Let NY Vote
made history in 2019

They said it couldn't be done . . . but together, we made history!

Together, Let NY Vote grassroots activists and coalition partners changed history — by changing the conversation in New York state, and by advocating for the passage of the first set of voting rights laws in over a century.

 

early voting

  • Before: 37 states had early voting, New York did not.

  • What we won: Starting in November 2019, New York will have nine days of early voting before every election, including the two weekends prior to the election, ending the Sunday before. The State also needed to provide dedicated funding, and not ask counties to rely on other cost savings, to ensure seamless implementation. The state allocated $10 million for early voting.

  • Why it matters: Eases the pressure on polling sites during election day, gives New Yorkers more time to vote, and makes access to voting more equitable.


ConsolidatED Primaries

  • Before: New York was the only state that had two separate days for the state and federal primaries.

  • What we won: Starting right now, there will be one primary date for each election cycle instead of two.

  • Why it matters: Cuts costs and makes voting in the primaries less confusing and easier for voters to fit into their schedule.


ELECTRONIC POLL BOOKS

  • Before: Paper voter rolls were required for all counties on Election Day and were prone to error, causing confusion and long waits.

  • What we won: Counties will now be able to use electronic poll books if they choose to. The state has allocated $14.7 million.

  • Why it matters: Electronic poll books are proven to save voters time at poll sites, increase the accuracy of voter rolls, and save money over the years. They will also be critical for many counties implementing early voting.


Pre-Registration of 16 & 17 Year Olds

  • Before: 16 and 17 year-olds had to wait until they turned 18 to register to vote.

  • What we won: Starting January 1, 2020, New York will allow teens 16 years or older to preregister to vote, and the Board of Elections will automatically register those individuals once they turn 18.

  • Why it matters: Encourages voting and makes it easier for young adults to get involved and vote. People who get involved in voting younger are more likely to become lifelong voters.


Registration Portability

  • Before: When New Yorkers moved to a different county they had to re-register in order to vote at their new address.

  • What we won: Starting March 25th, 2019, the Board of Elections will automatically update the registration of voters who move within New York State and fill out a change of address with USPS.

  • Why it matters: Allows New Yorkers who move to vote at their new address without having to re-register.


Read the bills:    S2300    &    A2682      Memo of Support

Read the bills: S2300 & A2682

Memo of Support

VOTER FRIENDLY BALLOTS

  • Before: Ballots in New York can be confusing and difficult to read.

  • What we won: The Voter Friendly Ballot Act, written in consultation with specialists in the fields of graphic design, user experience, and disability accommodation, will make significant improvements to the readability and layout of the ballot. These changes will eliminate visual clutter, increase font size, and emphasize the most important parts of the ballot like candidate names and party affiliation.

  • Why it matters: New Yorkers should be able to vote with clear, legible and easy to understand ballots.

  • Status: Passed in the Assembly and the Senate! Going to the Governor to sign into law or to veto.


Uniform polling hours during primary elections

  • Before: Currently, the vast majority of the state can only vote from 12pm to 9pm during a primary election.

  • What we won: Next year, all New Yorkers will be able to vote from 6am to 9pm during a primary election.

  • Why it matters: All New Yorkers should have the same amount of time to cast their ballot. Confusion about poll hours led to disenfranchisement of entire populations.


Online voter registration

  • Before: Currently, New York voters are only able to register or update their voter registration through an online DMV portal if they have a license. 

  • What we won: Starting in 2021, New Yorkers will be able to register to vote online through the State Board of Elections website.

  • Why it matters: Online voter registration will allow all New Yorkers the option to register online, not just those who have a DMV issued id. It will also streamline the registration process for the Board of Elections and set the stage for proper implementation of Automatic Voter Registration.


Same Day Registration

  • Today: The deadline to register to vote is 10 days before the election.

  • What we won: A first step toward a constitutional amendment removing the ten-day requirement for voter registration.

  • Why it matters: Will encourage voter turnout and allows more New Yorkers to participate in governmental decisions.

  • What’s next: Constitutional amendments in New York need to pass the legislature in two consecutive sessions and then go to the voters as a referendum.


No Excuse ABSENTEE VOTING
(“Vote by Mail”)

  • Today: New Yorkers must meet stringent requirements in order to vote absentee.

  • What we won: A first step toward a constitutional amendment to remove the current absentee voting laws, which require a voter to sign under penalty of perjury that they will be out of the county on Election Day, or meet other limited requirements.

  • Why it matters: Anyone who wants to vote by mail can.

  • What’s next: Constitutional amendments in New York need to pass the legislature in two consecutive sessions and then go to the voters as a referendum.


FUNDING FOR EARLY VOTING & ELECTRONIC POLL BOOKS

  • Today: For the first time ever, completely unprecedented: the state is providing funding to counties for the implementation of voting!

  • What we won: $10 million for early voting and 14.7 million for electronic poll books. The funding can also be used for on demand ballot printers, updated machinery, and other structural investments.

  • Why it matters: Early voting was passed after counties had already set their 2019 budgets, so they needed state support to cover start-up and implementation costs when it goes into effect this year.

  • What’s next: We need to make sure early voting is successfully and equitably implemented on the county level.


TRANSLATORS WERE ABLE TO BE AT POLLING PLACES FOR THE NYC 2019 PUBLIC ADVOCATE SPECIAL ELECTION

  • What happened: The NYC Board of Elections sued NYC to keep the city from placing translators for specific languages at polling locations during citywide Public Advocate election. Between 4pm Friday and 9am Monday, we planned an emergency rally and packed the courtroom in support of translators in polling places against the Board of Elections lawsuit, resulting in a win.

  • What we won: The judge ruled that translators can be in polling places for the NYC Special Election the following day.

  • Why it matters: No voter deserves to be disenfranchised because of the language they speak.

  • What’s next: The lawsuit continues, but it was an important victory for voters who had access to translators to vote in the election, and an important statement that every voter deserves access to the ballot, no matter what language we speak.


KEPT THE GOVERNOR FROM LOWERING THE LOBBYING THRESHOLD

  • What happened: The Governor, in his 2019 Executive Budget, proposed lowering the lobbying threshold from $5,000 a year to $500 a year. This would have stifled grassroots activism and limited the public’s ability yo advocate for issues they care about.

  • What we won: Working with the grassroots, community organizations, and representatives in both houses, we ensured that that proposal did not make it into the final budget.

  • Why it matters: The surge of grassroots energy in New York is a good thing, and the government should be encouraging more civic participation, not less.

  • What’s next: Go forth and participate, activists! Visit our Take Action page to plug in.


 

It’s amazing to see what we’ve achieved so far.
We can’t wait to see what we accomplish next.