Voter registration in New York available online
New Yorkers with driver’s licenses or non-driver identification will be able to register to vote online or through kiosks at state Department of Motor Vehicle locations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced the get-out-the-vote initiative at a Thursday news conference, noting that New York ranks 47th in the nation for voter registration with only 64 percent of eligible voters registered. Good-government groups said the effort would increase voter registration, improve accuracy in voter rolls and cut postage and data-entry costs.
“Today, we are knocking down longstanding barriers that have prevented many New Yorkers from participating in the democratic process, while creating a more streamlined and more efficient system that will save taxpayers’ money,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The state’s 129 DMV branches collect, sort and mail roughly 300,000 voter registration forms a year to county boards of elections. The new system, which will also allow already-registered voters to change their addresses or party enrollments, will eliminate the need to mail the forms and will limit human error that occurs during manual data input, officials said.
Cuomo’s aides explained that registering electronically will be as secure as doing so in person because those who have obtained driver’s licenses or non-driver IDs would have had to prove their identity to obtain those documents. The website, called MyDMV, verifies personal information such as an applicant’s license document number, Social Security number, date of birth and address.
The DMV is expected to save at least $270,000 annually. Additionally, it is estimated the county boards will save $150,000 a year.
Cuomo officials said the launch of the program is not tied to this year’s elections, which is an election year for president, Congress and the state Legislature.
Online voter registration is up and running, but the DMV will have to print out the completed online forms and mail them to county boards of elections. The registrations should be transmitted electronically starting as early as this fall, officials said.
Those who wish to vote in the state-level primary elections, which are Sept. 13, must register online by Sunday. Friday is the deadline for registering in person or for postmarking mailed applications.
The simplified Web format will be available for non-native English speakers in Chinese, Korean and Bengali, instead of only English and Spanish, which are currently offered. A study in Arizona, which has a similar program, showed that young and minority voters are more likely to register online.
Fourteen other states currently or will soon offer online voter registration.
To register, visit the site at https://my.dmv.ny.gov