Today, a settlement agreement for the November election has been reached between attorneys representing New York voters and state attorneys with the New York State Board of Elections and Office of the New York Attorney General, addressing issues brought by Selendy & Gay and Campaign Legal Center (CLC) in their July case over the process by which the state counts absentee ballots. The League of Women Voters of New York State and an individual, Carmelina Palmer, are plaintiffs in the case.
Terms of the settlement specify how voters will be contacted if their ballot is rejected and how they can fix the problem. The state has expanded who will benefit from this “cure” process to include other types of errors beyond their signature, including defects with their envelope. It will also, for the first time, provide a clear list of technical issues – such as use of pencil or extraneous marks on the ballot – that do not trigger ballot rejection and do not require any further voter action. Counties had previously used many of these reasons to disqualify ballots, leading to alarming ballot rejection rates, including in this year’s primary elections. More than 84,000 ballots were rejected in New York City alone. The settlement builds off the suite of voter protections addressed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature in August.