Editorial Board

Bill warrants support for increased voter accessibility in New York state

Frankie Prijatel | Senior Staff Writer

The Daily Orange Editorial Board supports the New York Votes Act because it would make voting — which is a basic right for all citizens — more accessible to state residents. Under the bill, residents would be able to vote early, register automatically to vote and register to vote on the same day they cast their ballot.

Dustin Czarny, an Onondaga County elections commissioner, said New York is lagging behind other states when it comes to voting systems and procedures because state legislators often have partisan views on voting matters. But the importance of accessible voting should transcend partisanship, and any opportunity to simplify the voting procedures is an opportunity that should be taken.

The changes to voting procedure seen in the bill, which was proposed recently by New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, all seem like common sense changes. But many people don’t know registration is required to cast a ballot. In order to increase voter turnout and make voting a more accessible process, it should be understood that instilling early voting — a process permitted in 37 states and the District of Columbia — and other procedures should be a priority.

If the bill passes the state legislature, these changes to voting procedure may apply to Syracuse’s 2017 mayoral election. Czarny, the Onondaga County elections commissioner, said applying these changes in a short period may create challenges for the Onondaga County Board of Elections. But the board’s purpose is to facilitate voting, and if the legislation is passed, it should find a way to circumvent any challenges that may come with applying the changes.

Election Day may be roughly nine months away, but the importance of voting accessibility can never be overstated.

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