Special Committee on Voter Participation

In the United States, voting is one of our most fundamental rights, ensuring our ability to participate in the electoral process. The rate of voter participation in New York State is frequently ranked among the lowest in the nation. Measures to remove barriers to registration and voting and to encourage participation, while maintaining the integrity of the process, could go a long way to improve citizenship and civic engagement and enhance our democracy. The Special Committee on Voter Participation considered possible reforms to remove obstacles to registration and voting, such as automatic voter registration and modernization of the registration process, extended cut-off dates for advance registration, increased penalties for voter intimidation and deceptive election practices, genuine early voting (permitting voters to vote on a voting machine in a designated location prior to Election Day), and no-fault absentee balloting (allowing voters to use absentee ballots without meeting defined criteria). The special committee produced a report and recommendations with regard to reforms that could enhance civic participation in New York State.