In the past, the state offered absentee voting to make it easier for military members, travelers, and shut-ins who were unable to reach the polls. A voter could not change their minds and show up to the polls after receiving one of these ballots; proof of the cause for the absence was required in order to get one of these ballots.
No-Excuse Absentee Voting was suggested as a constitutional amendment in New York last year. New York Proposal 4 was defeated in 2021 with 55.03% of voters rejecting it to the proposal’s 44.97% supporters.
However, using the epidemic as justification, New York lawmakers then passed a rule allowing voters to cast their ballots by mail if they were worried about picking up COVID-19 by casting their ballots in person. At the conclusion of this year, that increase of absentee balloting is scheduled to expire.
As no judge issued a decision on the subject, the legislature took the independent choice to alter voting processes in a way that would affect the validity of votes.
Since the results of the most recent election, this has been the subject of litigation since Republicans and the Conservative Party opposed to it.
A state judge in New York made a decision regarding the voting on Friday.
In a decision that Republican and Conservative Party leaders celebrated as a victory for fair elections, the judge ruled that permitting New Yorkers to vote via mail in fear of COVID-19 is unconstitutional.
Local election boards were instructed to stop counting absentee ballots they had previously received on Election Day, according to a 28-page opinion by Saratoga County Supreme Court Justice Dianne Freestone, as any ballots cast by absentee before that date should have already been counted.
Instead, until until Election Day or the outcome of a current lawsuit brought by state and regional GOP and Conservative Party leaders, officials must “preserve” the late votes.
The judge only invalidated the counting of absentee ballots that were cast after the time limit set aside for them to be in.
The judge added that a higher court, not the legislature, should have the authority to apply COVID as a justification for voting by mail.
Immediately after the judge’s ruling, Democratic leaders filed a notification indicating that they would appeal.
Republican candidate for the 48th state Senate seat and main plaintiff in the case Rich Amedure is prepared to take the battle all the way to the state’s highest Court of Appeals.
“I’m confident the ruling will be upheld in the higher courts,” Amendure declared. “We’re asking for common-sense solutions. We’re not asking for any detailed nuanced interpretation of the law, so we think that our position is reasonable and sound.”
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
In her ruling, Freestone said that the Democrat-controlled Legislature “appears poised to continue the expanded absentee voting provisions of New York State Election Law … in an Orwellian perpetual state of health emergency and cloaked in the veneer of ‘voter enfranchisement.’”
Rejecting arguments made by a lawyer for the state Board of Elections at a hearing earlier this month, Freestone said that “there are uncounted reasons for this Court to second-guess the wisdom of the Legislature.”
But her decision could lead to the overturning of a state law that blocks people from changing their mail-in votes by showing up to cast in-person ballots on Election Day. CONTINUE READING…