Today’s news:

Allow registration on Election Day

for The Brooklyn Paper

New York’s voter registration deadline, which falls 25 days before the election, is perhaps the greatest barrier to voter participation in our state.

The young, people of color and low-income renters — groups that are more likely to change addresses — tend to be disenfranchised by the deadline. Day-to-day obligations may cause them to delay their registration until it’s too late, or they may simply be unaware that they need to re-register to be eligible to vote at their new location.

Eliminating the deadline and allowing same-day registration would boost voter turnout among underrepresented groups and increase overall voting rates, according to Demos, a nonpartisan think tank. Its researchers found that voter turnouts would have increased by 12.3 percent for 18- to 25-year-olds, 11 percent for Latinos, 8.7 percent for African-Americans and 6.8 percent overall if New York State had same-day registration during the 2000 election.

More than 1-1/2 million people in nine states used same-day registration in the 2008 general election. If they forgot to register, had an unforeseen residency change or found their name missing from the rolls, it didn’t matter. They just registered and voted on the spot. New Yorkers ought to have that option too.

Fran Clark is program coordinator of NYPIRG, a research and advocacy non-profit organization focusing on consumer, environmental and government reform.

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Reader Feedback

Tom from Dyker Heights says:
If a person fails to Registar to vote, it is their own fault. You can registar on the NY City or NY State web sites. Voter registration forms come with your Driver License, NY State ID or Auto Registration renewals, forms are availible at all government Officers, Libraries or could be requested over the phone @ 311.
Being Lazy is no excuse, neither is I forgot or I don't know where to go.
Allowing registration on Election or Primary days will only lead to voter fraud. I think that the Board of Elections, should return to issuing Voter Registration Cards.
Sept. 24, 2010, 1:19 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
This will get them most interested and dedicated people on the voter rolls!

Vote early and often!

Why not vote in bars? Buy me a drink and I'll vote for you!

Why not just hand out money for voting?

If voter turn out is low, that is not a bad thing; if voting when you don't know what you are doing, equals 'a good turn out' that is not a good thing.
Sept. 25, 2010, 9:45 am
Youri says:
I disagree. I became an American Oct 15...and the registration deadline for Nov 2nd...was Oct. 4th. If we allowed same day voter registration, I, a willing and eager "intelligent" citizen would be allowed to vote (here in AZ).

Better yet would be to have automatic voter registration for anyone 18 . I'm from Belgium and that's the case there, we have the possibility of doing it here in the US too. Would definitely be a positive. I have to wait 2 more years now to vote.
Nov. 2, 2010, 3:25 pm

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