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State Sen. Gianaris Introduces Bill to Speed Up Counting of Absentee Ballots

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (Sen. Michael Gianaris/ Flickr)

Nov. 10, 2020 By Allie Griffin

State Sen. Michael Gianaris introduced a bill Monday that would speed up the counting of absentee ballots in New York State to ensure elections are called quickly.

The bill would require local boards of elections across the state to begin tallying absentee ballots on Election Day as opposed to starting the count almost a week later.

Gianaris introduced the bill as several local elections have still yet to be called. More than 1.5 million absentee ballots were cast across the state in the Nov. 3 general election and counting only began yesterday.

The current law requires local boards to wait about a week before counting absentee votes.

The NYC Board of Elections, which started its count today, is expected to take days or even weeks to complete the count. Many tight races hang in the balance and will not be called for weeks as a result.

Gianaris denounced the delay.

“There is no good excuse for election results to continue to be up in the air weeks and months after people have already cast their votes,” he said in a statement. “Our Senate Majority will continue to do the work of improving our election processes to ensure everyone has easy access to the ballot and election results are clear and timely.”

Gianaris’ bill would require local board of elections to start counting absentee ballots three hours before polls close on Election Day. It would also require local boards to examine absentee ballot envelopes for validity as they are received.

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