VoteEarlyNY Launches Website to Help Voters Find Information About New Voting Options: VoteEarlyny.org
Many local boards of elections are providing voters with more time and locations to vote early, while some are truncating hours and sites
NEW YORK, NY (09/04/2020) (readMedia)-- With early voting starting in less than two months and New Yorkers already requesting a historic quantity of mail ballots, VoteEarlyNY, a civic education non-profit and voting rights watchdog, launched a website to inform voters about the 3 Ways to Vote in Election 2020, making it easy for New Yorkers to check their registration status and explore new voting options in their county or borough for the upcoming general election. Voters across the state can head to VoteEarlyNY.org to request a mail ballot or find information about early voting locations and hours.
Early voting--which will run Saturday, October 24 through Sunday, November 1--gives voters nine additional days to vote in person during at least 60 hours ahead of election day, including weekends and evenings.
"With so many recent changes to our election rules, the public deserves clear information about their new options for safely participating in Election 2020," said Jarret Berg, Co-Founder of VoteEarlyNY. "Our website is a pro-voter resource New Yorkers can use to empower themselves and decide how to vote on their schedule, on their own terms."
Early voting has proven popular among New York election administrators and voters in both denser urban areas and more sparsely-populated rural localities across the ideological spectrum. VoteEarlyNY examined how each of New York's 58 local Boards of Elections is handling early voting this year in preparation for the 2020 election. VoteEarlyNY found:
- All local BOEs outside New York City will now allow resident voters to cast a ballot at any early voting location in their county during the early voting period. In the many counties with multiple early voting sites, that's a dramatic increase in voter convenience and access from years past.
- 23 local BOEs are providing residents with more than the minimum required 60 hours of early voting. Nassau is offering 83 hours, the most in the state, which is nearly 3 full additional days worth of early voting hours than counties offering the bare minimum access required by law. Smaller counties like Wyoming and Livingston are offering 68 hours.
- 18 local BOEs are providing residents with access to more than the minimum required amount of locations to vote early. Erie allows early voters to appear at any of 37 sites; Westchester now offers 17 vote centers; Nassau offers 15; Monroe and Suffolk each offer 12. Smaller counties like Cayuga, Chautauqua, and Ontario are offering countywide access to any of 3 early voting sites.
- Ulster, Columbia, Madison and Sullivan Counties, and NYC are offering voters fewer hours or locations to vote this year compared to last. When Early Voting was first deployed during the much quieter Fall 2019 election, Ulster offered residents access to any of 7 early voting locations in the county (they plan to deploy 5 this year) and Columbia offered access to any of 3 early voting locations (they plan to deploy only 1). Both counties make up part of Congressional District 19, which is a toss-up district historically that has flipped between red and blue four times since 2000. Sullivan, also in the 19th Congressional District, will offer 5 less hours of early voting, while Madison in the toss-up 22nd Congressional District will offer 6 less hours. NYC provided 74 hours of early voting in 2019 but is poised to deploy 64 hours this October. NYC will likely deploy more early voting sites than in the past, but City voters may only visit one assigned site.
Earlier this month, VoteEarlyNY, joined by Common Cause/NY and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, sent demand letters to Orange, Westchester, and Albany County Boards of Elections insisting that they bring their early voting program into compliance with the new law ahead of the Fall. All three quickly agreed. The statewide shift away from residency-based voting assignments to countywide access is a hallmark of the reform.
Early voting decreases wait times and helps voters avoid crowded public spaces, delays, or inclement weather and last-minute scheduling that can hinder their ability to vote, especially during COVID-19. The longer election period also better distributes administrative pressure and alleviates the impact of unpredictable events that can suppress turnout.
VoteEarlyNY is a non-partisan education non-profit (501(c)(3)) and voting rights watchdog created by pro-voter advocates to ensure that much-needed reforms to New York's Election Law are implemented responsibly, in the spirit with which they were enacted, and made accessible to all New York voters. During COVID19, VoteEarlyNY has worked to safeguard Voter Access Resiliency.
VoteEarlyNY provides rights-based civic education and is working to build a culture of Early Voting among the public that empowers communities, reducing their dependence on partisan campaigns and administrators for basic information about our civil rights.