At the end of September, after Gov. Kathy Hochul enacted the New York Early Mail Voter Act — an expansive voting law that allows all registered voters to vote by mail during the early voting period — the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and other Republicans challenged the law just hours later. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Democratic representatives and New York voters all intervened to defend the law.
Prior to the law’s enactment, voters could only vote by mail 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. The GOP plaintiffs argued 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.
Today, the trial court dismissed the lawsuit after finding that the Republican plaintiffs “failed to meet their heavy burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the Early Mail Voter Act is unconstitutional under the NY Constitution.” This is a major victory for New York voters as the court unequivocally confirmed that the Early Mail Voter Act is constitutional.
Across the country, Republicans have relentlessly attacked mail-in voting inside and outside the courtroom since 2020. Today’s order ends yet another one of Republicans’ attempts to curtail the democratic process just in time for a special election. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District will vote for a new representative to fill the vacancy left by expelled Rep. George Santos (R). New Yorkers can vote early from Feb. 3 until Feb. 11.