By Magdalen Sangiolo
Thank you to state Senators Michael Gianaris, Joseph Addabbo, and Leroy Comrie for their efforts to improve voter turnout by making it easier for New Yorkers to register to vote.
These reforms are critical, but they alone will not solve New York’s staggeringly low voter turnout rate, which is 41st in the country.
The key to unlocking higher voting participation lies with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Gov. Cuomo must include early voting — the ability for New Yorkers to cast ballots for 12 days leading up to Election Day — in his budget.
When I lived in North Carolina, early voting was the difference between many of my neighbors voting and not voting. People who work unpredictable jobs or long hours; have trouble physically getting around; or care for children or elderly parents all depended on the flexibility of early voting in order to vote.
The $6.4-million price tag for early voting in New York is an investment in equity, fairness, and equal representation — in addition to being a drop in the bucket compared with our state’s $168-billion budget. No one should be at risk of missing the opportunity to cast a ballot based on his or her job, physical abilities, or family situation.
Gov. Cuomo: money talks. Show your constituents that you value us, and our voices, by investing in early voting!