Bill Championed by Ben Kallos Becomes Law

Step One: Pass Online Voter Registration...

Updated 43 weeks ago David Stone
Mayor de Blasio, Council Member Ben Kallos (right) at online voter registration bill signing.
Mayor de Blasio, Council Member Ben Kallos (right) at online voter registration bill signing.
Photo courtesy New York City Mayor's Office

“We’re embracing technology to help make voting more accessible for New Yorkers. This bill is one step towards fixing our antiquated electoral system, which for far too long has discouraged participation in the democratic process,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, signing into law a bill championed by Roosevelt Island City Council Member Ben Kallos.

Efforts to get residents registered weren't enough to avoid embarrassingly low turnout here in November, but a renewed push will be in place (and fostered here) to increase Roosevelt Island's impact in 2018.

Turnout matters because, when it comes to getting elected officials' attention, it tells them how much interest a community really has in how it's governed. Low turnout equals relative indifference... and not much motivation for any politician to put your interests ahead of others.

Online voter registration is an important first step because it makes increasing the voting rolls easier, and the more voters you have, the louder your voice can be.

Roosevelt Island needs to speak up and become louder.

“For the first time ever, New Yorkers will be able to submit the necessary registration information or submit updates to their registration online or through a mobile app," the Mayor continued, adding, "Now it is time for Albany to follow our lead and pass meaningful electoral reform to expand access to voting.”

Mayor de Blasio, along with Council Member Kallos, continues to push for early voting, same-day registration and automatic voter registration, all of which need approval by the State legislature.

“Democracy should be a click away," said Kallos. "We are used to filling out forms online with the click of a mouse and voter registration should be no different. You should be able to register and receive a confirmation by email, just like any other website.”

Here at The Daily, we've talked with Kallos's representative as well as local voting advocate Lynne Strong-Shinozaki about working together to increase political clout on Roosevelt Island by adding voters and increasing understanding about why getting out to the polls matters, a task made more difficult by demographics that continue to be in flux.  

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