A bill meant to make it easier for voters to change party enrollment ahead of a primary election was approved Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The measure addresses a long-standing complaint of good-government organization and voter-rights’ groups that New York’s election laws make it difficult to access party primaries, which are closed to those enrolled in a party.
The law signed Thursday will end the Oct. 11 deadline and allow voters to register by Feb. 14 to make changes to party enrollment. New York’s presidential primary is scheduled for April 28.
“While the federal administration continues to look for new ways to disenfranchise voters across the country, in New York we are making monumental changes to break down more barriers to the ballot box and encourage more people to exercise this fundamental right,” Cuomo said.
“This measure will make it easier for New Yorkers to have their voices heard in presidential, congressional and state primaries, which builds upon the many reforms we’ve made to strengthen New York’s election system and increase voter access once and for all.”
The measure was sponsored by Sen. Brian Kavanagh and Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson.
“With the change we’re enacting today, we’re significantly diminishing an obstacle that has prevented many New Yorkers from joining the party of their choice and participating in our primary elections,” Kavanagh said.
“Having worked to reform our extremely restrictive party enrollment law for about a decade, I’m gratified that we’re able to add this voter friendly reform to the many we have already enacted this year to protect and expand the right to vote and bring New York’s election laws on par with the best in the country. I thank Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Election Committee Chair Zellnor Myrie, Speaker Carl Heastie, and Assembly sponsor Jonathan Jacobson for their leadership, and of course Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing this bill today and continuing to build upon his strong record of reform.”