New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1061-2016    Version: * Name: Approve and ratify the resulting constitutional amendment, to establish no-excuse absentee voting. (A.2644)
Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Committee: Committee on Governmental Operations
On agenda: 5/5/2016
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, A.2644, and the electors of the State of New York to approve and ratify the resulting constitutional amendment, to establish no-excuse absentee voting.
Sponsors: Ben Kallos, Paul A. Vallone
Council Member Sponsors: 2
Attachments: 1. Assembly Bill, 2. Committee Report 5/2/16, 3. Hearing Testimony 5/2/16, 4. Hearing Transcript 5/2/16, 5. Committee Report 5/4/16, 6. Hearing Transcript 5/4/16, 7. May 5, 2016 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 8. Committee Report - Stated Meeting, 9. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 5-5-16, 10. Minutes of the Stated Meeting - May 5, 2016

Preconsidered Res. No. 1061

 

Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, A.2644, and the electors of the State of New York to approve and ratify the resulting constitutional amendment, to establish no-excuse absentee voting.

 

By Council Members Kallos and Vallone

                     Whereas, According to the United States Elections Project, only 29% of eligible voters in New York State cast a ballot in the 2014 General Election, making it 49th in the nation in turnout rate; and

                     Whereas, In the same election, only 20% of eligible voters in New York City voted, hitting a historic low, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board; and

                     Whereas, While there are numerous reasons for low voter participation rates, the most common reason for not voting cited in a 2010 United States Census Bureau survey was “No time off/too busy”; and

                     Whereas, Many states with high voter turnout rates have instituted various electoral reforms to increase participation, including permitting voters to cast absentee ballots without citing an excuse; and

                     Whereas, Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia currently allow any voter to vote via absentee ballot without offering an excuse, and three states have all-mail voting where ballots are automatically sent to every eligible voter, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures; and

                     Whereas, New York State requires voters applying for absentee ballots to affirm that they qualify to do so due to one of several reasons, including absence from their county or New York City on Election Day, illness or disability, primary care taker responsibilities of  someone ill or disabled, and detention  in jail or prison; and

                     Whereas, Applying for an absentee ballot and falsely citing one of the qualifying reasons is a felony; and

                     Whereas, There are many additional reasons that make it difficult or impossible for some voters to appear in person at poll sites on Election Day, such as work hours and child care responsibilities; and 

                     Whereas, Many advocates for increased voter participation have supported removing these limitations on absentee voting, since potential voters often miss the opportunity to cast a ballot when the voting period is confined only to certain hours of one day; and

                     Whereas, New York State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh introduced A.2644, which eliminates restrictions on absentee voting and allows every eligible voter to cast absentee ballots without offering a specific justification; and

                     Whereas, Establishing no-excuse absentee voting in New York State would increase voter participation by allowing all voters the option to vote from home at a time convenient to them; now, therefore, be it

                     Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, A.2644, and the electors of the State of New York to approve and ratify the resulting constitutional amendment, to establish no-excuse absentee voting.

LS# 6953

4/28/2016

LW