New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Signs Package of Voting Rights Laws

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed a package of 10 bills into law that expand voting rights and promote democracy in the state. 

At the press conference ahead of the signing, Hochul recalled the historic fight for the right to vote, lauding “the ordinary people who did extraordinary things” to gain access to the ballot box. 

Hochul signs voting rights bill package at a press conference on Sept. 20, 2023.
Hochul signs voting rights bill package at a press conference on Sept. 20, 2023.

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D), who championed the bills in the Senate, argued that “it should be a fundamental principle of democracy that the more people vote, the better it is.” Embracing that sentiment, New York is now the 36th state to allow all voters the option to vote by mail. 

The bills signed today will:

  • Permit voters to vote by mail during the early voting period (also called the Early Mail Voter Act),
  • 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 and
  • Establish a 48-hour deadline to change early voting polling locations unless there is a disaster or state of emergency.

On the more administrative side, one of the bills signed today schedules the presidential primary for April 2, 2024. 

Legal challenges are expected regarding the Early Mail Voter Act as voters rejected a constitutional amendment with similar provisions in 2021.   

Read more about the Early Mail Voter Act here.

Watch Hochul’s bill signing here.