Haitian Creole Voters, Board of Elections
Voters Affected By Superstorm Sandy Go To The Polls

With just two weeks until New York’s presidential primary on April 19, a report by NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, “Barriers to the Ballot,” examined voting data over the last 60 years and found that only one in four registered New York City voters participated in the 2014 midterm general election, continuing a trend of declining voter turnout that has resulted from arcane City and State election laws, according to a coalition of elected officials, advocates and community leaders.

New York City’s voting rates in presidential, midterm/statewide, and mayoral elections have reached historic lows:

  • In the 2008 presidential election, just 61 percent of registered voters showed up to vote, the lowest ratio in any major American city.
  • In 2012, only 58 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the general election – the lowest rate since 1996 and the second-lowest on record. 

In 2013, only 26 percent of registered New York City voters went to the polls in the general election, the lowest rate ever recorded, continuing a decades-long slide.

In the 2014 gubernatorial and midterm elections, only 25 percent of registered voters in New York City filled out a ballot – and New York State’s turnout was ranked 48th out of the 50 states.

“As New Yorkers head to the polls to elect our next president, it’s important to remember that voting is not only a fundamental right – it is the most important tool we have to ensure accountability in our democracy,” Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said.

“Turnout in recent elections in New York has been abysmal and yet our laws often prevent, rather than encourage, people from participating. We need to make it easier for every New Yorker to register and vote.”

The report puts forth 16 ideas on how to reform elections and increase voter participation in the City that address voter registration, including access to the polls, streamlining election day operations, and publishing voting materials in different languages, amongst many other solutions.

“At a time when states across the country are taking steps to disenfranchise voters, New York should lead the fight to ensure equal access to the ballot box,” Comptroller Stringer said.

“Everyone deserves to have their voice heard. These reforms will remove barriers to voting and boost turnout in the nation’s largest City.”

To view the entire report, go here.


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  1. Does the study take in to account the unlikabilitu and untrustworthiness of the typical candidate? People know they’ll be used and ignored by the Mayor and City Council. Voters all over the City rejected the massive, realtor-cozy rezoning. So what does de Blasio do? He bribes the Council with a gigantic raise. The Council votes the zoning in almost unanimously. The people be damned. De Blasio is involved with a dirty luxury condo deal at 45 Rivington and another developer crony got the Brooklyn Heights library for another luxury tower. The Council voted for the developer, against the people. The effort to register people and to get them to the poles is considerable, yet every election is a new low in turnout. 18% elected de Blasio. The only way the choice would be worse is if more voters had been involved, if he had gotten a mandate. Does the study also cite the incompetence of the board of elections? Four elections this year between state and federal?

  2. In low income areas this does nothing but help the poverty pimps. The theme for their campaigns will be “gentrification” and the threat that folks will lose the high sugar/sodium foods given out at food pantries. In my area we lost an entire hospital and one executive walked away with millions…(nothing done about it) We’re losing a nursing home and public schools are failing miserably – but we are getting a shelter for homeless ex-cons and mental patients – no where near their million dollar brownstones. The tree beds on all of the blocks except theirs are dead, garbage receptacles -the old fishnet garbage receptacles from the 80s still on the corners. Bodegas with corners boys go unchecked/unchallenged. Nothing about crime is said or done, cars speed by the public schools at 80 mph, the developers have turned vacant lots into high priced rentals (nothing with ownership attached) I could go on but people get who they vote for…smh.

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