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Legislation permits voting by absentee ballot where there is a risk of contracting or spreading disease that may cause illness to voter or other members of the public
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation to allow voting by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 pandemic through 2022. Her team said, “This legislation continues to allow New Yorkers to request an absentee ballot during the pandemic where there is a risk of contracting or spreading disease that may cause illness to the voter or other members of the public.”
This legislation first became law in July of 2020, and expired Dec. 31, 2021.
"No one should have to choose between exercising their right to vote and protecting their health and safety," Hochul said. "This legislation will ensure the pandemic does not create inaccessibility for voters during upcoming elections, and help protect New Yorkers' access to the ballot."
Absentee ballot applications for the Feb. 15 special elections in the 60th and 72nd Assembly districts are open through Jan. 31 by mail, until Feb. 14 in-person, and can be submitted by mail or in-person until Feb. 15. More information on absentee voting and how to apply for an absentee ballot is available here.
New York State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way we work, learn and live – teaching us to adapt to in ways that we had never imagined before. We cannot allow the ongoing pandemic to undermine our democracy and interfere with New Yorkers' right to vote, and must similarly adapt to prioritize public health while protecting our democracy. This is why I introduced S7565, my bill alongside Assembly member Dinowitz, to ensure that no New Yorker has to choose between their health and fulfilling their civic responsibility, allowing New Yorkers to continue to vote absentee in 2022.”
Assembly member Jeffrey Dinowitz said, "Nobody should be forced to choose between their health and their vote. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have availed themselves of the expanded absentee ballot eligibility, and the continuation of this law through the end of 2022 is an important boost to our democracy. As we watch states around the country debate and enact restrictions to voter access, I am proud that New York has taken a stand on the other side of the debate.”
In her 2022 State of the State, Hochul also proposed a number of proposals she said would “strengthen voting rights protections in New York,” including a state-level voting rights act to protect against voter suppression, improving language access for voters, lowering the voter registration deadline from 25 days to 10 days before Election Day, and requiring polling locations on college campuses.