New York City Council Set To Implement Innovative Voter Registration PlanThis June, New York City will become the first major metropolis in the United States to require that high school seniors receive a voter registration application along with their diplomas on graduation day.
The Young Adult Voter Registration Act, which established the above requirement, passed with the unanimous support of the New York City Council in June 2004. The bill was introduced in response to low voter turnout and low voter registration amongst youth. In 2002, a little under 25% of all youth ages 18- 25 in New York City were registered to vote. That meant that 75% of all 18-25 year-olds in New York City were unable to participate in the electoral process on Election Day. Even after the 2004 election, despite massive voter registration drives, over 50% of all youth in New York are still not registered to vote.
Therefore, instead of continuing to rely on voter registration organizations, political parties and individuals (all of whom have their own agendas), with this legislation, the NYC council is taking on the responsibility of creating clean and complete voter rolls. Combining voter registration with high school graduation is an all encompassing and comprehensive, yet simple and cost-effective means to ensure every eligible citizen is registered. Over time, this policy will lead to near 100% voter registration. Such a policy would reduce the need for provisional ballots and decrease the likelihood of registration processing errors made by overwhelmed election officials, inendated with registration requests in the weeks leading up to Election Day. [Read the legislation]
City and town councils in every state and county in the nation should pay careful attention to how successful this program is in New York.