ALBANY – New York State Senator George Borrello is urging state leaders to refrain from changing the voting process ahead of this fall’s election.
In response to concerns over COVID-19 risks at polling places, the Governor issued an Executive Order on April 8 allowing all eligible New Yorkers to vote by absentee ballot for the June 23 primary.
Two weeks later, he followed that with another Executive Order mandating that the Boards of Elections automatically mail every eligible voter a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot.
Borrello says it is too close to the election to accurately implement changes to the voting process.
“As we look ahead to the general election on November 3rd and the exponentially higher turnout of presidential election years, there is great concern that the voting process in New York could be even more chaotic than the primary if there is an attempt to enact eleventh-hour changes to the process,” said Senator Borrello. “All of the election professionals that testified, without exception, stated that there simply isn’t enough time to successfully implement broad directives such as mailing all eligible voters absentee ballot applications. Even if the state had extra funds to accompany any such initiatives – which it doesn’t – our election infrastructure can’t be changed before November 3rd.”
Borrello cites testimony from state, county and city elections commissioners who say a massive expansion of absentee voting that overwhelmed the capacity of the system in the primary election.
“Particularly in New York City, the results were disastrous, ranging from absentee ballots delivered to voters after Election Day, to weeks-long delays in counting votes and determining winners, to the invalidation of 23 percent of the ballots, disenfranchising tens of thousands of voters,” said Borrello. “There is too much at stake to risk undermining the functioning and integrity of our electoral process. We can have bitter political battles during campaigns, but in the end the voters must have faith that their vote will count. They must believe that despite the politics, the process is sound.”
He added that with benefits such as early voting, the majority of New Yorkers should be able to vote in person safely over the 10-day period by exercising the same safety precautions they take in the course of their daily routines.
The letter that Senator Borrello sent to Governor Cuomo is below:
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