Following widespread confusion about poll locations and voting procedures during last week’s primary election, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has teamed up with ANIMALNewYork.com to help more voters make their votes count in November. The joint effort will distribute thousands of posters across the city with ten rights—guaranteed by local, state and federal laws—including the right to assistance if you are disabled or cannot read the ballot, the right to take up to two hours off from work to vote if needed, and the right to cast a ballot even if your name does not appear on the voter rolls.
Turnout in New York City is among the lowest in the nation, especially among younger voters. In the last Presidential Election – a high point for youth turnout – fewer than 17 percent of 18-29 year olds in NYC voted. In the 2009 Mayoral election, fewer than 4 percent of them cast ballots.
“We’re fighting a rising tide of voter apathy—and it’s only worsened by the confusion we’ve seen at the polls,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “No one should miss the cutoff date to register to vote or to request an absentee ballot. No one should turn around on Election Day because their name was misspelled on a voting list. Knowing your rights protects your vote.”
“Although there’s a lot of good information on voting out there, it’s scattered all over the place and quite voluminous. It made sense to create a simple poster and website that cuts through the crap, points to the most important things and ideally, helps get more New Yorkers to the polls,” said Bucky Turco, Founder of ANIMALNewYork.com. “New York City is the birthplace of American government. Every eligible voter should have the tools they need to take part in what is still the country’s most sacred tradition.”
“We all have a shared responsibility to ensure that more New Yorkers are informed voters. Reliable, non-partisan election information must be freely and widely available to everyone, both online and in our neighborhoods. The ‘Voters’ Bill of Rights’ can and will help New Yorkers make their voices heard in November,” said Art Chang, Chairman of the New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee.
The 10 rights are:
- You are entitled to up to two paid hours off of work to vote if polls are not open for four consecutive hours before or after your work day, provided you notify employers.
- You should receive a mailed reminder informing you when and where to vote.
- You have until October 12 to register to vote in this year’s general election.
- If you have recently moved within NYC, you can vote at your new poll site with an Affidavit Ballot, even if you have not updated your registration.
- If your name is misspelled on the voter rolls or you recently changed your name, you are still allowed to vote using the standard ballot and machine.
- If your name is not on the voter rolls, you can still vote using an Affidavit Ballot.
- Only some first-time voters are required to present I.D. at poll sites if they didn’t submit the needed information when they registered.
- You can request an absentee ballot be mailed to you if you are unable to vote in person.
- Voters with disabilities are entitled to assistance from poll site staff, as are non-English speakers.
- You cannot be prevented from voting if you accidentally wear campaign paraphernalia at a polling site, but you should remove or cover it as instructed by poll workers.
The Voters’ Bill of Rights will be distributed in partnership with City Council Members Gale Brewer, Letitia James and Debi Rose; State Assembly Members Michael Benedetto, Richard Gottfried, Andrew Hevesi, Rory Lancman, Joseph Lentol, Grace Meng, Aravella Simotas; State Senator Jeff Klein; as well as Citizens Union, Common Cause NY, Demos, New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York Coalition to Expand Voting Rights , and New York Public Interest Research Group.
ANIMALNewYork.com is a daily mix of art, news, culture, politics and opinion—“straight from the gut of New York.” The partnership between ANIMALNewYork.com and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio will distribute thousands of posters across the city.
Read the Voter Bill of Rights below and find additional resources at http://nycvoting.com.
> Click here to download (.pdf)