New York has long had one of the least voter-friendly election systems in the country. It ranks 41st in turnout, and 43rd in voter registration rate. Indeed, the Empire State is helping to hold the rest of the country back, too: States like Ohio and North Carolina have defended controversial cuts to early voting by noting that New York offers no early voting at all.
There was optimism in January when Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, announced the Democracy Project, which would aim to “make voting easier for New Yorkers.” Cuomo included three key voting reforms — early voting, same-day voter registration, and automatic voter registration — in his budget bill.
Now though, Cuomo, who prides himself on working with Republicans, appears to be pulling back amid GOP opposition.
At a press conference Tuesday, he signaled that election reform isn’t likely to make the final budget, due to be completed April 1. “Many of the democracy issues that you are talking about we are going to take up after the budget.”
The problem is that, as Cuomo surely knows, if election reform isn’t in the budget, it’s not likely to pass at all, supportive lawmakers say. So Cuomo appears to be punting on the issue—even as other blue states like California, Oregon, and Connecticut are forging ahed by expanding access to the vote.