UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR) — The NY-22nd election exposed many flaws in the system this past November, including failures to register voters, misplaced ballots, and the recent New York City primaries. These issues are not just a county-by-county problem, but a state problem.
That’s why Sen. Zellnor Myrie, Chair of the legislature’s Election Committee, will hold a number of hearings throughout the state with hopes of tackling these election issues and listening to voters’ concerns. “All of our boards of elections have room for improvement,” Myrie explained. “So what these hearings would do is go to major regions of our state and hear directly from the voters.”
The hearings represent a chance for the voters to discuss the changes they wish to see, with the ultimate goal being a change to the outdated laws that still govern New York’s elections. “What we see with our board of elections is a mix of bad election law that perhaps needs to be changed but there’s also some cultural issues,” Myrie said. “Where people are used to doing things the same way for such a long time even if they don’t work and even if they are disastrous each time so we have to address that as well.”
Myrie notes that there are a lot of good people who work for the board of elections and try to do the right thing. He believes these people are hindered by the structural problems of the whole process.
“It is our job as a legislature to address the structural problems,” Myrie said. “I mean it was a source of national embarrassment that we were the last house race called and we had a judge tell us from the bench everything that was wrong with the process. That is not how we want our democracy to function, it should be something that is easy to do, that is accessible, that people don’t think twice about certainly not in the climate where our integrity of the elections are being attacked.”
The senate is still figuring out exact dates for these hearings, but senator Myrie hopes to have them by the end of July or the beginning of August. He hopes that come fall they will be able to draft legislation addressing the issues they heard from voters during these hearings.
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