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| Strengthening Voting Rights and Democracy

EXCLUSIVE: City Offices Fail to Meet Law Requiring Them to Help New Yorkers Register to Vote

New York Daily News - October 21, 2014, by Erin Durkin - City agencies are failing to do their part to make voter registration easier — even though they’re required to by law.

Legislation passed in 2000 mandates that 18 agencies give voter registration forms to visitors. But the Center for Popular Democracy found that 84% of those visitors were never offered a chance to register, according to a report to be released Tuesday.

In fact, 60% of the agencies didn’t even have forms in the office. And 95% of the clients were never asked if they wanted to register to vote.

“This is an urgent problem which is leading to the disenfranchisement of many thousands of low-income New Yorkers,” said Andrew Friedman, the group’s co-executive director.

The group found that 30% of people who visited the city offices weren’t registered to vote, higher than the national average.

Mayor de Blasio’s spokesman Phil Walzak said Hizzoner has ordered agencies to step up their compliance with the law.

Advocates say having city agencies help out with voter registration is especially important because most people nationwide sign up to vote at motor vehicle departments, but many city residents don’t drive.