New Yorkers would be automatically registered whenever they interact with a “qualified” government agency like the DMV or Department of Health. Millions of New Yorkers use these city and state agencies for basic necessities like housing, social services, health insurance, disability services, unemployment insurance, etc.
Having passed the Senate on Wednesday and the Assembly on Thursday, the legislation still must be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to become a law. The bill would go into effect on January 1, 2023.
Automatic voter registration, or AVR, is part of a legislative package building on previous voting rights legislation. Counting Washington D.C., 20 states already have some form of AVR. Other states—and the Trump administration—routinely introduce voter fraud security measures that block eligible voters from exercising their rights.
“While some states and officials across the country advance cynical ploys to suppress the vote, New York is showing what expanding and strengthening democracy looks like,” said Perry Grossman, senior staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union’s voting rights project. “The passage of automatic voter registration means adding one million new voters to the rolls, including those New Yorkers historically most subject to disenfranchisement. Everyone deserves their say in our future.”
According to the Let NY Vote coalition, a statewide network of over 175 organizations, there are currently 1.1 million eligible and unregistered New York voters. Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, however, says the number is “approximately two million.”