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Legislature Supports Early Voting

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Legislature Supports Early Voting

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Reacting to provisions in the Governor’s Budget, the Legislature, by a vote of 9-3 (Legislators Dave McKenna, Glenn Morey and Dooley Kiefer voted no; Legislators Mike Sigler and Leslyn McBean-Clairborne were excused) passed a resolution in support of Early Voting in New York State. The member-filed resolution advanced by Legislator Dan Klein notes that early voting makes it easier for residents to vote and that 37 states have already adopted the practice. The measure, however, adds that having counties provide early voting sites for up to 12 days prior to all special, primary, and general elections, as contained in the proposed budget, is estimated to cost counties statewide $3-4 million, and it also states that the State should reimburse counties for the added cost of this new mandate, should early voting, as proposed, be enacted.

Legislator McKenna proposed an amendment that would have urged the State to both enact and fund early voting, which failed to win support by a vote of 6-7. Legislator Martha Robertson noted that, since the State does not support other local election expense, it would have to establish a whole new bureaucracy to fund early voting. Legislator Kiefer proposed an amendment adding language to also support the alternative of no-excuse absentee ballots, as some states do. That proposed amendment failed by a 2-10 margin.

If enacted as part of the budget, early voting would not be implemented until 2017. It would not apply for village or school district elections.