New York State will allow most voters to cast their ballots by mail in the November general election, joining a growing list of states that have expanded mail-in voting to address the potential spread of the coronavirus at polling places.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, signed a bill on Thursday allowing voters to request an absentee ballot if they cannot show up at a polling location because of the risk of contracting or spreading an illness, effectively permitting the state’s more than 12 million registered voters to vote by mail.
But with only 10 weeks until Election Day, the challenges of administering an election predominantly by mail will be especially pronounced in New York, following the state’s uneven handling of its primary just two months ago.
Nearly 40 percent of voters cast mail-in ballots in the state’s June 23 primary — when an executive order authorized wider use of voting by mail — compared with as few as 4 percent in previous elections. The surge overwhelmed election officials and resulted in a weekslong delay for results in many races.