A Golden Day Dawns for New Yorkers Who Will Be Able to Register and Vote on Same Day
by M.C. Millman
The upcoming Golden Day marks a recent change in New York State election law, allowing New Yorkers to register to vote and cast their ballots on the same day beginning with the upcoming elections.
The change in registering and voting rules results from a law signed into practice last December. The new law moved the date when a potential voter could register to ten days before an election instead of the 25 days allotted previously. The new ten-day rule created a day where the voter registration deadline overlaps with the first day of early voting. As such, June 17 will be New York's first Golden Day, which marks the start of early voting and overlaps with the voter registration deadline.
This new law creates confusion rather than creating clarity and a more streamlined and appropriate process. As June 17 looms closer, there is still no clear set of instructions for local election boards to be able to confirm that a voter is eligible to register and that can then go cast a vote. This leaves local elections officials with no choice other than to self-interpret their responsibilities under the new law, and the resultant new policies, as the State Board of Elections and Albany lawmakers haven't communicated clarifications when needed.
There is a bill in the State Legislature that, if passed in time, could create a clear set of procedures for local voting boards to follow on June 17. The proposed solution would utilize the State's existing affidavit ballot procedures which utilize a unique envelope that includes a voter registration form on the outside.
If the Legislature does not pass additional measures to clarify the procedures for the overlapping day next month, local election boards will need to rely on guidance handed down by the State Board of Elections.
But the State election board has not committed to any timeline for sharing that information.
For now, local officials are coming up with their own plans for handling new voters on the upcoming Golden Day. After that, the State Board of Elections has until October 28, the deadline to get the next Golden Day right as that is the day would be voters can register to vote, and it is also the first day of early voting for the November 7 general election.