Elections bill would improve transparency in state’s vote by mail system
Following a state primary marred by unprecedented confusion among voters seeking to use the state’s vote by mail system, State Senator Leroy Comrie and Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz called on the legislature to pass legislation that will mandate the use of ballot tracking technology for absentee ballots. The bill, S2768, would require the New York City Board of Elections and the various county boards of elections to provide a user-friendly website in which voters who request and submit absentee ballots can track their ballots through the entire absentee voting process.
In states like Massachusetts, Iowa, and Florida, Intelligent Mail barcode and other tracking technologies are used by elections administrators to monitor and display the movements of individual ballots from the moment the ballot is requested until the moment it is counted. However, New York State does not yet have such a system in place, leaving every eligible absentee voter in the dark with regards to the status of their ballot.
Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “As we continue working to expand vote-by-mail options for New York's voters, it is imperative that we have systems in place that ensure confidence and accountability between voters and Boards of Elections. This legislation creates a framework that, if in place for the June 23 primary we just experienced, would have alleviated significant voter stress and empowered them to make educated decisions about how to participate in our democracy. Instead, voters were left in the dark and forced to choose between protecting their health and casting their ballot. That is unacceptable and we must take tangible steps to ensure that never happens again. Thank you to State Senator Comrie for introducing this legislation in the State Senate and I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this reform that will improve our voting process in New York State.”
State Senator Leroy Comrie said: “In the days leading up to Primary Day, it became increasingly clear that we were dealing with a major malfunction of the absentee ballot system. Everyday, I heard from individuals that they never received their absentee ballots after submitting the application. New Yorkers should not have to choose between staying healthy and exercising their right to vote. We absolutely need a system in place that will let voters know when to expect their ballots and when their ballots are counted. This level of confusion cannot stand as a defect in our electoral system.”