Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Jasmine Razeghi writes on Cuomo’s recently signed legislation and what it means for New York voters.

This past Sunday, Governor Cuomo signed legislation (S.8130-D/A.10516-A) that extended the deadline to submit absentee ballots for election day in consideration of the health risks that come with voting in person in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. This new legislation builds on Cuomo’s previous Executive Orders that guaranteed every registered New Yorker voter a postage-paid absentee ballot application for the state’s June 23rd primaries in the mail, making it easier for New Yorkers to vote through absentee ballots.

Sunday’s Executive Order extended the deadline so that voters could submit ballots until the day of the election. This means that the ballots must be postmarked by the election date of June 23rd in order to receive consideration. The Governor emphasized how he values the ability for New Yorkers to vote and decided to sign this Executive Order in order to adjust this new COVID-19 environment. His goal, with these recent Executive Orders, is to increase voter turnout.  

Senator Zellnor Myrie of New York, representing District 20, extended his support of the legislation. He noted that New York’s “constitutional right to vote should not be impeded by a pandemic, that democracy, even in a pandemic, should survive.” While he acknowledged the COVID-19 crisis, he emphasized the importance of voting, especially during this pandemic. 

 “Participating in your democracy is about picking the leaders who you want to lead us through this crisis,” Myrie stated. Assembly Member Aravella Simotas noted that this pandemic was a time to be non-partisan, especially when it comes to an individual’s constitutional right to vote. “It has also challenged us to put political differences aside and think about the collective while answering a simple question—How do we build a more perfect union?” she said.

Officials like Simotas can only hope that more states join Cuomo’s lead. By signing these pieces of legislation, Cuomo set a precedent for the rest of America.