ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — A bill delivered to the governor’s desk would allow New Yorkers to cite COVID-19 as a reason to get an absentee ballot for the general election in November.
The bill, A10833, recently passed the state legislature. It would allow voters who are concerned about voting in-person during the pandemic to request an absentee ballot. It is sponsored by state Senator Allessandra Biaggi (D,WF) 34TH Senate District.
New York voters were eligible to vote by mail in the primary elections after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order.
After that lawmakers in Albany drafted bills as a possible solution to make the general election run smoother during the pandemic.
Right now as the law stands, voters can only request an absentee ballot if they are absent from their county or can’t go to their polling site because of an illness — physical disability or if they are a caretaker.
The bill would broaden the meaning of illness allowing voters who are concerned of the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19 to vote by mail. Lawmakers say high-risk individuals who are trying to limit their potential exposure to the virus should not have to decide between protecting their health or exercising their civic duty.
The bill has yet to be signed into law. If Cuomo signs it, it’ll take effect immediately.
Early voting for the general election is October 2 through November 1. Election day is Tuesday November 3rd.