Governor Must Fund Early Voting in the Budget

NAACP, Faith Leaders, NYAC, and Dem Election Commissioners Make MLK Day Statement

NEW YORK, NY (01/21/2019) (readMedia)-- Last week the Legislature passed historic voting reforms to make elections in New York State more accessible, equitable, and efficient. Although the Governor has been supportive, his proposed budget does not include increased funding to cover the cost of reforms like early voting. On the MLK Day holiday and in response, the Let New York Vote coalition issued the following statement:

"As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, it's great to see Governor Cuomo propose a strong voting rights agenda as part of his budget, but counties also need direct funding to execute priorities like early voting. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to make accessible, efficient elections more than just a dream for all New Yorkers," said Hazel Dukes, President New York NAACP and Rev. Dr Robert M Waterman, Pastor of Antioch Baptist of Brooklyn and President of African American Clergy and Elected Officials (AACEO).

"We are excited that the New York State Legislature acted quickly to enact significant Election Reform early in 2019 so we can bring these reforms to New Yorkers as soon as possible. We are also pleased the Governor has highlighted these reforms as a priority for his 100 Days Justice Agenda. We urge both the Legislature and the Governor to fulfill their promise to provide state funding for these reforms, especially Early Voting, so Boards of Elections will have the resources to fully enact these reforms so their maximum potential to transform New York electoral landscape can be reached," Dustin Czarny, NYS Elections Commissioner Association Democratic Caucus

"Early voting is the right public policy for the state of New York and it is good for government to have more citizen engagement in the voting process. However, to avoid another unfunded mandate on local government and to successfully implement voting reforms, it would be helpful for the state to provide appropriate resources to counties, who administer the election system. NYSAC urges our state leaders to fully fund these important voting reforms in the 2019-20 State Budget," said the New York State Association of Counties

The Let NY Vote Coalition is a statewide network of over 100 member organizations ranging from 32BJ, to NAACP New York. to New York State Indivisible. Full coalition list here.

The coalition has been demanding common sense voting reform in New York for years such as:

Early Voting: in place in 37 other states, allowing citizens to cast ballots in person days, sometimes weeks, before an election.

Pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds: 13 states plus DC allow for pre-registration for voting at 16 and 17 years old. Pre-registration increases the likelihood of voter participation among young adults. Engaging potential voters at a young age and bringing them into the voting process early helps create lifelong voters.

Consolidation of Primary Dates: Currently New York has two primary days in June and September, confusing voters. New York is the only state with two primaries.

Vote by mail: No eligible voter should have to provide a reason to be able to vote absentee.

Same day registration: 18 states and DC have Same Day Registration. Same Day Registration enables voters to register and vote at the same time and increases voter turnout.

Universal transfer of voter registration: If a voter moves anywhere within New York State, their registration address will be automatically updated, and if not, he or she will be able to vote by affidavit ballot.