(Albany, NY) Senator Pete Harckham (SD40) voted for the comprehensive package of bills and amendments passed by the NYS Senate this evening, which are designed to make it easier for New Yorkers to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The NYS Assembly is expected to pass the same package of voter reform bills tonight. Harckham was a cosponsor of the Senate measures.
The package passed this evening will allow New York to join other states in simplifying and expanding voting rights including: establishing early voting and ballot by mail, consolidating state and federal primaries, creating same day voter registration, easing voting for people who have moved and mandating voter pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds.
Another bill passed closed the loophole in state election law that allows unlimited political contributions to be given through limited liability companies.
“This is a giant first step for NYS Democrats to fulfill the campaign promises we made to our constituents,” said Harckham. “New York will now have one of the most progressive sets of voter laws in the nation, ensuring everyone eligible ample opportunity to cast their votes.”
Harckham pointed out that funding would need to be sourced in the budget process to ensure that counties can implement the early voting provision. “We must prevent an unfunded mandate from being thrust on New York State’s counties, which are already operating on tight budgets,” he said. “I’m going to continue to fight for the appropriate funding to be included in the budget.”
New York State Senate District 40 includes parts of Northern Westchester (Briarcliff Manor, Buchanan, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Peekskill, Pleasantville, Pound Ridge, Sleepy Hollow, Somers, Yorktown) Putnam (Brewster, Carmel, Patterson, Southeast) and Dutchess (Beekman, Pawling).