Gianaris Bill aims at boosting Voter Participation

Michael Gianaris

November 14, 2012

Gianaris-Kavanagh's Bill (Voter Empowerment Act) aims at facilitating the registration process and initiating more participation in the elections. It includes, among others, preregistration of 16- and 17- year olds, online registration of voters and  automatic registration tranfer of New Yorkers who move within the State.

State Senator Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria) emerged last week as part of a nonpartisan, statewide group answering Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call to increase voter participation as the 2012 election season draws near.


Gianaris and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh have introduced legislation that would amend the state’s election law to streamline and make more efficient the voter registration process in the state.


Gianaris said in a statement, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking an important step towards opening the doors of our democracy to more people. Our voter participation is dreadfully low and online registration will help a great deal.


“There is still more we can do, such as allowing preregistration, automatically registering citizens and changing registration deadlines. These measures are contained in the Voter Empowerment Act of New York introduced by Assemblymember Kavanagh and myself, and I will continue to push for its enactment until the barriers to voting are minimized as much as possible.”



Gianaris said that currently, the single biggest impediment to voting is our antiquated registration system. He explained that the Voter Empowerment Act would improve the state’s voter participation “by automatically registering citizens to vote with their consent and updating their registration information when they interact with specific government agencies.”


Gianaris added, “It would also computerize the entire registration process, reducing typographical and clerical errors that come with handwritten registration documents, and making it easier for eligible voters to register.”


Briefly, the proposed Voter Empowerment Act of New York would:


•Automatically register eligible, consenting citizens at designated government agencies; permit preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds.


•Automatically transfer registrations of New Yorkers who move within the state.


•Provide access to voter registration records and register eligible citizens online.


•Allow people to register or change their party later in the election cycle.


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