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May 14, 2018

City & State

By: Jerry H. Goldfeder

New York’s state Legislature is lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to promoting democracy and making voting accessible to all eligible citizens. Thirty-seven states have early voting, allowing more opportunities to go to the polls for people who have trouble getting off of work or finding child care. Currently, New Yorkers are stuck with fixed hours on a Tuesday. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have automatic registration while New York has strict deadlines to register or change party enrollment. Twenty seven states and D.C. have no-excuse absentee voting, while New Yorkers must predict in advance if they will be out of town or too ill to vote.
 
Many states have open primaries, permitting voters to decide on the spot from which party candidates to choose. I don’t favor such open-ended procedures – party affiliation should be meaningful – but New Yorkers who want to change enrollment from one party to another must currently do it 25 days before the last year’s general election. That is a ridiculously long time. Voters should be able to change parties a month or two before the primaries.

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