Click below to access one-pagers in support of each bill in
NYDLC's Comprehensive New York State Pro-Voter Legislative Agenda
(or view in printable pdf)
The New York Democratic Lawyers Council strongly supports the enactment of legislation to modernize our voter registration system and improve voter access. At each step in the election process, New York’s outdated voting laws discourage participation. As a result, nearly 2 million eligible New Yorkers are not even registered, and New York consistently ranks near the bottom in turnout (41st in 2016).
We need to overhaul the way New York votes to better suit our busy lives and provide New Yorkers with a reasonable opportunity to exercise their fundamental civil rights.
Legislation to Reduce Barriers to Participation:
Modernize and Streamline Voter Registration
~ NYS Automatic Voter Registration Act S1278 (Gianaris) Streamlines and modernizes voter registration by automatically registering (or updating registration of) all eligible NYers who interact with government agencies, housing authorities, and SUNY/CUNY, and encouraging and assisting with voter registration at additional source entities, like Dep't of Corrections. The proposal also includes later party-enrollment-change deadlines, anti-discrimination protections, privacy/security safeguards for personal data, annual reporting to monitor progress on registration rates and systemic accuracy of voter data.
~ ENACTED - 2019! Youth Preregistration A774 (Lavine) / S1100 (Carlucci) Permits preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds. At age 18, residency is verified before new voters are added to the rolls, reducing hurdles to participation.
~ ENACTED - 2019! Registration Portability when Voters Move A775 (Dinowitz) / S1099 (Carlucci) Keeps voters on the rolls when they move within NYS by automatically transferring registration to the voter’s new county or city Board of Elections.
~ Online Voter Registration S3194 (Myrie) Modernizes our paper-based registration system by allowing New Yorkers to apply online including an electronic signature, which the NYS AG has said is valid under NY law.
~ Electronic Poll Books A2070A (Cusick) / S508A (Myrie) Modernizes and improves elections by allowing poll workers to check-in voters at their poll site using a tablet or electronic device that meet security standards approved by the State Board, saving time, resources, and improving accuracy.
~ PASSED (ROUND 1)! Same-Day Registration and Voting A777 (Carroll) / S1048 (Gianaris) Constitutional amendment to provide busy NYers with a one-stop registration and voting option, improving access to participation, safeguarding civil rights, and curing clerical errors. This also includes a companion statutory bill S2150 (Gianaris) or S7005-2018 (Kennedy).
~ New York Votes Act A5312-2018 (Cusick) This Bill comprehensively overhauls NYS voter registration and elections! Highlights: (1) Automatic and same-day registration, later registration deadline (10 days; shorter enrollment change deadline (120 days)); (2) Improves voting process (eg online requests for absentee ballots), and (3) Removing barriers to voting (language accessibility, parolee voting, anti-suppression safeguards to ensure good-faith challenges and oversight of third-party mail-checks); 4) Required training for local election administrators and broader poll worker recruitment; 5) language access.
Legislation to Improve Access to the Ballot:
Reasonable Opportunities to Exercise Fundamental Rights
~ ENACTED - 2019! Early Voting A780 (Lavine) / S1102 (Myrie) Provides busy NYers with an opportunity to vote early during 9 days (includes the 2 weekends) before any election. Counties must provide at least one early voting site per fifty thousand voters. Early voting must at least be available to each voter: For 8 hours between 7AM-8PM on weekdays (with one site open until 8 PM on at least 2 days); For 5 hours between 9AM-6PM on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. 2019-20 Early Voting Budget Memo
~ PASSED (ROUND 1)! No-Excuse Absentee Voting A778 (Vanel) / S1049 (Comrie) Expands convenient absentee voting to all NYers so they can vote by mail or in-person ahead of Election Day. Today, only voters who meet limited criteria are eligible.
~ ENACTED - 2019! Consolidated State and Federal Primaries A779 (Lavine) / S1103 (Stewart-Cousins) Consolidates multiple state and federal primaries to improve turnout, comply with the Federal MOVE Act, and save millions of taxpayer dollars.
~ Voter Friendly Ballot Act A2682 (Lavine) / S2300 (Kavanagh) This bill will make the ballot clearer, more readable, and easier to use by updating the NY Election Law to make it compatible with the the 2010 adoption of optical scanners and enact modern usability principles and best practices.
Legislation to Prevent Voter Suppression and Ensure Due Process
~ Deceptive Practices and Voter Suppression Act S2952-2018 (Stewart-Cousins). Defines and penalizes deceptive election practices and intimidating voter suppression conduct that undermines our democracy. Inspired by real events (NYDN).
~ AG Pre-Clearance of Voting Regs & Policies A3420 (Walker) Inspired by oversight protections of the Federal Voting Rights Act, changes to voting regs in counties with large minority populations must first be approved by NYS Attorney General.
~ Universal Attorney Poll Watchers A4984-2018 (Weprin) / S3405-2018 (Parker) Permits NYS licensed resident attorneys, who are already subject to statewide ethics oversight, to monitor the polls for misconduct as watchers in any New York locality.
~ Voting Rights Restoration and Registration for Citizens on Parole A4987 (O'Donnell) / S1931 (Comrie) Automatically restores the fundamental right to vote to Americans who have already served their time in prison and adds a proactive voter registration component to the reentry process to reduce clerical barriers to participation in our democracy.