Why Don’t More New Yorkers Vote? Policy Group Chair Senator Hoylman and NY Senate Democrats Find Answers, Offer Solutions to Expand Voter Participation in New York State

New Report: Nearly 80% of eligible New York voters who did not vote in 2016 say early voting and no-excuse absentee voting would make them likelier to vote

Senator Hoylman puts forward new solutions to increase voter turnout statewide as new Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Group. 

ALBANY, NY: This week, new Policy Group Chair Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan) and members of the Senate Democratic Conference rolled out a comprehensive legislative package to ease voter restrictions and dramatically increase voter participation.

Spearheaded by Group Chair Senator Hoylman, these recommendations respond to findings of the Policy Group’s latest report,  Why Don't More New Yorkers Vote: A Statewide Snapshot Identifying Low Voter Turnout, which surveyed eligible New York voters who did not participate in the 2016 General Election. The package includes bills to enable early voting and no-excuse absentee voting, modernize and expand voter registration, extend Primary Election voting hours and ensure uniformity throughout the state, and expand language options for ballots.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 57% of voting-eligible New Yorkers cast a ballot in the 2016 general election, falling below the national average of 60.2%
  • 62% of respondents surveyed said that they were more likely to vote in an election if it were to be held on the weekend
  • 79% of respondents said they would be more likely to vote in an election if early voting was enacted
  • 76% of respondents said they would be more likely to vote in an election if no-excuse absentee voting was enacted
  • 81% of respondents who live in counties with voting hours from 12:00 - 9:00 PM on primary day said they would be more likely to vote in an election if voting hours were extended to 6:00 AM - 9:00 PM


Senator Hoylman said: “Voter turnout in New York is a national embarrassment, and it’s the role of state government to ensure that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. Just last week, fewer than one in four voters went to the polls for New York’s special elections.

As Chair of the Democratic Policy Group, I’m proud to stand with Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my Senate Democratic Conference colleagues to deliver on proven reforms to increase voter participation and help restore the integrity of our electoral institutions. Nothing less than the legitimacy of our institutions depends on it.”