NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Get set to vote.
Many of New York’s antiquated election laws are slated for the trash bin.
The state legislature is expected to enact monumental voting reform that will make it easier to cast a ballot.
WEB EXTRA: READ THE VOTING REFORM PROPOSALS (.pdf)
Help is on the way, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported. On Monday, both houses of the state legislature are expected to reform just how New Yorkers choose their elected officials.
“We’re going to do amazing things to bring real change and increase voter participation,” said St. Sen. Michael Gianaris.
Gianaris is the state senate’s deputy majority leader.
“[The legislature] is going to pass early voting, is going to make it easier to vote by mail and is going to move the primary date so we don’t have multiple primaries every year,” Gianaris said.
The biggest change is early voting. Instead of only being allowed to cast ballots on election day, voters in New York state could start casting ballots 11 days before the election. Poll sites would open eight hours on weekdays – some until 8 p.m. – and five hours on weekends, and while those sites might change, there will be at least one and up to seven locations for each 50,000 registered voters.
Other changes expected to go into effect this year are preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds and closing the so-called “LLC loophole” that allow corporations to funnel unlimited amounts into campaigns.
Bills to allow same day registration and voting by mail will also be passed, but require constitutional amendments and are not expected to go into effect until 2022.
Governor Andrew Cuomo wants the legislature to go even further: He wants election day to be a state holiday, and he wants public financing of campaigns.
Good government groups who have long championed voter reform want even more than that.
“Its a marvelous and very exciting down payment on the full package of reforms we need,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause.
“What else do you want to see?” Kramer asked.
“Restoring voting rights for people who are on parole. We definitely want to see automatic voter registration,” Lerner said.
A spokesperson for the city’s Board of Elections refused to say just how it would implement the changes.
Sources told Kramer that given the city’s poor performance, it’s not an accident early voting will go into effect in November when the Public Advocate race is the only one on the ballot. It’s like a practice run, sources said.
The primary has been moved to June instead of September.