Albany, NY – As New York State continues taking steps towards broadly expanded vote-by-mail options for eligible voters, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has passed legislation (A4186-B) in the Assembly that would require all absentee ballots statewide to be trackable using an online system. The requirements are similar to the system currently in place under the New York City Board of Elections and would take effect January 1, 2022. The effective date of this legislation would coincide with the start of no-excuse absentee ballots in New York if the measure is ratified by voters this November.
The online ballot tracking system would be required to, at minimum, inform voters whether:
- The application for an absentee ballot has been received by the relevant Board of Elections;
- Said application has been approved or rejected, and if rejected to inform voters of the reason why it was rejected;
- The absentee ballot has been mailed and/or delivered to a voter and the relevant dates or expected dates, as well as if the absentee ballot was returned to the Board of Elections as undeliverable;
- The completed absentee ballot has been received back by the Board of Elections;
- The Board of Elections determines the absentee ballot outer envelope is appropriately signed and submitted; and
- The absentee ballot has been counted or rejected, and if rejected, why the ballot was rejected.
The legislation specifically creates an online absentee ballot tracking system through the New York State Board of Elections, where local boards of elections maintain their own absentee ballot tracking system which is integrated into the state system. Voters would not be required to create an account, but they would have to verify that they are accessing their own voter record.
The bill remains to be passed in the State Senate but has been reported from committees and is currently awaiting a vote by the full chamber.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D – Bronx) said: “We have continued to take steps to make it as easy as possible for New Yorkers to vote in our elections, and in a few short months voters will have the opportunity to enshrine permanent no-excuse absentee balloting in our state constitution. It is imperative that we make sure voters maintain confidence in our electoral systems, regardless of the method by which they choose to vote. Thank you to my colleagues in the Assembly for supporting this important bill, and I urge my colleagues in the State Senate to join our support in these final weeks of the legislative session.”