Even though the 2019 State Senate legislative session finished its business at the end of June, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. wasn’t finished introducing new pieces of legislation.
Addabbo recently introduced Bill S.6618, which would require voting machines to reject ballots that contain a vote for a candidate that has officially withdrawn from their race prior to the election date, and allow the voter another chance to cast their vote for someone still in the race, if they wish.
This bill would amend the current election law and provide the voter with a notice indicating that the individual they voted for is no longer a candidate and they could complete a new ballot. The New York State Board of Elections would be authorized to promulgate rules, regulations and programming necessary to implement this amendment to the election law.
“I feel that all voters should be fully informed of all the active candidates in a race for political office,” Addabbo said. “Voters should know when they cast a vote for a candidate that has officially dropped out of the race and have the opportunity to fill out another ballot for a different candidate that is still running, if they so choose.”
One recent example that Addabbo points to where this amendment would have been beneficial to voters is the Queens District Attorney race. Just days before the election, then-candidate Councilman Rory Lancman pulled out from the race. This may have left voters confused, Addabbo contends, and those who voted for the Councilman, roughly 1,168 voters, may have wanted to recast their vote for a different, active candidate.
“When Councilman Lancman dropped out of the Queens District Attorney race just four days before the election, I believe a lot of voters weren’t aware of the change and still voted for him on Election Day, when they may have wanted to vote for someone else if they knew he was no longer an active candidate,” Addabbo added. “With my bill, voters would get the opportunity to fill out a new ballot and ensure their vote is cast for an active candidate, or they can leave their vote the way it was if they please. My bill is aimed at giving voters the most up-to-date information on the candidates to ensure that their vote goes to someone who is still on the ballot.”
If passed, the bill would go into effect on January 1, 2021.