Speaker Carl Heastie, Election Law Committee Chair Latrice Walker and Assemblymember Al Taylor today announced the passage of the Make Voting Easy Act, significantly expanding early voting sites throughout the state and increasing the hours polling sites must be open (A.5424-A, Taylor).
“Even as efforts are underway in other parts of the country to make voting harder, in New York we in the Assembly Majority are working to make it easier,” said Speaker Heastie. “This sensible legislation significantly increases the number of early voting sites and polling hours in most New York counties, reducing overcrowding and long wait times for future elections.”
“Over two and a half million New Yorkers voted early in 2020 despite the pandemic and long lines,” said Assemblymember Walker. “This legislation will encourage even greater early voting participation in New York by expanding the number of site locations throughout the state and extending polling times.”
“Few rights are as important as the right to vote and early voting access has proven a successful way to make it easier for voters to exercise that right,” said Assemblymember Taylor. “I am proud to sponsor this important legislation so that all New Yorkers wishing to do so can vote early and safely in our state without fear of burdensome wait times or excessive crowding.”
The Make Voting Easy Act requires the New York State Board of Elections (BOE) to ensure that any county with at least 500,000 registered voters have at least one early voting poll site for every 40,000 registered voters. Counties with fewer than 500,000 registered voters will be required to have at least one site for every 30,000 registered voters, but are not required to have more than 10 sites within the county. This legislation also increases the number of hours early voting polling places must be open on weekends and legal holidays from five hours to eight hours.
After New York established early voting in 2019, long lines and long wait times for early voters in the 2020 presidential election demonstrated that changes were needed to prevent similar problems in the future. These sensible measures will make early voting in New York an easier, more accessible experience for all.