The New York State Senate passed a bill Thursday pushing for automatic voter registration when residents of the state obtain drivers licenses at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
“Participating agencies shall provide personal voter registration applications that have been integrated with applications for agency services including, amongst other things, name or address changes,” according to the New York Senate’s website. “The integrated personal voter registration application shall be available by paper or electronically. The bill specifically designates the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Department of Health (DOH) as agencies participating in AVR.”
AVR stands for “automatic voter registration.”
Essentially, the state will add check-boxes that allow residents to register to vote on the same form as a drivers license and name or address change. This is a common practice in many states, but New York’s newly-proposed law is different for one conspicuous reason.
A recently-implemented law in New York allows illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses, and blocks federal immigration authorities from accessing information from DMV data.
Asked whether the automatic voter registration law will apply to illegal aliens, the New York State Senate did not immediately return a comment request.
The bill was introduced by Michael Gianaris of the 12th Senate District, and co-sponsored by Joseph P. Addabbo Jr of the 15th Senate District, Jamaal T. Bailey of the 36th Senate District, Alessandra Biaggi of the 34th Senate District, and Neil D. Breslin of the 44th Senate District.
Unsurprisingly, all are Democrats.
The bill has passed through the State Senate, and now must pass through the General Assembly, the lower chamber of New York’s State Legislature. Democrats control the General Assembly by a count of 105 to 43.
If the bill passes through the State Legislature, it will need the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat.
Cuomo called for automatic voter registration as far back as 2016, and appears likely to sign such a bill into law.
“We need a citizen government engagement reboot. Let’s automatically enroll voters when they get a driver’s license,” he said on Twitter at the time.