ALBANY (TNS) – A series of changes to state election law – including an extension of the deadline for mail-in ballots until election day, requests for digital mail-in ballots, warrants for Election boards to share additional information and removing candidates from other party primary polling lines – were signed into law on Sunday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Changes to New York’s electoral law, which are largely aimed at expanding access and ease of voting, contrast with those passed in Georgia, Texas, Arizona and other Republican-ruled states, which are Designed to enforce more stringent identification requirements, tighten windows when voting can take place, or restrict non-traditional voting methods in addition to in-person voting on election day.
“Over the past 16 months, many obstacles raised by the COVID-19 pandemic have jeopardized one of our most basic and vital rights: the right to vote,” Cuomo said. “This vast body of law will make it easier for voters, candidates and electoral councils to perform their essential functions and keep our democracy running. The election has huge consequences for New Yorkers statewide, and these reforms will strengthen their ability to have their voices heard at the polls. “
Last year, for the first time, all New Yorkers were able to request postal ballots because the COVID-19 pandemic was seen as a mitigating circumstance for everyone, if they so chose. It was also the first year of in-person early voting, and turnout increased 7.5% from the 2016 election cycle. Turnout also reached historic levels nationwide, suggesting that the increases in turnout were not only due to increased access to the vote, but also reflected a general enthusiasm the public had for the last electoral cycle.
The bills were pushed by the Democrat-controlled Senate and State Assembly.
“At a time when voting rights are under attack in other states, New York is doing the right thing by making voting easier, not harder,” Senator Michael Gianaris said in a statement after the announcement of the vote. signing of bills. Gianaris is a Democrat from Queens and the deputy majority leader in the upper house.