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Mixed reaction to plan to expand voting , voter registration in New York Price

Rochester area political party leaders are reacting to a series of proposals by Governor Andrew Cuomo to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote and register to vote.

In one part of his plan, Cuomo wants early voting 12 days before election days. New York is one of 13 states that don’t allow early voting.

But Monroe County Republican chairman Bill Reilich says there is ample time for voters to cast their ballots with the polls open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on an election day.

"I find it hard to believe that somebody would be working all those hours. If they know that they are, they can get an absentee ballot ahead of time, so they are not precluded from voting in any way."

Reilich also doesn't see the need for same day voter registration. He says there are many opportunities to register throughout the year, and allowing people to register on Election Day opens the door to voter fraud.

"If you fill out a form that day and you vote, (it could be) learned a few days later as they examine the form and examine the facts, that perhaps that person wasn't entitled to vote, and doesn't even live here and is just visiting for the day."

But Monroe County Democratic Party chairperson Jamie Romeo disputes that this is a widespread problem.

"We've seen same day registration happen in other states and there are no vast conspiracies that are leading to mass amounts of voter fraud; that's not the case. And we know that these things can be implemented if they're done in a smart way."

Romeo says the devil is in the details. “One of the biggest issues for New York is not having a consolidated Primary Day. Early voting would mean early voting before a number of different of election days depending on which office is up."

Romeo wants to see more information about the costs and other details associated with implementing the proposed changes, but in general, she’s pleased that the governor is focusing on expanding voter access so early in the legislative session.

Another of Cuomo's proposals calls for automatic voter registration through the state's motor vehicle services unless a resident opts out.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.