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State Assembly Wants To Bring Early Voting To New York

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TWC News: State Assembly Wants To Bring Early Voting To New York
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New York State may join other states to enact early voting, a change would likely shorten lines and increase voter participation. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

The last two president elections in New York City resulted in long lines at polling stations. Last year, the problem was particularly acute due to complications from Hurricane Sandy.

But on Tuesday, the State Assembly passed a bill that would allow early voting across New York State.

"Our legislation would enable New Yorkers to cast their ballots on any day during the 15-day period before a general election," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Early voting is opposed by state Senate Republicans, who have veto power over which bills come to the floor for a vote. Democrats say Republicans are opposed because increased voter turnout in New York State likely translates into more votes for Democratic candidates.

"I think that they are eventually going to have to understand that this is about their voters. It isn't about their candidates," said Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters.

Assembly Democrats also have the support of New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman.

"Any law or regulation or rule that makes it easier to for eligible voters to register and vote is a good law or regulation or rule," Schneiderman said.

Supporters of the bill say it would do more than just reduce waiting times. It would also increase voter participation in a state which has one of the poorest showings.

"That is part of the calculus," Silver said. "New York is probably, I think, 49th, maybe 48th in the country in terms of voter participation across the country."

Thirty-two other states and the District of Columbia already allow early voting.

If the bill is passed this session and signed into law, the earliest New York State could implement early voting would be the 2014 general election.

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