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Take action enact the Voter Empowerment Act of New York (A2529 / S857)

The Voter Empowerment Act of New York provides for automating voter registration of eligible consenting citizens at designated government agencies, permitting the pre-registration of sixteen and seventeen year-olds; transferring the registrations of New Yorkers who move within the state, providing for access to voter registration records and the registration of eligible citizens over the Internet, and moving the deadlines for voter registration and party enrollment.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Amends the election law by adding a new section that will automate the voter registration process at government agencies required to offer voter registration services.

Amends the election law to require boards of elections to update the registration of any consenting voter who moves within the state or changes his or her name and submits change of address or name information to officials at designated government agencies.

Amends the election law to require the state board of elections to make certain registration information available to voters via telephone and the Internet and to provide for voter registration or registration updates over the Internet.

Amends the election law by moving the deadline for voter registration to ten days before an election.

Amends the election law by moving the deadline for an effective party enrollment change to ten days before any election.

Amends the election law by adding a new section allowing for the correction of registration records on Election Day by voters who consented to registration at designated government agencies but were not registered or inaccurately registered.

Amends the election law to increase the privacy of voters and the security of voter information in the statewide voter registration list.

Amends the election law by providing for the provision of voter registration forms to students by colleges, universities and public school districts.

Amends the election law by authorizing the pre-registration to vote of 16 and 17-year-olds. 

 

 

JUSTIFICATION:

Modernizing the voter registration system will increase the efficiency of voter registration for the State and its constituent governmental units, save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, increase the completeness and accuracy of the statewide voter registration list, prevent erroneous disenfranchisement of eligible citizens, promote greater participation of eligible voters in elections, and reduce the incidence of voter registration fraud and voting fraud.

New York's paper-based voter registration system is inefficient, error prone, and unjustifiably costly. A modem voter registration system that electronically transmits voter registration information will reduce costs involved in processing voter registrations and maintaining complete and accurate voter registration lists. Other states that have implemented similar programs have experienced significant cost savings.

In eliminating reliance on paper, a modern voter registration system will reduce the number of duplicate or outdated registration records and ensure that fewer eligible voters are left off the voter rolls or are registered at incorrect or former addresses. A modem voter registration system will also reduce the inaccuracy and disenfranchisement that occurs because of human error. By reducing the administrative burdens presently involved in ensuring that a voter's current and accurate information is included on the statewide voter registration list, a modem voter registration system promotes greater participation of eligible voters in elections. Other states that have implemented similar programs have succeeded in attaining higher voter registration rates at participating government agencies and more accurate voter registration lists.

Finally, this bill will expand opportunities for young voters to register and vote, ensuring that young people become invested in the election process at an early age. The bill would add a section to the New York voter registration form allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. The boards of elections would store this information and use it to register the applicants when they reach the age of eligibility following verification of their qualifications and address. Pre-registration is a key component of voter registration modernization, and ensure that each eligible voter has every opportunity to register and vote.

 

Sourcehttp://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2015/s2538

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The University Student Senate (USS) of the City University of New York (CUNY) was founded in 1972 with the mission of preserving the accessibility, affordability, and excellence of higher education within the City University of New York; the organization is charged with protecting the rights of the student body, furthering the cause of public higher education and promoting the general welfare of its student constituents and the University. The USS delegates are responsible for the representative governance of the 500,000 students of the 24 CUNY campuses.