After years of lagging behind other states, New York radically overhauled its system of voting and elections on Monday, passing several bills that would allow early voting, preregistration of minors, voting by mail and sharp limits on the influence of money. The bills, which were passed by the State Legislature on Monday evening, bring New York in line with policies in other liberal bastions like California and Washington, and they would quiet, at least for a day, complaints about the state’s antiquated approach to suffrage. Their swift passage marked a new era in the State Capitol. Democrats, who assumed full control this month after decades in which the Legislature was split, say they will soon push through more of their priorities, from strengthening abortion rights to approving the Child Victims Act, which would make it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their assailants.
“Today we are saying to New York that we are about tearing barriers down,” Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Senate Democrats, said earlier on Monday.
“We should not fear making it easier for those who are eligible to vote, to vote,” she said, adding, “We should not fear restricting the flow of money into our electoral system.”