Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bill amending New York’s Public Officers Law allowing officials enough time to finalize voting ballots of overseas military during special elections in compliance with federal law unanimously passed the legislature on Thursday, March 3.
"This bill will make sure that New Yorkers serving abroad in the military will have their votes counted,” said the Governor. “I applaud the state legislature for promptly and unanimously passing this important measure and give special thanks to Senator Thomas O’Mara and Assemblymember Joan Millman for sponsoring the bill and expeditiously ushering it through their respective houses.”
All voters in the 26th Congressional District will have the opportunity to cast legal ballots in special elections – an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections.
The previous law states that special elections are held 30 and 40 days from their announcement, but Cuomo’s measure doubles the length to 70 and 80 days.
“For years New Yorkers serving in the military abroad have been inadvertently left out of the electoral process,” said Cuomo. “This measure will rectify the discrepancy between New York State and federal laws regarding special elections, allow members of the military to have their voices heard, and ensure fair and accurate representation of the citizens of New York.”
Cuomo’s plan will expand periods between the announcement of special elections and date of election. Military ballots will be transmitted no later than 45 days before any special election and the date by which state board of elections must certify a candidate’s information to related county boards of elections changes from 13 days to 53 days beforehand. Each county board of elections is to transmit to the Secretary of State election results within 20 days after a special election, instead of the 10 days required in the previous law.
The bill will take immediate effect after it is signed by Cuomo.
“I look forward to signing it into law and making sure that all New Yorkers are able to participate in our electoral process,” he said.