ALBANY – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced on July 22 that the State Senate passed the New York Automatic Voter Registration Act (S.8806) by a vote of 40 to 20. The legislation will automatically register eligible New Yorkers to vote upon interactions with various state and local agencies.
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Gianaris said, “While national efforts to establish more roadblocks to voting increase, it is critical we make it as easy as possible for all New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote. With approximately 2 million eligible voters not currently on the rolls, automatic registration will make a huge difference in increasing our state’s voter participation.”
Senator Gianaris has been a longtime advocate of voting reform, also today passing legislation to prevent more absentee ballots from being disqualified due to technicalities.
Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY and co-founder of the Let NY Vote Coalition said, “New York is one step closer to automatic voter registration, thanks to the tenacious leadership of Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Mike Gianaris. Now it’s on to the Assembly to pass this reform and bring New York in line with 19 other states plus D.C. We can't wait, it's time to let New York vote!”
Sean McElwee of AVR Now, said "AVR NOW applauds the State Senate for passing this vital reform to give millions of New Yorkers a more secure and efficient access to the ballot. We thank Senator Gianaris for his leadership on this issue."
Sean Morales-Doyle, Deputy Director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, said, “Adopting automatic voter registration would mark a big step forward for New York, which would join sixteen other states and D.C. in embracing this reform. The policy has dramatically increased registration in states across the country. And because this bill would put AVR in place in a number of New York agencies, it is sure to reach a broad cross-section of New Yorkers.”
Saad Amer, Founder, Plus1Vote said, “We are seeing so many flaws in the fabric of our democracy. Constant attacks on our electoral system disproportionately impact youth and people of color. Automatic voter registration will enfranchise thousands and remove unnecessary huddles to participating in our democracy. We need to continue to push for the participation of all voices in our elections.”
More information about the bill is available online: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s8806.