In an attempt to reform New York's Byzantine voting system, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday a series of proposed reforms intended to make voting easier for New Yorkers.
The proposals are part of what Cuomo is calling the Democracy Project, and include early voting and both automatic and same-day voter registration.
According to a press release from Cuomo's office, 13 states and Washington, D.C. offer same-day registration, which would be a huge benefit in situations like the party primaries for the 2017 citywide elections—the voter registration deadline for these elections was October 14, 2016. Same-day registration could have also allowed the 126,000 registered Brooklyn Democrats who were purged from the polls to vote in the party primaries last April. (Many voted via affidavit ballots, but there's never a guarantee that affidavits will be counted).
In November, Mayor de Blasio called for reforms including early voting, electronic poll books, and "no excuse" absentee voting.
5/ 37 states offer early voting to help avoid long lines. There is no reason New York can’t become 38.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) November 8, 2016
The governor is also calling for voters who apply for licenses to be automatically registered to vote—anyone who doesn't want to vote can simply opt out.
Although citizens are already able to register through the DMV, Cuomo's office says that "paper applications can introduce errors to voter rolls, and inaccurate registrations can lead to voters encountering difficulties at the polls," like, you know, that time 126,000 Democrats had to vote via affidavit ballot last year.
reminder: there are lots of NYers who don't interact with the DMV https://t.co/PvgshxDip8
— Ben Max (@TweetBenMax) January 8, 2017
Then again, many New Yorkers never go to the DMV anyway.
Cuomo also wants lawmakers to implement early voting in the 12 days leading up to election day. According to the proposal, every county would have to offer one early voting polling site for every 50,000 residents—this would mean at least 51 early voting poll sites in Brooklyn, 45 in Queens, 32 in Manhattan, 28 in the Bronx, and 9 on Staten Island.
Thirty-seven states, plus Washington, D.C., currently offer early voting. Although early voting didn't increase turnout in the 2016 presidential election, it nonetheless allows voters to avoid waiting on line to vote for hours, which happened at polling places throughout the city on election day last November.