Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

New York Voter Turnout

After the general election four years ago, New York State was ranked a pathetic 44th in voter turnout.  President Obama won a second term in the White House, but less than 54 percent of New York voters cast ballots.  That was significantly below the 76 percent of Minnesota voters, who earned the highest percentage in our country. 

Early voting and same-day registration are among proposals that have been floated, but have failed to gain traction in Albany.  The only way New Yorkers can vote early is to request an absentee ballot ahead of time and attest to a disability or being out of town.  However, 30 other states allow no-excuse absentee voting.  California, Connecticut, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia automatically enroll voters at age 18, using information from motor vehicle records and other public databases.

State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens proposed a bill that would enrolled 18 year olds, and notify them that they can vote in future elections.  That proposal was obstruct by Republican lawmakers, who control Albany's upper chamber.  Gianaris has insisted: “They are constantly putting obstacles in the path of making it easier to vote.”  The total number of New Yorkers presently registered as voters stands at 11.7 million.  Gianaris predicts that automatic registration would expand New York's pool of eligible voters by more than 2 million people.

In an age of instant communication, there's no reason to require voters be registered at least 25 days before the next election.  The Assembly passed a measure to allow early voting three times, but it’s repeatedly obstructed by Senate Republican.

The director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at State University campus at New Paltz points out: “As a general rule, voter turnout in New York is lowest among younger and less-educated voters.”


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