ALBANY, NY - Today, Senator Samra G. Brouk voted to pass legislation that would 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. A member of the Senate Elections Committee, Senator Brouk joins her colleagues in the Senate Majority in continuing a tradition of beginning Session by passing major pro-voter, anti-disenfranchisement, pro-democracy legislation. The bills passed by the Senate today build on the historic reforms passed during the 2019, 2020, and 2021 legislative sessions, and follow a summer of Elections Committee public hearings held to gather voters’ perspectives—including a hearing held in Rochester, NY.
“In response to your input at a series of public hearings we held this summer, I voted to pass a package of meaningful legislative reforms to strengthen and expand access to the ballot,” said Senator Brouk. “At a time when voting rights are under siege across the nation, I am proud to champion such important democratic reforms, and I look forward to voters seeing these improvements at the polls.”
The voting reforms passed by the Senate 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 and cosponsored by Senator Brouk, 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.1126B, 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 and cosponsored by Senator Brouk, 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 and cosponsored by Senator Brouk, 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 Myrie and cosponsored by Senator Brouk, 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 Myrie and cosponsored by Senator Brouk, 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 Receipty 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.