With Primary Election Day less than a week away, a bill is heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk that would authorize drop boxes for absentee ballots.

Supporters say it will increase access to voting, but opponents say they are concerned it will encourage voter fraud.

Co-sponsor state Assemblymember Tony Simone told Spectrum News 1 that in each election, thousands of votes aren’t counted because of issues stemming from absentee ballots.

“Because they were either late, or the postage was incorrect, or folks didn’t make it to their Board of Elections to drop it off,” he said.

He said drop boxes would remove some of those obstacles.

“I feel like we want to make this as easy as possible,” he said.

The boxes would only be used for absentee ballots, and they would be optional for each county Board of Elections to decide whether or not to use.

Simone argued that especially in an election year, getting out the vote, regardless of party, is crucial.

“It increases access to democracy. I would hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are for democracy, we want to make sure everyone has every chance to vote in the easiest way possible,” he said.

Across the aisle, state Sen. George Borrello has another take.

“There’s this talking point for Democrats that everybody has to vote. We’ve got to make sure everybody votes’ and that’s just not the case,” he said. “It’s still a free country. If you choose not to vote, then don’t vote. I think it’s your civic duty, I think you should vote.”

Instead, he said that making it easier to vote isn’t worth what he described as an increased opportunity for fraud.

Even if there isn’t fraud, and there isn’t evidence that widespread fraud related to drop boxes elsewhere has taken place, he stressed that the perception there could be issues takes a toll.

“It undermines the foundation of our republic, and it’s not something that makes for a healthy representative democracy,” he said.

Republicans have played a role in discouraging their voters from utilizing early and absentee voting, and they have played a role in keeping the topic of voter fraud and election integrity in the news. Borrello acknowledges that if the bill is signed, an unintended consequence is that the GOP will be at a disadvantage over Democrats if those anxieties persist.

“Republicans say on Election Day, do the patriotic thing and vote on Election Day, but we have to essentially play the same game,” he said.

Simone argues those concerns about fraud are unfounded.

“There’s little evidence of fraud,” he said. “California has a whole security plan we can model that each board of elections has to adopt, there’s video cameras, there’s a mail box structure, we can’t get into our mailbox right?” he said. “It has to be picked up by Election Day."

The bill would go into effect immediately if it is signed by Gov. Hochul