The Conservative Party is urging Members of the Legislature to reject a bill that would allow early voting in New York State. At a time when counties are drowning in debt and demanding mandate relief, the last thing needed is another unfunded mandate that would require county boards of elections to be open an additional 14 days for 11 hours in a general election and for an additional 7 days in a primary. This unfunded mandate is far too expensive to be given serious consideration.
This bill seeks to establish early voting in primary, general and special elections in the State of New York.
Voting is a privilege granted to American citizens. The ability to vote should be taken seriously and every precaution to avoid fraud must be utilized. Early voting makes fraud easier to perpetrate and harder to catch.
Early voting favors the incumbent candidate and binds the early voter to a choice they may want to change as late-breaking developments in a political race emerge. Voters must have the fullest possible definition of a candidate prior to casting their vote. Early voting prevents knowing as much information as possible prior to the casting of the ballot.
Voting has always been an "event"; a time when "We the People" come together to choose our leaders, the bill seeks to dilute a very American tradition.
The sponsors of this bill decry the fact that people are not exercising their right to vote and believe that early voting will stimulate more voters to come to the polls. In states where early voting takes place, the numbers do not prove more people are voting. The sponsors also believe that the polling place hours conflict with the voters work schedule. In New York State, polls are open from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM in the general elections. Somewhere in that fifteen hour window, people have found the time to vote. Primary voters also have a four hour window to vote after the normal 5:00 PM end of the work day. If a voter works swing shifts, an absentee ballot can be requested.
What the sponsor's memo does not address is the added fiscal burden this bill will place on counties already struggling to meet their obligations.
This bill is yet another unfunded mandate on New York counties that taxpayers will be forced to pay. The Conservative Party urges the Members of the State Legislature to vote NO on early voting in New York.