Voting Rights and Voter Mobilization

Voting Booths

NYPIRG is committed to ensuring that political participation is available and accessible to all eligible New Yorkers. Over the past four decades, NYPIRG’s non-partisan voter mobilization campaign has guarded and fought to expand the rights of voters in New York through community outreach, advocacy, media work and litigation. Our work has resulted in:

  • Thousands of new voters registered every year.
  • An expansion to the state’s “Motor Voter” law, which requires all state agencies to offer a voter registration option at the point of using the agency.
  • Sample ballots available online to help familiarize voters and speed up election day lines.
  • Inclusion of email addresses on New York City voter registration forms.
  • Student IDs permitted as a form of voter identification and more polling sites on college campuses.
  • Published reports detailing conditions at polling sites.

Still, New York’s voter registration and voter participation rates are anemic. A U.S. Elections Project analysis showed New York to have among the five worst turnout rates in the nation among eligible voters. New York must take immediate action to address systematic problems that disenfranchise voters and remove barriers that suppress voter turnout.

NYPIRG supports voter reforms, including:

  • Automatic voter registration and automatic updates to enrollment information of citizens interacting with all state and local government agencies.
  • Allowing voters to register and vote on Election Day. In the interim, New York State should shorten the registration and change of enrollment deadlines to 10 days before the election, the current minimum under the State Constitution.
  • Elimination of the patronage-controlled Boards of Elections, starting with the merit selection of permanent Board employees across the state.
  • Facilitating registration updates when a voter moves within the state.
  • Allowing 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote.
  • Codifying case law with respect to students voting from a campus-area address.
  • Guidelines for better ballots. Poor ballot design can affect every voter at a poll site. Miniscule fonts, unnecessary graphics and unreadable directions result in spoiled ballots and longer wait times for all.
  • Improved poll worker performance. Voters should come first on Election Day. Unfortunately, for too many, the patronage structure of the Boards puts party loyalty first and public service second. New York can improve poll site conditions immediately by offering time off for state and city employees working the polls, and professionalizing poll worker training so that only qualified and trained staff work the polls.
Deadline to Register to Vote in NY for November Elections is Tonight  (NY1, October 12, 2018)
Final voter registration drive push before Friday deadline  (NY1, October 11, 2018)
'What if he left a bag of money?' Judges struggle to define bribery  (New York Post, October 4, 2018)
Is State Government Learning Anything?  (Spectrum News, September 21, 2018)
NYS Exposed: Taxpayer funded mailings come close to election time  (WHEC, September 21, 2018)
Blair Horner discusses the 2018 Primary and General Election on The Capitol Connection  (WAMC, September 20, 2018)
Blair Horner discusses the role of lobbyists and lobbying in Albany on Citizen Active  (WMHT, September 19, 2018)
Primary results could lead to shift in power at NY Capitol  (News 10, September 17, 2018)
Voter Suppression in New York  (The New York Times, September 14, 2018)
News10NBC Investigates: What happens with leftover campaign cash?  (WHEC, September 14, 2018)
What Does Thursday's 'Remarkable' Primary Voter Turnout Mean For New York?  (Gothamist, September 14, 2018)
Payback Time: Progressive Democrats Oust State Senators Who Allied With Republicans  (Gothamist, September 14, 2018)
Blair Horner Discusses Voting Reform on Citizen Active  (WMHT, September 13, 2018)
Consumer's choice of pharmacy could affect their prescription price  (Watertown Daily Times, September 11, 2018)
New York Is One Of The Bluest States In The Country. Its Voting Laws Are Horrendous.  (Huffington Post, September 11, 2018)
What if Cuomo, like his father, wins with a running mate he doesn't want?  (The Buffalo News, September 10, 2018)
Candidates are rejecting corporate donations. What does that mean?  (City & State, September 9, 2018)
From state-owned choppers to public coffers, perks of Cuomo's office give him an edge  (The Buffalo News, September 3, 2018)
Capitol Watch: Pot 'Listening Sessions,' Biden Backs Cuomo  (U.S. News & World Report, September 1, 2018)
Watchdogs call out state agencies buying Cuomo re-election ads  (New York Post, August 28, 2018)
News Archive
Read Our Recommendations to the 2018 NYC Charter Revision Commission
New York's leading civic organizations call for action to respond to the state's corruption crises.
Roadmap to Reform
News Release: Nearly 1.8 Million New Yorkers Without Full Representation
Read Our Voters Guide to the Proposed 2017 Ballot Questions
Tale of the Tape: NYPIRG 2017 Legislative Review
Analysis: Despite Increase in Voter Registration, Turnout Fell Throughout New York State, Dips Uneven Throughout New York City (source: nypirgstudents.org)
Attend The Only Way Is Up: A Citywide Discussion to Boost Voter Turnout in New York on Friday, November 18th in Manhattan.
Analysis: More New Yorkers Are Registering to Vote; Will Voter Turn-out Remain Low? (source: nypirgstudents.org)
NYPIRG Statement on Primary Election Voting Irregularities
New York State Voters' Bill of Rights
Step-by-Step Guide to Filling Out a Voter Registration Form
New York State Voter Registration: Common Questions and Answers
NYPIRG's 2018 Legislative Review
As End of Legislative Session Draws Near, NYPIRG and Other Civic Organizations Call for Overhaul of Ethics Enforcement to Restore Public Trust in Government
NYPIRG and other leading civic organizations respond to the important ethics issues raised during the Joseph Percoco trial, which went to the jury today.
News Release: As Percoco trial begins, Reformers call for strong anti-corruption measures
News Release: Watchdog Groups Unveil "roadmap" to Curbing Corruption In New York, Kicking Off Their Restore Public Trust Campaign
Letter: Watchdog Groups Call for "Restore Public Trust" Reforms in Albany
NYPIRG and other good government groups call for the NYS Senate to end the practice of diverting stipends for committee chairs to other committee members
Reports & Features Archive