CCC Graduation

FILE - In this May 2017, a graduate receives his degree from Cayuga Community College President Brian Durant at CCC's commencement ceremony. 

Students at State University of New York and City University of New York institutions may not have to go far to register to vote. 

State lawmakers finalized a bill Thursday that adds CUNY and SUNY schools as locations under New York's Motor Voter law. The law established certain agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, as sites where New Yorkers can register to vote. 

The bill's sponsors, state Sen. Brian Benjamin and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, pushed for the change because the existing Motor Voter locations don't target young people. 

CUNY and SUNY schools are required to offer voter registration forms to students at the beginning of the school year and in January of each presidential election year, according to the bill. But the legislation also notes that voter registration rates at public colleges in New York trail schools across the country. 

"The state has a responsibility to encourage participation in the electoral process," the bill's justification reads. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed CUNY and SUNY to investigate the institutions' voter registration efforts. During the Assembly debate on the bill, Assemblyman Andy Goodell asked Dinowitz about the investigation, which commenced in 2017. 

Dinowitz didn't have information about the inquiry. Details of the review haven't been released, according to the bill's text. 

"This legislation will help us ensure the work is done," Dinowitz said. "We want to make sure that as many people as possible are registered to vote." 

The bill will require SUNY and CUNY schools to provide voter registration forms and absentee ballot forms. The institutions will be required to submit annual compliance reports to the state Board of Elections. 

The state Assembly passed the bill by an 81-30 vote. It passed the state Senate last week by a 40-21 margin. 

It now heads to Cuomo's desk for review. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.