Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, joined by Board of Elections’ officials from several counties, announced legislation they say would protect New Yorkers’ right to vote and ensure their votes are counted. One of the measures (S.4270/A.6817) would prevent affidavit ballots from being disqualified for “insignificant, hyper technical reasons,” the sponsors say, as long as the voter is eligible, registered and in substantial compliance with voting regulations. Specifically, the bill removes the requirement in Election Law that a voter filing an affidavit ballot include in that document the address from which they were last registered to vote. In addition, the bill adds “substantial compliance” to the requirements for demonstrating completion of the affidavit and ballot.
“Our democracy will only thrive if citizens participate and vote,” Tkaczyk said. “We should be encouraging residents to get involved in the process and cast their vote, rather than creating unnecessary obstacles that prevent their votes from being counted.”
During the recount process in Tkaczyk’s campaign for the 46th Senate District, her opponent George Amedore’s legal team challenged hundreds of affidavit ballots because of “insignificant technicalities,” the senator said. Many of those ballots were initially disqualified, but later reinstated by the Appellate Division, which determined the ballots were cast by eligible voters who complied with the law.