Group Gives New York Poor Grade For Voting Rights, Elections

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new report gives New York a poor grade when it comes to voting rights and the way elections are run.

The study was released Friday by the good government group Common Cause New York. The group said New York’s voting laws and election processes are among the weakest in the nation, and gave the state a D-minus grade.

The group claims New York failed to implement many recommendations made by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, including transitioning to electronic poll books and expanding opportunities to vote before Election Day.

Common Cause executive director Susan Lerner said many voters are being disenfranchised by poll workers who are not properly trained, and that changes are far overdue.

“Unfortunately in New York, the voters have gotten the message that they’re irrelevant as far as election laws are concerned and they’re staying home in droves,” Lerner said.

Razel Rahman, who moved to New York from Bangladesh in 2006, said when he became a naturalized citizen six years later, he was taken aback by how complicated it was to register to vote.

“I found it a really, really problematic election system,” he told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “The country I’m originally from it’s much more open.”

In his state of the state address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a series of reforms calling for early voting, same day voter registration and automatic voting registration at Department of Motor Vehicle offices.

The report comes a day after Common Cause learned the Department of Justice is joining their lawsuit, alleging nearly 120,000 New Yorkers were illegally purged from the voting roles ahead of April’s presidential primary, Diamond reported.

“It validates the fact that New York needs to get up to a 21st century standard in running elections and enabling people to exercise their right to vote,” Lerner said. “It simply underlines the sorry state of election administration here in New York.”

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