Last year’s election season demonstrated, beyond a doubt, that New York’s voting laws are in need of an overhaul. That is why MYD is proud to support the voting reforms put forth by Governor Andrew Cuomo this weekend, in the lead-up to his State of the State address. His proposal is not enough, however. There are additional steps that must be taken as a package with those already proposed, such as consolidating primaries, lengthening change of party deadlines and ensuring adequate funding for the Board Of Elections.
For further details, please see our official state statement, copied below.
Voter Access & Equity For All
Our democracy is at its best when every eligible voter has a chance to make their voice heard at the polls. Unfortunately, in New York State, polling lines are often discouragingly long, and registering to vote is unnecessarily complicated—more complicated than many other states. Our goal should be full voter participation, where any unnecessary barrier to that participation is viewed as voter suppression, plain and simple.
That is why the Manhattan Young Democrats are happy to enthusiastically support Governor Cuomo’s proposals to make it easier for every New Yorker to vote. Early voting, opt-out voter registration and same-day voter registration are precisely the kinds of reforms we need to modernize our election system. Last year’s election season made it glaringly apparent how out-of-date New York’s election laws are, and we can no longer ignore the need for change.
We should not rest on the laurels of these reforms, however. Having three separate primary Election Days is clunky and inefficient. It is often difficult enough to turn voter out for just one primary, so let’s consolidate all three into a single day and encourage greater participation. Additionally, let’s not limit same day registration to just new voters, but extend the deadline for changing party registration as well, so that voters aren’t forced to make that decision more than a year in advance. And, importantly, let’s fund the Board of Elections with the expectation that everyone will vote, specifically ensuring that there are enough polling places to actually accommodate this on election day.
New York should be a leader in voting reform across the country, so it is past time for us to lead the charge for fair and just elections. It will take not just statewide but country-wide reform to level the playing field, and ensure that the voices of all Americans are heard. This is where we start