ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–With next year being a presidential election year, some advocates are calling for changes to New York election laws. One bill would expand the definition of illness as a reason for getting an absentee ballot.
“We unfortunately got Polio, Mpox, Measles, all have shown up in our state in the recent past. So advocates and organizations like AARP, the NYS Public Health Association, have asked that the legislature make the expended definition of illness that allows you to get an absentee ballot if you’re afraid of getting sick or getting somebody sick, make that permanent in the law,” explained Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause New York.
Recently in the Senate, another bill was introduced to allow no-excuse, mail-in-voting. Advocates believe these bills would help increase voter turnout, but Republican Assemblymember Matt Slater said, voting in New York State has never been easier.
“With early voting, with absentee voting, Election Day voting—— you almost have to go out of your way not to go cast your vote in an election,” said Slater. “So I don’t think that it’s going to have the intended impact that they expect it to. I think we are going to see people continue to vote in the same patterns that they have.”
A bill causing a bit of controversy would change some town and county elections to even years.
“This is all about allowing and creating circumstances by which more voters will participate and will be heard for who is representing them locally,” said Senator James Skoufis.
Assemblymember Slater thinks it is a bad idea.
“By moving these elections to even years, I think you’re going to inject some issues that have nothing to do with local politics, local government.”
This bill is expected to be voted on this week.