ALBANY Gov. Cuomo on Thursday didnt seem all that bothered by this weeks low turnout for primaries statewide.
Some elections people turn out heavily, sometimes they turn out in less volume, Cuomo said. I just think thats democracy.
During an appearance in Niagara County, Cuomo was asked if the low turnout was due to it being a local election year or whether the state can do more to get voters to the poll.
Government has its limits and one of them is whether or not people vote, Cuomo said.
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The state can make it easier for people to register and to vote, he said.
But if people arent motivated, theyre not motivated, Cuomo said.
In New York City, the mayoral primary on Tuesday drew just 14% of the citys 3.07 million registered active Democrats, up slightly from 11% four years ago.
Without mentioning Mayor de Blasio, who grabbed 74% of the light-turnout vote, Cuomo said some races have issues that capture peoples attention and imagination while others do not.
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Sometimes there are tight competitive races, sometimes there arent and people say, well, Im busy. Theres no real race. Why should I show up?
Government reform groups have long argued there is plenty the state can do to encourage more people to vote, including same-day registration and early voting that allows voters to go to the polls before Election Day.
New York State has become a passive voter suppression state with our antiquated system of voting, said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union. The governor should be leading the charge in trying to open up the process making it easier for more New Yorkers to vote and access the ballot.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in 2016 proposed a package of electoral reforms that would include the automatic voter registration for anyone who deals with a state agency, same-day registration, early voting, and unified statewide training standards for poll workers.
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He’s also pushed make it easier for a voter to change their party registration before a primary. Under current law, a person wanting to change their party before the primary has to do so no later than six months before the primary. Schneiderman wants to give people up until 25 days before the primary to make the change.
His proposed reform package was not enacted by the Legislature.