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.
Report finds delays in oil spill clean-ups in New York  (North Country Public Radio, April 21, 2017)
State deals need more oversight  (The Daily Gazette, April 20, 2017)
Oil spill data across New York released  (News 10 ABC, April 20, 2017)
Report Finds Thousands Of Petroleum Spill Sites Left Unchecked  (Spectrum News, April 20, 2017)
State lax on cleaning up toxic sites left by ExxonMobil, report claims  (Daily News, April 20, 2017)
Blair Horner discusses the lack of ethics reform in the state budget on "Live from the State Capitol"  (Talk 1300 AM Radio, April 18, 2017 )
Indicted Maziarz no longer a lobbyist, but still representing Senate GOP on a board  (Daily News, April 17, 2017)
That's all folks: Cuomo says ethics reforms unlikely  (The Journal News, April 17, 2017)
Rush to budget? Lawmakers outraged over 'error' in jobs legislation  (WGRB Channel 6, April 14, 2017)
Activists want a 'People's Commissioner' on the PSC  (Albany Times Union, April 13, 2017)
On Ethics, Cuomo Budget Entered Like a Lion and Emerged Like a Lamb  (The New York Times, April 11, 2017)
Critics Take Aim At State Budget Process  (WWNY Channel 7, April 10, 2017)
Upstate nuclear plant subsidies face uncertain future in budget  (North Country Public Radio, April 4, 2017)
Opponents of Cuomo's energy nuclear bailout lobby rail commuters  (Mid-Hudson News, April 4, 2017)
Has Governor Cuomo Lost Effectiveness?  (Spectrum News, April 3, 2017)
Blair Horner discusses the Albany budget and the budget process on Capitol Pressroom  (WCNY, April 3, 2017)
New York may face its first ever government shutdown if Cuomo, lawmakers can't agree on budget soon  (Daily News, April 2, 2017)
Gov, lawmakers fail to agree on state budget deal  (Newsday, April 1, 2017)
Groups Make Last Ditch Effort To Stop NY Nuclear Plant Bailout  (WAMC, March 31, 2017)
Cuomo, lawmakers failing to get state budget done on time  (The Buffalo News, March 31, 2017)
News Archive
Analysis: Despite Increase in Voter Registration, Turnout Fell Throughout New York State, Dips Uneven Throughout New York City (source: nypirgstudents.org)
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: nypirgstudents.org)
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
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)
REFORMERS CALL ON GOVERNOR, LEGISLATIVE LEADERS TO HOLD PUBLIC LEADERS' MEETINGS TO OPENLY ADDRESS STATE ETHICS REFORM
NYPIRG REACTION TO SENATOR SKELOS'S CONVICTION
NYPIRG Statement on Conviction of former Assemblyman Silver
NYPIRG & NYC Votes Best In Nation on National Voter Reg. Day
REFORMERS: DRAMATICALLY RESTRICT LAWMAKERS' OUTSIDE INCOME; FOLLOW CONGRESSIONAL SYSTEM (report)
REFORMERS: DRAMATICALLY RESTRICT LAWMAKERS' OUTSIDE INCOME; FOLLOW CONGRESSIONAL SYSTEM (news release)
Reports & Features Archive