State Senate approves nine election bills to start 2021 legislative session
Edward McKinley is reporting for Capitol Confidential the New York Senate moved quickly January 11, to approve nine election-related bills. The measures include: legalizing drop boxes for absentee ballots, decreasing the rate absentee ballots are denied, providing a system for absentee ballot tracking, speeding up ballot counting, and sending a constitutional amendment to voters to allow universal no-excuse voting absentee ballot. “For the third year in a row, the Senate Majority has advanced bold, meaningful steps to expand voting rights and voter access as our first legislative priority. This is because we know that voting is the right that safeguards all our other rights,” announced state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, a Brooklyn Democrat and chair of the Senate Elections Committee, in an email after the bills were passed. This year, absentee balloting was already universal as a result of COVID-19, but counting them took weeks. Democrats point to the bills just passed as chances to make voting faster and more accessible, but also to speed up the counting process for the future. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week he will support no excuse absentee voting, speeding up vote counting and other election reforms. Read the full story at Capitol Confidential, a Times Union blog.