NYDLC 2021 PRO-VOTER LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
The New York Democratic Lawyers Council (NYDLC) strongly supports the enactment of
legislation to further modernize our voter registration system and continue improving voter
Although voter turnout improved in New York during the 2020 election, New York continues to
rank near the bottom in turnout (estimated to be 30th in 2020) compared to the rest of the
country. Despite the advancement of election reform in the past two years, additional change
is still needed to update New York’s election law and reduce the barriers to voting in the state.
Improve Access to the Ballot:
Reasonable Opportunities to Exercise Fundamental Rights
Ballot-Saving When Voters Appear at the Wrong District (A642 (Carroll) / S284 (Myrie)):
Requires the board of elections to count the affidavit ballot of a voter if that voter appeared at
a polling place in the correct county, but in the wrong election district, to the extent that the
votes cast also apply to the voter’s election district.
Mobile Early Voting Locations (NSA / S557 (May)): The Senate previously passed this bill,
which would authorize counties to establish, in addition to required early voting sites, mobile
early voting locations that are operational for at least three consecutive days.
Require County Boards of Election to Designate College Campuses as Election Day Polling
Sites (A454 (Rozic) / S4378-2019 (Parker)): The Senate passed this bill requiring any college
campus with more than 300 registered voters to be designated a polling place. In 2021, the
Assembly should also pass this bill and ensure that voting is always available to students
Require Notice to Voter when Removed from Voter Rolls: Voters should be given reasonable
notice when they are removed from voter rolls due to inactivity or otherwise.
In addition to the second passage of the constitutional amendment to pave the way for
no-fault absentee (already passed Senate!), the legislature should enact the following
common-sense reforms to absentee balloting:
● Absentee ballot saving when voter's intent is clear (S253 (Myrie) / A1144 (Paulin)) -
● Absentee ballot curing for imperfect envelope sealing (S327 (Myrie) / A10746-2019
● Absentee ballot saving for ballots without a postmark (S466 (Myrie) / NSA)
● Require BOEs to inform voters of status of their absentee ballots (A38 (Quart) /
● Absentee ballot drop boxes (A10942-2019 (Gottfried) / S492 (Holyman)) - passed Senate
● Require BOEs to process absentee ballot applications and send out ballots on a specified
timeline (NSA / S516 (Gianaris)) - passed Senate
The legislature should take reasonable steps to expand access to early voting, including:
● Double early voting poll sites (S9076 (Gianaris) / NSA)
● Allow voters to go to any early vote site in their borough/county
Prevent Voter Suppression and Ensure Due Process
Universal Attorney Poll Watchers (A4044-2019 (Weprin) / S4552-2019 (Parker)): Permits
attorneys licensed and residing in New York, who are already subject to statewide ethics
oversight, to act as poll watchers in any New York locality in order to monitor for misconduct.
Restoring Voting Rights for Convicted Felons (A699 (Rozic) / S6821-2019 (Parker)): Authorizes
convicted felons who are incarcerated in state or local facilities to vote in elections based on
the inmates’ residence prior to incarceration.
Voting Rights Restoration and Registration for Citizens on Parole (A4987-2019 (O'Donnell) /
S830 (Comrie)): Automatically restores the right to vote to individuals released on parole and
adds a proactive voter registration component to the re-entry process.
Deceptive Practices and Voter Suppression Act (A7972-2019 (Lavine) / S1032
(Stewart-Cousins)): Defines and penalizes deceptive election practices as well as voter
suppressing and intimidating conduct that undermines our democracy.
John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York (NSA / S246 (Myrie)): Requires, among other
things, that changes to voting regulations in counties with large minority populations be
approved by the Attorney General of New York.
Requiring Voter Challenges to be in Writing: Requires all challenges to voters be made in
writing and logged in poll books.
Improve Election Security and Public Confidence in Election Results
Ban Hybrid Voting Machines (A1115 (Paulin) / S309 (Myrie)): Prohibits certification of any
voting machines that, as part of its intended functionality, allows a ballot to pass under a
printer head after the voter has cast its ballot.
Give the State Board of Elections Discretion over Voting Machine Certification (A829 (Paulin)
/ NSA): Gives the State Board discretion to reject a machine that meets the statutory eligibility
requirements, but otherwise appears unsecure. Currently, the Board must certify any machine
that meets the statutory requirements.
Making Ballot Images Available (NSA / S286 (Myrie)): Require that the Board of Elections make
copies of all ballots cast in an election public records.
Legislation to Reduce Barriers to Participation:
Modernize and Streamline Voter Registration
Second passage of constitutional amendment to allow for same-day registration - passed
Reduce Voter Registration Deadline to Constitutional Minimum (A116-2019 (Buchwald) /
S2311-2019 (Kavanagh)): Allows for eligible voters to register to vote up until the 10th day prior
to an election, which is the maximum amount of time allowed by the state’s constitution. The
current deadline is 25 days prior to the election.