ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Sunday, June 7, that the deadline for residents to mail in their school budget/election ballots will be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he will issue an executive order that will allow ballots to be accepted by hand delivery through 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, and received by mail through Tuesday, June 16, by school districts.
State Sen. Pete Harckham, D-South Salem, expressed gratitude Sunday to Cuomo for announcing that a new order would be issued.
“Allowing voters across New York to personally deliver their ballots for school election by Tuesday, June 9, or have them arrive by mail by Tuesday, June 16, will give many of those desiring to having their votes be counted more leeway to get them en route to be counted.” the senator said.
He represents the 40th District, which includes Brewster, North Salem, Somers, and Yorktown.
Harckham also thanked the Senate Committee Chairwoman Shelley Mayer and all of this colleagues for supporting the voting deadline modifications, calling it “a collaborative triumph for New York voters, and further proof that good governance and a quick proper response to residents’ needs are both alive and well in the Empire State.”
Last week, Harckham had introduced legislation in the Senate that would extend the date for school district and library elections across the state until June 16 because of logistical difficulties posed by the coronavirus crisis.
“Gov. Cuomo’s decision to allow this extension on the receipt of school ballots gives voters ample time, as my bill sought to do as well, to ensure that their votes will count,” said Harckham, who added the executive order, once issued, negates the need for his legislation to proceed.
Harckham said last week that his proposed legislation was necessary because dozens of school districts across the state, including Mahopac's and Brewster's in Putnam County, have had “serious problems” getting their ballot materials in time.
The legislation was to be co-sponsored in the state Assembly by Assemblyman Jonathan G. Jacobson, D-Newburgh, who represents the 104th District.
State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, R-Mahopac, who represents the 94th District, which includes Mahopac and Brewster, said Tuesday, June 2, that while he had not “yet been given the opportunity to read” the proposed legislation, he had spoken with Harckham and does support it “in concept.”
“We must ensure that citizens residing at these affected school districts are not disenfranchised of their right to vote,” Byrne said.
Cuomo also signed legislation Sunday extending the deadline to submit absentee ballots until the day of the election.
To be counted, primary ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday, June 23.
Cuomo had already issued an executive order allowing New Yorkers to vote absentee in the June 23 primaries. It ensured that all registered voters got a postage-paid ballot application in the mail.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world, and while we are making great progress and the numbers keep going down, no New Yorker should have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Cuomo said Sunday. “Extending the deadline to submit absentee ballots builds on our previous executive orders to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote absentee in the upcoming primary election and it will help to increase voter participation as we continue to fight this virus.”
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