An executive order signed Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is meant to expand absentee ballot access as local election boards brace for millions of votes cast through the mail this election season. 

The order requires county elections officials to send a mailing outlining the deadline for voters by Sept. 8. Elections officials are also required to send staffing plans and needs to the state Board of Elections by Sept. 20 in order to provide enough coverage. 

And local boards are being tasked with adopting a uniform and clarified envelope for absentee ballot. Votes would be counted faster as well, with objections to be made by the county board in real time and reconcile absentee with affidavit votes within 48 hours. 

"This election is going to be one of the most critical in modern history," Cuomo said.

"It will be controversial. You already hear the statements questioning the vote, and the accuracy of the vote, and mail-in ballots. We want to make sure that every vote is counted; every voice is heard and that it's fair and right and accurate," Governor Cuomo said. "I'm issuing today's executive order because we want boards of elections to count votes efficiently and we want them to get it right, but we want it done in a timely manner. We don't want to hear after-the-fact excuses."

Cuomo last week approved a package of laws that were also meant to expand absentee voting in New York amid a pandemic. Elections officials expect milions more absentee votes to be cast for the general election than in previous years.