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CNY state senators advance election reform legislation

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media

The Democratic State Senate majority passed voting and board of election reform legislation this week. Central New York state Senators Rachel May and John Mannion both sponsored legislation related to voter reform.

May's legislation includes portable polling locations for early voting aimed at increasing accessibility to the polls.

"My bill on portable polling places or pop-up polling places allows a board of elections to put a polling place where the people are, where the voters are, who might want to use them for a few days during early voting," May said.

May also introduced legislation that would allow the removal of an election commissioner for incompetence or misconduct.

Mannion, who won his election in November by just 10 votes, is also focused on election commissioners. One bill would require election commissioners to meet certain qualifications before their appointment.

"My legislation will ensure that only qualified and capable people assume these jobs," Mannion said. "People with the right experience, the right background and the right balance."

The other item requires a minimum of four full-time employees in addition to two commissioners in every board of elections. An additional two full-time employees per every 20,000 voters is needed for board of elections with more than 40,000 voters.

"These reforms will help to strengthen the integrity and fairness of our elections and will give voters the confidence that their votes are being counted accurately and fairly, just as they were in my race."

Other election reform legislation passed by the Senate makes voter suppression a criminal offense, expands absentee ballot drop-off locations and supports a pay raise for poll workers.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.