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Eric Friedman (212) 306-7116
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June 12, 2012 – The Campaign Finance Board and its Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC) has released a new research report addressing the problem of low voter turnout in New York City. The VAAC commissioned the study, entitled "Who Votes? Voter Turnout in New York City," from a team of graduate students from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. The research, which was formally presented by the students at a public hearing yesterday to discuss the 2011-2012 Voter Assistance Annual Report, will help the Board fulfill its Charter-mandated responsibility to identify and conduct outreach to groups who are underrepresented among city voters. 

The team analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and voting rolls from the New York City Board of Elections for the 2008 and 2009 general elections.Their analysis showed that:

  • Low turnout is more common in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens;
  • Areas with high residential turnover rate have a lower voter turnout;
  • Areas with higher numbers of naturalized citizens have lower turnout.

The research also confirmed that factors identified in prior research also contribute to lower turnout in New York City. These findings include:

  • Age: Younger voters (age 18-29) are less likely to vote;
  • Education: Educational attainment is linked to turnout;
  • Gender: Women are more likely to vote than men.

The report includes legislative proposals to address low voting among the identified populations. The full report, "Who Votes? Voter Turnout in New York City," which has maps displaying low turnout areas across the city, is available on the Campaign Finance Board's website.

Testimony from yesterday's hearing and archived video of the meeting and presentation are available on the agency's website.