New York Appellate Court To Hear GOP Challenge to Mail-In Voting Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Next week, a New York appellate court will hear a Republican challenge to the state’s new no-excuse mail-in voting law, the New York Early Mail Voter Act

Sponsored by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and signed into law in September 2023, the New York Early Mail Voter Act permits voters to vote by mail during the early voting period. Prior to the law’s implementation, voters in the Empire State were only able to vote absentee if they were going to be absent from the county or New York City or if the voter could not vote in person due to an illness or a physical disability. 

In response to the law’s enactment and furthering their relentless attacks on mail-in voting, the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Congressional Committee , New York Republican State Committee, Conservative Party of New York and other prominent Republicans such as Elise Stefanik, immediately filed a lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality.    

Ahead of oral argument next week, Gianaris told Democracy Docket: “Voting is a fundamental right and the easier we make it to vote, the healthier our democracy will be. Unsurprisingly, this law is being opposed by the usual suspects: those who want to infringe on voters’ constitutional rights.”

Republicans argue that the new mail-in voting law violates the New York Constitution because the state constitution lists two categories of voters who can vote using absentee ballots and now the new law applies to voters outside of those two groups. 

The trial court dismissed the lawsuit in February after finding that Republicans “failed to meet their heavy burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the Early Mail Voter Act is unconstitutional under the NY Constitution.” Republicans quickly appealed that decision to an appellate court, which will determine if the case can continue. 

“Much like legal challenges in other states, I am confident our law will remain in effect,” Gianaris added. “I am proud of what we have accomplished in New York, and will continue to build on the important work of expanding access to the ballot box.”

This lawsuit is one of many filed by anti-voting forces ahead of the 2024 elections. Currently, the RNC and its Republican affiliates are involved in 26 anti-voting lawsuits, 11 of which target mail-in voting. 

Learn more about the case here.