New York

Articles about voting issues in New York.

New York: Election Officials Expect Surge in Absentee Ballots for Primary | Jimmy Vielkind/Wall Street Journal

Election administrators in New York are bracing for a crush of paper ballots for the state’s June 23 primary contests as voters avoid the polls to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order in April allowing any state voter to apply for an absentee ballot, and then told county officials who administer elections that they had to mail an application for an absentee ballot to every voter with an active contest on the ballot. That includes all 6.5 million enrolled Democratic Party voters, who can vote in the party’s presidential primary, as well as voters in other parties with primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives and state and local elections. The state Board of Elections tried to reduce the amount of voting by canceling the Democratic presidential primary after former Vice President Joe Biden emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee. But a federal court overturned the board’s resolution.

Full Article: New York Election Officials Expect Surge in Absentee Ballots for Primary - WSJ.

New York: Lawmakers OK Email Requests For Absentee Ballots | Keshia Clukey/Bloomberg

New York state lawmakers on Thursday voted to temporarily make it easier for voters to obtain absentee ballots. The state Senate and Assembly passed legislation (S.8130D/A.10516) that would let voters apply for absentee ballots electronically and remove the signature requirement. The bill also would allow absentee ballots to be counted if they are postmarked the day of the election. Absentee ballots currently must be postmarked the day before the election. The Senate passed the legislation 39-22. The Assembly passed it on a vote of 102-41. It now heads to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for his consideration. The measure was one of dozens of bills passed by the state Legislature on Wednesday and Thursday in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Full Article: New York State Lawmakers OK Email Requests For Absentee Ballots - Bloomberg Government.

New York: Disability Equals Disenfranchisement, Lawsuit Says | Peter Slatin/Forbes

As the Trump administration and a mix of governors and state legislatures try to suppress voting by mail across the Union, a coalition of disability rights groups and citizens with disabilities is still fighting for full enfranchisement, 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The latest battleground is New York State, where the group has filed suit in the Southern District of New York against the state’s Board of Elections (BOE) for discrimination against New Yorkers with disabilities. While the state’s mail-in Absentee Voting program has recently been expanded in response to Covid-19 to enable voting by mail rather than by visiting a public polling place, no provision has been made for those who are unable to privately and independently mark a paper ballot. And although active duty military and citizens overseas can cast their votes electronically, that option is simply not allowed for the disabled. Along with several citizens, the plaintiffs’ coalition includes New York State affiliates of the National federation of the Blind (NFB), the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the Center for Independence of the Disabled, all backed by their national offices. They are represented by law firms including Disability Rights Advocates, Disability Rights New York, and Brown Goldstein Levy LLP, a leading firm in disability rights advocacy.

Full Article: Disability Equals Disenfranchisement, Lawsuit Says.

New York: Federal appeals court: New York must host Democratic presidential primary | Cayla Harris/Albany Times Union

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that New York must host its Democratic presidential primary on June 23. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a lower court’s decision earlier this month that canceling the primary would be unconstitutional and deprive New Yorkers of their right to vote. The state’s Board of Elections had called off the contest in late April, citing public health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic – a move that drew swift backlash from supporters of former presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders, who eventually filed the lawsuit seeking to reinstate the election. “Thrilled that democracy has prevailed for the voters of New York!” Yang, also a plaintiff in the suit, tweeted. The Board of Elections, after appealing the first decision, will not seek to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, the board’s Democratic co-Chair Doug Kellner said on Tuesday.

Full Article: Federal appeals court: New York must host Democratic presidential primary.

New York: Appeals court urged to OK June 23 presidential primary | Larry Neumeister/Associated Press

A federal appeals court should let New York’s Democratic presidential primary proceed on June 23 over the objections of the state, a lawyer for delegates said Monday. Attorney Jeffrey Kurzon filed written arguments with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear the case Friday as lawyers for the state seek to overturn a lower-court decision that concluded the cancellation of the presidential primary was unconstitutional. “To take the extraordinary action of cancelling an election, no doubt an election now in progress, would cause extreme harm to the belief in democracy in our country and that we are a republic,” Kurzon wrote. Last week, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan ordered the primary to take place on the same day other New York elections will occur, nullifying a decision by the Democratic members of the State’s Board of Elections to cancel the primary because of concerns about the coronavirus.

Full Article: Appeals court urged to OK June 23 NY presidential primary.

New York: Democrats file appeal to stop presidential primary | Associated Press

Democratic members of the state’s Board of Elections filed an appeal Wednesday of a federal judge’s reinstatement of the New York presidential primary. The appeal by board Commissioner Andrew Spano and other members comes a day after the June 23 primary was reinstated by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan, who said canceling it would be unconstitutional and deprive withdrawn presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang of proper representation at the Democratic convention. Torres said there was enough time before the primary to plan how to carry it out safely. She acknowledged that the reason it was canceled — to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — was an important state interest but said she was unconvinced it justified infringing rights. She noted that no other state had canceled its primary.

Full Article: New York state Dems file appeal to stop presidential primary.

New York: State Must Hold Democratic Presidential Primary, Judge Rules | Matt Stevens and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered elections officials in New York State to hold its Democratic primary election in June and reinstate all qualifying candidates on the ballot. The ruling came after the presidential primary was canceled late last month over concerns about the coronavirus. The order, filed by Judge Analisa Torres of United States District Court, came in response to a lawsuit filed last week by the former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. He sought to undo the New York State Board of Elections’ decision in late April to cancel the June 23 contest, a move it attributed to health and safety worries and the fact that the results would not change the primary’s outcome. On Tuesday night, Douglas A. Kellner, a co-chair of the New York Board of Elections, said the board was “reviewing the decision and preparing an appeal.” And speaking on CNN, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the presidential primary would proceed per the court’s ruling at least for the time being, but he noted the potential for an appeal. Mr. Yang said in a statement on Twitter that he was “glad that a federal judge agreed that depriving millions of New Yorkers of the right to vote was wrong,” and he urged state elections officials to safeguard democracy.

Full Article: New York Must Hold Democratic Presidential Primary, Judge Rules - The New York Times.

New York: Democratic presidential primary on June 23 reinstated, but State appeals | Joseph Spector/Democrat & Chronicle

The Democratic presidential primary in New York is back on. A federal judge in Manhattan ruled late Tuesday that New York must hold the primary on June 23, contending that canceling it would be unconstitutional and take away the ability of the candidates to receive delegates for the party’s convention in August. Removing the candidates from the ballot and “canceling the presidential primary denied them the chance to run, and denied voters the right to cast ballots for their candidate and their political beliefs,” U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres ruled. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of former presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang, who argued in a lawsuit April 28 that it was illegal for New York to cancel the primary. “Yes – the people of New York will be able to vote in the Democratic presidential primary,” Yang wrote on Twitter.

Full Article: NY's presidential primary reinstated after Yang, Sanders sue: judge.

New York: Judge weighs constitutionality of cancellation of New York primary | Larry Neumeister/Associated Press

Lawyers for supporters of withdrawn presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang on Monday urged a judge to overrule New York state’s decision to cancel its 2020 Democratic presidential primary. The lawyers for would-be delegates including Yang argued that the state acted unconstitutionally when it made the cancellation on April 27. The Democratic members of the State’s Board of Elections voted to cancel the presidential primary even though New York still plans to hold its congressional and state-level primaries June 23. Attorney Jeffrey Kurzon, representing Yang and others, said the case was about protecting the rights of citizens to vote. Kurzon said those who brought the lawsuits “must be protected for our democracy to survive” and asked that U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres declare the decision to cancel the democratic presidential primary unconstitutional.

Full Article: Judge weighs constitutionality of cancellation of NY primary - newyorkupstate.com.

New York: Can the State Run a Safe Primary in June and Accommodate Voters With Disabilities? | Ethan Stark-Miller/City Limits

When Ian Foley goes to the polls on election day he casts his ballot with a piece of assistive technology called a ballot marking device. Foley can’t use traditional paper ballots because he’s legally blind, so the ballot marking device gives him an accessible way to read and mark his ballot. “That machine will basically walk us through the ballot, each step: like ‘column one, line one: here’s the Democrat running for village council,’” Foley, who’s legislative co-chair for the American Council of the Blind New York (ACBNY), said. However, going to polling sites in June for the primaries, and possibly in November for the general election, this year is a far more dangerous proposition amid the COVID-19 crisis. The New York State Board of Elections cancelled its Democratic presidential primary for this year Monday over this very concern, citing the fact that Joe Biden is the only candidate left in the race as the reason. However, the state will still be holding a primary on June 23 for congressional and state offices.

Full Article: Can NYS Run a Safe Primary in June and Accommodate Voters With Disabilities?.

New York: Board of Elections Cancels Democratic Presidential Primary | Stephanie Saul and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

New York officials canceled the state’s Democratic presidential primary on Monday, prompting an immediate backlash from the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders and his legion of progressive supporters who had hoped to amass convention delegates and help shape the party’s platform in August. In making the decision against holding a primary, which had been scheduled for June 23, the Democratic chair of the New York State Board of Elections called the primary “essentially a beauty contest” that the state could ill-afford in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The vote followed a decision this month by Mr. Sanders to suspend his presidential campaign, effectively conceding the Democratic nomination to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Sanders had expressed a desire to remain on the ballot, however, and his supporters had launched an email, phone and Twitter campaign to persuade the elections board to go forward with the primary, calling its cancellation an affront to Democracy. On Monday, his campaign released a statement, calling the decision “an outrage, a blow to American democracy” and accused the state party of having a “checkered pattern of voter disenfranchisement.”

Full Article: New York Board of Elections Cancels Democratic Presidential Primary - The New York Times.

New York: Cuomo orders postage-paid absentee ballot applications to be sent to all New York voters | Max Greenwood/The Hill

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an executive order Friday requiring state election officials to send postage-paid absentee ballot applications to all voters amid the coronavirus pandemic. “I am issuing an Executive Order to ensure every New York voter automatically receives a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot because no New Yorker should have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Cuomo said in a statement. New York is one of more than a dozen states that requires its residents to provide an excuse to receive an absentee ballot. That changed earlier this month when Cuomo signed an executive order allowing all New Yorkers to vote absentee in the state’s June 23 primary election.  Voters will still have to request an absentee ballot ahead of the primary, but Cuomo’s executive order on Friday effectively makes that process free, taking away the need for voters to pay for postage when they return their applications for an absentee ballot.

Full Article: Cuomo orders postage-paid absentee ballot applications to be sent to all New York voters | TheHill.

New York: Two Covid-19 Deaths At New York City Board of Elections, And More Than A Dozen Sickened | Brigid Bergin/WNYC

When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last Saturday that he would postpone the April presidential primary, staff at the New York City Board of Elections breathed a sigh of relief. Some hoped the delay meant they could stop going into the office to protect their health and the health of people still entering them. BOE staff have paid a high price for showing up to work during the pandemic. To date, 15 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the BOE’s main office in lower Manhattan, according to sources at the Board of Elections. Two people from the borough offices have died from the virus, with a third death that has not been officially linked to the disease.  While Board of Elections staff were not explicitly deemed essential workers under the governor’s earlier executive order calling for a PAUSE, the city BOE’s Executive Director Michael Ryan told Gothamist / WNYC that they had been given guidance by the State Board of Elections to continue operations. “We at the Board have a legal mandate to conduct our jobs. The continuity of government depends in part on some of the work that we’re doing,” Ryan said.

Full Article: Two Covid-19 Deaths At NYC Board of Elections, And More Than A Dozen Sickened - Gothamist.

New York: Cuomo Postpones New York’s Primary Election From April 28 to June 23 | Stephanie Saul/The New York Times

New York will postpone its April 28 presidential primary until June 23, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Saturday, buying time for the state to administer an election as it struggles to respond to the escalating coronavirus outbreak. “I don’t think it’s wise to be bringing a lot of people to one location to vote, a lot of people touching one doorknob, a lot of people touching one pen,” Mr. Cuomo said in a news conference. “So we are going to delay that and link it to an election that was previously scheduled on June 23.” A primary for state legislative and congressional races had already been set for June 23, and now all of the state’s primary elections will be held on the same date, he said. Ten other states, as well as Puerto Rico, have rescheduled their primary elections as the campaign calendar has been upended by the outbreak, citing guidance from health officials who have urged people to avoid gathering spots, including polling places. A handful of other states have switched to voting entirely by mail and have extended deadlines for doing so. Under rules set by the Democratic National Committee, the state risks forfeiting some delegates at the national convention for voting so late in the party’s nomination cycle.

Full Article: Cuomo Postpones New York’s Primary Election From April 28 to June 23 - The New York Times.

New York: Election commissioners want primary date changed | Stephen Williams/The Daily Gazette

Saying they face critical shortages of poll workers and places to vote that aren’t off-limits, the state’s county elections commissioners want the upcoming April 28 Democratic presidential primary delayed because of the spreading novel coronavirus. On Tuesday, the state Election Commissioners’ Association urged Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the state Legislature to take action as soon as possible to postpone the vote, saying deadlines for training personnel and testing voting machines ahead of the primary are approaching, and the pandemic is making it difficult to recruit poll workers. “Election boards throughout the state are risking personnel safety and health to prepare for impending elections on April 28,” the group said in a statement. “We are facing critical shortages of inspectors and polling places due to the ongoing public health crisis.” Schenectady County’s elections commissioners are having trouble getting permission to use some of the polling places they normally use, which include senior citizen centers, schools and other buildings that have been emptied as people are told to stay away to prevent virus transmission. “A lot of the locations we use say they wouldn’t be able to give us access,” said Amy Hild, Schenectady County’s Democratic election commissioner. ‘We’re having an issue with locations, and difficulty in recruiting staff to work.”

Full Article: Election commissioners want primary date changed | The Daily Gazette.

New York: Attorney general: Switch to automated absentee voting due to coronavirus | Robert Harding/Auburn Citizen

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, New York Attorney General Letitia James wants the state to suspend in-person voting and mail every registered voter an absentee ballot for the April 28 presidential primary and special elections. James supports the change because it would protect the health of poll workers and voters. She also believes it would lessen the effect on voter turnout if there’s automatic absentee voting instead of in-person voting. “Let’s make it easier for every voter to cast their vote without spreading the coronavirus and jeopardizing public health,” James said in a statement. “Democracy should not be suspended if there is a safe alternative.” Under James’ plan, Democratic voters in New York would be sent absentee ballots to vote in the state’s presidential primary on April 28. There are also five special elections to fill vacant seats, including the 50th state Senate District in the Syracuse area. All voters in those districts would receive a ballot.

Full Article: NY attorney general: Switch to automated absentee voting due to coronavirus | Politics | auburnpub.com.

New York: Officials Weigh Delaying April Primary Election Due to Coronavirus Outbreak | Stephanie Saul and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

New York officials are considering plans to postpone the state’s presidential primary election in April as fears over the coronavirus outbreak grow and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned against gatherings of more than 50 people. Douglas A. Kellner, co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections, confirmed on Sunday that discussions were underway about the possibility of delaying the primary from April 28 to June 23 in the interest of containing the virus’s spread, but he added that no final decision had been reached. The decision ultimately would rest with the governor and the State Legislature, he said in an interview. The discussions are underway as two states — Louisiana and Georgia — have already postponed their primaries and other states are weighing various delays or mail-in balloting measures to protect the public from exposure to the illness. Democratic Party officials in Puerto Rico, a United States territory, said they would request a postponement of their primary from March 29 to April 26. “The safety of every citizen is paramount,” the party said in a news release Sunday.

Full Article: New York Officials Weigh Delaying April Primary Election Due to Coronavirus Outbreak - The New York Times.

New York: Groups warn against ExpressVote XL voting machine being considered for New York | AnneMarie Durkin/The Legislative Gazette

Common Cause New York and Disability Rights New York are calling attention to new voting technologies they say will make it difficult for disabled voters to cast their ballot in upcoming elections. As the state Board of Elections is in the final stages of certifying the new machines, disability rights groups are asking the agency to reject the new machines because they say they are hard to read, can be confusing for those who are hard of hearing, are expensive and they are prone to undercounting votes. The voting machines, ExpressVoteXL, operate as a touch-screen machine and are completely technology centered, as opposed to the traditional paper-ballot voting system that has been in place up until now. Common Cause/NY also dropped off thousands of petitions from New Yorkers across the state against the machine. The New York State Board of Elections is currently in the final stages before it does, or does not, certify the new voting machine. Common Cause says that the company that makes the machine has spent more than $600,000 lobbying New York state officials. Common Cause released a report that details reasons they say the machine should not be used in the upcoming elections.

Full Article: Groups warn against voting machine option being considered for NY – The Legislative Gazette.

New York: State senator calls for public hearing on ExpressVote XL voting machines | Cayla Harris/Times Union

As the state Board of Elections continues its certification process to adopt controversial touch-screen voting machines, the head of the Senate elections committee is urging the board’s commissioners to hit pause while lawmakers gather feedback about the new technology. The board is currently testing the “ExpressVote XL” voting system, designed by the Nebraska-based company Election Systems & Software, as part of a growing nationwide interest in ballot-marking devices — hybrid machines that allow voters to cast their ballots using a touch screen. The system spits out a paper record of the votes as a secondary measure to ensure an accurate count – but advocates have questioned the precision of the machines and whether they are vulnerable to hackers. In addition, the machines were at the center of a botched November election in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, where a judiciary race was undercounted by thousands of ballots. “Everything is always good until it’s not,” said state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, D-Brooklyn, who chairs the Senate Committee on Elections. “Everything is shiny and cutting-edge until it’s not.”

Full Article: State senator calls for public hearing on new voting machines.

New York: ExpressVote XL May Be New York’s New Voting Machine. They Didn’t Work So Well in Pennsylvania. | Courtney Gross/Spectrum News

Head due west from New York City for about 70 miles and you’ll reach the seat of Northampton County, home to about 208,000 registered voters — voters who used this machine to cast their ballots for the first time last fall. It’s called the ExpressVote XL. As Lamont McClure, the county executive of Northampton County, explained, it didn’t go so well. “On some of the machines,” McClure said. “And remember this was a human error on ES&S’s part, they have taken full responsibility for that — they weren’t configured properly, so the screens were hyper-sensitive.” Thirty percent of the 320 machines here malfunctioned. “The box was down here in the right corner. So a lot of the Democrats, when they went to hit that box, down in the right corner, were right next to the Republican side. The Republican side was lighting up as a result,” said Amy Cozze, the chief registrar of Northampton County. The company that makes the machine, Election Systems and Software, or ES&S, called it human error. ES&S took responsibility. The machines, we’re told, are now fixed.

Full Article: Potential New Voting Machines for NY Had Some Recent Bugs.