UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – Republican candidate for governor, and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, held a press conference in front of the Oneida County Board of Elections earlier today to condemn the recent law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo that eliminates the signature requirement for absentee ballot applications.
“Some of the laws they just passed, some sound and are innocuous but I think where we are going is very problematic and that’s why we have to take action now,” Astorino said.
On Sunday Governor Cuomo approved many edits to the state voting law, like extending the deadline for absentee ballot returns until election day, approving digital absentee ballot requests, requiring Board of Elections to post changes to polling place locations and removing candidates from alternate ballot lines who lost party primaries.
“I’m all in favor of making sure that we have more access to voting,” Astorino explained. “No problem with that. I want people to go out and vote but as we expand voting we need to make sure that we reduce the risk of fraud and I think making it easier to vote but harder to cheat, that’s really what we need to do.”
Astorino also introduced his five-step “Election Integrity Plan” which he believes will help increase confidence in elections going forward. The five points of his plan include requiring photo identification prior to voting in person, restoring the signature requirement for absentee ballot applications, strengthening the chain of custody protocols for all mail-in ballots to prevent ballot harvesting, requiring regular maintenance and updated voter rolls and preventing non-citizens from voting in any election, including municipal elections.
Astorino’s plan is based on restoring voter confidence in elections, and residents of the NY-22nd congressional district are still reeling from the 2020 election, which exposed many flaws in the system. Over 2,000 people who registered to vote through the DMV were not properly registered by the BOE by no fault of their own. When I brought this up to Astorino, he had this to say.
“You have human error in this there’s no question about that but then also if you think same-day registration is not going to cause a nightmare it will you have this potential coming down the pipe.”