WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Republican members of New York’s congressional delegation, other GOP officials and voters filed a lawsuit challenging New York’s recently enacted New York Early Mail Voter Act.
Earlier today, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed the New York Early Mail Voter Act — which will allow voters to cast a mail-in ballot without an excuse during the pre-existing, nine-day early voting period — into law. Just hours later, Republicans sued seeking to prevent the implementation of the law.
Prior to the law’s passage, voters could only vote absentee if they were going to be absent from their county or city or if the voter could not vote in person due to an illness or a physical disability. The plaintiffs argue that the new mail-in voting law violates the New York Constitution because the state constitution enumerates two classes of voters who can vote using absentee ballots and now, the new law applies to voters outside of those two groups.
The Republican plaintiffs also point to the fact that in 2021, voters rejected a constitutional amendment proposed by the Legislature — which would have allowed no-excuse absentee voting — to argue that the new law was implemented while “ignoring and subverting the will of the People.”
Interestingly, this Republican-sponsored attack on mail-in voting comes less than a month after Republicans released a 30-second video encouraging Republicans to utilize mail-in voting. The ad, released as part of their “Bank Your Vote” campaign, stars prominent figures within the GOP including former President Donald Trump — who avidly attacks the safe and secure voting method — promoting mail-in voting. Now, Republicans are back in court attacking mail-in voting.
In addition to signing the Early Mail Voter Act into law earlier today, Hochul also signed a package of nine other pro-voting laws that:
- Implement same-day voter registration on the first day of early voting,
- Require schools to adopt policies to educate prospective voters before they turn 18,
- Mandate that local correctional facilities share voting information to people upon release,
- Crackdown on faithless electors by requiring presidential electors to vote for the candidates nominated by their party,
- Amend curing standards so that voters do not have to fix their ballots if the envelopes are sealed with tape, paste or any other binding agent and have no indication of tampering,
- Change the legal venues in which election law challenges can be brought,
- Require state boards of election to develop and provide a training curriculum for poll workers,
- Establish a 48-hour deadline to change early voting polling locations unless there is a disaster or state of emergency and
- Schedule the presidential primary for April 2, 2024.