Mayor Bloomberg today unveiled a host of reforms designed to increase voter participation while releasing a report that demonstrates New York has the most restrictive election policies in the country and decades of declining voter turnout.

“Voter turnout at elections for at all levels of government is unacceptably low, and the State’s antiquated election laws are part of the problem,” Bloomberg said in a press release.

“Reforms like early voting and extended registration deadlines will help New Yorkers make their voices heard.”

The mayor was joined by a group of city and state elected officials, good government groups and the Rev. Al Sharpton. His proposals include:

– Creation of an early voting period: 35 states offer some form of early voting, generally 1-2 weeks before Election Day at a selected number of “super poll sites.”

– At-home ballot completion.

– Streamlined voter registration. This includes allowing registration up to 10 days before Election Day, rather than the current 25; linking existing state and local Boards of Elections databases; allowing open primaries regardless of party affiliation.

(Bloomberg’s report notes 20 out of 25 states that require party affiliation to vote in primaries allow for changes within 30 days of Election Day; only New York requires voters to wait more than a year to vote in a party primary after changing party affiliations ).

– Simplified Ballot Design.

Voter Access in New York[1]