ALBANY, NY – Many New Yorkers are expected to vote by absentee ballot in the upcoming general election due to the ongoing pandemic, and a lawsuit has recently been settled over what must be done when there is a technical issue with one of those ballots.
NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca shows us how the settlement will impact voters this November.
In New York State absentee ballots can become disqualified for various technical issues.
((Jennifer Wilson, League of Women Voters of New York State Deputy Director)) So things like if you mark outside of the designated area, if you don’t fill out the ballot in black or blue ink, if you seal the inner envelope with tape, all of these things can get your ballot invalidated. And then in addition to that of course if your signature doesn’t match what they have on file in the poll books your ballot can get invalidated.
And, up until now there wasn’t a process to notify those voters of issues.
((Jennifer Wilson, League of Women Voters of New York State Deputy Director)) New York State didn’t have any sort of procedure to allow voters to remedy those issues and didn’t even alert them if they had some sort of issue that was going to have their absentee ballot invalidated.
But, due to the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters and a resident, against state Board of Elections officials, there will be a mechanism in place to allow voters to remedy ballot issues.
((Jennifer Wilson, League of Women Voters of New York State Deputy Director)) In addition to throwing out all of those old small rules about marking outside the lines, not using black or blue ink, sealing with tape, we now will have a process where if there is an issue with your signature of your affirmation envelope, that inner envelope, or if there’s an issue with your witness declaration if you did have to provide a witness declaration signature, that you will be contacted within 48 hours and you’ll have between five and seven days to respond to any of those issues to say you are who you say you are, and to have your ballot counted.
The League says in the 2018 general election more than 34,000 absentee ballots were discarded, accounting for about 14?% of them.
They hope the settlement will cut down the rate of rejection.