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Lawmakers want to end postage requirement for absentee ballots

Oct 23, 2020 2:15 pm
Nick Reisman is reporting for State of Politics New York lawmakers and advocates October 22 called for an end to a postage stamp requirement for absentee ballots statewide, calling it a "defacto poll tax" on voters. Lawmakers next year could consider a constitutional amendment that would permanently expand what is for this year universal no-excuse absentee voting. At the same time, lawmakers have been calling for more permanent changes to the process, including the postage requirement for mailing in ballots. The bill would require the state Board of Elections to provide a return postage stamp guaranteed envelope with absentee ballots. This was provided through executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the June 23 primary in New York; a similar order was not issued for the Nov. 3 general election. Assemblyperson Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan said, "During a pandemic, when millions of New Yorkers will vote by mail to protect their health and safety, it is vital that we remove every barrier to the vote. This amounts to a poll tax: the cost of a single stamp could represent a difficult decision that no one who is barely scraping by should be forced to make." Civil rights advocates support the proposed changes for absentee ballot postage. “This is voter suppression,” said Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, president of the NAACP NYS Conference. “Anytime we put anything in the way that doesn't encourage citizens to participate in democracy — that is voter suppression.” Read the full story at nystateofpolitics [dot] com.