New York City pushes for e-registration apps after low turnout in 2017 elections

Newswire: Nov. 15, 2017.

Dateline: New York.

Abysmal voter turnout in New York’s recent municipal elections has led its City Council to take action making it easier for first-time voters to register online.

A proposal before the council would require the New York City Campaign Finance Board to create both a secure website and a mobile application to help voters register online. The legislation specifies that a mechanism to accept electronic signatures must be part of both solutions.

Turnout in the city’s 2017 election, which saw Mayor Bill de Blasio re-elected to a second term, was less than 25 percent of those eligible to vote.

Advocates for expanded voter registration laws pointed out that, elsewhere in New York state, citizens may register to vote when they register for or renew driver’s licenses. “It’s time for city residents, subway and bus riders to be able to do the same,” said Neal Rosenstein of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general for New York state, last year issued an informal opinion to Suffolk County on Long Island that online voter registration is legal under state law.

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