Senate Democrats kick off 2022 session with ‘major voting reforms’
On Monday, New York State Sen. Sean Ryan and the Senate Democratic majority advanced legislation to “improve New York state’s electoral system, expand voting on college campuses, empower New York voters to participate in democracy, and continue protecting voters at the polls amidst the ongoing pandemic.”
His team continued, “These actions continue the Senate Democratic majority’s tradition of kicking off session by passing major pro-voter, antidisenfranchisement, pro-democracy legislation. The bills passed by the Senate majority build on the historic reforms passed during the 2019, 2020 and 2021 legislative sessions.”
Ryan said, “The right to vote is the bedrock of our nation, and we must always work to ensure easy access to the ballot box for all eligible voters. At a time when many states are pushing extreme measures to restrict voting rights, New York is once again leading the way to protect the right to vote, and ensure all New Yorkers can easily cast a ballot. The reforms we have passed remove unnecessary barriers to voting and ensure safe voting options as we continue to navigate the pandemic.”
The legislation passed by Ryan and the Senate Democratic majority includes:
√ COVID Absentee Voting for School District Elections: This bill, S.7619, sponsored by Sen. Shelley Mayer, allows voters who are concerned about voting in person due to an epidemic or disease outbreak to request an absentee ballot for school district elections in 2022.
√ COVID Absentee Voting for General Elections: This bill, S.7565B, sponsored by Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, extends legislation allowing COVID-19 as a reason for absentee voting for elections.
√ Voter Registration at Second Residence: This bill, S.6214, sponsored by Sen. Zellnor Myrie, codifies the right of voters to register at a second residence.
√ Democracy Preservation Act: This bill, S.1126A, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, prohibits corporate contributions from companies owned by foreign entities or owners.
√ Polling Places on College Campuses: This bill, S.4658, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Parker, designates polling places for voting on college campuses under certain circumstances.
√ Candidate Order on Ballots: This bill, S.1283, sponsored by Sen. Todd Kaminsky, adjusts the candidate order on ballots to prevent voter drop off.
√ Portable Polling Locations for Early Voting: This bill, S.557, sponsored by Sen. Rachel May, amends the election law to allow counties the option to establish two or more locations for portable polling places for early voting.
√ Absentee Ballot Drop-off Box Locations: This bill, S.492, sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman, allows local Board of Elections to establish absentee ballot drop-off locations to provide voters with a convenient alternative option to submit their absentee ballots.
√ Validation of Ballots: This bill, S.253, sponsored by Myrie, requires the canvassing of paper ballots when the express intentions of the voter are unambiguous.
√ Counting of Affidavit Ballots: This bill, S.284A, sponsored by Myrie, requires counting affidavit ballots of eligible voters if a voter appears at a polling place in the correct county but in the incorrect election district.
√ Reduction of Time for Mailing and Receipt of Registration to Constitutional Minimum: This bill, S.2951, sponsored by Sen. Brian Kavanagh, reduces the time to register to vote to the constitutional minimum of 10 days before an election for primary and general elections.