Election reforms needed now


To the editor:

We must act now to enact changes that ensure fair, safe, secure and accessible voting throughout the country and New York state this year.

In New York, Gov. Cuomo issued executive orders enabling all registered voters to vote by absentee ballot in the June 23 primary elections, and providing that absentee ballot applications will be sent to all eligible voters for that election. But additional reforms are needed from the state legislature long before the November elections.

New York does not have “no excuse” absentee balloting. You have to choose from among several “excuses” on the application in order to get an absentee ballot. State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi has introduced a bill that would add the threat of spreading a communicable disease in a pandemic as an “excuse” to get an absentee ballot.

New Yorkers also need to get behind state Sen. Zellnor Myrie’s bill that would permit local election boards to receive absentee ballot applications by email, rather than just by mail.

And for voters who go to the polls, we need to provide more days of early voting.

Please call Gov. Cuomo, senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Sen. Biaggi and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and tell them that fair, safe, secure and accessible voting cannot wait any longer.

On the national level, our sad history of voter suppression was demonstrated again recently in Wisconsin where many voters had difficulty obtaining and returning absentee ballots, or waited for hours in long lines at the few polling sites that were open, risking their health and lives.

Funding reforms on a national level will cost about $4 billion, including money for the U.S. Postal Service to handle increased absentee ballot applications and mailed-in ballots.

Please call U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and tell them to include this funding in the next feral recovery bill to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots.

Sue Ellen Dodell
Elizabeth Cooke-Levy

The authors represent Riverdale Huddle, which includes Dale Wolff, Julie Marcus, Carol Radel, Sarah Hughes, Ruth Mullen, Helen Krim, Judith Minkoff-Grey, Ellen Chapnick, Annemarie Golden.

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