Increasing the amount of time to request an absentee ballot, counting those ballots as soon as they arrive and expanding early voting hours will be part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2021 agenda, he said on Friday.
"At a time when the Trump administration seeks to strip Americans of their voting rights, we did see a lot of concern during election time," Cuomo said. "We want New York to be a champion of voting rights."
The measure will increase the time voters can apply for an absentee ballot from 30 days to 45 days. Absentee ballots will be counted and processed as soon as they arrive to county boards of election. And Cuomo wants to extend to early voting hours in New York amid high turnout in 2020.
"It worked well; extend it," Cuomo said.
New York greatly expanded access to absentee balloting this year amid the pandemic, essentially giving voters the ability to request one without the excuses written in law.
Sen. Mike Gianaris, the deputy leader of the Democratic conference in the state Senate, backs the absentee ballot processing provision in previously introduced legislation.
"As our Democratic supermajority continues to reform the way elections are run, fixing our latest-in-the-nation vote counting status will go a long way towards restoring faith in election results," he said Friday in a statement. "I am proud to have authored this important legislation so we are never again still counting votes into the new year."
Cuomo delivers his State of the State address on Monday.