WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Dec. 6, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed into law S 284, which requires election officials to count provisional ballots cast by eligible voters who voted at the wrong precinct, but within the correct county and assembly district. Previously, New York would reject all ballots cast at incorrect polling locations, one of the factors that has contributed to New York’s exceedingly high ballot rejection rate, the third highest in the nation in 2020.
A lawsuit filed earlier this year challenged this ballot rejection practice, among others, for unconstitutionally burdening and sometimes disenfranchising voters in violation of the First and 14th Amendments and Civil Rights Act of 1964. In denser areas, like New York City, it’s much more likely for voters to show up at unassigned polling locations and, according to the lawsuit’s complaint, voters sometimes receive incorrect information or misleading guidance from officials. This newly-enacted law is a victory for voters and will curtail New York’s unnecessary rejection rules.