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Cuomo budgets state money for early voting in New York

Change would allow voting in 12 days leading up to Election Day

February 12, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gov. Andrew Cuomo. AP photo by Andy Kropa
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that he will be putting money where his mouth is when it comes to early voting in New York, an idea he first advanced in his recent State of the State address.

New York is one of only 13 states where early voting is not available, and an excuse is still required to request an absentee ballot. (Excuses include being absent from the county on Election Day or being unable to get to the polls due to a disability.)

The governor is adding $7 million to his 2019 budget to pay for early voting, and is backing legislation that would allow people to vote in the 12 days leading up to Election Day — without needing an excuse.

“No one should have to choose between exercising their sacred right to vote and going to work, school or personal commitments,” Cuomo said in a statement. “By offering early voting across the state, we are further breaking down barriers to democracy and helping to ensure that all New Yorkers’ voices are heard.”

The legislation requires that counties must have one early voting poll site for every 50,000 residents — meaning that Brooklyn, with almost 2.6 million residents, would have to offer roughly 50 early polling places. The (bipartisan) County Boards of Election would determine the specific location of the polling places.

State Sen. Brian Kavanagh (Brooklyn waterfront, lower Manhattan), called the measure a “common sense reform whose time has come,” and promised to work with the governor on adopting the funding as part of the final budget.

Although the proposed legislation would not take effect until the 2019 elections, the money would allow county boards to plan for future elections and upgrade technology, according to a statement by the League of Women Voters.

 


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