Tomorrow’s electoral process just got a little bit easier for people displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Governor Andrew Cuomo acquiesced to pressure from several elected officials and good government groups this evening and signed an executive order allowing anyone registered in a federally-declared disaster area to vote by affidavit ballot or choose from one of several other alternatives.
The press release from the governor’s office:
TO All County Boards:
Governor Cuomo is signing an Executive Order which provides for a voter who is a resident in the federally-declared disaster counties of Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, Westchester and of New York City (which includes Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond) who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy:
1. To vote an affidavit ballot at any poll site in New York State, other than their regular poll site;
2. Every Board of Elections in the State shall transmit the completed affidavit ballot of any voter who resides in one of the above counties to the Board of Elections where such voter is registered to vote to be canvassed;
3. The affidavit ballot can only be canvassed for such contests for which the person was entitled to vote at such election.
County Boards of Elections are directed to use all available means to:
- Provide notice to election inspectors and post the provisions of the Executive Order conspicuously at poll sites in New York State giving instruction on how to implement such Order;
- Instruct poll workers to provide affidavit ballots and guidance to voters; and
- Provide notice and guidance to voters in accordance with this Executive Order that indicates that voters who reside in the counties of Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, or Westchester, or in New York City may receive and complete an affidavit ballot at any polling place in New York State, and that the board of elections of the voter’s residence will count such voter’s vote for any office on such affidavit ballot for which the voter is entitled to vote.
The following information may help you implement the Governor’s Executive Order:
- The ballot will be sorted out when suitcases are returned to boards after the close of polls, and those belonging in any of the declared disaster counties shall be transmit to those county boards. It may be helpful to photocopy/scan for the board’s election files, the affidavit envelopes of voters casting ballots pursuant to this executive order prior to sending the ballots themselves on to the voter’s home county board.
- Before counting such ballots, the county receiving same shall check to ensure the voter did not vote in person or via absentee ballot. The county board shall then cast such ballot with other affidavit and emergency ballots, counting only those votes for contests and questions for which the voter was eligible to vote in their own county
For example, a voter staying with family in Orange County who was displaced from Westchester, would be entitled to vote for statewide contests and Supreme Court (because those 2 counties share a judicial district) and possibly a congressional or state senate contest. A voter who sought refuge further upstate might only be eligible to vote in the statewide contests, as they would share no other offices/contests.