Letter to the Editor: Vote for Proposition 3 on the November ballot

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To the Editor:

One of the propositions on the table in this year’s November 2nd election is to eliminate Article II, Section 5 of the New York State Constitution, which currently disallows folks from registering to vote less than 10 days before an election. I encourage my fellow New Yorkers to vote in favor of this proposal. Here’s why: the more eligible voters who vote, the more representative our democracy is. Sadly, we’re far from every American participating in our democracy. The best turnout we’ve ever had was in 2020, and we barely cleared two-thirds of the electorate participating. The turnout in non-presidential elections is an embarrassment.

 

How do we improve voter turnout? It’s a fundamental principle of economics: lower the cost of a good, and more people will consume it. Let’s lower the “cost” of voting. We all know people who are lovably disorganized. If they have to register weeks in advance, what are the odds they’ll remember to do it? Dismal, of course. Should that disqualify them from participating in our democracy? Absolutely not.

 

Why does New York’s 10-day rule exist? Likely because when the Constitution was ratified in 1938, our boards of election lacked the capability to quickly update voter rolls as new folks were added to them. Today, we have the tools to check identities and update rolls in real-time. The current registration requirement keeps New Yorkers from voting, and there’s no evidence that registering weeks in advance of election day makes our elections safer.

 

We are living in a period of breathtaking technological capabilities. It’s time to bring our election laws into the 21st century to ensure that everyone–Republicans and Democrats alike–who wants to participate in our democracy can. It’s time New York joins the 22 other states that allow same-day voting, from Utah to Montana to Maine.

Sincerely,

 

Leif Johansen
Liberty, NY

Editor note:  The opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Mid Hudson News.