Memorandum of Support: A1111 Issuing Absentees on Election Day

(As Chair of the Democratic Caucus of NYSECA I will from time to time issue Memorandums of Support on Election bills before the NYS Legislature. I am posting them on my website for lawmakers and the public to know our positions. You can see my caucus’ legislative priorities here as well as the Bi-Partisan Legislative agenda for NYSECA here. If you agree with this bill consider contacting your local representative and asking them to support the bill.)

Memorandum of Support

Bill:  A1111

Sponsor:  Jacobson

Summary: Allows delivery of an application for an absentee ballot to the board of elections through and on the day of the election.

The NYS Election Commissioners Association Democratic Caucus supports A1111 which would allow for the issuance of absentee ballots on Election Day.  Currently the deadline for in-person absentee applications is the day before Election Day.  One of the lessons of the last few years is that medical emergencies can happen after Boards of Elections close the Monday before Election Day or on Election Day itself.  A voter can test positive for COVID or suffer another medical emergency that will cause the voter to choose between their own health, or in the case of a communicable disease, society’s health and their right and responsibility to participate in our Democracy.

Currently Boards of Elections are split on how to handle situations like this.  Some issue absentees with both commissioners’ consent, some make the voter, or their representative, get a court order.  Removing the ambiguity in the law by enacting this bill will not only protect the rights of the voters but give clear direction to Boards of Elections as well.

The Democratic Caucus supports this bill in our 2023 Legislative Priorities and we note it is also supported by the NYS Election Commissioners Association Bi-Partisan Legislative Agenda.  Passing this bill will strengthen the backbone of our bi-partisan election system in New York and we urge the legislature to pass this bill and the Governor to sign it as soon as possible.

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