New York City makes registration easier for millions

A new New York City law will make it easier for millions of people to get on the voter rolls.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (pictured) on Saturday signed a bill to establish full online voter registration for city residents. Under the new law, the city will create an online portal and mobile app to let New Yorkers establish or update their voter registration.

Until now, only New York state voters who have a driver’s license or other DMV-issued ID could register online. That left out a lot of people in New York City, where over half of all households are car-less.

Broadly speaking, Americans who are white and wealthy are more likely to own a car, so the new law is likely to disproportionately help racial minorities — who already make up about well over half the city’s population — and the poor.

And the impact could be large: New York City has over 5 million registered voters — that’s more than the total population of most states.

De Blasio called the new law a step toward fixing the city’s “antiquated” voting system. Election officials have admitted illegally purging over 200,000 eligible voters from the rolls ahead of last year’s Democratic primary.

And New York state lags badly behind most other blue states in voting access. It offers no early voting and hasn’t joined the wave of states introducing same-day voter registration and automatic registration.

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