Councilmembers Mark Treyger Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst), Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) and Helen Rosenthal (D-Upper West Side) are pushing legislation to make it easier for New Yorkers to register to vote and to cut the red tape prospective candidates face getting on the ballot.
One bill would seek to strengthen the Young Adult Voter Registration Act, a 2004 law requiring voter registration forms to be sent to graduating high school seniors with their diplomas. The bill would require the forms to be distributed to students in class instead of mailing them with diplomas.
"Ensuring that our schools are connecting students with language-appropriate voter registration materials will help us empower our young adults to stand up, take action for what they believe in, and become part of the social fabric of our city, our state and our country," said Treyger, chairman of the Council’s Committee on Education.
A second bill would require landlords to provide new tenants with voter registration forms with the apartment lease.
The third bill would overhaul the process by which candidates get on the ballot. Under the bill, candidates could qualify to get on the ballot by meeting a minimum threshold to receive public funds through the city’s campaign finance system.
It would do away with the current system which requires candidates to secure a certain number of signatures on nominating petitions from registered voters in their districts.
Kallos charged that the current system has given rise to “ballot bumping,” an effort by well-financed candidates and political clubs to hire lawyers to take opponents to court and knock them off the ballot for minor technical infractions.