Assemblymember Steck: State Budget Funds Early Voting, Electronic Poll Books

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that the 2019-20 state budget includes legislation to help local municipalities implement early voting and modernize the state’s voting system so that more New Yorkers can make their voices heard.

“Voting is an essential part of the democratic process,” Steck said. “At the start of the year, my Assembly colleagues and I passed monumental legislation establishing early voting in New York. However, equally important is making sure our local governments are fully prepared to take on these new hours and offer modernized ballot systems. I fought hard to get proper funding in the budget so municipalities aren’t left in the lurch on Election Day.”

Earlier this year, the Assembly passed a law establishing early voting during a nine-day period before any general, primary or special election (Ch. 6 of 2019). The law, however, doesn’t address added costs municipalities will face for staffing the additional poll hours. To remedy this, the final state budget allots $10 million for localities.

Additionally, the budget makes primary voting hours consistent statewide by requiring all counties have polling sites open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on primary day, rather than the noon opening time currently in effect in most upstate counties. The budget also ensures workers receive three hours of paid time off on Election Day to exercise their right to vote.

Steck also fought to include a measure authorizing the use of electronic poll books to administer elections in the budget and allocate $14.7 million in capital funding for counties to purchase e-poll books and on-demand ballot printers to support early voting.