Two full weekends of early voting, limiting contributions from corporations, and ending a confusing primary system were signed into law this week by Andrew Cuomo Governor of New York. Citizens of the state will now be able to more effectively exercise their right to vote and more participation makes for better representation. The newly elected Assembly majorities have long championed for these reforms and having secured a majority in both chambers, passed expanded voting rights as their first major legislation of the year.
Additionally, this legislation makes it easier for young people to participate in our democracy. Citizens as young as sixteen can now pre-register to vote so when they turn eighteen and are eligible, they will be immediately added to the list. Further efforts to expand voting rights for the citizens of New York are under way. Many states have same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee ballots, but New York does not. These two reforms require a change to the state constitution which is considerably more complicated than a simple majority vote in the Assembly.
Despite further challenges ahead, voting rights in the State of New York have been expanded for the first time in decades. The chance for same-day voter registration will have to wait until 2021 due to state level rules, but now many thousands of workers who would not be able to take a Tuesday afternoon to vote can now make use of expanded early voting in the state.