Common Cause NY: state not ready to implement vote by mail system

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A voting sign (Nexstar, file)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- New York State is facing many challenges with regard to the upcoming presidential primary vote. One organization says preparations are slated to begin within a week, leaving Governor Andrew Cuomo and the N.Y. legislature little time to decide how to proceed.

Executive Director of Common Cause N.Y., Susan Lerner says there are steps the state can take in order to make sure every voter who wants to vote is given the opportunity to, despite the coronavirus health emergency.

Lerner says a move to have New Yorkers vote by mail could mean hundreds of thousands of them won’t get the chance to vote because of voter roll inadequacies. She says the state should move to make absentee ballots readily available to anyone who wants one.

Given the complexities of implementing a well-executed vote-by-mail program, Common Cause New York has serious concerns as to whether or not our elections infrastructure is able to accommodate a substantive policy shift in such a short time frame and without a massive infusion of financial resources.

New York’s Democracy Doesn’t Pause: How our elections can proceed during a pandemic

Currently, residents must apply by mail to qualify for absentee voting in N.Y. Lerner says the state should make it easier for residents by allowing applications to be emailed or faxed for every eligible voter.

Common Cause N.Y. released a comprehensive plan to address upcoming voting challenges Tuesday which includes combining the April 28th primary with the June 23 primary. The organization says this would give the Board of Elections time to make adjustments to processes, allowing better preparation.

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