A push to improve New York’s awful voting system came up short, as state lawmakers wrapped up their 2017 session without taking action on several reform bills.
A package of voting reforms including adopting early voting, making it much easier to vote absentee, and allowing voters to register online passed the Democratic-controlled Assembly last month. But, despite an energetic push from activists, they stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (pictured) had given the issue momentum when he included voting reforms in a proposed agenda laid out in January. But Cuomo, a Democrat, didn’t make the issue a priority after that—he didn’t attend a single public event on election reform.
New York’s voting rate ranks 41st in the country, and it’s one of just nine states that offers no early voting. Officials in other states including Ohio and North Carolina have pointed to New York’s lack of early voting to defend cuts to early voting days in their own states.
New York is being sued over errors by the New York City Board of Elections that led to 117,000 Brooklyn voters being wrongly purged before the 2016 primary election.
Separately, New York settled a federal lawsuit this week in which it had been accused of failing to provide voter registration opportunities through the Department of Motor Vehicles, as required by federal law. The state agreed to ensure that anyone who applies for a driver’s license or a renewal will be offered the chance to vote.
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