Gov. Hochul Signs Legislation to Allow Voting by Absentee Ballot Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Through 2022

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Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation to allow voting by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 pandemic through 2022. This legislation continues to allow New Yorkers to request an absentee ballot during the pandemic where there is a risk of contracting or spreading disease that may cause illness to the voter or other members of the public. This legislation first became law in July of 2020, and expired December 31, 2021.

"No one should have to choose between exercising their right to vote and protecting their health and safety," Governor Hochul said. "This legislation will ensure the pandemic does not create inaccessibility for voters during upcoming elections and help protect New Yorkers' access to the ballot."

Absentee ballot applications for the February 15th special elections in the 60th and 72nd assembly districts are open through January 31st by mail, until February 14th in-person and can be submitted by mail or in-person until February 15th. More information on absentee voting and how to apply for an absentee ballot is available here.

Senator Alessandra Biaggi said,  "The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way we work, learn, and live— teaching us to adapt to in ways that we had never imagined before. We cannot allow the ongoing pandemic to undermine our democracy and interfere with New Yorkers' right to vote, and must similarly adapt to prioritize public health while protecting our democracy. This is why I introduced S7565, my bill alongside Assemblymember Dinowitz, to ensure that no New Yorker has to choose between their health and fulfilling their civic responsibility, allowing New Yorkers to continue to vote absentee in 2022. Thank you to Governor Hochul for recognizing the need for this legislation, and for prioritizing the wellbeing of New Yorkers, while committing to protect our democracy."

Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz said, "Nobody should be forced to choose between their health and their vote. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have availed themselves of the expanded absentee ballot eligibility, and the continuation of this law through the end of 2022 is an important boost to our democracy. As we watch states around the country debate and enact restrictions to voter access, I am proud that New York has taken a stand on the other side of the debate. Thank you to Governor Hochul for quickly signing my bill into law so that as many eligible New Yorkers can cast their ballots this year as possible."

In addition, Governor Hochul proposed in her 2022 State of the State a number of proposal to strengthen voting rights protections in New York State, including a state-level voting rights act to protect against voter suppression, improving language access for voters, lowering the voter registration deadline from 25 days to 10 days before Election Day, and requiring polling locations on college campuses.