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Cuomo unveils online voter registration
August 16th, 2012

New York ranks 47th among all states in voter registration. Over sixty percent of the eligible voters in the state are not registered to vote. After months of discussion Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled sweeping changes at the Department of Motor Vehicles designed to make it easier for voters to register. The DMV will now offer online voter registration and allow voters to change their party alignment or address online.

“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. “At the DMV, or in their own homes, New Yorkers will now have a convenient and secure way to ensure they are able to register and exercise their right to vote.”

Currently drivers fill out forms at the DMV to register to vote and the DMV processes about 300,000 applications a year in what is described by the governor’s office as a “cumbersome process.” The new site https://my.dmv.ny.gov will allow secure registration from home, while new electronic data entry devices at DMV locations will allow New Yorker’s to register to vote quickly.

Here is the description of the changes from Cuomo’s office as well as supporting comments from various good government groups:

Increased Voter Registration Rates from Online & Automated DMV Registration
According to the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, 14 statesArizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washingtoncurrently or will soon offer online voter registration.
Registration rates among 18-24 year-old citizens rose from 28 to 53 percent after Arizona introduced online and automated registration.
A recent study of Arizona’s online registration system found that young and minority voters are disproportionately likely to register online.
After registration was automated at DMVs, DMV voter registrations nearly doubled in Washington and Kansas and increased seven-fold in South Dakota.
Cost Savings from Online & Automated DMV Registration
Studies in Arizona and Delaware have demonstrated substantial cost savings for DMVs and county governments from automated and online voter registration.
In New York State, cost savings for DMV alone are estimated to be at least $270,000 annually. Additional savings for the county boards of elections once their software has been programmed to accept electronically the voter registration applications is estimated to be at least $150,000 annually.
Automated Voter Registration is More Accurate
Officials in states that have adopted online and automated voter registration consistently confirm that paperless registration produces fewer errors than paper forms and reduces opportunities for fraud. A 2009 survey of incomplete and incorrect registrations in Maricopa County, Arizona found that electronic voter registrations are as much as five times less error-prone than their paper-based counterparts.
Expanded Foreign Language Access to Voter Registration
Beginning today, DMV will make its driver license application (which includes the voter registration application) form available online and in its New York City offices in Chinese, Korean, and Bengali. The application had previously been available in Spanish. Notices will also be placed in those offices to alert customers that those translated forms are available.
The Verifone terminals in each DMV office across the State will offer voter registration in Spanish as well as English.
Orange County Elections Commissioner Susan Bahren said, “The new voter registration transmittal program with DMV will assist our office in being able to process transactions faster and more accurately almost eliminating the need to contact voters for clarification, it will also decrease the paper process in our office significantly. I am looking forward to continuing this working relationship as we will move ahead to submitting the voter registration applications electronically. This is a great move for both DMV and the County Boards of Elections.”
Saratoga County Elections Commissioner William Frucci said, “The electronic exchange of voter registration data will help streamline the registration process. In view of the fact that we operate under very restrictive time constraints this process will provide the voter’s information from the department of motor vehicles to the county boards of elections more timely and more efficiently.”
Madison County Elections Commissioner Laura Costello said, “The voter registration and move transmittals generated by the new DMV system are a positive improvement over the previous documents. The registration format mirrors the NYS voter registration form and the information is legible and complete. The new process promises to be time efficient and secure.”
Erie County Elections Commissioner Dennis Ward said, “At the Erie County Board of Elections, we look forward to the use of the new New York State DMV Voter Registration application system. It is our belief that this is a major technological step forward which will result in the savings of employee time and taxpayer dollars. At the same time, the built-in safeguards will continue the policy of safeguarding the voting system against fraud while also meeting the voter identification requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act. The daily transfers will allow quicker processing of applications and the typed registration forms will be easier to process and will reduce the chance of error. We thank the State Department of Motor Vehicles for the initiative in taking this step forward.”
John Kowal, Vice President of Programs at the Brennan Center for Justice, said: “Today, the Empire State, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, is showing the nation that it is ready to lead when it comes to innovative election reform. Creating more options for voters to register, and ensuring they make it onto the rolls, will make a real difference. Some states that have instituted similar programs have seen up to an eight-fold increase in voter registrations through the DMV, while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is important for democracy and important for New York.”
Alex Camarda, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, said, “Citizens Union commends Governor Cuomo, the State Board of Elections, and the Department of Motor Vehicles on this important advancement in making voter registration easier for New Yorkers. For far too long, New York has been conducting an antiquated and cumbersome form of paper-based voter registration that diminishes participation in our democracy while increasing costs to taxpayers. The reforms announced today will modernize and ease the process by enabling New Yorkers to register online or electronically in-person at the DMV. This initiative serves as a model for all state agencies required to offer the opportunity to register those it serves.”
Sally Robinson, President, League of Women Voters of New York State, said, “With the ability to register prospective voters online through the secure MyDMV system, New York will become one of the leaders in online voter registration across the country. Online voter registration will not only provide cost savings and increased accuracy, it will also be a great convenience to voters. In a world that has largely left behind paper, moving New York State towards paperless voter registration will benefit both taxpayers and voters. The experience of other states makes it clear that electronically collecting voter registrations, and ultimately providing them to boards of election in the same form, will both save money and increase accuracy of the voter rolls.”
Increased Voter Registration Rates from Online & Automated DMV Registration
According to the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, 14 statesArizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washingtoncurrently or will soon offer online voter registration.
Registration rates among 18-24 year-old citizens rose from 28 to 53 percent after Arizona introduced online and automated registration.
A recent study of Arizona’s online registration system found that young and minority voters are disproportionately likely to register online.
After registration was automated at DMVs, DMV voter registrations nearly doubled in Washington and Kansas and increased seven-fold in South Dakota.
Cost Savings from Online & Automated DMV Registration
Studies in Arizona and Delaware have demonstrated substantial cost savings for DMVs and county governments from automated and online voter registration.
In New York State, cost savings for DMV alone are estimated to be at least $270,000 annually. Additional savings for the county boards of elections once their software has been programmed to accept electronically the voter registration applications is estimated to be at least $150,000 annually.
Automated Voter Registration is More Accurate
Officials in states that have adopted online and automated voter registration consistently confirm that paperless registration produces fewer errors than paper forms and reduces opportunities for fraud. A 2009 survey of incomplete and incorrect registrations in Maricopa County, Arizona found that electronic voter registrations are as much as five times less error-prone than their paper-based counterparts.
Expanded Foreign Language Access to Voter Registration
Beginning today, DMV will make its driver license application (which includes the voter registration application) form available online and in its New York City offices in Chinese, Korean, and Bengali. The application had previously been available in Spanish. Notices will also be placed in those offices to alert customers that those translated forms are available.
The Verifone terminals in each DMV office across the State will offer voter registration in Spanish as well as English.
Orange County Elections Commissioner Susan Bahren said, “The new voter registration transmittal program with DMV will assist our office in being able to process transactions faster and more accurately almost eliminating the need to contact voters for clarification, it will also decrease the paper process in our office significantly. I am looking forward to continuing this working relationship as we will move ahead to submitting the voter registration applications electronically. This is a great move for both DMV and the County Boards of Elections.”
Saratoga County Elections Commissioner William Frucci said, “The electronic exchange of voter registration data will help streamline the registration process. In view of the fact that we operate under very restrictive time constraints this process will provide the voter’s information from the department of motor vehicles to the county boards of elections more timely and more efficiently.”
Madison County Elections Commissioner Laura Costello said, “The voter registration and move transmittals generated by the new DMV system are a positive improvement over the previous documents. The registration format mirrors the NYS voter registration form and the information is legible and complete. The new process promises to be time efficient and secure.”
Erie County Elections Commissioner Dennis Ward said, “At the Erie County Board of Elections, we look forward to the use of the new New York State DMV Voter Registration application system. It is our belief that this is a major technological step forward which will result in the savings of employee time and taxpayer dollars. At the same time, the built-in safeguards will continue the policy of safeguarding the voting system against fraud while also meeting the voter identification requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act. The daily transfers will allow quicker processing of applications and the typed registration forms will be easier to process and will reduce the chance of error. We thank the State Department of Motor Vehicles for the initiative in taking this step forward.”
John Kowal, Vice President of Programs at the Brennan Center for Justice, said: “Today, the Empire State, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, is showing the nation that it is ready to lead when it comes to innovative election reform. Creating more options for voters to register, and ensuring they make it onto the rolls, will make a real difference. Some states that have instituted similar programs have seen up to an eight-fold increase in voter registrations through the DMV, while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is important for democracy and important for New York.”
Alex Camarda, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, said, “Citizens Union commends Governor Cuomo, the State Board of Elections, and the Department of Motor Vehicles on this important advancement in making voter registration easier for New Yorkers. For far too long, New York has been conducting an antiquated and cumbersome form of paper-based voter registration that diminishes participation in our democracy while increasing costs to taxpayers. The reforms announced today will modernize and ease the process by enabling New Yorkers to register online or electronically in-person at the DMV. This initiative serves as a model for all state agencies required to offer the opportunity to register those it serves.”
Sally Robinson, President, League of Women Voters of New York State, said, “With the ability to register prospective voters online through the secure MyDMV system, New York will become one of the leaders in online voter registration across the country. Online voter registration will not only provide cost savings and increased accuracy, it will also be a great convenience to voters. In a world that has largely left behind paper, moving New York State towards paperless voter registration will benefit both taxpayers and voters. The experience of other states makes it clear that electronically collecting voter registrations, and ultimately providing them to boards of election in the same form, will both save money and increase accuracy of the voter rolls.”
By on August 16, 2012, 2:25 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | Comments Off

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