New York lawmakers are poised to join 35 other states in authorizing early voting procedures. Studies indicate that allowing more access to the ballot increases voter satisfaction and representation, and this is a welcome change for New York residents.
While the vast majority of the rest of the country already offers this type of service, the State Assembly is considering the measure today (Monday, Jan 14). As of this writing, the legislation would allow for up to 10 days of early voting in any election. Nearly all elections are held on Tuesdays – a relic of our agricultural past – and this legislation would allow for two full weekends prior to election day for citizens to come out and participate in their democracy. Many workers simply cannot take time out of their day in the middle of a work week and this change will increase turnout regardless of party affiliation.
A bigger change to New York state law would be the constitutional measure under consideration in tandem with this bill. This would allow for same-day voter registration for all elections, again something that many residents of other states currently enjoy. Once passed by the Assembly and Senate, voters would have an opportunity to decide whether making it easier for their fellow citizens to vote is the right thing to do as changes to the state constitution require a referendum.
One thing is clear: voters in the state of New York can be encouraged that their representatives in the Assembly and Senate are working to make it easier, not harder, to vote.