JANUARY 10, 2022 (Albany, NY) -- Today, Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) and the New York State Senate Democratic Majority advanced legislation to improve New York State’s electoral system, expand voting on college campuses, empower New York voters to participate in democracy, and continue protecting voters at the polls amidst the ongoing pandemic. These significant pro-voter, anti-disenfranchisement, pro-democracy bills were passed at a time when statehouses around the US are working diligently on efforts to make voting more difficult and less accessible.
Senator Anna M. Kaplan said “at a time when our democratic institutions are under assault around the country, we’re taking bold action in New York to protect our sacred right to have our voices heard at the ballot box. Today’s “Democracy First” agenda will make voting more convenient and accessible for New Yorkers, keep foreign influences out of our elections, and ensure that the will of the voter is always recognized and respected.”
The legislation passed today include:
- COVID Absentee Voting For School District Elections: This bill, S.7619, sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer, allows voters who are concerned about voting in-person due to an epidemic or disease outbreak to request an absentee ballot for school district elections in 2022.
- COVID Absentee Voting for General Elections: This bill, S.7565B, sponsored by Senator Alessandra Biaggi, extends legislation allowing COVID as an excuse for absentee voting for elections.
- Voter Registration at Second residence: This bill, S.6214, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, codifies the right of voters to register at a second residence.
- Democracy Preservation Act: This bill, S.1126A, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, prohibits corporate contributions from companies owned by foreign entities or owners.
- Polling Place On College Campuses: This bill, S.4658, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker, designates polling places for voting on college campuses under certain circumstances.
- Candidate Order on Ballots: This bill, S.1283, sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky, adjusts the candidate order on ballots to prevent voter dropoff.
- Portable Polling Locations for Early Voting: This bill, S.557, sponsored by Senator Rachel May, amends the election law to allow counties the option to establish two or more locations for portable polling places for early voting.
- Absentee Ballot Drop-off Box Locations: This bill, S.492, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, allows local Board of Elections to establish absentee ballot drop-off locations to provide voters with a convenient alternative option to submit their absentee ballots.
- Validation of Ballots: This bill, S.253, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, requires the canvassing of paper ballots when the express intentions of the voter are unambiguous.
- Counting of Affidavit Ballots: This bill, S.284A, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, requires counting affidavit ballots of eligible voters if a voter appears at a polling place in the correct county but in the incorrect election district.
- Reduction of Time for Mailing and Receipt of Registration to Constitutional Minimum: This bill, S.2951, sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh, reduces the time to register to vote to the Constitutional minimum, ten days before an election for primary and general elections.