Mayer and Otis Announce New Education Law to Allow for 6am Open of Small City School District Polling Places

Senator Shelley Mayer (D-37 SD) and Assemblyman Steve Otis (D-91 AD), are pleased to announce that Governor Cuomo signed their legislation to allow small city school districts the option of allowing polling places to open at 6 a.m. for their school elections (A.6540/S.4009).

The purpose of this law is to conform the opening time for polls in small city school districts (city school districts with less than one hundred twenty-five thousand inhabitants) to the same time polls may open in all other independent school districts. Small city school districts are the only independent school districts in the state that are not permitted to open polling places before 7:00 a.m. for voting in school board elections and the annual budget vote. All other independent school districts are authorized to open polling places for annual meetings at 6:00 a.m., affording residents greater opportunity to participate in the voting process and providing boards of education greater ability to meet their local needs. This bill also allows the small city school districts to have consistency in the time polls may open for their special meetings.

Assemblyman Steve Otis, member of the Assembly Education Committee said, “Giving small city school districts the option of opening earlier allows boards of education to assess the needs of their voters. In many areas of the state many voters have left for work before 7 a.m. This legislation will allow better access to voting in these school elections. Shelley Mayer, as Chair of the Senate Education Committee has made a priority helping school districts by fixing outdated inconsistencies in the law. This is reform will allow more people to vote in school elections.”

State Senator Shelley B. Mayer, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, said, “I am pleased to sponsor legislation which removes a hurdle residents face in getting to polls for school budget votes and school board elections. The Rye City School District came to me with the issue that, as a small city school district, they were not permitted to open polling places before 7:00 AM. I was glad to work with Assemblyman Steve Otis to pass a bill to create consistency in voting hours among school districts statewide. This new law provides small city school districts--like Rye, White Plains, New Rochelle, and other small city school districts throughout the state--with the ability to meet local needs for school district voting purposes. Thank you to Assemblyman Steve Otis and Governor Andrew Cuomo for supporting small city school boards and school district elections.”