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A.G. Schneiderman Releases Report On Voter Complaints During April Presidential Primary

A.G.’s Civil Rights Bureau Uncovers Significant Barriers To Voting Before And During Elections Throughout New York State

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Tuesday, December 6th, announced the results of his office’s statewide inquiry into widespread voter complaints received before, during, and after the April 2016 presidential primary. The inquiry found New York’s current election system erects significant barriers to voter access in at least two major ways: first, the state’s rules, laws, procedures, and practices governing voter registration prevented many New Yorkers from participating in the primary; second, some of the rules, laws, procedures, and practices governing voting itself restricted voter access to the ballot.

“This week I was in Albany to release my office’s comprehensive report on the unprecedented number of complaints received regarding the April presidential primary – and my proposals to reform the system. The voting issues we uncovered were widespread, systemic, and unacceptable. New York must become a national leader by protecting and expanding voting rights throughout the state,” AG Schneiderman shared in his statement.

Results of the Inquiry

Nearly two-thirds of complaints received by my office involved barriers posed by voter registration rules, laws, procedures and practices, including:

  • Voters not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican party had to meet exceedingly restrictive deadlines for party enrollment in order to vote in the primary.
  • Voters were barred from voting because state agencies did not transmit registration information in a timely way, or at all, to local BOEs.
  • The DMV’s online registration system stalled twice and ultimately went offline after receiving an unprecedentedly high volume of registration requests prior to the deadline.
  • Voters were barred from voting because of errors on the part of local BOEs in processing registrations.

 An additional 20 percent of complaints involved barriers posed by unwieldy laws, rules, procedures and practices related to the voting process, such as:

  • Local BOEs inhibited voter access to affidavit ballots

Reduced poll hours in select counties led to confusion and prevented some voters from voting

  •  Voters were confused about their polling locations because they were not warned their polling place had moved.

I also plan to introduce a comprehensive bill to reform the state’s voting systems. My recommendations include:

– Automatic Voter Registration of Eligible Voters

– Same-Day Registration for New Voters

– Online Voter Registration

– Create a System of Permanent Voter Registration

– Allow Registered Voters to Change Their Party Enrollment Closer to Primary Day

– Adopt a System of Early Voting

– Provide for “No Excuse” Absentee Voting

– Ensure Uniformity of Poll Site Hours Across the State

– Consolidate Federal, State and Local Primaries on Single Day

– Enact Disaster Preparedness Protections

-Increase Language Access

– Protect Voters from Improper Challenges

-Restore Voting Rights for Citizens on Parole

– Enhance Poll Worker Training and Recruitment

The full “Report On Voter Access In The 2016 Presidential Primary” is available online.

To help alleviate these challenges, Attorney General Schneiderman also pledged to introduce the 2017 New York Votes Act, a comprehensive bill to reform the state’s voting systems. The reforms are aimed at simplifying the voting process, boosting voter registration, and expanding voter turnout.

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About AJ Woodson (2269 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.

2 Comments on A.G. Schneiderman Releases Report On Voter Complaints During April Presidential Primary

  1. There is one major change I want – Open Primraries. There is no good reason why a person with no affiliation with one of the two major parties (Democratic and Republican) should be prohibited from independently voting for a favored candidate in either party.

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