Republicans in New York are suing Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul to put a stop to a new law that is set to expand early mail-in voting, which would be in place before the 2024 election.
New York Representative Elise Stefanik, the chair of the House GOP, along with members of the New York Republican Congressional delegation, filed a suit against the state as well as Hochul last week “for attempting to remove basic safeguards on absentee voting and allowing unregulated mass mail ballots in clear violation of the state constitution.”
The groups announced their legislation right after Hochul signed the bill, called the Early Mail Voter Act, into law. Hochul said that the law, along with the legislative package she’s putting forth, works to “strengthen democracy and protect voting rights in New York State.”
In a statement, though, Stefanik fired back:
“Kathy Hochul and extreme New York Democrats are trying to destroy what is left of election integrity in New York. Under Kathy Hochul’s failed leadership, elections are less secure and less transparent and will now be unconstitutional.”
Under the new law, absentee ballots can be counted if they don’t show any signs of being tampered with and are taped. The law also creates what’s known as a Golden Day. It’ll be the first day of the early voting period, and will allow people in the state to register to vote and then immediately cast their ballot at a polling place that same day.
Announcing the bill at a press conference last Wednesday, Hochul said:
“Our laws are going to modernize and improve every step of the process from registering to casting your ballot to the Electoral College. It includes a law that’ll allow every New Yorker to vote early by mail.”
In addition, the governor’s office said the law is a “significant expansion of ballot access in New York State” that will provide millions of voters “with an easy, safe and secure means of voting early by mail ballot.”
Democrats are celebrating the law, saying that it removes a “critical barrier” voters currently face – that they have to physically go to whatever polling place is assigned to them to cast their ballot.
Republicans, though, argue that the new law violates New York’s constitution, which only allows absentee ballots for voters who have a physical or medical disability, or who can prove that they won’t be in the county in which they reside on the day of an election.
The lawsuit further states that the new will cause significant financial and administration burdens on the state’s county election boards. They say it’ll do the same for candidates who are trying to target mobilization and outreach campaigns that encourage voters to go to the polls for Election Day.
The law will create a new system in which every registered voter in New York will have access to cast their vote by mail “in advance of an election” if they so choose.