City Council Member Wants to Shame New Yorkers into Voting

A New York City Council member wants to shame New Yorkers into voting by telling them how many elections they've missed.

Under Councilman Ritchie Torres' bill, the city Board of Elections would send all eligible voters a card listing which elections they've participated in over a four-year period.

Torres said Tuesday that he wants to address "a crisis in declining voter participation."

Only 25 percent of registered New York City voters cast a ballot in the 2014 general election, according to the city's Campaign Finance Board.

"It's an embarrassment," said Torres, a Bronx Democrat.

Torres said his plan was not inspired by presidential candidate Ted Cruz's mailing to Iowa Republicans that billed itself as a "voting violation" notice. The Cruz mailing assigned arbitrary voting "scores."

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said Cruz's mailing ahead of the Iowa caucuses in January misrepresented state election law. Cruz, who won the Iowa Republican caucus, responded saying he wouldn't apologize for "using every tool we can" to get the vote out.

Torres said he is confident his bill, which was introduced at a council committee meeting on Monday, will pass within the year.

"The point is to get yourself thinking about your own voter record, to hold yourself accountable to your voting," he said.

Amy Loprest, executive director of the Campaign Finance Board, said the voter history cards might make a difference.

"Research shows that individualized reminders like these can help to spur voters to turnout on Election Day," Loprest said in a statement.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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