(ALBANY, NY) The New York State Senate has approved legislation sponsored by State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie which would allow New Yorkers to request absentee ballots online without a physical signature.
The bill, S8130D, also changes the postmark deadline on absentee ballots so that all ballots sent by the end of the day on election day will be counted.
“After we’ve seen upwards of 23,000 New Yorkers die, we made the decision that their constitutional right to vote should not be impeded by a pandemic, that democracy, even in a pandemic, should survive,” said Senator Myrie, who chairs the Senate’s elections committee. “That is what this bill is about. New Yorkers should not be impeded from picking their leaders because of this pandemic. Participating in your democracy is about picking the leaders who you want to lead us through this crisis.”
You can watch the full video of Senator Myrie's remarks on the Senate floor here.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, New York State ranked among the lowest in the country in voter participation. In the 2016 general election, New York ranked 41st in turnout, and was the worst in the Northeast. Only 57% of eligible New Yorkers voted.
The numbers were even worse in 2018: despite a wave of turnout that reached a fifty-year high nationwide, New York was just 45th in the country.