Despite months of lobbying by voting reform activists, local and county officials and good government groups, lawmakers in Albany failed to include funding for early voting in the final version of the 2018-2019 budget. The completed spending plan, which was finalized early Saturday morning ahead of the start of a new fiscal year, does not include Gov. Cuomo’s proposed early voting plan. The proposal, which was outlined in the 2018 State of the State address in January, would have implemented up to 12 days of early voting ahead of election day. New York is currently one of 13 states that does not have early voting beyond absentee ballots.
The proposal was favored by a majority of New Yorkers. According to a Siena College poll, 65 percent of registered voters support the governor’s plan to introduce early voting to the Empire State — including 48 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of upstate New Yorkers and 65 percent of suburban New Yorkers.
Lobbying efforts in favor of the plan were led by the Let NY Vote Coalition, a public watchdog group comprised of more than 30 organizations and public unions. In a statement released responding to the failure to fund early voting, the coalition pushed lawmakers to continue working on the proposal for the remainder of this session.