NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Sunday called for measures to encourage people to get to the ballot boxes, with voter turnout at an all-time record low in New York state.
In a new report titled “Barriers to the Ballot,” Stringer called for same-day voter registration, automatic registration for young people, and better accessible poll sites.
He told WCBS 880 that the current voter turnout rate is unacceptable. Only one in four voters turned out for the midterm election in 2014, he said.
“New York state ranks 48th out of 50 states in voter turnout. It’s outrageous,” Stringer said. “And the report I released gives a roadmap of how we can make it easier to encourage more people to get to the polls.”
Among Stringer’s proposals is to pre-register 16- and 17-yearolds so they are registered to vote the minute they turn 18.
“They learn in school that people sacrificed their lives – you know, the Civil Rights movement – for the right to vote; women gaining the right to vote finally,” Stringer said. “And yet, we need to make sure that we do everything to let the next generation know that this is the cornerstone of our country and our democracy.”
Among Stringer’s other ideas were no-excuse absentee voting, early in-person voting for at least seven days before Election Day including weekends, improved operations on Election Day, and expanding access to voting materials in other languages.
Stringer said the plan requires a lot of legislative approval and would not be ready for the 2016 national elections. But it would be useful for many others to come, he said.
“But we’d be ready for the gubernatorial race; the mayor’s race – there’s a lot of important elections that come our way,” he said.