Author Archives: Heather Roberson Gaston

Support Voting Reform Efforts in New York NOW

(Photo by April Sikorski from Brooklyn, USA (vote here) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

The movement for voting reform in New York State is gaining momentum – and not a moment too soon. While other states have taken measures to modernize and streamline their voting systems, New York has remained mired in rules and arbitrary deadlines that prevent thousands of residents from realizing their right to vote, leaving our state’s voter turnout rates embarrassingly low.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Right now, 37 states offer early voting, a reform that greatly eases the voting process, and a growing number offer same-day and automatic voter registration. The latter reform has been shown to have the greatest impact on increasing voter participation, particularly among young voters, new residents, and immigrants. The primary obstacle to enacting these changes here in New York is a lack of political will. But that is changing.

Last month, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman introduced the “New York Votes Act,” calling for same-day registration, automatic registration, and early voting. New York State Senator Daniel Squadron and the Senate Democratic Conference have released an official report on the barriers to voting in New York and introduced a legislative package calling for many of the same reforms. Just this Sunday, thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Battery Park to voice their support for voting reforms.

Now, all eyes are on the final budget, due on April 1. Will Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature do the right thing or will he waffle and delay as he has done before? Please join us in making sure they commit to change!

Call and email Governor Cuomo. Tell him you support his pro-voter budget proposal and want to see it funded and enacted: call 518-474-1041(press 1); email gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us.

You can also find your State Senator and Assembly Member and ask them to support voting reform, including early voting and automatic or same-day registration.

Thank you so much for helping to keep the pressure on this important issue. There is everything to be gained when we stand and fight for our most basic rights, and everything to be lost when we don’t.