State Assemblyman Buchwald Supports Early Voting Plan
State Assemblyman David Buchwald says this is the year to establish early voting in New York, and he supports Governor Cuomo’s proposal to include funds in the state budget to help county governments cover the expense. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow some form of early voting to encourage citizen participation in elections. New York does not, and in 2016 the state ranked 41st in the nation in terms of percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots.
“Voter participation is fundamental to our democracy, so we must change with the times and remove the one-day-only barrier that limits turnout,” said Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester). “New York’s abysmal rate of voter turnout has been ignored far too long.”
Last month, Assemblyman Buchwald, who is the Chairman of the Assembly Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Turnout, attended the Let NY Vote kick-off rally at the state capitol. Let NY Vote is a statewide coalition of over 30 grassroots groups & organizations fighting to modernize New York's elections.
The Governor’s proposal being considered in Albany would require counties to maintain at least one early voting polling location for every 50,000 residents, open at least eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends. In the past, the cost of staffing polling places has been a concern for county boards of election, which is why the $7 million in state funding is crucial.
“There’s a reason that we in New York are one of the last in nation in voter turnout” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Director, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign - Public Citizen is a member of the Let New York Vote Coalition. “Our state has refused to pass laws that break down barriers to voting. One easy thing that we can do is join the 37 other states and Washington D.C. that provide early voting for their residents. We are glad that the Governor and many in the legislature, such as Assemblyman David Buchwald, are making this and other sensible reforms a priority in this year’s budget.”
 Source Let NY Vote, https://letnyvote.org/make-noise/
 Albany Times Union, Matthew Hamilton, “Report: New York ranks 41st in voter turnout in 2016 https://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/273112/report-new-york-ranks-41st-in-voter-turnout-in-2016/