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Democratic participation should be encouraged. The Speaker and Council have advocated for reducing barriers, followed up on complaints at poll sites, and taken steps to link voters to more information and to support young people in civic participation.

In advance of the 2016 election, the Council passed legislation to improve communication between the NYC Board of Elections and voters, including mandating more thorough online resources. The Council also called on the State to allow early voting, establish same-day and online registration, and establish no-excuse absentee voting.

In response to reports of inappropriately purged voter rolls, inaccurate party affiliation listings, late poll openings, and malfunctioning voting machines in the April 2016 presidential primaries, Council staff observed election operations at poll sites across the City for the June congressional primaries and November general election.

Last spring, the Council participated in the second annual Student Voter Registration Day, registering more than 8,500 student voters in 61 high schools across the City. This effort quadrupled the number of students registered compared to the first year of the program and more than doubled the number of participating schools.

The Council is committed to helping young people organize their peers. We supported civic education in action through Generation Citizen, a non-profit group that recruits college students from CUNY campuses, trains and supports them, and places them in designated partner high schools. There, they work with teachers to provide workshops twice a week over eight to ten weeks, ultimately leading to a student-selected project focused on a specific issue.