New York Voter Reforms 2019

New York state lawmakers approved several election law reforms intended to make it easier to vote in January of 2019. Here's what you need to know about the status and implication of these reforms.

Reforms passed

Early voting

Effective Nov. 2019 — In-person voting opportunities will now be available in the ten days before primary and general elections, including some weekend and evening hours. 

Counties are now working to secure adequate funding to initiate this process and determine where early voting sites will be placed.

Universal in-state transfer of registration

Effective March 2019 — Voter registration records will be more easily transferred throughout New York State when residents move within the state state. Political party affiliation will be retained for those who move.

Registered voters who move should notify their new board of elections. Those who move and are unable to notify their board of elections in time will be able to file an affidavit ballot at their new poll site.

Primary consolidation

Effective Jan. 2019 — State and local primary elections will now take place on the fourth Tuesday in June with federal primaries.

Voters can expect more information about state races earlier in the year and should be prepared to vote on multiple positions on their June primary ballots.

Pre-registration for minors

Effective Jan. 2020 — 16- and 17-year-olds can preregister to vote, with voting rights beginning automatically on 18th birthday.

High schools and youth groups can now undertake voter registration drives.

LLC loophole closure

Effective Jan. 2019 — LLCs are now treated as corporations, subject to an aggregate limit on corporate campaign contributions.

Individuals cannot expect to have undue influence on an election by creating multiple LLCs that can donate vast sums to candidates.

Reforms awaiting further action

No excuse absentee ballots

Effective 2022 at the earliest — Would effectively enact a Vote By Mail system. Needs constitutional amendment; requires passage by next legislature and statewide voter referendum.

Same-day voter registration 

Effective 2022 at the earliest — Would enable new registrations on Election Day. Needs constitutional amendment; requires passage by next legislature and statewide voter referendum.