SUPPORT MEMO: ABSENTEE BALLOT ACCESS

S1049 Comrie, et al/A778 Vanel, et al

The New York State AFL-CIO, representing 2.5 million union members and their families, as well as our retirees and their families, supports the above referenced legislation.

This bill would amend the New York State Constitution to remove limitations access to absentee ballot voting in primary and general elections. This will increase voter participation and make it easier for individuals to vote.

The current language in the constitution requires that a person be out of their county of residence or physically unable to vote in person due to illness or physical disability to be eligible to vote absentee. This language is too restrictive and does not account for a myriad of legitimate reasons that a person may be unable to vote in person on election day.

The current restrictions do not consider that individuals have child care and family responsibilities, multiple jobs and unstable work schedules that inhibit the ability of people to attend the polls in person. Also, individual transportation needs vary greatly from urban to rural areas and access to the polls is not easy for many people.

The need for this bill is clear. New York’s voter participation has been dismal and year after year voter turnout in New York ranks among the bottom of all states. This bill will address one aspect of this problem by making it easier to vote absentee for many who otherwise would not be able to vote at all.

Therefore this federation urges passage.

For further information, contact the Legislative Department at 518-436-8516.