ALBANY – A sweeping new initiative to expand access to voter registration and streamline DMV services by allowing New Yorkers, for the first time ever, to apply to register to vote, or update their address or party enrollment, through a secure online site was launched Thursday.
"Today, we are knocking down longstanding barriers that have prevented many New Yorkers from participating in the democratic process, while creating a more streamlined and more efficient system that will save taxpayers' money," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "At the DMV, or in their own homes, New Yorkers will now have a convenient and secure way to ensure they are able to register and exercise their right to vote."
"Getting away from paper applications and making use of the technology we are announcing today will improve efficiency, be cost effective, and better serve the people of New York State", said DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala.
New York currently ranks 47th in the nation in voter registration, with less than 64% of eligible residents registered to vote.
The DMV processes roughly 300,000 motor voter applications a year. This is currently a cumbersome and time-consuming manual process, where drivers fill out paper forms at one of 129 DMV branches, which then have to be sorted and mailed by hand to one of the county boards of elections. This process is prone to human error, delays and, in some cases, to applications not getting processed.
The new system will replace the vast majority of paper forms and allow for the centralization and digital transmission of voter registration applications.
Under the new program, persons with a driver's license or non-driver's ID seeking to register, or to update their address or party enrollment information, can do so:
- Online, through DMV's "MyDMV" Web site https://my.dmv.ny.gov. MyDMV requires users to create a secure online account that is validated through the verification of personal information, such as date of birth, social security number, address, and license document number. Applicants must have a valid New York State license or identification card to qualify, which are issued after a rigorous, in-person identity proofing process at a DMV office. More than 700,000 New Yorkers currently have a MyDMV account and that number is growing daily.
- New computerized electronic data entry (or VeriFone) devices at each DMV location. In every DMV office, new electronic terminals will allow registrants to apply to register to vote or update their registration information themselves electronically without completing any paper forms. These transactions will be overseen by DMV representatives and are subject to the same security standards as the current system. The devices are also equipped to handle credit card transactions for DMV business.
These new applications will include a digital copy of a voter's "wet" signature that drivers provide to the DMV when they are issued a license or non-driver ID. The signature transmitted to the county BOE is the same signature that appears on their DMV-issued license.