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Election 2018 New York

A polling site official shows a voter how to manually file a ballot after the electronic scanner malfunctioned in the Parkchester community of the Bronx Tuesday.

Another Election Day has come and gone — and with it, stories from coast to coast about people having problems casting their votes. In New York, voting reform has been ignored by the Legislature for too long, so our newly elected representatives in Albany need to make it one of their first priorities.

New York is one of just 13 states that don't offer early voting, and restrictive registration rules are a big reason that the state is regularly near the bottom of the list when it comes to voter turnout.

The state should be doing everything it can to make it easier for people to vote, so this topic must not get lost in the shuffle as lawmakers debate in the coming months ahead of the next state budget.

On Tuesday, voting precincts in South Carolina and Georgia suffered power outages and machine malfunctions, and some Arizona voters were turned away when printers needed to produce ballots were inoperable. Malfunctioning voting machines and hours-long lines at some polling places in New York City spurred the leader of the city council to call for the resignation of the elections director there and "a full top to bottom review of what went wrong."

Reforms won't eliminate last-minute problems from popping up on Election Day, but early voting would certainly lessen the impact because millions will have already cast their votes prior to the last-minute rush.

We understand that there would be some costs involved in election reforms, so any changes will need to be done in a way that provides financial support to county elections boards.

Election Day reminds us that helping more New Yorkers vote is one of the most important things our Legislature can do, so we encourage our area Assembly and Senate members to put it on top of their to-do lists for 2019.

The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Rob Forcey, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.

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