On Wednesday the New York State Senate approved an automatic voter registration bill.

The new measure would make registering to vote would be an “opt-out” program as opposed to “opt-in”.

In response,Susan Lerner, Common Cause/NY ED and Let NY Vote co-founder, issued the following statement:

“The NYS Senate just passed Automatic Voter Registration, ending session the way it started, by putting voters first. Now we need the Assembly to live up to the Senate’s example and bring New York in line with the 15 other states that already have some form of AVR. We can’t wait, it’s time to let New York vote!”

AVR would allow eligible New Yorkers to register to vote when they interact with a government agency (i.e., the DMV, Department of Health), streamlining the process and making it more accessible. Currently, there are 1.1 million New Yorkers who are eligible to vote, but unregistered. 15 states and Washington DC have already implemented some form of AVR. Last month the Senate held the first-ever hearing on AVR.

The Let NY Vote coalition – a statewide network of over 175 member organizations – has been demanding common sense voting reform in New York for years such as:

Early Voting: in place in 37 other states and now New York, allowing citizens to cast ballots in person days, sometimes weeks, before an election.

Pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds: 13 states plus DC allow for pre-registration for voting at 16 and 17 years old. Pre-registration increases the likelihood of voter participation among young adults. Engaging potential voters at a young age and bringing them into the voting process early helps create lifelong voters.

Consolidation of Primary Dates: Currently New York has two primary days in June and September, confusing voters. New York is the only state with two primaries.

Vote by mail: No eligible voter should have to provide a reason to be able to vote absentee.

Same day registration: 18 states and DC have Same Day Registration. Same Day Registration enables voters to register and vote at the same time and increases voter turnout.

Automatic Voter Registration: where registering to vote becomes seamless, electronic, and automatic.

Flexibility to Change Party Affiliation: New York has the most restrictive deadline in the country, locking out hundreds of thousands of voters during the primaries. The change of party deadline must be shortened to allow people to make an informed decision.

Voting Rights for People on Parole: the restoration of voting rights for people on parole needs to be codified in law, so that restoration becomes an automatic process.