Our friends at Citizens Union alerted us to six important bills pending in the New York City Council that would help increase voter participation and make sure that Election Day runs as smoothly as possible. As, we know, this coming election will be the first time that the City uses its new voting machines in a presidential election where turnout is expected to be high and both voters and election officials will benefit from greater preparation.
At a time when state governments across the country have passed laws in record numbers that make it harder to vote, this package of election bills is a great example of how local governments can take action to improve elections. We hope that the City Council will advance these bills by holding a hearing so that election experts, good government groups, and members of the public can provide their input.
The six bills in the package are listed and summarized below:
- Intro 613 would help keep registered voters informed of important election related dates by requiring the Campaign Finance Board to send email notifications to voters who sign up to receive them;
- Intro 721 would provide incentives for City employees to serve as poll workers on Election Day and staff unfilled positions;
- Intro 728 would make registering to vote easier for parents by requiring that voter registration forms be provided when they enroll their children in school;
- Intro 760 would require that the City Board of Elections track and publish data on the number of residents who the complete voter registration forms while seeking services at city agencies;
- Intro 769 would help keep voters informed by expanding the City’s Voter guide to include state and federal elections; and
- Intro 778 would allow the City Council to better measure the performance of the Board of Elections by requiring that it report data required by the Mayor’s Management Report.