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'Voting History' Bill Would Boost City's Election Turnout, Councilman Says

By Eddie Small | March 2, 2016 1:51pm
 Councilman Ritchie Torres is sponsoring a bill that would send
Councilman Ritchie Torres is sponsoring a bill that would send "voting histories" to the city's voters as a way to try increasing turnout in elections.
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New York City Council

NEW YORK CITY — Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres has a new idea for increasing voter turnout in the city.

The politician is the lead sponsor on a bill that would require the Board of Elections to send "voting histories" to voters, detailing the elections that they were registered to vote for over the past four years and saying whether or not they had voted in those elections.

The card would be mailed to the city's registered voters between Aug. 1 and Aug. 5 every year.

The bill, first reported by the New York Daily News, was introduced in June but just had its first hearing on Monday in the Governmental Operations Committee, and Torres' office expects it to pass within a year.

Only 25 percent of registered voters in New York City participated in the November 2014 elections, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and a recent special election in The Bronx for a vacant City Council seat saw roughly 3,300 out of 85,000 registered voters cast ballots.

The "voting history" bill could help increase civic engagement and voter participation, according to Torres' office.

“The purpose of the bill is to empower people to hold themselves accountable as voters," Torres said in a statement, "and to get them to think of voting not as a right but as a civic obligation."