NYS Officials and Voting Advocates Call for Community to Participate in Early Voting
NEW YORK NYS Elected Officials and advocates gathered in Upper Manhattan to celebrate the new voting rights reform and to encourage their community about the importance of exercising their right to vote. For the first time in history, the New York State legislature established a nine-day voting period before any election, during which polling sites will be open for at least eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends. Early Voting in New York will begin on Saturday October 26 through November 3, 2019.
Local NYS elected officials gathered along with voting advocates to call on constituents to go out and vote and emphasized on participation from the Latino community who often times due to the language barrier are not always fully engaged in the electoral process.
In order to help implement the new voting reform, the New York State Legislature helped to secure a budget of $10 million to help offset the cost of the additional poll ours and $14.7 million for the new electronic poll books and ballot printers.
It is crucial to inform the community of this historic change to our election law and encourage our constituents to go out and vote early. Voting is an essential part of our democracy. It is the chance to assure every voice is heard to help determine the future of our communities, state, and nation. Recognizing the extremely busy lives that New Yorkers lead, this historic change now allows more time to accommodate the perfect time to go out and make sure our votes are made.
I am honored to be a part of a state that opens new opportunities for all. This past legislative session I had the pleasure of fighting for and securing new voting reforms in Albany. This historic opportunity to vote early in the State of New York will now allow a multitude of individuals to have more substantial time to make sure their voices are heard, said NYS Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa. It eliminates the inconveniences that used to occur when there was only one day to vote, providing more time for individuals to learn what is on the ballot, to plan ahead for themselves, and even allows more opportunity to bring out their elderly or Spanish speaking family members and neighbors to participate in the electoral process.
"Civic engagement is so important for minority communities, including the Latinx community of Northern Manhattan that I represent in the New York State Senate. I am excited about the flexibility that Early Voting will allow our working constituents to fulfill their civic duty by voting in the coming 10 days. We have to get the word out, and I'm grateful to the other elected officials and community-based organizations gathered here today for their work. Together, we can increase civic participation in the Latinx community and make sure all our voices are heard!" Said Senator Robert Jackson.
"Early voting is a huge win for so many New Yorkers who will no longer need to choose between life obligations and exercising their democratic rights. I am thrilled New York has finally joined the ranks of the 38 other states that offer early voting. This measure will expand voting access and ensure all New Yorkers have a chance to make their voices heard at the ballot box," said NYS Assemblymember Al Taylor.
Voting is the single most important right that we in the United States have, as it allows everyone EQUALLY to define the future of our country. We, as elected officials and community leaders, should always encourage participation in the democratic process and early voting does exactly that. New Yorkers across the state will now have more opportunities than ever to have their voices heard in our democracy, said NYS Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo.
The simplest yet most powerful way a person can be civically engaged is by voting, but many fail to exercise this right due to factors out of their control. Weve seen in other states that when voting is easier, voters are more empowered knowing they have more time to cast their ballots. The implementation of early voting in NYS is a pivotal moment for our democracy, said NYS Assemblymember Karines Reyes.
The state of New York has shown once more that they are a leading voice in the fight for increased access to voting, said Juan Rosa, Northeast Director of Civic Engagement for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. Our team is hard at work mobilizing the Latino electorate both here in New York and throughout the rest of the country. The massive expansion of access to polling locations and a focus on alleviating language barriers are both key factors in ensuring the Latino community is heard loud and clear in 2020 and beyond.
The value of access to voting cannot be underestimated. New York has finally begun to redress electoral laws that disproportionately impact the poor and marginalized by allowing people to vote early. Even in this historic moment and the advent of new policies increasing access to democracy, there are those among us that are perpetually disenfranchised and misinformed about our own right to participate. This is the reality for millions of people with criminal convictions living in New York state. For too long we have been excluded by laws limiting our right to vote or bureaucratic red tape serving as a deterrent. I want to make clear that those on probation can vote and those on parole may be able to vote, if they were pardoned by Cuomo this past year. I still cannot vote. But I call on all of those who can to exercise their power, said Ivelisse Gilestra, Community Organizer for College & Community Fellowship.
"DemocracyNYC works to give every New Yorker a voice and we are thrilled that early voting has finally come to our great city. Now our elections can better meet the needs of busy New Yorkers. With the flexibility to vote at different times on nine separate days including four weekend days comes renewed opportunities for civic participation and engagement for all of our diverse communities. I invite all registered New Yorkers to make history by voting early on whatever day works best for them. The de Blasio administration is proud to have been a part of the coalition that helped move this legislation forward and is excited to kick off early voting in New York, said Rini Fonseca-Sabine, NYC Chief Democracy Officer.
For the first time in voting history, New Yorkers will finally have the option for Early Voting. Early voting will function the same as voting on Election Day. However, voters will now have the ability to vote nine days before Election Day which will start this Saturday before the November 5th General Election. It is very important that we increase our communities' voting participation through early voting and partake in our city's civic processes, said Eddie Cuesta, Executive Director of Dominicanos USA (DUSA). At DUSA, we are committed to advancing civic engagement to promote and ensure democracy in this great nation. I ask my fellow New Yorkers to take advantage of this wonderful improvement in our voting process and go out to vote!