Park Slope

Carroll seeks election law change to extend run-off

May 19, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Robert Carroll says New York State needs to modernize its election laws to get more voters to the polls. Photo courtesy of Carroll’s office
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Voters should get extra time to decide the winner of a run-off election, according to Assemblymember Robert Carroll, who said the state Assembly has passed a bill he sponsored to extend the time period from two weeks to three.

Under current state law, a runoff is held following a primary if no candidate garners at least 40 percent of the vote. The two top vote getters face each other in a runoff two weeks after the primary.

But Carroll said he thinks an extra week would greatly benefit voters.

“This is really important so there’s consistency for voters in New York City, and so that we have a voting process that, well before the September primary this year, we know how we’ll administer and when we would administer the runoff if it was necessary for any of the offices,” Carroll (D-Park Slope-Windsor Terrace) said in a statement.

The additional week will give the Board of Elections time to canvass, audit and test optical scanning machines following a primary election, according to Carroll, who said the newer voting machines have significantly modernized the way elections are administered.

Carroll’s runoff extension bill is part of a series of bills the Assembly approved to overhaul the state’s voting procedures.

The bills will be sent to the state Senate for consideration.

The Assembly package includes bills to allow residents to register to vote online and vote by mail.

“New York has some of the worst voter participation rates in the nation, and that’s because we have some of the worst voting laws in the nation,” Carroll said. “This legislative package is a step in the right direction to make it easier to register and to vote in New York state.”

The package also includes bills to consolidate New York’s federal and state primaries to one day in June; establish early voting in New York; and lower the voting age to 17 for a presidential primary for young people who would turn 18 by time of the general election.

Carroll had sponsored a bill to lower the voting age to 17 for state and local elections.

“If a person starts voting before they turn 25 years old, they are much more likely to be an active voter for their entire life than someone who starts voting later in life,” Carroll said. “Government should be fostering citizenship among young people. I think the more people involved the better and more representative our government will be.”

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