People’s column: State needs to encourage voting


State Sen. George Borrello’s failed “Voter Registration Integrity Act” proposal is part and parcel of the national Republican Party’s effort to bring distrust to our national, state and local county voting processes.

It is truly unpatriotic to attack our system of voting that works. If you believe former President Trump won the 2020 election, Borrello’s bill is somehow speaking to you.

The defeated proposal (S.1853) would have required first-time voter registration applications to include official proof from the applying voter establishing U.S. citizenship.

New York State election law currently requires first and foremost an affirmation from every registrant that yes, they are in fact a U.S. citizen. It is a felony to lie on the voter registration.

Every new registrant is also required to provide a driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number. These numbers are fed daily into the N.Y. statewide voter registration system (NYSVOTER) and in lightning speed real time, the computer “shakes hands” with Social Security or the state Department of Motor Vehicle computers to verify the person is who they say they are. No match? Then the local Board of Elections is notified to add the voters to the rolls on a provisional basis only and the new voter will be required to prove their identify when they go to vote.

If the prospective voter is a non-citizen driver or is working in the United States with a temporary work visa or as a noncitizen permanent resident, they too will be rejected by way of the Social Security or DMV computer match up.

Further, on a practical side, the Borrello bill would have copies of very important documents moving through the U.S. mail. Talk about a recipe for identity theft. More importantly, the Borrello bill is a well thought out and expensive plan to discourage new voter registrations from certain GOP targeted communities.



Retired Chautauqua County election commissioner


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