Last year, 13,800 voters showed up to the wrong polling place in their county and their ballots were disqualified.
Now, state lawmakers want to do so something to solve the problem known as "wrong church, wrong pew" voting when filling out an affidavit ballot.
General election data gathered by the group VoteEarlyNY released on Monday found 13,800 ballots were disqualified after voters appeared at the wrong polling site. This translates to a heavy percentage of affidavit ballots being rejected: 32.4% in Erie County, 22.8% in Dutchess County and 21.2% in Ulster County, the group's research found.
New York's election law requires these ballots to be fully disqualified, including for state elections that all voters participate in, like the presidential, senatorial or gubernatorial elections. Voting in the right county, but wrong polling site accounts for the main reason why affidavit ballots are rejected in New York.
The Senate Election Committee on Monday advanced a bill meant to address the issue. The proposal is aimed at ensuring ballots are still counted for all the offices or ballot questions they are eligible to vote for, as long as they are in the right polling site in their county.
Other states, including California, have similar laws on the books.
"The 2020 data confirms what has been reported anecdotally for years," said VoteEarlyNY Co-Founder and Voting Rights Counsel Jarret Berg, "That each election thousands of legitimate voters have their ballots tossed and their right to vote fully and needlessly frustrated. Against this backdrop, a modern safeguard that counts the eligible votes on ballots cast by registered New Yorkers, rather than entirely discounting them, will improve due process and significantly reduce the disenfranchisement of eligible voters, ensuring more accurate election results."