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New election laws could change the way you vote

Several bills passed in the state are changing election laws.

Posted: Feb. 6, 2019 10:33 PM
Updated: Feb. 6, 2019 10:48 PM

HERKIMER – Several bills passed in the state are changing election laws.

The Herkimer County board of elections held an information session Wednesday to discuss those changes. The changing election laws include:

Early voting: establishes a nine-day early voting period, including two full weekends for voters to vote in person. Counties would have to provide a set number of hours over the course of the nine-day period. This law will go into effect for the 2019 general election in November.

Consolidated primaries: combines the state and local primary with the federal (non-presidential) primary. The two primaries will take place in June. This law will go into effect this year. Dates of petitions have not been certified but tentative dates are:

-Party designating petitions: 2/26/19 first day to get signatures, 4/1-4/4/19 dates for filinf petitions.

-Independent petitions: 4/16/19 first day to get signatures, 5/21-5/28/19 dates for filing petitions.

No excuse absentee ballot: The current laws only provide absentee ballots to voters that expects to be absent on election day, or is unable to get to the polls because of physical illness or disability. An amendment to the New York State constitution included in this legislative package would continue expanding accessibility to the polls to allow no excuse absentee voting. This would be a state constitutional amendment. In order to go into effect, it will have to go on the state ballot no earlier than November 2021.

Election day registration (Same day registration): This will allow New Yorkers to register to vote on Election Day. This is also a constitutional amendment and will not be on the ballot until November 2021.

Automatic registration: This will automatically transfer a voter’s registration when they move within New York State and update their information with the DMV. This law will go into effect 60 days after it is signed into law.

Early registration: This law will allow New York residents that are 16-17 years of age to pre-register to vote. This means upon turning 18, they will already be registered to vote. This law will go into effect January 1, 2020.

LLC Campaign contributions: This will restrict LLC campaign contributions to the same $5,000 aggregate contribution limit that exists for corporations. It would also require the disclosure of all direct and indirect owners of the LLC and that all contributions by an LLC be attributed to each member in proportion to each member’s ownership interests. The bill will go into effect seven days after being signed into law.

Officials with the board of elections say consolidated primaries is the biggest change in laws.

"It just changed the whole political calendar, so everybody has to start getting petitions signed in February where they used to start in like June," said Democratic commisioner Anthony Fumarola. "So it changes, you know the snow, the weather, there's a big impact there."

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