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Letter To The Editor: New York Has A Voting Problem

Sandy Galef
Sandy Galef Photo Credit: Contributed

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To the Editor:

Our state has a voting problem. In the 2016 election, 56.2% of eligible New

York voters voted, ranking 42nd in the country. Our democracy thrives when

all are able to engage in the election process. This means ensuring people's

ability to vote through a number of potential new measures.

New York State is one of only 13 states without early voting. Early voting

allows flexibility for voters to vote when they are able to, while juggling

work and familial obligations, rather than struggling to find time to vote

only on Election Day, or being prevented from voting altogether. Early

voting removes this obstacle. Similarly, automatic voter registration, done

through the Department of Motor Vehicles, streamlines the voter registration

process. The resulting system would be more convenient, with shared

information reducing errors and redundancies, all while cutting costs. Same

day voter registration allows eligible voters to register to vote, and

ultimately vote, even if they have not yet had the opportunity to register

before Election Day.

In order to apply for an absentee ballot in New York State the voter must

provide a reason for the absence or inability to make it to the polls. New

York should join the majority of states across the country and not require

an excuse. Such policies do not protect our elections, or enhance the voting

experience, but serve only as a deterrent and invasion of privacy.

When I recently polled my constituents on their thoughts on these proposals,

early voting and automatic voter registration had the support of 69% and

68.1% of respondents respectively. Same day voter registration received

55.7% support from my constituents. This session I will continue my support

of, and advocacy for, legislation that ensures that New York lives up to its

promise and makes voting a right and not a privilege. The laws of the state

should never be the reason an eligible person does not vote in our



Assemblywoman Sandy Galef

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