Modified: February 14, 2019 12:29pm
During last Thursday’s January 17, 2019 session, Erie County Legislator Ed Rath introduced a resolution urging New York State to allow public input regarding the recently approved series of state Election Law reforms.
The changes will require polling sites to be open from ten to two days before Election Day to allow for early voting, pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds, matching federal and state election primary days, and closing an LLC loophole in campaign finance regulations. Potential changes could also include same-day voting and the opportunity to vote by mail. However, the costs associated with these measures are not included in the state budget and are anticipated to be placed on Erie County. According to the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), in a statement released following passage of the measures, which can be found here, under a two percent property tax cap, counties will not be able to afford these additional mandated costs.
Legislator Rath said, “This is a bad process that was poorly executed by New York State. My primary concern is not focused on the merits of these changes; right now I am very troubled by the fiscal implications for Erie County. Our local taxpayers will have to foot the bill for costs associated with these new requirements. Sadly, Western New York did not have a voice in this process.”
Legislator Lynne Dixon said, “These changes will have a dramatic impact on our board of elections, local polling places and elections inspectors. This was pushed through the pipeline without considering any input from anywhere north of New York City. Sweeping changes like this should not be made without hearing the concerns of those affected.”
“Legislator Joe Lorigo said, “This package of reforms was rushed through without careful thought or consideration. It is especially frustrating that Erie County will now be faced with another unfunded mandate from New York State. I urge our state leadership to start listening to the voices of Western and Upstate New Yorkers, not just their own downstate interests.”
Legislator John Mills said, “The series of elections reforms that were recently rushed through give no consideration to Western New York. These changes will place enormous costs on our community in the form of unfunded mandates, which could total up to 1 million dollars for Erie County per year. Our resolution sends a message to New York State that we are tired of their disregard for Western New York voices.”
A copy of the resolution can be found here.