Settlement means boards of election will try to fix problem ballots
Sep 19, 2020 12:03 am
Edward McKinley reports in the Times Union that fewer absentee ballots may be thrown out in this year's Nov. 3 election after a Sept. 17 settlement between the Campaign Legal Center and the League of Women Voters, and the state Board of Elections and attorney general's office. The groups had sued on behalf of Carmelina Palmer, who has a health condition that causes her hands to shake. She feared her ballot would not be counted if her signature did not match the one on file. The settlement expands a “cure” process, and now the state will have to contact voters with a mail ballot mistake to attempt to fix the error. "This is a huge win for New York voters," Laura Ladd Bierman, executive director of the League of Women Voters of New York state, wrote in a statement. “Voters now have the opportunity to correct unintended mistakes made when completing and returning their absentee ballots. With new laws passed by the Legislature, signed by the Governor, and now this settlement, a process has been established to ensure that voters’ ballot will not be rejected without their knowledge and ability to fix the error." The settlement means hundreds of thousands of New York votes may now be counted, as the state led the nation with the highest rate of absentee ballot rejections. In 2018 34,000, or 14 percent, of mailed-in votes were invalidated, and 84,000 were thrown out in June’s primary in New York City. Now county boards of election will contact voters with issues by phone, email, or mail. Boards of election around the state are expected to be overwhelmed with a record number of votes by mail this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more about this story in the Times Union.