Governor’s Press Release:
S.3135/A.2687 Ensures Absentee Ballots Match Election Day Ballots
S.2038A/A.1922 Ensures New, Simplified Absentee Ballot Applications Are Used in School District Elections
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to ensure absentee ballots match ballots used to vote in the district on Election Day (S.3135/A.2687) and that the new, simplified absentee ballot applications created in 2010 are used in school district elections (S.2038A/A.1922).
“This year we enacted historic reforms to modernize our antiquated voting process and strengthen our election system,” Governor Cuomo said. “These measures build on that progress by ensuring absentee ballots match the ballots that in-person voters use on Election Day and simplified absentee ballot applications are used in school district elections, making it easier for voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”
Senator Zellnor Myrie said, “We don’t pull levers in the voting booth anymore, so our ballots shouldn’t be designed for lever pulling. This legislation gets rid of dated ballot formats so that our absentee ballots match our primary ballots and helps ensure our democracy works. I commend the Governor for supporting this legislation and look forward to its implementation.”
Assembly Member Fred Thiele said, “I am thrilled that the Governor has signed my legislation (A.2687) to update the law and ensure that Election Day ballots and absentee ballots match. This, along with his approval of legislation to simplify absentee ballots used in school district elections (A.1922) continues the trend of making voting easier and more accessible for all New Yorkers. Voting is the inalienable right of every American but also a hallmark of our values and democracy. I am pleased to work with the Governor to advance these important voting reform measures.”
Senator David Carlucci said, “Working with my colleagues, we have brought New York’s outdated election laws into the 21st century to increase voter turnout by removing barriers to vote. My legislation to simply the absentee voting process in school district elections will ensure everyone’s voices are heard. Thank you Governor Cuomo for signing this reform into law.”
Assembly Member Sandy Galef said, “When New York reformed the absentee ballot process in 2010, school district elections were left out. As a result, voters using absentee ballots for school district elections had to use outdated, cumbersome absentee voting forms. This new law makes the absentee ballot process less intrusive, and it is my hope that it will help to increase voter turnout in New York State.”
S.3135/A.2687 goes into effect immediately. S.2038A/A.1922 will take effect in 90 days.
A key goal of the Governor’s 2019 Justice Agenda is to modernize New York’s voting laws to increase voter participation. On October 26, early voting went into effect for the first time, making it easier for New York voters to participate in elections without logistical burdens. These reforms will allow for eight days of early voting before an election, synchronize federal and state primary elections, allow voter preregistration for teenagers, provide voter registration portability within the state, and close the LLC loophole.
In September, Governor Cuomo also signed legislation expediting party enrollment changes to make it easier for voters to participate in the upcoming primary elections. This removed the October 11 deadline and gives voters until February 14 to make changes to party enrollment and still vote in the April presidential and June congressional and state primaries.