Reinvent Albany Calls on Assembly to Think Big, Pass Comprehensive Voting Reforms at Election Hearing


Reinvent Albany Calls for Online Voter Registration, Same Day Registration, No-Excuse Absentee Voting, and Early Voting at Assembly Elections Hearing

Calls for City Board of Elections to Administratively Improve Ballot Design and Retool Operations and Poll Worker Training

Reinvent Albany today released comprehensive recommendations at an Assembly Election Law oversight hearing for improving election administration, and making it easier for New Yorkers to register and vote.

“We are encouraged by comments from state leaders that they will pass voting reforms like early voting,” said Alex Camarda, Senior Policy Advisor at Reinvent Albany.  “But we call on the legislature to think big and pass numerous reforms to modernize New York’s antiquated elections.”

Reinvent Albany calls on the Assembly to act on its long support of numerous bills that will ease barriers to voting, registration and modernize the voting experience.  

Reinvent Albany supports passage of A.3052 (Cusick)/S.3562 (Stewart Cousins), which sets a June primary date for both state and local elections and will increase voter turnout while saving New York State $25 million.  New York is the only state in the nation that has two separate federal and state/local primaries.

We also support enacting A.5382-A (Cusick)/S. 5115-A to establish online voter registration after amending the bill to replicate a New York City law that passed in 2017, making online voter registration available on mobile phones and enabling state agencies and third parties to utilize the Board of Election’s portal to register voters.  The state’s current online registration portal at the Department of Motor Vehicles registered over 1 million since 2012. An online registration portal untethered from the DMV and used by outside groups, other state agencies and candidates will register countless voters.

Reinvent Albany also backs the legislature making amendments to the constitution so same-day registration (A.2090-A/S.2478-A amends the constitution and A.8612/S.3235 amends the statute) and no-excuse absentee voting (A.7623 (Vanel)/S.840 (Comrie)), can be in place for the 2022 elections.  Same-day registration is the law in 19 states, and allows voters to register and vote on Election Day.  By starting the process through passing amendments this year, constitutional reforms will be phased in after statutory reforms like early voting go into effect for the 2019 election.

Other important reforms include automatic voter registration and changing the deadline for party affiliation from 13 months before a general election to less than 50 days before a primary election.  Four of the 12 states do so that have closed primaries and a change in party affiliation deadline before a voter registration deadline.

Reinvent Albany also made recommendations the City Board of Elections can implement immediately without a change to state law.  The City Board should make ballots more readable and shorter by reducing the number of languages on each ballot. It should accept Mayor de Blasio’s offer to hire an operations consultant in exchange for more funding.  An operations consultant is needed to ensure the Board can respond better to scanner malfunctions, including redeploying working scanners, improving use of emergency ballots, and redesigning poll site layout to reduce lines and ease overcrowding.