Voting Rights and Voter Mobilization

Voting Booths

NYPIRG is committed to ensuring that political participation is available and accessible to all eligible New Yorkers. Over the past four decades, NYPIRG’s non-partisan voter mobilization campaign has guarded and fought to expand the rights of voters in New York through community outreach, advocacy, media work and litigation. Our work has resulted in:

  • Thousands of new voters registered every year.
  • An expansion to the state’s “Motor Voter” law, which requires all state agencies to offer a voter registration option at the point of using the agency.
  • Sample ballots available online to help familiarize voters and speed up election day lines.
  • Inclusion of email addresses on New York City voter registration forms.
  • Student IDs permitted as a form of voter identification and more polling sites on college campuses.
  • Published reports detailing conditions at polling sites.

Still, New York’s voter registration and voter participation rates are anemic. A U.S. Elections Project analysis showed New York to have among the five worst turnout rates in the nation among eligible voters. New York must take immediate action to address systematic problems that disenfranchise voters and remove barriers that suppress voter turnout.

NYPIRG supports voter reforms, including:

  • Automatic voter registration and automatic updates to enrollment information of citizens interacting with all state and local government agencies.
  • Allowing voters to register and vote on Election Day. In the interim, New York State should shorten the registration and change of enrollment deadlines to 10 days before the election, the current minimum under the State Constitution.
  • Elimination of the patronage-controlled Boards of Elections, starting with the merit selection of permanent Board employees across the state.
  • Facilitating registration updates when a voter moves within the state.
  • Allowing 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote.
  • Codifying case law with respect to students voting from a campus-area address.
  • Guidelines for better ballots. Poor ballot design can affect every voter at a poll site. Miniscule fonts, unnecessary graphics and unreadable directions result in spoiled ballots and longer wait times for all.
  • Improved poll worker performance. Voters should come first on Election Day. Unfortunately, for too many, the patronage structure of the Boards puts party loyalty first and public service second. New York can improve poll site conditions immediately by offering time off for state and city employees working the polls, and professionalizing poll worker training so that only qualified and trained staff work the polls.
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan dropped $24G in taxpayer money on office shower  (Daily News, July 24, 2017)
MTA subway riders call for end to endless delays and dysfunction  (WABC Channel 7, July 24, 2017)
City releases its own subway turnaround plan ahead of MTA's  (AM New York, July 24, 2017)
Homeless booted from subways so de Blasio could have 'clean' ride  (New York Post, July 23, 2017)
Here's the transit union's plan to rescue the MTA  (NY1, July 21, 2017)
Republican, Democratic campaign funds support a lot of defense lawyers  (The Buffalo News, July 20, 2017)
Blair Horner discusses the overturning of Sheldon Silver's conviction and ethics reform on the Capitol Connection  (WAMC, July 20, 2017)
Banning food won't fix the subway. You know what will? Fixing the subway  (AM New York, July 19, 2017)
Cuomo denies Trump's voter fraud commission request for information  (The Legislative Gazette, July 19, 2017)
Calls for ethics reform go unanswered after ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's conviction tossed  (Daily News, July 15, 2017)
Did corruption convictions for Silver and Skelos change nothing in Albany?  (Spectrum News, July 13, 2017)
NYPIRG's Horner Reacts To Overturning Of Silver Conviction  (WAMC, July 13, 2017)
Mobility = Equality  (Manhattan Times News, July 12, 2017)
Redistricting panel with diminished role lives on with $1.5 million budget  (Albany Times Union, July 9, 2017)
Transit advocates serve notice to political candidates  (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 7, 2017)
'Dysfunctional' still fits New York Legislature to a T  (Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, July 6, 2017)
Here's What NYC Politicians Can Do to Help Fix the Subways  (Village Voice, July 6, 2017)
Public Records Suggest Some MTA Officials Barely Ride The Subway  (Gothamist, July 6, 2017)
Ahead of election, advocates unveil candidate agenda for tackling city's transit issues  (Metro, July 6, 2017)
Lawmakers just walked away from ethics issue  (Niagara Gazette, July 2, 2017)
News Archive
Save the Date: Join Us on November 15, 2017 to Celebrate Four Decades of the Straphangers Campaign
Analysis: Despite Increase in Voter Registration, Turnout Fell Throughout New York State, Dips Uneven Throughout New York City (source:
Attend The Only Way Is Up: A Citywide Discussion to Boost Voter Turnout in New York on Friday, November 18th in Manhattan.
Analysis: More New Yorkers Are Registering to Vote; Will Voter Turn-out Remain Low? (source:
NYPIRG Statement on Primary Election Voting Irregularities
New York State Voters' Bill of Rights
Step-by-Step Guide to Filling Out a Voter Registration Form
New York State Voter Registration: Common Questions and Answers
NYPIRG and other good government groups call for the NYS Senate to end the practice of diverting stipends for committee chairs to other committee members
Blair Horner discusses Albany politics and the importance of voting on "It's Your System"
Watchdog Groups Call on Senate and Assembly Leaders to Hold Emergency Oversight Hearing On Allegations of Historic Bid-Rigging Scandals and Clean Contracting Reforms
NYPIRG's 2016 Legislative Review & Release of "Legislative Profiles"
Convention-Land: New Yorkers' Road Map To The Constitutional Convention
Gov't Reform Groups Call for Corruption-Busting Reform Package Now
Albany Money Machine 2016 (PDF)
Albany Money Machine 2016 (MS WORD)
NYPIRG Statement on Conviction of former Assemblyman Silver
NYPIRG & NYC Votes Best In Nation on National Voter Reg. Day
Reports & Features Archive