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New York

0 /65
Vote at Home Score

2020 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed-out ballots

0 %

2016 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed out ballots

0 %

State election policies as of 2022...

Full Vote-at-Home

0/10

Full Vote-at-Home

Voter automatically mailed ballot for every election

No Excuse Required

1/6

No Excuse Required

No excuse to vote from home

Single Sign-Up

1/6

Single Sign-Up

Voter signs up once to receive mail ballot for all future elections

Local Vote-at-Home Option

0/5

Local VAH Option

Local governments have discretion to conduct full vote-at-home elections

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

2/2

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

Voter can apply for mail ballot online

Ballot Tracking

1/4

Ballot Tracking

Voter can receive ballot status notifications.

In-Person Ballot Return

2/5

In-Person Ballot Return

Voter has multiple options to return mail ballot in person

Signature Verification

4/5

Signature Verification

Voter signature verified before ballot is counted

Ballot Cure Process

2/4

Ballot Cure Process

Voter can correct issues so ballot can be counted

Prepaid Postage

0/4

Prepaid Postage

Postage-paid return envelopes provided

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

4/4

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Ballots postmarked by Election Day are accepted

In-Person Voting

4/4

In-Person Return

Physical locations for voters to vote and receive assistance

Pre-Processing

0/3

Signature Verification

Ballots are verified and scanned before Election Day

Mail Ballot Applications

2/2

Mail Ballot Applications

Election officials can mail ballot applications to all voters eligible to vote from home

Ballot Return Assistance

2/2

Ballot Return Assistance

Voters may receive assistance to return their mail ballot

Opportunities

New York should continue its progress in expanding mail voting. By passing legislation to codify no-excuse absentee voting, the State can allow its citizens to vote in whichever manner they find most convenient. In addition, expanding the permanent absentee option to all residents, not just the permanently disabled, would save the state significant expenses by cutting down on the requests it needs to process.
New York can reduce costs and increase voter convenience by expanding its permanent absentee option, where voters can sign up to automatically be sent an absentee ballot for each election without having to re-apply, to all voters. Currently, only residents that are disabled or remote can sign up. States experience significant savings with these lists; on average, states save $1 for every request they no longer need to process.
Codifying the online portal for voters to request an absentee ballot created in 2020 into law would provide predictability for both voters and election officials that the system will continue to exist.
Guaranteeing prepaid postage is a voter-centric reform that simplifies the ballot return process and removes an economic barrier to the vote.
New York temporarily implemented drop boxes and polling place drop-off as a result of the pandemic; however, the State should make these return options permanent fixtures for all future elections. These options reduce strain on the postal system and are sometimes a preferred method by voters who want extra reassurance that their ballots will arrive on time. Further, creating vote centers that any voter in the county can vote at and allowing voters to drop off their absentee ballots at polling places would further lessen the reliance on the postal service and increase voter convenience and confidence.
Ballot tracking software such as Ballot Scout or BallotTrax can be a very cost-effective tool to improve New York’s current ballot tracking. An expanded notification system helps keep rejection rates low and increases voter confidence and participation.
Processing mail ballots to get them ready for counting before election day will help New York get faster election results. New York allowed preprocessing as a result of the pandemic; however, it could not implement it due to quirks in state law about voting in person after requesting a mail ballot. New York should correct those statutes to make preprocessing possible and make it permanent for all future elections.

Recent Legislation

As of July 26, 2021

Throughout its 2020 regular and special legislative sessions, the New York State Assembly passed several bills aimed at permanently expanding the accessibility and efficiency of its vote at home system. The Assembly passed two bills intended to implement best practices for the 2020 general election: A 10516/S 8130 authorized electronic absentee ballot applications for the 2020 general election and waived the requirement that these applications contain voters’ signatures and A 10833/S 8015 permitted voters at risk of contracting or spreading diseases, COVID-19 included, to vote at home in the 2020 general election and in all additional elections held before January 1st, 2022. S 8806/A 8280 required the State to implement automatic voter registration (AVR). 

Four additional bills extended various deadlines related to the vote-at-home system, including deadlines related to absentee ballot requests, canvassing, and ballot shipping. To reduce rejection rates, A 10808/S 8799 was passed to allow ballots received the day following an election without postmarks to be counted and A 10830/S 8370 created a cure process to allow voters to avoid rejection by remedying issues with their absentee ballots. There were also a variety of laws targeted at particular groups. A 219/S 3232 and A 7293/S 5184 expanded vote at home options for military voters and victims of domestic violence, while A 2599/S 1128 mandated that state institutions of higher education provide their students with a voter education website with access to absentee ballot applications. An additional 38 bills relating to voting reform were introduced, yet not passed, throughout 2020 spanned a wide range of pertinent reforms, from establishing no-excuse absentee voting to guaranteeing prepaid postage to upgrading the state’s online ballot-tracking system.

Governor Cuomo signed 11 executive orders about modifications to the vote-at-home system for the 2020 election cycle. EOs 202.2, 202.15, 202.47, and 202.58 allowed all voters to use the fear of COVID-19 as an acceptable excuse to obtain an absentee ballot for the April, June, July, and November elections. EOs 202.15, 202.58, and 202.61 authorized voters to request absentee ballots electronically, with no in-person signature requirement. EO 202.23 provided for mail-in ballot application forms for the June 23rd primary to be sent to all eligible voters; the forms included prepaid postage. Relatedly, EO 202.26 announced that all mail-in ballots for the June 23rd primary would also include prepaid postage. EO 202.26 declared that local elections scheduled for July 1st or earlier would be held entirely by mail. EOs 202.58 expanded the ballot cure period and EO 202.61 to establish a plan for facilitating the contactless delivery of mail-in ballots for the November election. Finally, EOs 202.2, 202.39, and 202.58 extended ballot application, receipt, and processing deadlines to account for the temporary expansion of at-home voting.

During its 2021 session, the legislature passed constitutional amendments to allow no-excuse mail voting permanently and same-day voter registration: their final step is to be voted on by the public in the 2021 general election. Additionally, the Legislature passed A 6475/S 5545, which allows all eligible residents to vote absentee in 2021 school board elections due to the fear of contracting or spreading an illness; it also passed two bills related to in-person early voting. Further, they passed A 6046 / S 6379 to make the new online absentee request system permanent, A 5783 / S 264 to amend timelines for absentee applications, and A 6047 / S 6429 to expand postmark acceptance for military and overseas voters.

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