Sunday, October 3, 2010

Increasing voter participation

From the NY Times:

ON Primary Day this month, New York voters faced numerous delays and equipment malfunctions at the polls. In some cases residents stood in line for hours, leading state politicians to make accusations of disenfranchisement and resulting in three government investigations.

But New York’s leaders have ignored the larger issues that drive down the state’s voter participation rates, in particular the electoral calendar: New York holds its primary at the worst possible time of the electoral season, and it remains among the shrinking minority of states that still don’t allow early voting.

This year’s low turnout — just 13 percent among Democrats and 16 percent among Republicans — was nothing new. In 2009 there was near record-low voting in New York City’s mayoral election. And while low turnout is a concern nationwide, New York consistently ranks near the bottom.

One reason for such poor participation is that New York’s primary falls on the second Tuesday of September. This year, during the 10 days leading up to it, candidates vied for voter attention against Labor Day travel, the first days of school, the beginning of the Jewish New Year, the end of Ramadan and the solemn 9/11 remembrances.

New York further deters participation in elections by refusing to allow early voting. “Being too busy” is the No. 1 reason nonvoters say they sit elections out; in response, about two-thirds of the states now permit some form of early voting (as distinct from absentee voting, which typically requires that voters give an acceptable reason for not going to the polls on Election Day).

Moving up New York’s primary and allowing early voting are easy ways to increase democratic participation. True, they wouldn’t get every New Yorker to the polls. But they would take away a number of well-worn excuses.


Misssing Foundation said...

If you had credible people running for office then more would vote.

If you limited the advantages of incumbancy then more would vote.

The problem is that everything is done to make the process as empty as possible so that when you do get the polls, its as scripted and meaningless as possible.

This suggestion is somewhere between 10 and 15 on a list of so many other things that good government groups have been discussing for years.

Its about time we bring this to the fore.

Anonymous said...

i Don't vote in the primaries because i am not allowed to. This is only for people who like to get pigeon-holed to one party.

Anonymous said...

I don't vote because they is no election. just as the PArty elected CUOMO the CROOK. The peop[le had no real choice. Look at how SLUSH FUND CHristine Quinn and Emperor Bloomberg overturned term limits. LOOK at how CUNY Goldstein, head of charter, GRANDFATHER all the city council members to a 3RD term. where is the FEDS???????

There is no democracy in NYC so why even vote????

Anonymous said...

What if you got a PIN from Albany and one from County and you voted from your home phone? Too simple? Are they assuming the voters are too dumb or just the staff at the BOE?