NY voting reform: Noteworthy changes passed this month

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Several laws recently signed by Gov. Cuomo established changes to the voting process, and cemented some pandemic-era modifications.

Notable changes made to the process through the July reforms are as follows:

  • Voters can apply for absentee ballots electronically
  • Signed absentee ballot applications are no longer required – they can be requested by a letter
  • Boards of Elections must post information when a polling location changes
  • Poll worker training can take place online

“The goal here being, let’s make this as accessible as possible, let’s make voting as accessible as possible,” said State Senator Samra Brouk (D), a Rochester-area representative part of the State Senate’s Committee on Elections, which helped craft some of the legislation.

“A lot of us has watched as states that are not New York, all over the country, have been rolling back a lot of these things to make voting easier, make it less of stressor,” Sen. Brouk added.

Senator Brouk is holding an election reform hearing for voters to share their thoughts, taking place at noon this Thursday at Monroe County Legislative Chambers on Main St. in Rochester.

Monroe County Republican commissioner Lisa Nicolay, and her Democratic colleagues, will be tasked with putting the reforms into practice. One potential snag, said Nicolay, might be dropping the signature when applying for an absentee ballot.

“It’s more helpful to us as a board to have a signature, because then we have a recent signature to compare to the ballot,” said Nicolay, “so I personally don’t agree with that, but it does make it more accessible for folks to try and apply.”

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