(WETM) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday signed a package of voting reforms into law that focused on absentee and mail-in ballots. The Governor says the reforms “help voters, candidates and boards of elections more easily perform their functions.”
According to the Governor’s office, the reforms include:
- Eliminating signed absentee ballot applications and allowing absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day to be considered timely;
- Allowing voters to request absentee ballots through electronic means;
- Requiring boards of elections to post information about changes in polling places
- Conforming deadlines for the mailing of applications for absentee ballots to USPS guidelines;
- Allowing candidates who have lost primaries to be removed from ballots as candidates for different parties; and
- Increasing election district registrant enrollment from 1,150 to 2,000.
“During the past 16 months, numerous obstacles thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic imperiled one of our most basic and vital rights—the right to vote,” Governor Cuomo said. “This sweeping, comprehensive package of legislation will make it easier for voters, candidates and boards of elections to perform their critical functions and keep our democracy running. Elections have enormous consequences for New Yorkers across the state, and these reforms will bolster their ability to use their voices at the ballot box.”
Eliminating Signed Absentee Ballot Applications and Allowing Absentee Ballots Postmarked by Election Day to Be Considered Timely (S.6429/A.6047-A)
This legislation brings the last day a ballot can be postmarked into line with the deadline for hand-delivered ballots. It allows absentee ballots to be requested by letter rather than a signed absentee ballot application. It also provides that federal write-in absentee ballots, military ballots, special presidential ballots and special federal ballots received after Election Day must contain a postmark, cancellation mark or witness dated Election Day or earlier.