NYDLC 3/15 Statement on COVID-19 Crisis

NYDLC Co-chairs and leadership have released the following statement regarding electoral developments and the current state of emergency due to COVID-19:

As the voter protection arm of NY Dems, NYDLC is working closely with commissioners at county Board of Elections across the state to support their efforts to keep our elections operating smoothly despite the on-going public health crisis. NYDLC expects to shortly launch a remote voter helpline, staffed by volunteer NYDLC attorneys, to help New Yorkers from all parts of our great state understand these plans as they evolve.

Yesterday, we were heartened by, and applaud, Governor Cuomo's decision to expand absentee ballot access in the Queens Borough President race.

We hope that Governor Cuomo and other state elected officials will demonstrate similar strong leadership by taking action regarding absentee ballots in all elections for the foreseeable future. Specifically, we hope that the executive branch and/or the State Board of Elections will address this crisis by announcing that, until otherwise instructed, ALL New Yorkers will qualify to vote by absentee ballot in all future elections in New York state, on the basis of medical exemption/public health emergency.

We would also be grateful to see funds allocated to support the implementation and postage costs involved in such a move.

In addition: As glad as we were to see the Governor's announcement yesterday, nationally, NYDLC has been concerned by the news that some states are postponing long-scheduled elections.

NYDLC believes that the current public health crisis should not be allowed to halt or impair our elections. Given the availability of safe and efficient alternatives consistent with public health and safety, postponement of elections is an unnecessary, and potentially dangerous, precedent.

New York has an opportunity to set a powerful example for the entire nation: that, even in a state severely affected by the outbreak, free, fair, and accessible elections can -- and must -- still occur.