Nat'l Groups Call on Cuomo to Fund Early Voting

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NEW YORK, NY (02/15/2019) (readMedia)-- Today, twenty national groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Rock the Vote, penned a letter to Governor Cuomo calling on him to fund early voting in his budget.

Although Governor Cuomo included an early voting proposal in his Executive Budget for 2019-20, he has not yet included a funding stream to cover the associated costs. Instead the Governor suggests that the future consolidation of primaries (which does not go into effect until 2020) will produce a cost savings, but that would not replace a dedicated funding stream. Right now, early voting is an unfunded mandate for counties to pay. Cost estimates project the need for at least $25 million in dedicated appropriations to run successfully.

Early voting, which Governor Cuomo signed into law earlier this year, will allow citizens to cast their ballots in person ten days before an election.

"Our organizations know that change is never a linear process, and the work is rarely over once a bill becomes law. Implementing these historic reforms will strengthen our democratic institutions and bring more citizens into the participatory process. However, this will only be achieved if these reforms receive adequate support from the state which includes dedicated funding," The groups said in the letter to Governor Cuomo.

The full letter, which is signed by the below groups, is attached:

  • Rock the Vote
  • Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • National Jewish Women's Council
  • Sierra Club
  • Friends of the Earth
  • NALEO Educational Fund
  • Voter Rights Action
  • Andrew Goodman Foundation
  • People For the American Way
  • MinKwon Center for Community Action
  • Indivisible
  • Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote)
  • Campus Vote Project
  • Ohio Voter Rights Coalition
  • Bus Project
  • Common Cause
  • African American Ministers In Action
  • Democracy Initiative
  • Patriotic Millionaires

Last week, members of the Let NY Vote coalition wrote a letter to the Governor demanding funding for early voting. That letter is also attached.

Last year, Governor Cuomo included $7 million in the 2018-19 executive budget to fund early voting before it was even a law. It was not included in the final budget.