Queens State Senator Michael Gianaris and Manhattan Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh today joined the New York City Campaign Finance Board to push an initiative that would automatically put all eligible New Yorkers on the voter rolls.
Lamenting low turnout and registration rates in last year’s elections, the Democrats appeared on the steps of City Hall with various advocacy groups to push their “Voter Empowerment Act.” The measure would coordinate the state Board of Elections with the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Education, Department of Labor, Department of Military and Naval Affairs and the public university systems to identify New York residents qualified to cast ballots and then place them in the voting books.
“This would just involve government agencies themselves communicating amongst themselves information that they already have, to make sure that people who are eligible to vote can show up on election day and vote without having to worry about deadlines or any other arbitrary rules and to be part of the process,” Mr. Gianaris said, noting that in 1974 5.5 million people voted, in contrast with 3.7 million in 2014—a decline he blamed on the onerous paperwork involved in registering to vote.
Onerous paperwork? It takes 5 minutes to fill out.