Lawmakers could approve measures on voting changes in NY

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FARMINGDALE -

Big changes to how and when New Yorkers vote could be approved next week.

The biggest change that's part of a package of bills being voted on in Albany would allow New Yorkers to vote up to 10 days prior to Election Day. Registering to vote would also be made a lot simpler.

"Our state lagged behind in the country in both access to voting and putting up barriers to vote," says state Sen. Todd Kaminsky. "Those days are over starting Monday, and it's just so exciting to have more participation in our system."

Changes to New York's voting system have been talked about for years, but they never got passed the Republican-led state Senate. With Democrats now in charge of that chamber, the changes are expected to pass next week.

There are 2.6 million registered Republicans in New York state. But there are more than twice as many registered Democrats, at 5.8 million.

"New York is overwhelmingly Democratic," says Hofstra University political analyst Larry Levy. "So anything that helps get more voters to the polls will proportionately help the Democratic Party."

Republicans have argued that making it easier for people to vote could increase the possibility of fraud.

College students are among those who had lobbied for the changes. Students at Farmingdale State College say they like having the option of voting on more than just one day.

"There are some students that are very passionate about it, but I think a lot of them are stressed around voting time," says Farmingdale senior Michael Lindner. "So I think it will help getting them to the polls."

Another proposed change would have both federal and state primary elections held on the same day in late June. Currently, primaries for federal candidates are held in June and for all other candidates in September.

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