"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Friday, November 7, 2008

New York's Early Voting Possibility

The possibility of New York becoming an early voting state was just moved to the forefront by Governor David Paterson.

Here is Governor Paterson's Letter to Secretary of State
Dear Secretary Cortés-Vázquez,

Tuesday’s historic election saw a record number of New Yorkers go to the polls to cast their ballot. We are a better, stronger democracy when more citizens participate in elections.

With the election now behind us, we have an opportunity to assess our voting processes, identify best practices from across the nation, and remove obstacles associated with exercising the right to vote.

For this reason, I am requesting that you submit a report to me within 60 days that will include the following:

A thorough assessment of the November 4 election, including an analysis of voter participation and the effectiveness of local Boards of Election in managing record turnout, as well as an identification of the most pressing barriers which interfere with full participation in elections by New Yorkers eligible to vote;

Recommendations based on that assessment and the best practices in other states, recommendations for how the State will increase voter participation, focusing on the following:
A) simplifying the voter registration process and reducing the burdens voters and Boards of Election face in filing and processing registration forms;

B) the potential benefits, disadvantages and costs of moving towards an early voting system, including easing the process of filing absentee ballots, extending the number of days citizens may vote and mail-in voting;

An update on the progress the State is making in modernizing voting equipment and, where necessary, issue recommendations to ensure New York’s voting machines and ballot are accessible to all voters and meet the highest standards to ensure accurate vote counts

I look forward to reviewing your report and subsequently working with the Legislature to advance proposals that seek to ensure that we are doing our part to remove any obstacles that may stand in the way of full voter participation.

Regardless of our political leanings, we should all be heartened by the increased involvement of New Yorkers in the democratic process. Greater voter participation strengthens our society. But, we in government can and must do better by ensuring that on future Election Days we provide New Yorkers with a modern and inclusive process that facilitates voter participation and engenders full confidence in our elections.


David A. Paterson
New York State

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