A Statement from Douglas A. Kellner, Co-Chair of the New York State Board of Elections
For the first time, New York State voters will be provided with nine days of early voting before the November 5, 2019 general election. In April, the State budgeted $10 million dollars in early voting aid to localities to reimburse county Boards of Elections for their cost to implement early voting. With the promise of this funding, county election boards diligently worked in a short time frame to develop a plan to provide maximum early voting opportunities to voters.
Just sixty days before early voting begins, after the counties were required to designate their early voting sites and recruit the necessary poll workers to operate these sites, Governor Cuomo has cut the counties’ access to that funding 80%. Instead of spending time training poll workers and conducting voter outreach around early voting, county boards of elections now have to go back to the drawing board to design a new early voting plan with far fewer resources. This unilateral decision by the Governor Cuomo will have a chilling effect on voters who wish to vote early--they will now have longer distances to travel and longer lines.
I urge the Governor to reconsider this decision and to fully fund the $10 million aid to localities for early voting. Early voting is just one of the dozens of election reforms enacted this year. New York’s election administrators need consistent, dependable funding to implement these groundbreaking election reforms.