August 29, 2019
CONTACT: Freeman Klopott

New York State Division of the Budget Announces Approval of $10 million to Support Early Voting

The New York State Division of the Budget announced today the approval of the State Board of Election’s plan to distribute $10 million to support early voting stations across the State. The funding was part of the State’s FY 2020 Budget, and required that the State Budget Director approve the allocation plan.

“There was never any question that the full $10 million to support early voting would be made available, and the full amount has been approved today,” said New York State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica Jr. “We look forward to the expanded access to the polls that early voting will provide voters this fall.”  

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo included early voting in his 2019 Justice Agenda as part of a larger package of proposals to bring New York State’s voting laws into the 21st Century. Early voting was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in January along with other measures the Governor promoted in the Justice Agenda, including synchronizing federal and state primary elections, allowing voter preregistration for teenagers, providing voter registration portability with the state, and closing the LLC loophole. The enacted FY 2020 Budget built upon these reforms to include mandating three hours of paid time off for all New Yorkers to vote on Election Day, enacting online voter registration, $14.7 million in funding for e-poll books, and expanding upstate voting hours to begin at 6:00 am.

The Budget also included the $10 million to reimburse counties for early voting operations with the plan for distributing it fully approved today. The early voting law requires every county in the State to provide voting stations eight days before the election starting this fall. The law requires at least one early voting station in every county for every 50,000 registered voters, though they do not need to have more seven. The State Board of Elections determined the cost for each station to be $15,000 and the plan funds the minimum number required along with additional stations above the requirement as requested by the counties. The remaining funds were distributed based on the number of voters.  

Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties, said, “Voting is one of the most important rights and responsibilities of Americans, enabling citizens to have a voice in their government and engage in the democratic process of electing our local, state, and federal representatives. The election reforms approved by Governor Cuomo this year, including early voting, will provide greater access to New Yorkers as they head to the polls. As counties gear up to open early voting sites in just under 60 days, we are grateful to New York State and Budget Director Mujica for approving vital funding for early voting implementation costs. These state resources are necessary to ensure smooth and accessible elections in communities across the state.”