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.
Online Voter Registration on Verge of Passage in New York City  (Gotham Gazette, November 10, 2017)
The Con Con Blow Out  (Spectrum News, November 9, 2017)
Ballot Measure Authorizing State Constitutional Convention Fails  (Leicester Post, November 9, 2017)
Pension forfeit measure would help fight corruption, experts say  (Newsday, November 8, 2017)
Unions flexed muscle in defeat of Con Con  (Niagara Gazette, November 8, 2017)
In brief: the three propositions on the NYS ballot  (North Country Public Radio, November 7, 2017)
Pension? Not for Corrupt Lawmakers Anymore in New York  (Governing, November 7, 2017)
NYPIRG's Blair Horner answers voters' questions about the Constitutional Convention question on the November 7th ballot  (WCNY, November 6, 2017)
Election Day ballot questions cover constitutional convention and more  (AM New York, November 6, 2017)
Here Are The 3 Propositions To Vote On In New York On Tuesday  (WVIK, November 6, 2017)
New York Voters Can Make Crooked Politicians Pay  (The New York Times, November 5, 2017)
Voters to rule on constitutional convention, 2 other propositions  (Newsday, November 5, 2017)
Departure of Assembly Ethics Official Prompts Calls for Broader Reforms  (Gotham Gazette, November 3, 2017)
Propositions Two and Three on Tuesday's ballot face little opposition  (WXXI News, November 2, 2017)
Super PACs Hit Local Level  (State of Politics, November 1, 2017)
Who contributed to Syracuse mayoral candidate's campaigns?  (CNY Central, November 1, 2017)
Career public advocates recognized for challenging Albany establishment  (Legislative Gazette, November 1, 2017)
NYPIRG's Blair Horner discusses the three ballot questions New York voters will face on Election Day  (WAMC, October 31, 2017)
Island Vote: Constitutional convention on the ballot  (News 12 Long Island, October 30, 2017)
Proposal 2 seeks action on pensions for convicted officials  (News 12 Long Island, October 27, 2017)
News Archive
Read Our Voters Guide to the Proposed 2017 Ballot Questions
Tale of the Tape: NYPIRG 2017 Legislative Review
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
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"
Gov't Reform Groups Call for Corruption-Busting Reform Package Now
Albany Money Machine 2016 (PDF)
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)
Reports & Features Archive