28 THE QUEENS COURIER • FEBRUARY 1, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
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JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS
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CLIFF KASDEN, SAMANTHA SOHMER, ELIZABETH ALONI
JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS
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STORY: Beloved Queens chain Mama’s Empanadas is bringing its
unique hand pies to Bayside
SUMMARY: Mama’s Empanadas will open up a brand-new location
in the Bayside Hills section of the neighborhood at 61-09 Springfi eld
REACH: 19,118 people (as of 1/29/18)
Let’s end voter apathy in Queens
It may only be February, but elections this year are seemingly on everyone’s
For many, 2018 is a magical number. Th ey can’t wait for the midterm elections
in November that will decide who will control Congress in the second
half of Trump’s fi rst term as president. Democrats dream of a “blue tsunami”
that will put them back into power on Capitol Hill, while Republicans are
hopeful they can hold the line (and the majority) despite Trump’s unpopularity.
Queens, however, has a tragic number when it comes to voting — 23. As in
23 percent, the abysmal turnout of registered voters during last November’s
We’ve used this space before to condemn voter apathy; implore our readers
to participate in their own democracy; and call on our representatives in
government to do something that would make it easier for everyone to vote.
Fortunately, Queens state senators — including (but not limited to) Michael
Gianaris, Leroy Comrie and Joe Addabbo — are answering the call.
Th ey recently announced a package of bills under consideration in Albany
that aim to take down various obstacles preventing New Yorkers from exercising
their rights. Th e bills would allow automatic voter registration at public
colleges; pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds; online voting registration;
more time for voters to change party affi liation and/or register to vote;
allow for voting by mail; and scheduling federal and state offi ce primaries to
occur on the same calendar day.
Th ese ideas are all steps in the right direction, and bring New York state
further into the 21st century when it comes to elections. We take particular
interest in the proposed “no excuses” vote-by-mail idea, which Comrie in
particular is sponsoring.
Although voters cannot be docked for taking time out of their work day to
vote, confi ning balloting to just 15 hours on a given Election Day is absurd.
It’s not enough of a window of time to encourage maximum participation
Vote-by-mail is in place in Oregon and Washington, and both states have
an easy and secure system by which voters can make their choices. New
Yorkers ought to have a similar system in place; its time has come.
We urge the state Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo to support
the legislative package that will make New York an easier place to vote. We
believe these ideas will fi nally smash voter apathy in this state and county,
and provide us with a government of which we can be proud.