Excuse Absentee Voting to New York. All legislators should agree that we must strive to empower voters across our state by expanding access to the ballot,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “I thank the Mayor and First Lady for their advocacy on this issue. It is time we redouble our efforts to see effective electoral reforms in New York.”
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, “At the end of the day, an educated and active electorate is the most powerful thing in a democracy. I encourage everyone to make sure they are registered so that they may participate in this election and all elections to come, big and small. As elected officials it is our responsibility to encourage voter participation and I look forward to supporting legislative efforts to make voting easier and more accessible to the people throughout our City and State.”
“I am proud to join the Mayor in calling for the robust, thoughtful package of voting reforms he has identified. For the sake of our democracy, we have an obligation to ensure that all eligible voters can freely and fairly participate in elections,” said Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh who has sponsored legislation on many of the reforms the Mayor called for. “The Assembly, under Speaker Heastie’s leadership, passed many long overdue legislative changes in June. I hope our colleagues in the Senate will join us in getting them enacted.”
“Tomorrow’s deadline to register to vote is critical, especially for New Yorkers who are becoming old enough to vote for the first time or who have not voted in the past. Voting is fundamental responsibility of democracy we can’t let slide. In Albany, we will continue to advocate for no excuse absentee voting, early in-person voting, same day registration, and electronic poll books,” Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.
“I am delighted to join Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray here in Brooklyn to urge New York City residents to register to vote before the October 14 New York State deadline. Every vote counts and the future of our nation, our City, and our State are at stake in the upcoming election on November 8. New York suffers from low participation rates and there is much that can be done to improve participation. More than 25 states allow voting by mail and some citizens across the country are already sending in their ballots. But in New York we must change the State Constitution to allow general voting by mail. On June 17 the New York State Assembly passed my Bill, A.3874b, which submits an amendment to the State Constitution to allow no-excuse absentee ballots, a necessary prerequisite to developing a plan to implement widespread voting by mail. I thank Mayor de Blasio for supporting this concept and urge the New York State Senate to vote for State Senator LeRoy Comrie’s bill, S.4456b, which is the Assembly companion, before the end of the year so that the proposal can go before the people in November 2017,” said Assembly Member James Brennan.
Assembly Member Jo Ann Simon said, “I applaud the Mayor and First Lady on their final push to register people for this critically important election year. New York needs to make it easier for people to vote in our elections, and I stand with Mayor de Blasio on his call for election reform.”
“New York lags far behind many states when it comes to making it easy to exercise the fundamental right to vote. Mayor de Blasio is absolutely right to call for Albany to allow early voting, same-day registration, allowing absentee ballots without a reason, and electronic poll books – reforms that will encourage participation in the democratic process and that are long overdue,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan.
Assembly Member Latrice Walker said, “I commend the Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray in their efforts to register New Yorkers ahead of the October 14 deadline. Voter registrations and elections reform is an issue near and dear to my heart which is why I introduced ‘The Modernized Voter Registration Act (A.8626)’ – which is an omnibus bill that comprehensively protects the right to vote in New York. My bill would allow same day registration; allow early voting, allow voter registration via the internet; allow 16-year olds to register and vote in certain elections; and codify Section 5 Pre-Clearance procedures for New York State.”
“As states across the country take action on electoral reforms to improve transparency and voter turnout, it is important that the conversation in New York continues not only during an election year, but all year round. It is clear that changes in the current system are needed to allow for greater inclusivity and access, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to determine to most effective measures that will benefit all New Yorkers,” said Assembly Member Nily Rozic.
“Voting is one of our most fundamental rights and as such we should make it as easy as possible for citizens not only to go to the polls, but to work their way through the entire election process. As Chair of the Election Law Committee in the State Assembly, this has driven our push for reforms like expanded early voting, the allowance of same-day registration, electronic poll books to ensure the most up to date voter information, and no-excuse absentee voting so nobody is unfairly disenfranchised on Election Day. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and all of our partners in State and local government for their continued advocacy, and as we reach the registration deadline tomorrow, I urge all eligible New Yorkers to sign up to vote and head to the polls on November 8,” said Assembly Member Michael Cusick.
Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez said, “I want to congratulate Mayor de Blasio on greatly improving the City’s voter registration process. We in the State legislature can build on this work by enacting further reforms, including early in-person voting and same day registration. These changes would establish fairer representation and produce a more accountable and effective government. When voting is made easier, we uphold the ideal that our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
“As we approach the presidential elections, it is already evident today how much is at stake for the future of the coming generation,” said Assembly Member Guillermo Linares. “And our most powerful tool to shape that future is the right to vote.”
“Voting is a fundamental part of our democracy. We have to work together to remove the unnecessary barriers that keep people from participating” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. “I am proud to have co-sponsored legislation that helps ensure New Yorkers, regardless of party, are heard and will continue to advocate for these reforms in Albany.”
“Our democracy works best when all Americans are afforded an equal say” said Assembly Member David Weprin. “Common sense reforms like no excuse absentee voting, early voting, and same-day registration help to increase voter participation while also making registration more accessible for busy New Yorkers. I’m glad to join Mayor Bill de Blasio as we call for these modern-day changes to our electoral system and look forward to supporting these reforms in Albany.”
“It is a pleasure to stand today with Mayor de Blasio, my colleagues in government and community leaders to encourage all New York City residents to exercise your Constitutional right and register to vote. But not only register to vote, but to also exercise the right and vote on November 8th in what might be the most important election in our time. In addition, I also continue to advocate – as I have done in the Assembly – for election reform that will make voting easier for countless New Yorkers. The number of eligible voters that participate in the voting process is appalling and we must do something to increase participation by New Yorkers. Factors such as same-day voter registration, increased voter education to young people, and an improved absentee ballot system can help increase participation. I will continue to work with the Mayor, my colleagues and local organizations on meaningful election reform,” said Assembly Member Annette Robinson.
“The right to vote is one of the most important foundations of our society, and New York State must continue the important work of ensuring that every citizen’s path to the ballot is as smooth as possible” said Assembly Member Daniel Quart. “As we watch other states push through laws that deny citizens their rights, we can stand proud knowing that New York values the voice of every voter.”
“It is important that all eligible New Yorkers register to vote before this Friday’s deadline,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “Everyone should exercise their right to vote and have a say on who leads their government. This drive and push for reform will ensure that more voices are included in the process. As a Council Member representing one of the most diverse districts in the nation, I am proud that the City has translated voter registration forms into 11 additional languages, beyond the five required by state law. I will continue to work alongside the Mayor and First Lady on this important effort. I am grateful for their leadership.”
“New Yorkers have until Friday to register for what may be the most important general election in our lifetime,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “New York City is leading by example on election reform, and although the State Legislature controls many our voting laws, we will continue to work with Mayor de Blasio to improve voter access by petitioning the State for Same Day Voter Registration and Early In-Person Voting. Voting.nyc will give New Yorkers easier access to the information they need to participate in our democracy.”
Council Member Peter Koo said, “It is the obligation of government to empower the voting public, but too often, we’ve found the opposite to be true. Registration mishaps, absentee blunders and language barriers are common complaints on Election Day, and we must make every effort to streamline the process. If we want every New Yorkers to realize their full potential and vote in this historic presidential election, we must be sure that no one is disenfranchised by a bureaucratic system.”
“As the child of two hard working immigrants from the Dominican Republic who came to this country in pursuit of the American dream, I understand the value of having access to the electoral process, and the impact voting has on our communities” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “With so many issues that are important to New York City and our country hanging in the balance this year, I urge all New Yorkers to exercise their democratic right and vote this November on Election Day. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio on his work to raise awareness of this issue and engage our constituents on the significance of voting.”
“Civic engagement and voter participation are the first steps to participate in our democratic process and ensure that we are then able to hold elected officials accountable. All residents who are eligible to vote, especially young people, should register to vote in order to have their voices heard in government,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.
“Open and equal access to voting is at the core of any democratic society,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “And yet common sense provisions to remove barriers to participation in the democratic process have yet to be implemented at the state level. While my colleagues and I will continue advocating for broader reforms, I applaud Mayor de Blasio’s actions at the City level to engage more people in our democracy.”
Council Member Helen Rosenthal said, “Access to voting is fundamental to our democracy. Mayor de Blasio has put forth important initiatives to remove language boundaries in voting, consolidate voting information, increase the voter registration window, and allow for early voting in New York. I’m also proud to co-sponsor legislation with Council Member Kallos to allow 16 and 17 year olds the ability to register to vote.”
“While some states and municipalities are doing everything they can to suppress votes with arcane and obscure voter suppression laws, New York should lead the way in electoral reform,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “The stakes in this election could not be higher and it is so crucial that all eligible voters make it to the polls and help determine the direction our country and our state go in in the years to come. Breaking down barriers to voting and working to enfranchise more voters is one of the most American things we can do and I am proud to support Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray in these efforts.”
Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY said, “Voting should be an easy, user friendly experience, that inspires people to participate. This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue, it’s just a basic principle of our democracy. That’s why Common Cause/NY is 100 percent behind the Mayor’s push to register more voters and bring our outdated election administration into the 21st century.”
Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union, said, “A determinative election is just weeks away and it is good to see Mayor de Blasio using this moment to remind New Yorkers about this Friday’s deadline for voter registration in order to vote in November. That New Yorkers need to register to vote nearly a month in advance points out how old fashioned New York is when it comes to registering voters and running an election in which it wants New Yorkers to turn out and vote. There are so many voting and election reforms that are stymied in New York State that would make registering and voting much easier. Enactment of these reforms would no doubt lift New York’s abysmal voter turnout rate from 49th out of 51st states including the District of Columbia to a much more respectable one. Online and same-day voter registration along with multi-day voting and no-excuse absentee voting would ease New Yorkers way to register and cast their ballot. The blame for not having enacted these reforms lies with the governor and the state legislature.”
Margaret Fung, Executive Director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) said, “Every Friday, AALDEF registers newly-naturalized citizens at the Manhattan federal courthouse. We have seen that Asian Americans are very enthusiastic about exercising their right to vote for the first time this November. We want to remind New Yorkers that if you are a new citizen but have not taken your citizenship oath before the October 14 voter registration deadline, you can still register in-person at the New York City Board of Elections until October 29 and vote in the November 8, 2016 elections.”
“The New York Urban League applauds the Mayor for proposing these set of reforms to make voting as easy as possible for as many people as possible. We have too often kept people in this country from voting and placed undue obstacles in the way. In these troubling political times, we need to commit ourselves to ensuring we are encouraging voting for all,” said Arva Rice, CEO of New York Urban League.
“The Hispanic Federation stands with Mayor de Blasio in support of common sense voting reforms that would fulfill our state’s duty to its citizens by streamlining the voting process,” said José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation. “Latino and other communities of color are disproportionately impacted and discouraged by voting obstacles. It is incredibly important that we create a system that is equitable for all New Yorkers and strengthens the democratic process.”
Maria Teresa Kumar, President and CEO of Voto Latino, said, “Mayor de Blasio’s leadership on voter registration in New York is a breath of fresh air during an election in which so many states have pushed bills that would make voting more difficult. The reforms he announced today highlight the importance of making civic participation accessible to all Americans, not just New Yorkers. Voto Latino is proud to partner with Mayor de Blasio and the City of New York to continue removing obstacles to voting and push toward perfect participation at the ballot box.”
“The League of Women Voters works to modernize and streamline the voting process and supports systems that are free, fair, and accessible to all eligible voters. The LWVNYC vigorously supports the New York State League’s positions on election reform, including No-Excuse Absentee Balloting, Same Day/Polling Place Voter Registration, Early Voting, and Electronic Poll Books,” said Katherine Doran, League of Women Voters of the City of New York.
“We should be making it easier, not harder, for all New Yorkers to access the polls and vote,” said Kwame Akosah, a Counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. “These reforms would vastly improve the Empire State’s voting system, which is outdated and often trips up eligible citizens trying to make their voices heard. Ideas like automatic registration and restoring voting rights to people with past convictions could go even further to make voting free and accessible to all.”
Javier H. Valdés, co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, said, “Latino and immigrant New Yorkers are motivated and eager to vote this year, and that’s why we’re making a final push to register voters across New York City and Long Island. Moving forward, our communities sorely need reforms to New York’s voting laws that make it easier for everyone to register and cast their ballots. New Yorkers are demanding democracy, and this includes modernizing the voting process through measures including same-day voter registration, early in-person voting, no fault absentee ballots, and electronic poll books.”
“This election season has shown how important it is for all Americans to have a voice in the future of our democracy,” said Andrew Friedman, co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy. “That’s why we’re encouraged that Mayor de Blasio’s administration is aiming to make it easier for New Yorkers to participate by translating voter registration materials into a host of languages that reflect our city’s multi-cultural heritage. New Yorkers have always known that diversity means strength, and making the political process more inclusive makes us stronger. We look forward to continue working with the city and state to make registration accessible to every eligible voter.”
“This year almost 70 million Millennials are of voting age, eclipsing the number of voting-eligible Baby Boomers for the first time. The opportunity for young adults to influence election outcomes has never been greater, but we know that voter registration is a barrier that keeps them from the polls. Efforts to make registration easier and more immediate will help ensure that Millennials who are often in school, working multiple jobs, caring for their children or their parents, or new to the voting process, aren’t shut out,” said Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles.
“New Americans, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans are fired up and ready to cast their vote this election for equality, respect and dignity for all communities,” said Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York. “Ensuring that all eligible New Yorkers have access to the electoral process is a top priority and I am grateful that New York City is setting the bar high once again for the rest of the country.”
“We stand with Mayor De Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray in their final push to encourage New Yorkers to register to vote and have their say in this critical election, which is less than a month away. We are also glad to see the Mayor take on the urgent need for election reform to increase voter participation including making early in-person voting accessible and same day registration possible,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “With one day to go before the voter registration deadline in New York, our Coalition is working hard to ensure that as many people as possible are registered to vote. We are empowering immigrant communities to speak out about the issues that matter to them and we will continue to push for election reforms to make electoral processes more accessible for our communities.”
“I applaud NYC Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for making a final push to register voters before the October 14th deadline. The proposed reforms – no excuse absentee voting, early in-person voting, same day registration, and electronic poll books – and multi-language voter registration and participation are exactly what we need to insure that the democratic process remains intact in our great city,” said Mazeda A. Uddin, CEO/President of South Asian Fund for Education, Scholarship & Training (SAFEST).
“I commend Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to ensuring that all eligible New Yorkers have access to ballots,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA / CAMBA Housing Ventures. “For the thousands of New Yorkers CAMBA serves who speak languages other than English, translating voter registration forms allows them to truly participate in the political process.”
Amy Loprest, Executive Director of the NYC Votes campaign and the NYC Campaign Finance Board, said, “The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy so it is critical that everyone knows about tomorrow’s deadline to register. You need to get your form in tomorrow to be eligible to vote on November 8. You want to wake up on Election Day knowing that you can do your part, so visit voting.nyc now to check your status and get registered.”
“The New Visions Democratic Club is proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio today to urge New Yorkers to register to vote. We also join his call for our state government to expand voting access for all. The right to vote is an essential element of a healthy democracy. Yet that right means little if the ability to exercise it is impeded by any number of bureaucratic hurdles and legal restrictions. New York must lead by example for our country and allow voters unfettered access to the ballot box. In our extraordinarily diverse community of Jackson Heights, Queens, these common sense reforms proposed by our Mayor would have a tangible impact. They would ensure that the voices of our community are heard and that they matter in our democracy,” said Shekar Krishnan, President of the New Visions Democratic Club.
Veronica Aveis, President of Brooklyn Young Democrats, said, “As a lifelong New Yorker, our vision, passion, and diversity have shaped America. As a millennial, I’ve lived my life in New York with a senate that has thwarted vision, diversity, and progress. Same-day voter registration, early and no excuse absentee voting, and automatic voter registration would make voting more than a right, but something accessible regardless of age, employment, and party know-how. Whether it comes to health care, legal representation, or voting rights – I believe in access!”
Jacob Schwartz, President of Manhattan Young Democrats, said, “The Manhattan Young Democrats applaud Mayor de Blasio and the City’s efforts to begin to ease the voting process for millions of New Yorkers. Young New Yorkers are always on the run, moving frequently, traveling, or working long hours. So millennials will benefit greatly from the expanded ability to vote absentee, to not have to fret registration deadlines, and to vote on days more amenable to our busy schedules. We look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor on these and future reforms to ensure that our ity’s future leaders have a strong voice in our political process.”
Benjamin Solotaire, President of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, said, “Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. It is one of the strongest ways we as a community proclaim and defend our values. Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats is proud to fight for the voting reforms being proposed today as we stand with the Mayor and our fellow reform clubs in advocating for much needed changes that will allow greater access to the vote. We began as a reform club nearly 50 years ago and we will continue that work until every New Yorker has equal access to the voting booth.”
Henry L. Butler, President of the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association, said, “The Vanguard Independent Democratic Association applauds Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration’s efforts to lower barriers to voter participation. Initiatives such as translating voter registration forms and making the City website more accessible to voting related services help all New Yorkers eligible to vote, especially those among the diverse communities of Central Brooklyn, exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote. VIDA is thrilled to partner with the administration to register citizens to vote and get the vote out in every upcoming election.”
Michael Czaczkes, Lambda Independent Democrats, said, “A well-functioning democracy depends on the participation of its citizens, which is why we must remove key barriers to voting for New Yorkers. We hope the State Legislature and Governor will act on bringing true reforms to our state’s antiquated voting system.”
“This directive, which now includes Haitian Creole, promotes and expands the access for many marginalized communities to exercise their franchise. Having the right to vote is essential; however, being afforded the means by which one can understand and use his or her rights is vital and fundamentally lives up to the ideals and values of our democracy. HAAPA-PAC applauds this decision and is excited to see the this idea come to fruition,” said Rubain J. Dorancy, Esq., Chairman of HAAPA-PAC.
Raul Rothblatt, President of Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform, said “New York State was once a leader in progressive legislation, but that was long ago. Now our State has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country, and our laws about changing political parties are the very worst of the 50 states. We MUST do better, and these sensible proposals are necessary to help improve the legitimacy of the democratic process in New York.”
Tom Shcherbenko, Democratic Party District Leader Staten Island, said “I’m overjoyed that Mayor de Blasio is spearheading these necessary and overdue reforms. On Staten Island, we have large communities such as Arlington Terrace where voters must travel a mile to vote. These voters often don’t get home from work until 7 or 8 o’clock. Unless they have access to a car, they are essentially disenfranchised. These reforms go a long way to decrease the disparity between neighborhoods like theirs and ones with on-site voting.”
“Asian Americans face tremendous challenges and barriers with regards to exercising their constitutional right to vote. We commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray in their commitment to advancing common sense reforms that New York’s voters urgently need, like no-excuse absentee voting, early voting, and same-day registration,” said Aries Dela Cruz, President of the Filipino American Democratic Club. “The City of New York’s expansion of voter registration forms to eleven new languages including Tagalog, its creative efforts to register voters at food trucks, and initiatives like the NYCitizenship program that focus on the naturalization needs of New Yorkers, demonstrates Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to ensuring that all New Yorkers can fully participate in our country’s democratic process.”
Juan Rosa, President of Northern Manhattan’s Barack Obama Democratic Club, said “We applaud Mayor de Blasio’s call for these important and much-needed reforms to New York State’s voting laws to make it easier for New Yorkers to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Steps like early in person voting and same-day registration will make voting more accessible and attractive to young voters and new Americans. We join the Mayor in asking Albany to implement these common-sense reforms.”
Justin Brannan, President of Bay Ridge Democrats, said, “We need more people engaged in our democracy, not less. But New York’s arcane voter-registration laws will make even the most grizzled archaeolexicologist weep. So whether it’s Same Day Registration or No Excuse Absentee Voting, at a time when so many Americans are feeling disenfranchised – especially first-time voters, minority voters, seniors, and other historically underrepresented groups – we should be doing everything we can to make it easier to vote, not harder.”
Anusha Venkataraman, President of New Kings Democrats, said, “New Kings Democrats is a strong advocate of reforms to State and City voting laws that encourage and enable civic participation. In large part because of New York’s arcane voter registration and voting procedures, our voter turnout is embarrassingly low. Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and reforms open the possibility of empowering historically disenfranchised voters and electing progressive candidates that truly represent the residents of New York.”
“MDCNY applauds Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to expand language access by expanding the voter registration forms in an additional 11 languages. Many Muslim New Yorkers can now register to vote with forms that explain what is needed in their native language. We call upon the NYS Legislator to ensure that we modernize our voting process. New York needs to get with the times and ensure we can have efficient processes that enfranchise all voters,” said Murad Awawdeh, President, Muslim Democratic Club of New York.
“We applaud the Mayor’s leadership on advocating for these common sense reforms. Early voting and same-day registration will allow new immigrant communities to increase their participation in our elections. We need to increase involvement of all New Yorkers and remove obstacles to voting,” said Ali Najmi, Political Director of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL).
Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon, President of Southern Brooklyn Democrats, “Southern Brooklyn Democrats believes that these reforms will go a long way toward ensuring that New Yorkers are able to exercise their right to vote. We hope that these reforms are only the first step toward making New York’s voting process as transparent and equitable as possible.”
“We need reforms to our antiquated voting system, so that communities that have been politically disenfranchised historically can feel like a part of the electoral process. We have spent the last three years registering voters in the Dominican-American community, and now we need to ensure they are able to cast their votes,” said Eddie Cuesta, Executive Director of Dominicanos USA.