New York is joining 13 other states that allow voters to register online in an effort to improve voter turnout and save money.
The initiative announced Thursday also expands opportunities for voters to register in languages other than English. In addition, voters will be able to update their addresses and party enrollments online.
Ten states have had online voting dating back to 2001: Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. California, Connecticut and South Caroline have passed laws, but haven’t started online registration yet.
Arizona reports more than 70 percent of voter registrations are done online since the state made the move in 2003, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona’s registrations claimed 9.5 percent from 2002 to 2004, while saving money on staff and paper registrations and increasing accuracy, the national conference said.
“We are knocking down longstanding barriers that have prevented many New Yorkers from participating in the democratic process, while creating a more streamlined and more efficient system that will save taxpayers’ money,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
The online system is available at state Department of Motor Vehicles offices or on any computer.
The DMV now handles about 300,000 paper voter registrations each year under the “motor voter” law passed several years ago to increase the number of registered voters.
Access is through the “MyDMV” site at https://my.dmv.ny.gov . Verification is made through birth dates, Social Security numbers, license numbers and addresses. A voter must have a driver’s license or DMV identification card, which are issued only to legal New York residents after an in-person application.
“Voting rates in the U.S. are alarmingly low in relation to other post-industrial nations, with New York’s participation rates even lower than the national average,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause-NY. She called the initiative “an important first step to reducing clumsy paper forms and human error.”
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.