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Board Of Legislators Vice Chairman Examines NY's Disappearing Voters

Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- During my lifetime, for the even years when we are not voting for president but voting for such important officials like governor, attorney general, comptroller, U.S. Senate, Congress, state Senate and state Assembly, New York State's voter turnout of registered voters has been cut in half.

Yes, when I was a little 3-year-old back in 1966, the voter turnout for those that chose a governor in an exciting four-way race between Nelson Rockefeller (Republican), Frank O'Connor (Democrat), Paul Adams (Conservative) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. (Liberal) was over 60 percent. Our recent race between Andrew Cuomo (Democrat), Rob Astorino (Republican) and Howie Hawkins (Green) had the lowest turnout election watchers can remember -- about 31 percent of registered voters.  It's shocking that so many New Yorkers are failing to respect their civic duty to let their voices be heard on Election Day.

We can all speculate about the reasons for this massive drop in voting: negative campaigns, people turned off by modern day politics or working too hard/no time to vote, so many uncontested races, or New York's embarrassing political corruption. But frankly, as a very busy person who always finds time to study the candidates and make it to the polls, there is just no excuse for failing to vote.

Less than one-third of New York's registered voters just picked our federal and state elected representatives.

As a comparison, North Carolina, which did have massive amounts of money spent on one of the featured U.S. Senate races, had a 44 percent turnout.

I worked on Gov. George Pataki's exciting victory in 1994 and that campaign had a much more respectable turnout of 53 percent.

Election Day 2014 was not a victory for democracy in New York State. Jim Maisano

Maisano is the vice chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

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