At a recent press conference, Assembly Member Seawright called for much needed reforms to increase voter participation in City and State elections and to improve how elections are administered. Seawright said, “I am proud to join my colleagues in the fight for these critical reforms in New York City and across the State. It is our civic duty to improve how we conduct elections and pave the way for voters to actively participate in the process of electing those who hold public office.”
The current voting restrictions and barriers to a ballot limit citizen participation. Voter turnout in New York City hit a historic low in November of 2014, when only 25% of registered voters cast a ballot. Even in areas with the highest participation, including the 76th Assembly District, more voters stayed home than cast a ballot. Only 34 % of registered voters made it to the polls for that election.
Seawright continued listing the reasons for immediate reforms to the voting system:
“We need a more comprehensive, uniform ballot that is easier to read, understand and use!
We need the ability to mail absentee ballots until the day before an election!
We need to criminalize interference with the operation of a poll site!
We need to increase compensation for Election Day workers!
We need to adequately fund BOE operations!
We need consistency in how congressional, state and city council districts are drawn!
We need to do away with voter ID laws that unfairly target low-income, veteran, student, and minority voters!
Our voter participation reflects the health and stability of our democracy, and we need to strengthen our democracy. Women obtained the right to vote in 1920 and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the women's suffrage movement. Every American who is eligible to vote should have access on Election Day. Now is the time to enact reforms!
My son Bradley was born on June 12, the same day that Medgar Evers was assassinated while registering voters in the South. In our family, we will never forget the legacy of the men and women who died fighting for voting rights. Today, we must revive Evers’ legacy, life and memory by doing everything in our power to obtain these reforms.”
For more information on the voter participation, please contact the community office of Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright at 212.288.4607.