Governor Cuomo has signed S8015D, sponsored by State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, to expand access to absentee ballot voting amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill, which was signed on Thursday, redefines the term “illness” to include instances where a voter is unable to appear personally at the polling place of the election district because there is a risk of contracting or spreading a disease that may cause illness to the voter or to other members of the public.
According to the governor, the bill shall take effect immediately, and shall expire and be deemed repealed on January 1st, 2022.
While speaking about the bill, Senator Biaggi, said, “COVID has upended every aspect of our lives –– but we cannot allow it to undermine our democracy and New Yorkers’ sacred right to vote.
“I introduced S8015D in March to ensure no New Yorker would have to choose between their health and fulfilling their civic responsibility. Unfortunately, during the June election, too many New Yorkers had to make that very choice.”
“With changing guidance, and little time to prepare, voters faced uncertainty and in many cases received their ballots late, or not at all.
“Signed into law, my bill will give every New Yorker clarity and the assurance that they can vote by absentee ballot come November,” he added.
Biaggi stated that the bill will also provide the Board of Elections with much needed time to prepare.
“I want to extend my gratitude to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues in the Legislature for their partnership and commitment to protecting our democracy,” he said.