SEVEN Days to Deadline: Seven Counties Setting Up Early Voting to Fail

Counties have until May 29th to propose early voting sites in order to receive $$$

NEW YORK, NY (05/22/2019) (readMedia)-- Counties have until May 29th to submit poll site locations for early voting in November to the NYS board of elections. In April, the state earmarked $25 million for counties to cover associated costs but If they don't meet the deadline they won't receive reimbursement.

So far, four counties have failed to submit proposed sites and of the counties that have released locations, many are just submitting the bare minimum of sites required by law.

Here are the counties on watch:

  • Ulster, Westchester, Cattaraugus and Columbia have failed to release any poll site locations.
  • New York City has announced only 38 total sites to serve 5.18 million voters. These sites are placed sporadically throughout the city, out of reach for many disabled voters and communities of color. NYCLU, Common Cause/NY and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have sent a letter to the NYCBOE warning that the proposal is inadequate, inequitable, and may violate state and federal law. Read the letter here.
  • Onondaga has announced six sites -- the bare minimum -- which are spread out and hard to reach for rural voters.
  • Erie has only one early voting location in the city of Buffalo and only two in Cheektowaga. These minimal number of poll sites is crucially undeserving Erie's minority populations.

"The Boards of Elections (BOE) across the state are setting up voters to fail in November by trying to sabotage early voting. New Yorkers need access to voting centers in non-traditional locations, close to transportation, county-wide, and including local and state facilities. We've fought too hard to let New York vote, we're not about the back down now," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.

"The goal of New York's new early voting law is to improve access to the ballot by providing more convenient options instead of rigid single-day, single-location voting, said Jarret Berg, a founder of VoteEarlyNY. But unfortunately, several counties, including many with larger populations, are planning programs that underserve their communities and fail to meet the clear dictates in the law that any early voter should be able to use any vote center in their locality, and that sites be allocated in an equitable and principled way," said Jarret Berg, Co-Founder of VoteEarlyNY.

In Ulster County, the Republican and Democratic Board of Elections commissioners apparently cannot even agree four out of the seven locations that best serve voters. If they do not submit locations by May 29th, Ulster may miss out on thousands of dollars.

"New York State passed historic early voting legislation to allow more people to participate in the democratic process. However, implementation in Ulster County has been delayed by partisan interests. I am calling on the Board of Elections to come to an immediate agreement in order to preserve $200,000 in state funding and ensure every single resident of Ulster County has access to early voting," said Pat Ryan, Ulster County Executive-elect.

In January, the New York State legislature passed - and Governor Cuomo signed into law - early voting, which gives voters 9 days before Election Day to vote.