The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and voting should remain a concern for state lawmakers, the good-government group Reinvent Albany said Tuesday in a statement.
The state Legislature has held a joint public hearing on voting on the pandemic. But for elections advocates there are red lights continuing to flash and increasingly little time.
There are 76 days until Election Day on Nov. 3, but voting is going to be taking place days earlier across the country and in New York.
There are several weeks of early voting and there are expected to be a sharp increase in the number of people who are voting by absentee or mail-in ballot.
And the experience of some of the June primaries, where absentee ballot applications late in the process, could hamper the vote.
Reinvent Albany in particular remains concerned over whether state elections officials are up to the task and what changes are needed now.
"The turmoil experienced by some voters cannot be repeated in the general election – an election in which there will be many more voters participating," said John Kaehny, the group's executive director.
"It is clear from your first hearing that the state needs to do much more to support elections – particularly ensuring New Yorkers of their absentee voting option. Moreover, we believe that a deep dive into the institutional workings of the state’s boards of elections system is long overdue. Hearings can help to build a record for needed reforms. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, shining the light of public scrutiny on New York’s too often inadequate elections administration can change behavior for the better. "
Kaehny called for the hearings to be held as soon as next month.
"At a moment when too many leaders are attempting to sow distrust in the nation’s voting systems, New York must serve as a model for elections, not a cautionary tale," he said. "New York state leaders must do everything possible to ensure that voters are informed of their options and can safely and easily exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote on Election Day and in the weeks before."
Local elections officials have said they have learned from the June primary voting experience and are prepared to handle the influx of absentee ballots, plus safely hold an in-person vote.
Results from the elections themselves in many cases should not be expected on the night as voters now have come to expect.