New York’s absentee voting system has received almost $2.5 million from the federal government for technological upgrades. Earlier this month, the Federal Voting Assistance Program awarded the state money to ensure a smoother voting process for New York’s 40,000 overseas voters, with the goal of offering better online access to registration tools and absentee ballot systems.
State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said the money would be distributed among all 62 counties on a need basis. Conklin said that some of the money will be spent on improving the process of overseas voters accessing their ballots. He said that currently the local Board of Elections sends out an email when the ballot is ready and the voter can use that email to sign into a website that allows them to print out their ballot and access additional voting information. With this grant, Conklin said this will now be easier for the voter.
This tool has been available since 2010 as part of New York’s compliance with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. “The headlines were that we didn’t comply, but that was just the time element,” Conklin said. “That system was in place for last year.” State BOE Co-Executive Director Robert Brehm said in a press release that this money will help improve an already thriving program of collecting and distributing votes from military and overseas voters.
“New York had the highest number of downloaded ballots among all states that participated in FVAP’s 2010 online ballot delivery system pilot program and we look forward to increasing that number next year,” he said. “We reached voters in 39 countries last year.”