Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday signed legislation making New York the 38th state to allow early voting. The bill, which the Democratic-led state Legislature passed last week, establishes a nine-day early voting period before election days. The early voting period would conclude on the Sunday before an election. Democratic lawmakers attempted for years to adopt an early voting system, but the bill was blocked by Republicans when the GOP controlled the state Senate. With Democrats now in the Senate majority, the bill cleared that legislative hurdle. “Early voting is going to be transformative for the system,” said Cuomo, who has, for years, included early voting in his annual legislative agenda.
There is a question of how counties will fund the implementation of early voting, which will take effect this year. The estimated cost of early voting is $10 million, although others have suggested the cost is much higher — possibly as high as $1 million for each of the 57 counties outside New York City, according to the New York State Association of Counties.
The Let NY Vote Coalition, which advocated for early voting and other election reforms, called on Cuomo to include funding in the state budget for early voting. Cuomo’s budget proposal doesn’t include funding for early voting or other reforms.