The New York State League has successfully settled our lawsuit to allow voters to address and correct issues with their absentee ballots. New York voters will also now be protected from having their ballots thrown out for small technical issues.
Under the League’s settlement, voters will no longer have their ballot invalidated if they complete their ballot in non black or blue ink, mark outside the designated areas, or seal the inner ballot envelope, also called an affirmation envelope, with tape or other sealing agent.
Voters will now also have the opportunity to correct issues with their affirmation signature and witness declaration including:
1. if the affirmation envelope is unsigned;
2. if the affirmation ballot envelope signature does not match the voter’s registration signature;
3. if the affirmation envelope does not have the required witness signature for voters who had assistance completing their ballot;
4. if the ballot is returned without an affirmation envelope in the return envelope;
5. if the affirmation envelope is signed by the person that has provided assistance to the voter but is not signed or marked by the voter him/herself; or
6. if the voter has failed to sign the affirmation envelope and someone else has signed the affirmation.
For this election, voters will be given five to seven days (depending on the date of receipt of the ballot) to verify their identity and fix any problems with their ballot after being notified by the Board of Elections. The settlement specifies that the Board must contact voters by phone, email or mail. Voters can resolve any issues raised by the Board by returning a cure affirmation form and providing their name, date of birth, and voter registration address to affirm their identity.
These new changes are above and beyond the policy change that was passed by the legislature last month. With these additional protections, voters will not have to worry about their ballots being invalidated for small errors and will have the opportunity to ensure their ballot will not be rejected if there are issues with their signature.
Visit the League of Women’s Voters of New York State’s website for all the info you need to make sure you are ready to vote. Please consider making a donation to the League so that they can educate voters on these new changes.