NEW YORK – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced new legislation (S9089) that would allow absentee ballots to be counted on Election Day. Under current law, absentee ballots wait nearly a week to be canvassed. For example, the first day of ballots being opened and canvassed in many areas of New York this year will be Tuesday, November 10.
“There is no good excuse for election results to continue to be up in the air weeks and months after people have already cast their votes,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “Our Senate Majority will continue to do the work of improving our election processes to ensure everyone has easy access to the ballot and election results are clear and timely.”
Senator David Carlucci said, “We have to address the fact that now with absentee voting being over 25% of the vote, we are in a new world and have to update how we count mail in ballots. The fact that we cannot call local races until weeks after Election Day is obscure and confusing to the public. Now we need a political interpreter to tell us who might have won and who has a chance.”
Senator Gianaris’ proposal would allow absentee ballots to begin being canvassed 3 hours before polls closed on Election Day – which would be 6 PM. Absentee ballot envelopes would be examined for validity at the time of their arrival at local Boards of Elections.