Speaker Carl Heastie and Election Law Chair Charles Lavine today announced that $24.7 million in funding for updates to the local and state boards of elections is included in the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2019-20 Budget. This funding will help implement the election reform package passed by the legislature earlier this session, which included early voting, use of electronic poll books, consolidating federal and state primary days to a single day and establishing an online voter registration system.
"These investments to update our election systems will expand voters' access to the polls," said Speaker Heastie. "This funding will allow local and state boards of elections to implement the comprehensive package of reforms the legislature passed earlier this session, including early voting, to ensure all New Yorkers have a voice in our government."
"Maintaining the local and state boards of elections is vital to our democratic process," said Assemblymember Lavine. "The reforms funded in this budget will make voting more convenient and accessible to further encourage New Yorkers to exercise their fundamental right to vote."
The enacted budget includes $14.7 million in capital funds and $10 million to implement early voting in New York. These funds will enable local and state boards of elections to carry out several reforms including:
The budget also includes an increase in time allotted, without loss of pay, for an employee to vote in any election. Additionally, the plan prohibits lobbyists, political action committees, labor unions and independent expenditure committees from making loans to candidates for political office.
The seven bill election reform package passed by the legislature earlier this session aimed to update New York's antiquated electoral process, expanding access to the polls and bringing more transparency to campaign finance. The package included legislation to: