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COVID-19: Cuomo Signs Law Allowing For Absentee Ballots Due To Risk Of Virus

New Yorkers will have the ability to vote by mail come November.
New Yorkers will have the ability to vote by mail come November. Photo Credit: Image by amberzen from Pixabay

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he signed a law to expand absentee balloting in advance of the November election.

Sure to draw the ire and attention of President Donald Trump, on Thursday, Aug. 20, Cuomo signed the three-part package that includes measures that will allow absentee ballot applications to be submitted directly to the Board of Elections.

This new law allows a voter to get an absentee ballot due to risk or fear of illness including COVID-19 and ensures all absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day or received by the Board of Elections without a postmark on the day after the election will be counted.

Ballots with a postmark demonstrating that they were mailed on or before Election Day will be counted if received by Tuesday, Nov. 10, a week after Election Day.

"The federal administration has ordered an unprecedented attack on the U.S. Postal Service and with COVID-19 threatening our ability to have safe, in-person voting, these measures are critical to ensuring a successful and fair election at one of the most important moments in our nation's history," Cuomo said in a statement.

"These actions will further break down barriers to democracy and will make it easier for all New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote this November." 

Election officials have been worried about an influx of absentee ballots that could potentially delay election results. New York is the latest state to allow the majority of its voters to vote by mail due to the pandemic.

There will still be in-person voting in New York and other states.

"Voting access is one of the core foundations of our democracy,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. "With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that no New Yorkers feel pressured to put their health and well-being at risk to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.”

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