NY Enacts Election Reforms, Making It Easier To Obtain An Absentee Ballot


It would change into rather a lot simpler to acquire an absentee poll in New York after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a invoice package deal on Friday aimed toward boosting voter participation.

The set of six payments permits registered voters to request an absentee poll by letter or e-mail as an alternative of a signed software. One other invoice will enable federal write-in ballots, army ballots, particular presidential ballots and federal ballots to be postmarked as much as Election Day for them to be counted in an election.

Cuomo stated the payments will assist “preserve our democracy operating.”

“Elections have monumental penalties for New Yorkers throughout the state,” Cuomo stated in a press release. “And these reforms will bolster their capability to make use of their voices on the poll field.”

The signing of those payments comes after absentee ballots had been used extra continuously through the pandemic. Forward of the presidential election final 12 months, Cuomo had issued an govt order permitting New Yorkers to obtain an absentee poll as long as they expressed fears of contracting COVID. Absentee ballots had been essential in a number of election races throughout New York Metropolis this 12 months, together with these for mayor, comptroller, and various Metropolis Council races.

Most of those new legal guidelines take impact now, coming a number of months earlier than New Yorkers as soon as once more go to the polls to elect a mayor within the November common election.

Different election reform payments signed by Cuomo mandate any native election board to submit on-line any adjustments of assigned ballot websites and rising the variety of voters assigned to a ballot website. One other invoice requires New Yorkers mail their absentee poll purposes 15 days earlier than an election so it may be processed. Earlier than, purposes could possibly be mailed every week earlier than an election.

“With this invoice we guarantee voters can train their rights whereas giving our establishments sufficient time to course of absentee poll requests and ship them in a well timed trend,” Assemblymember Al Taylor, representing Harlem, stated in a press release.

Brooklyn state Senator Zellnor Myrie was the lead sponsor of the invoice.

One other measure would enable shedding major candidates to have their title taken off the poll in a common election even when a minor get together nominates them.

“So far, candidates who misplaced a serious major actually needed to die or transfer out of state as a way to get off a minor get together line on the poll. This led to confusion and to workarounds that had been dangerous for democracy,” state Senator Rachel Might stated in a press release. “Voters ought to be capable to belief that the names on a poll symbolize energetic candidates for election.”

Whereas lawmakers hailed the passage of the payments, one voting rights group was skeptical of Myrie and Taylor’s laws.

“As New York strikes towards an election mannequin the place voters have the choice to vote remotely, the State has a possibility to undertake greatest practices and keep away from needlessly overbroad restrictions and untimely entry cutoffs just like the one proposed right here,” the group, VoteEarlyNY, wrote in a letter obtained by the Each day Information.