More than 1.7 million New Yorkers requested an absentee ballot for this year’s primary, according to the State Board of Elections.
Now compare this to the 2016 presidential primary? Only a little over 150,000 requested absentee ballots for that primary. This high number of course is to be expected with coronavirus concerns and the rule changes surrounding absentee voting. But some people, like Kellie Killup, still have not received their ballots. So what are their options?
“Mine still just hasn’t arrived,” Killup said. “It’s not late, it’s just not here.”
People who received late ballots, they can still mail them in on June 23. But people with missing ballots, their only option is to go and vote in person. And for people like Killup, who is immune-compromised, going to a poll site is not really an option.
“I don’t feel like I’m comfortable risking my health for my right to vote and it kind of stinks to have to decide between the two,” Killup explained. “Do I care more about staying healthy and surviving this election or do I care more about voting in it? So I guess I had to make the choice to stay home and I won’t be allowed to cast a ballot this year.”
Stories of missing or late ballots have been flooding in from around the state. Senator David Carlucci says his district in Rockland County reported a huge delay in ballots being mailed out, with the large majority of them being sent out a little over a week ago.
“The problem with that is that you have places where people did receive their ballot weeks ago, and other people who just received it yesterday or the day before,” Senator Carlucci explained. “So the less time that they have to return their ballot means its less likely that they’ll be able to have their voice heard.”
Carlucci has been asking the Governor to extend the deadline on when people can turn in their ballots to give people more time to vote in these extraneous circumstances.
“I’m hopeful something can be done to accommodate the people that have gotten these ballots extremely late,” Carlucci said.
We reached out to the Board of Elections on this issue and they emailed back saying they understand COVID-19 concerns, and have done their best to make sure polling places are following health and safety guidelines to reduce the risk of infection.