Primary and caucus voters across the nation have encountered confusing rules and lines so long some could not cast ballots. New York, too, was criticized when the campaign got here. It’s time for state lawmakers to fix a voting process in dire need of change. Current election law is designed to maintain control of the process by Democratic and Republican party officials. It suppresses turnout and bars insurgent success. The backroom days should be long over. Here’s what we’d like to see:
Easier voter registration. That would mean more new voters and more participation. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed state budget mandated automatic registration for eligible residents dealing with state agencies such as the departments of Labor and Motor Vehicles, SUNY colleges and the National Guard. But Republicans blocked that, fearing most enrollees would be Democrats.
Easier party-switching. Unaffiliated voters wanting to register as Democrats or Republicans to vote in the primary, or anyone wanting to switch parties, discovered they had to do so by Oct. 9 of last year. That’s far too early. The cutoff must be closer to the election.
Extend voting time. One day is too short, given people’s complicated lives and work schedules. One month is too long; something could happen to make a voter regret a quick decision. Find a compromise.
Also, new technology would allow for faster and more accurate updating of voter rolls, and rejecting the use of “Independence” or “Independent” in party names would stop confused voters who want to register as unaffiliated from ending up in a party that stands for nothing.
Voting is a fundamental right. But too many potential voters are sidelined every year. It’s time to get them into the game. — The editorial board