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File #: Res 1377-2020    Version: * Name: Allow eligible voters to request an absentee ballot if they are concerned that voting in person during a pandemic or state of emergency could expose themselves or others to a public health risk. (A.10271/S.8015-A)
Type: Resolution Status: Committee
Committee: Committee on Governmental Operations
On agenda: 7/28/2020
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign A.10271/S.8015-A, which would allow eligible voters to request an absentee ballot if they are concerned that voting in person during a pandemic or state of emergency could expose themselves or others to a public health risk.
Sponsors: Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Margaret S. Chin
Council Member Sponsors: 2
Attachments: 1. Res. No. 1377, 2. July 28, 2020 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 3. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 7-28-20
Date Ver.Prime SponsorAction ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsMultimedia
7/28/2020*Public Advocate Jumaane Williams City Council Referred to Comm by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
7/28/2020*Public Advocate Jumaane Williams City Council Introduced by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available

Res. No. 1377

 

Resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign A.10271/S.8015-A, which would allow eligible voters to request an absentee ballot if they are concerned that voting in person during a pandemic or  state of emergency could expose themselves or others to a public health risk.

 

By The Public Advocate (Mr. Williams) and Council Member Chin

 

   Whereas, During these unprecedented times of the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) global pandemic, the United States has been promoting social-distancing and banning public gatherings in order to promote public safety; and

   Whereas, Numerous states in the union have postponed or cancelled primaries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and

   Whereas, These states include, but are not limited to; New York, Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; and

   Whereas, In order to prevent such postponements in New York State elections, the State should broaden its use of absentee ballots to include cases when a state of emergency has been issued due to a communicable disease; and

                     Whereas, According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, the elderly and people with existing health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes are at greater risk of serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19; and

                     Whereas, Voters, especially those deemed as high-risk individuals who are trying to limit their potential exposure or others' exposure to a communicable disease, should not have to decide between protecting their health and exercising their civic duty; and

                     Whereas, Currently, New York State’s law permits the request of an absentee ballot if  an individual: (i) will be absent from their county of residence or New York City on the day of the election; (ii) are unable to appear at the polling place due to illness, physical disability, or care-taking responsibilities for someone who is ill or disabled; (iii) are a resident or patient at a veteran health administration hospital; or (iv) are currently being held in jail; and

                     Whereas, These restrictive criteria do not accommodate individuals who are concerned that voting in-person would pose risk to their own or others' health; and

                     Whereas, A.10271, introduced by New York State Assemblymember Michael Blake, and S.8015-A, introduced by New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, seek to amend the New York State Election Law (“Election Law”) by allowing voters who are concerned about voting in-person due to an ongoing public health risk to request an absentee ballot; and

                     Whereas, A.10271/S.8015-A would amend the definition of “illness” in the Election Law to include the spread or potential spread of any communicable disease during a declared state of emergency; and

   Whereas, A.10271/S.8015-A would help ensure that voters feel secure performing their civic duty and create a safer social environment for all individuals; now, therefore, be it

   Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls on the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign A.10271/S.8015-A, which would allow eligible voters to request an absentee ballot if they are concerned that voting in person during a pandemic or state of emergency could expose themselves or others to a public health risk.

 

WJH

LS 14457

4/15/20