Gov. Kathy Hochul said she’ll make no-questions-asked mail voting a top priority in 2022 – even though voters rejected that proposal just last month.
“I want New York State to be a leader, we have not been a leader in the past. We have made it too hard to vote…I believe that everyone should be able to vote by mail,” she told reporters in Albany Thursday.
“I’ll be working with all my partners to come up with a very bold and ambitious plan to make sure New Yorkers have the right.”
Voters rejected a constitutional amendment on the November election ballot that would have permitted a permanent, universal vote-by-mail option for all registered voters.
Hochul also promised the state would provide financial backing to help local boards of elections with the changes.
“If there’s money required behind it…to the extent that we’ll be asking our boards of elections to do more, or undertake more costs, I believe that the state of New York should have a strong role in that, so that’s being worked out as well,” she said.
Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last year ahead of the 2020 presidential election that temporarily allowed all voters in the state to cast an absentee ballot, citing fear of contracting COVID-19 as a legitimate concern.
But the crush of mail-in ballots also overwhelmed the US Postal Service and New York City’s Board of Elections during last year’s June primaries, sparking calls for a return to in-person voting.
State Senate GOP Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-Lockport) told The Post he opposes Hochul’s plan, as the provision was already shot down – predominately in Upstate counties – in November.
“When voters speak, public officials at all levels must listen. Last month, New Yorkers spoke out in support of election integrity and overwhelmingly rejected Albany’s ‘no excuse’ vote by mail scheme. I stand with the people of the state in opposing this effort,” he told The Post.
State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy added: “This is yet another attempt by this Governor to override the will of the people and manipulate future elections for her own gain.”
“Sadly, just like her old boss, Andrew Cuomo, Kathy Hochul cares more about power than people and honest elections. This latest power grab is a step too far and just another reason that she will be defeated in 2022,” Langworthy said.
Another ballot proposal defeated in November would have allowed same-day voter registration.
Hochul is expected to unveil a roadmap of her top priorities during her 2022 State of the State address in the Assembly Chamber in Albany on Jan. 5.