Governor Hochul has signed legislation (S.2951A/A.8858A) that increases access to the ballot by allowing voters more time to register and vote ahead of an election. The new legislation allows voters to cast a ballot in an election if their registration forms are received by the board of elections by the tenth day ahead of an election, as compared to the twenty-five days ahead of an election currently mandated by law. Governor Hochul called for this important update to our state election laws as part of her 2022 State of the State agenda.
“Too often, there are unnecessary obstacles for voters to pass through just to participate in the democratic process,” Governor Hochul said. “By removing these hurdles, more New Yorkers can bring their representation to the ballot box. By shortening this time period, more New Yorkers can be flexible with their voter registration and exercise their right to vote.”
The New York State Constitution stipulates that voters must register to vote at least 10 days prior to an election in which they wish to cast a ballot. However, New York’s current election law unnecessarily extends this minimum deadline, requiring that voter registration forms be submitted in person at least twenty-five days prior to an election or postmarked at least twenty-five days in advance and received by the board of elections by 20 days prior to an election. This shrinks by more than two weeks the amount of time that eligible New Yorkers have to submit their registration forms and make their voices heard in an election.
Under the legislation signed by Governor Hochul today, this overly restrictive timeline will be addressed and voter registration deadlines will be moved closer to Election Day and into alignment with the standard set by the State Constitution. Voters will be eligible to vote in an election if they register in person by 10 days prior to an election; voters submitting registration forms by mail will be eligible to vote in an election if their forms are postmarked by 15 days prior to the election and received by the board of elections by 10 days prior to an election.