Memorandum of Support: S5537A/A6939A

(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:  S5537A/A6939A

Sponsor:  May/Sillitti

Summary: Authorizes county boards of elections to establish county-wide polling places

Justification: The NYS Election Commissioners Association Democratic Caucus supports S5537A/A6939A, which authorizes county boards of elections to establish county-wide polling places where any person entitled to vote in such county by personal appearance may so vote on the day of a primary election or general election, subject to approval by the state board of elections. New York currently authorizes and encourages vote centers for Early Voting.  This legislation will allow the county boards with the resources and desire to do so to use voting centers for primary and general election days. Counties wishing to participate will be required to submit a plan to the NYS Board of Elections to ensure adequate staffing and equipment.
Vote centers on election day have become an increasingly popular option for many jurisdictions. These centers allow voters to cast their ballots at any location within their jurisdiction, rather than being restricted to a single polling place. This can be particularly beneficial for those who work or have other obligations on election day, as it provides more flexibility and convenience. Additionally, vote centers can help reduce wait times and lines, making the voting process more efficient and accessible for all. By allowing voters to choose from a variety of locations, vote centers also help to reduce overcrowding and promote social distancing. Overall, the use of vote centers on election day is a smart and effective way to promote greater voter participation and ensure that every vote counts.

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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