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04.8.2020

NYS to Allow Vote-by-Mail Option for June Primary Elections

Common Cause of New York, a good government group that’s urged easier voter participation amid the pandemic, cheered Cuomo’s decision in a tweet Wednesday, but said the Legislature should provide wider access in statute. “This is a great start, however, New York cannot be ruled by executive order alone,” the group tweeted. “New York lawmakers must continue to hold a remote session to pass legislation that will protect New York voters forever.”

Voting & Elections 04.8.2020

NY to allow all to ask for absentee ballots for primary because of virus

Common Cause, an election watchdog group, applauded the Cuomo’s action, but said the state should expand absentee by law, not just a governor’s executive order, which is easily undone. “This is a great start, however, New York cannot be ruled by executive order alone,” the group wrote on Twitter. It has been urging lawmakers to continue the 2020 legislative session by convening remotely rather than adjourning because of the pandemic.

Technology can help state lawmakers stay relevant – unless they don't want to be

“We need them to do the people’s business, and we’re sure they can use the tools to do it,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY... Common Cause – joined this week by elections commissioners across the state – also called for the expansion of absentee voting as a safety measure during the pandemic, something Lerner noted could be taken up in a post-budget “virtual” legislative session. And though Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo did it through executive order Wednesday for the June 23 primary, there's no reason voting shouldn't be easier in every election.

New York state lawmakers leave unfinished business on the table as remainder of session uncertain

“Now that the budget is finalized, New York lawmakers can and must address the myriad policy issues and COVID-19 related legislation, including expanding absentee voting which is crucial to ensuring the success of our elections in June and November,” said Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York.

Albany’s balance of power tilts back to the governor

“We need to have diverse voices heard in these policy decisions,” said Common Cause New York’s Susan Lerner. “Our representative system is geographically based, with the idea that different communities have different needs and therefore are individually represented with elected officials who can best articulate what their community needs.”

Will the state Legislature actually go virtual?

Now, with the budget process over, some advocacy groups argue that setting up a system to allow lawmakers to actually vote remotely or electronically is crucial to ensuring that they continue to legislate throughout the pandemic. “I don’t think it’s an ‘either or,’ I think the system has to be set up,” Susan Lerner, executive director of the good government group Common Cause New York, told City & State when asked whether the Legislature should move to actual remote voting for the rest of session. “We are paying them to be legislators, so it behooves them to utilize the technology that exists and do their jobs remotely, just as we are all doing our jobs remotely – those of use who are still employed.”

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