BLS Library Resources on Voting

Election Day 2012 takes place in five weeks and the deadline to register to vote is coming up very soon. The NY State Board of Elections website points our that N.Y. Election Law Section 5-210(3) says that, to be eligible to vote in the General Election, mail applications for voter registration must be postmarked no later than October 12 and received by a board of elections no later than October 17 . N.Y. Election Law Sections 5-210, 5-211, 5-212 states that in-person registration, to be eligible to vote in the November General Election, must be done at a local board of elections by October 12, except for honorably discharged veterans or those who became naturalized citizens since October 12 who have until October 26. N.Y. Election Law Section 5-208(3) requires that address changes from registered voters be received by October 17 by a county board of elections in time for the General Election. Be mindful of these dates as they are quickly approaching. If you have not yet registered to vote, do so now. The first presidential debate is scheduled for Wedneday, October 3. Spread the word, this election, like all others, is crucial! Make sure your voice is heard!!

The BLS Library has a number of electronic resources in SARA, its online catalog, on the subject of voting. See Voting Law Changes in 2012 by Wendy R. Weiser and Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice. It is the first comprehensive roundup of all state legislative action on voting rights, focusing on new laws as well as state legislation that has not yet passed or that failed. The report shows that at least 180 restrictive bills have been introduced since the beginning of 2011 in 41 states including New York. 17 states have passed restrictive voting laws and executive actions that have the potential to impact the 2012 election (Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). These states account for 218 electoral votes, about 80% of the total needed to win the presidency.

Another electronic resource is Beyond Red vs. Blue: Political Typology by The Pew Research Center, a new poll of political viewpoints in the United States that shows that ours is not a two party country in our beliefs, but a nation driven by the two parties in selection of its representatives. The diversity in views is good news that suggests that some day the US will be a multiparty nation.