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Cuomo Signs Gianaris Bill Establishing Automatic Voter Registration in New York

Voters cast their ballot at a polling site in South Ozone Park on Election Day. (Michael Appleton/ Mayoral Photography Office)

Dec. 22, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law today that establishes an automatic voter registration system in New York.

The new law — sponsored by state Sen. Michael Gianaris — requires specific state agencies, like the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), to established an automatic voter registration system.

The law aims to expedite and streamline voter registration and, in turn, increase voter turnout.

For example, a New Yorker applying for a license through the DMV would be automatically registered to vote.

New Yorkers will have the option to opt out of voter registration, but voter registration will be initiated automatically when they apply for a license or another service.

For voters already registered, they can update any address changes for their vote in the same manner.

The law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. New York will join 18 other states which have similar automatic voter registration laws.

“Access to the ballot box should be easy and fair, and enacting Automatic Voter Registration will go a long way towards improving voter participation,” Gianaris said in a statement. “I am proud and thankful that the Governor has signed this bill, paving the way for over a million more New Yorkers to vote.”

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