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.
Pay Raise Deal Rages In Albany  (WAMC, December 17, 2018)
'It's just not designed to do its job': Will New York reform its state ethics agency?  (Gotham Gazette, December 13, 2018)
Pay commission issues final report, recommends hefty raises for governor, lawmakers  (WRVO, December 12, 2018)
Pay committee recommends $50,000 annual salary increase for lawmakers  (The Legislative Gazette, December 11, 2018)
New York's Horrific Voting Laws Might Actually Get Changed  (Huffington Post, December 11, 2018)
Dutchess Legislature Passes Plastic Bag Ban  (WAMC, December 10, 2018)
Why N.Y. Lawmakers Think They Deserve a $50,000 Raise  (The New York Times, December 9, 2018)
State legislators expected to get 64 percent pay raise  (WIVB, December 8, 2018)
Commission Recommends Subtantial Pay Hike for Governor, State Lawmakers  (WAER, December 8, 2018)
Pay raise for lawmakers may hurt local governments  (ABC News 10, December 8, 2018)
Albany taxpayers react to state lawmaker raises  (WNYT Channel 13, December 7, 2018)
Commission Recommends Pay Increases and Ethics Reforms for State Legislators  (Gotham Gazette, December 7, 2018)
Commission Recommends Substantial Pay Raises For New York's Governor, Lawmakers  (WSKG, December 7, 2018)
Advocates: Inequities In NY Ethics Panel One More Reason To Scrap It  (WAMC, December 7, 2018)
Complaint says Bloomberg charity influences attorney general's agenda  (Albany Times Union, December 7, 2018)
New York good government groups hail decision to tie legislative pay raises to reforms  (Daily News, December 7, 2018)
NYS lawmakers to get first pay raise in 20 years  (WSYR, December 7, 2018)
Panel approves 63 percent raise for state legislators  (Albany Times Union, December 6, 2018)
No campaign finance reform, no raise for state lawmakers  (The Buffalo News, December 5, 2018)
New York legislators need to earn any raises by curbing corruption  (The Journal News, December 4, 2018)
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