NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday a new proposal meant to make it easier for all New Yorkers to vote, which will in turn shorten lines at the polls and increase accuracy when ballots are counted. That proposal is called the “Democracy Project.”
It will allow early voting and institute automatic and same-day voter registration, thus streamlining voter services and making it simpler for all eligible citizens to vote and eliminate possible voting inaccuracies.
“These proposals will modernize and open up our election system, making it easier for more voters to participate in the process and helping to make a more fair, more just and more representative New York for all,” Cuomo said in a news release.
New early voting policy will require every county to offer access to at least one early voting site during the 12 days before Election Day, according to a news release. At least eight hours on weekdays and five hours on the weekend will be devoted to keeping voting sites open for this purpose.
There must be one early voting site per 50,000 residents and the location must be chosen by the bipartisan county board of elections, according to a news release. Location will be determined based on accessibility and convenience.
Early voting aims to increase access to the polls and make it easier for people with commitments to take the time to vote. That also means shorter lines on Election Day and makes it easier for poll workers to deal with registration errors as they arise.
Automatic and same-day voter registration
The project also aims to simplify DMV services by automatically sending voter information from DMV applications directly to the County Board of Elections, according to a news release. Those who do not wish to register can simply check an “opt out” box on their application.
Citizens can already register to vote at the DMV but often face a number of regulations that slow down the process and create errors on voter rolls. Automatic registration aims to improve the accuracy of voter rolls and registration lists, increase convenience for voters and election officials alike and reduce total costs associated with the process.
Same-day voter registration will also go into effect as part of the project. New Yorkers will be able to register and vote on the same day and avoid deadlines before Election Day that could potentially keep them from registering in time.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Cuomo’s initiative would solve many problems that New Yorkers face when trying to vote, and he plans to work with Cuomo to expand and protect the right of all New Yorkers to be able to vote.
“In addition to the proposals announced by Governor Cuomo today, we must enact changes that support greater voter participation, such as finally consolidating New York’s unnecessary three primary schedule to a single day, and making it easier for New Yorkers to vote in the party primary of their choice,” he said in a news release.
“I commend Governor Cuomo for proposing common sense reforms to our voting system. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo, the legislature, and everyday New Yorkers across our state to address the systemic problems in New York’s voting laws. New York must become a national leader in voting rights by expanding and protecting the rights of all New Yorkers to cast their vote.”