Cuomo signs executive order focused on election, absentee ballots

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(WETM/WTEN) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday signed an executive order that requires county boards of election to take certain steps to “inform voters of upcoming deadlines, be prepared for upcoming elections and help ensure absentee ballots can be used in all elections.”

According to the Governor’s Office, the executive order requires county boards of elections to take the following actions:

  1. Send a mailing outlining all deadlines for voters by Tuesday, September 8.
  2. Send staffing plans and needs to the New York State Board of Elections by September 20 so BOE can assist in ensuring adequate coverage.
  3. Adopt a uniform clarified envelope for absentee ballots and require counties to use it.
  4. Count votes faster: require all objections to be made by the county board in real time, make sure that boards are ready to count votes and reconcile affidavit and absentee ballots by 48 hours after elections.
  5. Provide an option for New Yorkers to vote absentee in village, town and special district elections.

“This election is going to be one of the most critical in modern history. It will be controversial. You already hear the statements questioning the vote, and the accuracy of the vote, and mail-in ballots. We want to make sure that every vote is counted; every voice is heard and that it’s fair and right and accurate,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m issuing today’s executive order because we want boards of elections to count votes efficiently and we want them to get it right, but we want it done in a timely manner. We don’t want to hear after-the-fact excuses.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Last week Governor Cuomo signed election reform laws allows people to apply for an absentee ballot starting Thursday, August 20. This legislation eliminates an outdated statutory provision that prevents voters from requesting absentee ballots until 30 days before Election Day.

The second section deals with expanding the necessary protections to allow a voter to get an absentee ballot due to risk or fear of illness including COVID-19.

The new legislation will also ensure all absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day or received by the Board of Elections without a postmark on the day after the election will be counted. Ballots with a postmark demonstrating that they were mailed on or before Election Day will be counted if received by November 10.


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