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New York Will Become Early Voting State For First Time

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing the bill. Photo Credit: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York City - January 24, 2019
New York City - January 24, 2019 Video Credit: NYGovCuomo

Voting in New York will be a little easier this fall.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law on Thursday that will allow up to eight days of early voting before an election. The new legislation also will synchronize federal and state primary elections, allow voter preregistration for teenagers, provide voter registration portability within the state, and close the “LLC loophole.”

“At a time when the federal government is doing everything it can to disenfranchise voters, we are breaking down the barriers that have discouraged too many generations of New Yorkers from exercising their right to vote," Cuomo said on Thursday.

According to Cuomo, enacting early voting will make voting more convenient for voters whose professional or family obligations make it difficult to physically get to the polls, as well as reduce waiting times and ease logistical burdens for poll workers. The legislation will also allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, which would automatically be registered on their 18th birthday when they are eligible to vote.

"I'm proud to sign into law these important voting reforms that are part of our first 100-day Justice Agenda but this is only the beginning,” Cuomo added. “We are going to finish the job and enact additional reforms in this year's budget including automatic registration and extending upstate voting hours to once and for all make it easier for New Yorkers to make their voices heard at the ballot box.”

The bill also limits political spending by an LLC to a total of $5,000 annually, the same as corporations and allows voters to not have to re-register to vote if they change counties.

"For years, the Assembly Majority has worked to make it easier for voters to cast their ballots, and while New York has prided itself on being a progressive leader, our antiquated election laws have lagged behind,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “It was a pleasure to work with our partners in the Senate Majority to get real reforms - expanding access to the democratic process and bringing more transparency to our campaign finance laws. I look forward to continuing our work together to move New York State forward."

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins added, "Government should be about breaking down barriers. We need more voices in our democracy, not fewer. Easing access to voting and having New Yorkers exercise their Constitutional right to have their voices heard shouldn't be partisan or controversial. Other states have taken the lead on issues like early voting, same-day registration, pre-registration, and no-excuse absentee voting. It is time for New York State to catch up, so we can once again lead the way forward."

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