NYS lawmakers discussing Automatic Voter Registration Act

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New Yorkers recently casts their ballots in the June primary election, and as New York State lawmakers are back in session, the issue of voting is a big focus. 

A pair of Senate and Assembly bills being discussed would enact the New York Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2020. 

“What it would do, essentially, is anytime a New Yorker interacts with a state agency, whether it be the Department of Motor Vehicles or social services, they would be given the opportunity to register to vote in a seamless fashion,” said Deputy Director of Common Cause New York Sarah Goff.

Goff said, instead of getting a paper registration form and mailing it back, this would skip the additional paperwork as agencies could automatically send the voter’s information to the Board of Elections as long as the voter affirms they would like to do that and verifies their eligibility to vote. 

“As we’ve seen in other states, it’s increased the number of voter registrations dramatically,” Goff said.  

Goff said the legislation will make it easier for voters to not only register but also maintain their registration on file for accuracy. 

“If the Department of Motor Vehicles realizes that you’ve moved and you change your address for your license, that information would automatically get sent to the Board of Elections so that they now know you’ve moved as well,” she said.

Last year, similar automatic voter registration legislation was put on hold at the end of session due to an error in the language that would have registered non-citizens to vote.

“We’re thrilled to see not only the Senate and Assembly course correct for a minor issue but then also take a step forward and expand the provisions of the bill,” Goff said.

If the bill passes, automatic voter registration won’t be available for the general election in November as it takes effect in 2023.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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