The League of Women Voters of the United States encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public.
The League of Women Voters of Utica-Rome Metro Area serves the people of Utica, Rome, Herkimer and the surrounding areas of Upstate NY.
LWVNYS Urges Governor to Move April Primary
On Monday the League issued the following statement urging Governor Cuomo to consolidate the April 28th presidential primary and special election with the June 23rd state and federal primary.
"As New York faces a major health crisis, we commend Governor Cuomo for taking swift action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Governor has made the difficult but necessary decision to begin temporarily closing large gathering spaces to slow the spread of the virus. The CDC has recommended that for the next 8 weeks groups postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. Within this time frame, New York State is scheduled to hold a presidential primary and special election on April 28th. We urge agencies and elected officials to consolidate the presidential primary and special election with the June state and federal primaries. Postponing the presidential primary election to June will give county boards of elections time to prepare for an increase in absentee ballot requests from high-risk voters, ensure voters do not have to return to poll sites more than is necessary, and save the cost of holding two separate primary elections."
The League's Deputy Director later appeared on Capital Pressroom to talk about the challenges election officials will face if the primaries are not consolidated. You can listen to segment here.
The League also joined Let NY Vote in calling for comprehensive reforms to ensure voters can access the ballot if the primaries are not consolidated. These recommendations include:
* Expanding the availability of vote by mail including streamlining the process for requesting an absentee ballot, allowing any at risk voter to apply for an absentee ballot, and mandating county boards of elections to provide postage prepaid return envelopes;
* Encouraging expansion of early voting locations and operating hours to minimize polling place crowding and waiting times to vote on Election Day;
* Instituting cleaning and preventive measures in line with the CDC Guidance for preventing transmission of COVID-19 at polling places;
* And providing immediate funding to county boards of elections for implementation of emergency measures, including cost of: postage prepaid return envelopes; expanded use and processing of absentee ballots; and, incidentals related to poll site cleanliness and preventative hygiene.
You can read the full list of recommendations here
The League is continuing to advocate for the consolidation of primaries. Although we believe absentee voting should be a option, there are many challenges to operating a mostly vote by mail system. Currently, county boards of elections are not prepared to send out, collect, and count absentee ballots for large numbers of voters. The process of applying for an absentee ballot in New York State is cumbersome, costly, and yields a high rate of error. We believe that in person voting should continue to be an option.