Governor Cuomo: Allow Absentee Voting for All New Yorkers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Governor Cuomo: Allow Absentee Voting for All New Yorkers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Erin Wilson started this petition to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

With the advent of COVID-19, the flaws in our society and our policies are more apparent than ever. For example, the importance of minimum wage workers, affordable healthcare, and more are making headlines like never before. Another issue, though less talked about at the moment, is the importance of no-excuse absentee voting. At a time where “social distancing” is the phrase of the day, the need for more accessible voting procedures is clear. Absentee voting is currently heavily restricted in most states, including New York. Right now, a person may only request an absentee ballot if a person: 1) will be absent from the county on election day, 2) cannot make it to the polls due to a disability or illness, 3) is in jail or prison (pre-trial and misdemeanor only), or 4) is in a Veterans Health Administration Hospital. This inhibits the efforts of those who are trying to flatten the curve during this pandemic by requiring citizens to gather in large groups, as prohibited by the CDC, in order to vote. The solution is clear: we need to enact no-excuse absentee voting for the upcoming primary as well as for all future elections in New York. Legislation has gone through the initial rounds to enact no-excuse absentee voting in future elections but it cannot be signed into law until at least 2021/2022 due to New York’s requirements for passing a constitutional amendment. This is far too late in regard to this pandemic. A temporary lift of restrictions is required in order to not suppress the votes of New Yorkers, especially those who are at a high risk of infection by COVID-19. Governor Cuomo recently announced, under EL § 8-400 (Executive Order 202.2 (1)), that Queens residents could vote by mail in the Queens borough president election by applying for an absentee ballot under “temporary illness” status. This option should be available for all New York elections during the State disaster emergency caused by COVID-19. Therefore, we, the citizens of New York, are asking Governor Cuomo to extend those provisions to the presidential primary and special elections scheduled for June 23rd, 2020.

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At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!