Common Cause/NY, Lawmakers Urge Leg to Pass Bill Allowing Non-partisan Poll Monitors as Primary Day Nears

Simple, common-sense legislation would give voters a much-needed resource at the polls amid heightened election season

ALBANY, NY (05/15/2024) (readMedia)-- With less than six weeks before Early Voting starts in New York, Common Cause New York joined with New York State Senator James Skoufis and Assemblymember Amy Paulin in support of A2408-A / S5193-A: legislation that will allow non-partisan poll monitors into poll sites during Early Voting and Election Day. Poll monitors are non-partisan individuals trained to help resolve any issues that voters have during the electoral process as well as observe the process to ensure a seamless voting experience for all. Right now, in a few locations, some monitors have been kicked out of polling places.

"Poll monitors are an essential resource during our elections, and give both voters and election workers confidence that the process is both safe and transparent. As we enter an especially partisan election season, with competitive elections across the state, lawmakers must work to protect the democratic process and prioritize this simple, common-sense bill before session ends," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause New York.

"In the last few years, we have seen a disturbing increase in the number and scope of attempts to suppress the vote at poll sites. This bill would help to protect the rights of those who come to vote by certifying nonpartisan monitors to observe and monitor polling, as well as make certain that voters know their rights and are able to cast their votes. Voting is a foundational right, and we must do everything we can to ensure every eligible American has access to that right," said Senate sponsor James Skoufis.

"It's vital to our democracy to ensure that voters feel safe in polling places and have access to the resources they need. This bill would enable nonpartisan groups to appoint poll monitors, who would observe polling places and assist voters upon request. These nonpartisan groups already work hard to support democracy, and this bill would further empower them to help voters know their rights and cast a ballot," said Assembly sponsor Amy Paulin.

Voters face a number of challenges during the voting process, and too often partisan actors use this opportunity to manipulate or intimidate New Yorkers at the ballot box. To combat these bad-faith efforts, and to encourage New Yorkers to vote without fear of confusion or intimidation, Common Cause New York has worked as part of the Election Protection coalition to provide non-partisan help to voters navigating the voting process and ensure voters can cast their ballot without issues.

As we approach the June primary, state lawmakers should do more to empower these independent resources so that voters are confident they can participate in our democratic process without any problems.