De Blasio proposes reforms to make New York more voter friendly
Mayor: ‘Tacit understanding’ at state level makes it too hard to register and vote
Saying that it is just too difficult to register to vote in New York State, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday called on Albany to pass new laws allowing early voting, same-day voter registration and electronic poll books statewide.
De Blasio made the announcement at NYC College of Technology in Downtown Brooklyn, after helping to sign up new voters at a registration fair held nearby at MetroTech.
While the deadline for mail-in registration is today (Friday, Oct. 14), a number of in-person registration centers are open in Brooklyn on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 1 to 9 p.m. See the bottom of this story for their locations.]
De Blasio blamed the registration difficulties on “really troubled traditions in this state, where there’s been a tacit understanding in the political class for decades that many people felt it was better to discourage involvement and discourage turnout.”
There are almost two million eligible individuals in the state of New York who are not registered to vote, almost one million of whom live in New York City, de Blasio said.
What’s happening in New York State is not the same as the efforts to actively disenfranchise voters going on in North Carolina and Texas, de Blasio said, “but it is something we should be deeply troubled about.”
“The fact is, a lot of people end up not participating because of the many barriers to entry,” he said. “All of us here are going to be very actively engaged in a campaign to change state law … to finally make this a state that’s voter friendly, a state where people can participate, and not be disenfranchised.”
There are 37 states that allow early voting, including Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas, de Blasio said, but New York does not, de Blasio said.
New York also does not have same day voter registration, an innovation embraced by 13 states and the District of Columbia, nor does New York use electronic poll books to help cut down on wait times. (There are 32 states and the District of Columbia that use e-poll books).
Susan Lerner, executive director of the good government group Common Cause, told reporters that the groups is the national coordinator for the grass roots election protection program.
“We see firsthand how the sort of reforms [de Blasio] mentioned actually play out — how workable they are, how popular they are with both voters and election administrators.
What we have in New York City “is a form of soft voter suppression,” she said. “It does not have to be this way. It’s a failure of political will.”
“We should not be the rump end of election reform in this country, we should be the leaders.”
Other speakers at the conference included Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, Margaret Fung of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, Jose Dávila, VP at the Hispanic Federation, Audrey Lopez of Vota Latina, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh (Manhattan’s east side) and Manhattan BP Gail Brewer.
In-person registration on Saturday in Brooklyn
Did you miss the last day of mail-in voter registration Friday? Eligible individuals can take advantage of in-person registration with Board of Elections representatives on Saturday, Oct.15 from 1 to 9 p.m. at the following Brooklyn sites:
James Madison H.S. 3787 Bedford Avenue
P.S. 52 2675 East 29 Street
P.S. 6 43 Snyder Avenue
P.S. 152 725 East 23 Street
P.S. 61 I.S. 400 Empire Boulevard
P.S. 138 760 Prospect Place
P.S. 62 JH.S. 700 Cortelyou Road
John Jay H.S. 237 7 Avenue
P.S. 238 1633 East 8 Street
Bay Academy 1401 Emmons Avenue
P.S. 329 2929 West 30 Street
P.S. 201 JH.S. 8010 12 Avenue
I.S. 96 99 Avenue P
P.S. 228 JH.S. 228 Avenue S & West 4 Street
P.S. 105 1031 59 Street
P.S. 99 1120 East 10 Street
I.S. 187 1171 65 Street
P.S. 48 6015 18 Avenue
JH.S. 126 424 Leonard Street
PS157 850 Kent Avenue
P.S. 506 60 Street & 3 Avenue
P.S. 27 27 Huntington Street
P.S. 8 37 Hicks Street
P.S. 29 425 Henry Street
Board of Elections 345 Adams Street 4th Floor
P.S. 19 325 South 3 Street
P.S. 162 JH.S. 1390 Willoughby Avenue
I.S. 171 528 Ridgewood Avenue
P.S. 151 763 Knickerbocker Avenue
P.S. 5 New 820 Hancock Street
I.S. 292 300 Wyona Street
P.S. 305 344 Monroe Street
I.S. 390 1224 Park Place
Edmonds Center (I.S. 133) 300 Adelphi Street
P.S. 9 New 80 Underhill Avenue
P.S. 252 JH.S. 1064 Lenox Road
P.S. 114 1077 Remsen Avenue
P.S. 115 1500 East 92 Street
P.S. 312 7103 Avenue T
PS/I.S. 202 982 Hegeman Avenue
P.S. 346 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue
Ft Hamilton H.S. 8301 Shore Road
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