Cuomo to sign executive order sending absentee ballot applications to all registered NY voters
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Friday said that he would sign an executive order that would send all registered New York state voters a postage-paid absentee ballot application for the state’s upcoming primary elections in June.
The announcement follows a separate executive order that the governor made recently giving all New York voters the ability to request an absentee ballot for the Empire State’s June 23 primaries if they have concerns about contracting COVID-19 by voting in person.
Cuomo noted that he didn’t have the purview to unilaterally send absentee ballots to all voters. He also reiterated that despite the ongoing pandemic, New York voters would still have the option to go to the polls.
“You have both options,” Cuomo explained. “You can go to the polls or you can vote absentee. I don’t know what else anyone could expect you to do.”
New York is part of a growing list of states that are allowing residents to request an absentee ballot for upcoming primaries. Under normal circumstances, most states require a voter to present a reason or extenuating circumstance to explain why they are unable to vote at their designated polling station.
In mid-March, Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would promote early and mail-in voting to decrease the spread of the coronavirus. The bill would ensure that voters would have 20 days of early voting in all states and require that voters in all states submit their mail-in ballots 21 days before election day to be counted.
Cuomo’s announcement comes as several states have already pushed back their primaries to a later date to prevent large groups of people congregating during the pandemic. Questions remain about whether special measures will be needed for the general election in November due to the coronavirus.