New York’s Early Voting Plan Runs Into Funding Issues

Joe Avellar
August 23, 2019 - 6:53 pm
NYC Election Day

Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

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ALBANY (WCBS 880) — There’s only two months left before Election Day and New York is having a slew of issues with setting up voting for those who want to get it done early.

This year will be the first time New York introduces an early-voting system, which will require counties to open a number of polling sites nine days before the general elections on Nov. 5 to give people more time to cast their ballot.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed on a $24 million budget to help counties implement the system – including $14 million for electronic polls and $10 million to open and staff new early-voting sites.

However, the state Board of Elections on Thursday said it would only approve about $2.2 million of the proposed $10 million needed to open new sites, causing a scramble in local governments.

In all, 100 more sites would've been open than the 145 required by law.

“We wanted to give the counties an incentive to do more. The Division of Budget rejected that,” said the state’s Board of Election Commissioner Doug Keller.

The Division of Budget would only comment in a statement saying, “We are reviewing the state Board of Elections plans for the discretionary funding above the required sites, to ensure it's being distributed equitably and expect to have a plan approved by next week.”

Keller believes pressure on the division will force them to award the rest of the money to the sites.