New York Senate Passes Package of Pro-Voting Bills

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Less than a week after gaveling into its legislative session, the New York Senate is already taking action to defend democracy, passing a slate of bills improving election administration and expanding voting rights.

The package of legislation, which passed the state Senate on Monday, would, among other changes:

  • Authorize local boards of elections to implement drop boxes in order for residents to return their mail-in ballots,
  • Expand “line warming” activities for voters waiting in line or in a polling place, which include providing food and water of “nominal value,”
  • Create the New York Voting and Elections Database and Institute to provide information about voting and elections,
  • Allow local boards of elections to establish portable polling locations for early voting and
  • Make deceptive practices that prevent or deter an individual from voting, or suppress or attempt to suppress the vote, a misdemeanor offense.

The bills, which Republicans in the Senate have spoken out against, now head to the state Assembly for consideration. Similar measures have previously stalled in the Democratic-controlled Assembly. Last fall, the New York Legislature passed a package of 10 bills expanding voting rights and protecting democracy, which Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed into law.

Track the status of the bills here.