NYS Election Reforms: What Counties Need to Know
A series of election reforms have been enacted in NYS, including early voting and changes to poll hours.The NYS Legislature began the 2019 Legislative Session by passing a series of election reform proposals, including early voting, effective for the November 2019 elections. The enacted NYS budget includes additional voting reforms as well as appropriations (both operating and capital) to assist counties with implementing these reforms.
- The enacted budget included $10 million for early voting operating costs and $14.7 million for the purchase of electronic poll books, on-demand ballot printers, and cybersecurity software. The $14.7 million appropriation will be distributed based on a county's enrolled voter population.
- Poll hours must be open from 6am to 9pm for primary elections (in some upstate counties, polls previously opened at noon).
- The State Board of Elections must promulgate minimum security standards for any electronic device or system to which e-poll books are connected to.
- Employees may, without a loss of pay, be granted up to three hours at the beginning or end of their shift to vote. The employer may designate, unless the request is mutually agreed upon. The employer must post at the work place a notice setting forth the provisions of this benefit.
The State Board of Elections this week released emergency regulations including Part 6211- Early Voting Regulations and Part 6210.19 Minimum Voting Machine Regulations.
There is no designation for the distribution of the operating aid, but the budget does lay out that capital assistance will be available based on the number of registered voters in each county.
The chart below provides NYSAC estimates of what might be available for each county using registered voter data from the State Board of Elections.
Read NYSAC's Election Reforms Whitepaper.
Section 6210.18 of the new law, related to early voting and voting machine audits.
Section 6210.19 of the new law, related to number of voting machines.
Part 6211- Early Voting Regulations
For additional NYSAC research on voting reforms, visit https://www.nysac.org/intergovernment.