NY Senate takes on automatic voter registration

Local News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEXSTAR) — The New York State Senate held a hearing on Thursday on the issue of automatic voter registration.

Rather than an “opt-in” system, advocates of automatic voter registration say it should be an “opt-out.” It’s under proposed legislation.

“Instead of being invited to fill out a form, they will have to say I don’t want to be registered,” Common Cause NY Executive Director Susan Lerner said. 

AVR supporters say it could increase New York’s voter rolls by more than one million people.

Information is going to transfer automatically unless you tell the agency ‘I don’t want to be on the voter rolls,'” Lerner explained about if a voter notified a state agency of a move.

Senator Rachel May, of Syracuse, says it would benefit college students.

“We have nine college campuses in my district and those students move pretty much every single year,” she said. “This will help them participate in our elections.”

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Chris Tague says the legislature should focus on other priorities.

“People have to have a little bit of responsibility,” he said. “If they want to register to vote, they need to go register to vote or register online or through the mail, whatever it may be, but it’s their responsibility to register.”

According to Common Cause New York, 15 other states and the District of Columbia have AVR laws on the books.

Thursday’s hearing was the first legislative hearing New York state has had on the issue.

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