Assemblymember Bronson: Legislation to Make it Easier to Vote in New York

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Henrietta) announced the Assembly is taking up a series of bills to help more New Yorkers exercise their right to vote, including enacting early voting, making registration easier and allowing young adults to vote in presidential primaries before they turn 18.

“Voting is the most important way to make your voice heard,” said Bronson. “It’s about time we made some changes to make it easier, not harder, for New Yorkers to cast their ballots. These are common-sense measures that take into account the barriers that many people face.”

Bronson co-sponsored many of the bills that make up the election reform legislative package. One bill streamlines voter registration by requiring state and local agencies to include it in their application process (A.6283). Another measure instructs boards of elections to automatically transfer voter enrollment when New Yorkers move from one county to another (A.3411). The Voter Enfranchisement Modernization Act establishes online voter registration to help more people register quickly and conveniently (A.5382).

The package includes a bill that would allow any New Yorker to vote by mail through an absentee ballot (A.7623). Another measure establishes early voting, giving New Yorkers the opportunity to vote during a seven-day period prior to an election (A.2064). During the early voting period, polling locations would open eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends and holidays, as well as offer at least two days with evening hours.

Another measure combines the state and federal primary election dates to a single day in June, further streamlining the election calendar (A.3052). This measure would save the state and taxpayers an estimated $25 million, not to mention reducing time and hassle, Bronson noted. The bill also brings the state into compliance with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which mandates that states get ballots to military personnel no later than 45 days before the election, noted Bronson.

Recognizing the importance of encouraging voting at an early age, Bronson also helped pass a measure allowing voters who will be 18 years old at the time of a presidential election to vote in primary elections even if they are 17 (A.3549).

“We should be getting young people engaged in the democratic process from the start,” said Bronson. “The more they vote and take part in the political process, the more we’re setting the stage for a lifetime of active civic participation.”