New York’s Democracy Doesn’t Pause

How New York's Elections Can Proceed During a Pandemic

New York's 2020 elections can proceed safely and securely in spite of the unprecedented challenges ahead.

There has been a huge surge in interest to adopt vote-by-mail as a means to safely administer the 2020 elections in New York. It is important to recognize any necessary adjustments to our elections must be realistic and made within the context of New York’s existing election infrastructure and not based on the election administration in other states. Vote-by-mail differs greatly from absentee voting or no-excuse absentee voting and states that have adopted it took over a decade for full implementation.

Common Cause/New York strongly supports no-excuse absentee voting and successfully advocated for the first step towards no-excuse absentee voting in New York. This process is a multi-step, multi-year legislative process that requires a constitutional amendment which must be approved by voters. However, even in the eventuality that New York adopts no-excuse absentee voting, it would still not be the equivalent of a vote-by-mail program.

This is why we recommend a robust expansion of absentee voting in lieu of a wholesale transition to vote-by-mail as New York is, unfortunately, unprepared to do so. Read our report on how we can safely and securely protect voters, poll workers, and our elections while we ensure the continued functioning of our democracy.