There are two types of voter suppression. The first being the nauseating racially and income based attempts to systematically deny Americans the right to vote. Especially with the Republican Secretary of States in Florida and Ohio, we saw this in the last election. These individuals went out of their way to find ways to water down voter turnout in hopes of turning the election for Mitt.
The second type is more 'benign neglect'. This can have equally untended consequences of limiting Americans right to vote with ease. New York fits into this category.
The state's system of antiquated voting laws, limited access to the ballot, limited early voting and limited attempt to inform the voters makes it tough to vote in this state. Having voters wait in line for two hours is a form of voter suppression. The inability to easily vote by mail or through new technology is a way of ignoring the future.
Quite honestly, New York citizens are voting with laws and procedures more suited for the 1950's than the 21st century.
Governor Cuomo, should act now so that by 2014 we have many of the laws reformed and by 2016 the Empire State is a role model for ease and access to voting.
Here are some key changes that need to be made:
Early Voting: Oregon now votes entirely by mail. Ohio opens up early voting in October. New York must examine its abilities to enable voters to early vote with ease. California sends out a card and all you have to do is sign it and your ballot will be sent to you.
Technology: In some places in New Jersey in the Hurricane Sandy voting crisis, people voted through the Internet. Can we find a way to create such a system for the future that is fraud proof but will enable to allow any voter to vote through their smart phone?
Easy Access: There is simply no excuse in the world's greatest democracy to have voters wait in lines for hours for the right to vote. We need to look for new ways to vote and at the same time shore up our election day teams.
Voter Information: How many of us have gone into the voting booth to vote for Judges or delegates to a Constitutional Convention and have zero idea who are these candidates? California has sends out a full voter guide with the background and information on every candidate and voter initiative.
Third Party Access: Increasingly we are facing a larger bloc of independent voters and the specter of third party candidates. We should relax the rules to allow voters more options on election day. For an individual to take their case to the people, they should not have to clear massive obstacles to obtain access to the ballot.
Counting the Ballots: Is anyone as surprised as I am that we are still counting votes in New York State? Hundreds of thousands of ballots are still being counted. Why can't we have complete and total returns within three days of election day?