Assemblymember Griffin Helps Pass Legislation Reforming New York State’s Elections

Assemblymember Judy Griffin (D-Lynbrook) announced that she helped pass a series of bills to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote, modernize the state election system and increase campaign spending transparency by closing the LLC loophole.

“This is exactly what I came to Albany to do – hit the ground running and pass meaningful legislation that will make a difference in our community,” Griffin said. “These measures will strengthen the democratic process by ensuring Long Islanders don’t have to jump through hoops to vote.”

To make it easier for people to participate in elections, Griffin passed legislation to establish early voting, which would take place during a nine-day period before any general, primary or special election (A.780). The bill would require polling locations to be open for eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends and holidays, and to offer evening hours on at least two days.

For those that can’t make it to the polls in person, the legislative package includes a bill amending the state Constitution to allow any citizen to receive an absentee ballot upon request (A.778). Current law only grants voters an absentee ballot if they expect to be absent from the county on the day of the election, or if they have an illness or physical disability.

“Long Islanders lead very busy lives, and it can be difficult to find time in their schedules to vote on Election Day,” Griffin said. “By enacting early voting and opening up absentee voting to everyone, more people will have the opportunity to cast their ballot and have their voices heard.”

To help modernize the election process, the Assembly passed a bill establishing same-day voter registration, removing the requirement that New Yorkers register to vote at least 10 days before an election (A.777). The Assembly also passed legislation to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote (A.774) and instruct boards of elections to automatically transfer a voter’s enrollment information if they move to a different county (A.775).

The legislative package also combines the state and federal primary election dates to the fourth Tuesday in June (A.779). Combining primaries will save taxpayers $25 million, reduce the burden on county boards of elections and better ensure compliance with the federal Military Overseas and Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. The bill would also prevent New Yorkers from having to go out and vote in multiple primaries across multiple days, likely increasing voter turnout, Griffin noted.

To promote transparency and level the playing field, the Assembly legislation includes a bill to close the LLC loophole by extending the $5,000 aggregate contribution limit to LLCs and requiring LLCs to disclose the names of individuals with membership interests (A.776). Current election laws allow individuals and corporations to make unlimited contributions to the same candidate, political party or campaign committee by creating multiple LLCs. 

“The wealthy few shouldn’t be able to drown out the rest of our voices,” Griffin said. “By closing this loophole, we can better ensure our government serves the people instead of the highest bidder.”