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Politics & Government

A Day for Voter Registration and to Wonder Why More People Don't Go to the Polls

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  Tuesday marked National Voter Registration Day, but New York hasn’t had the best history with voter turnout.  Just what keeps people from casting their ballots?

In just about six weeks New Yorkers will be electing a new governor, filling congressional seats and choosing other state officials…but fewer than half of voters are likely to turn out.  The Voter Participation Center is finding New York won’t be the only state with disappointing numbers.  Chief Operating Officer Gail Kitch explains those who are likely to move out of state more, like young people and single moms, are a large majority of the population that don’t exercise their right to vote.  

Nationwide you’ve got a drop off problem of close to 35 %, New York a little higher, but still this fundamental problem of this particular group of folks, whose lives are very busy, not paying attention when it’s not a presidential year, is just critical. 

Kitch says those who move from state to state often to do not re-register to vote in their new home state.  

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The Voter Participation Center's Gail Kitch explains why unmarried women are a particularly important group to raise election turnout.

She says The Voter Participation Center is working to combat this problem by sending out mail-based voter registration forms…12 million over the past year.  

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Kitch has found a low-tech way to connect with potential voters has actually been the most effective.

FairVote.org found the election type, competitiveness of races,  and voting laws can also affect participation.  In 2010…the last time new Yorkers were voting for governor and congress members, the state ranked dead last in the percentage of people that went to the polls.