Republicans in the state Senate on Thursday made a push for a package of measures that include voter identification proposals, the repeal of public financing of political campaigns, and an expedited process for striking deceased voters from the rolls.
The measures are unlikely to become law, given Democratic control of the governor's office and the legislature. But the proposals come amid baseless claims made by President Donald Trump that the upcoming election could be mired in widespread fraud, costing him a second term.
“Voting is an important right, and one that we must secure and protect against any potential fraud," Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt said. "That we are seeing so many problems arise due to the unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots is worrisome, and stories about cash-for-ballot harvesting in Minnesota must be taken seriously. Every citizen’s vote should count and we have a duty to ensure the integrity of this process."
New York's election season so far has not been without its problems. In Brooklyn, nearly 100,000 voters were sent misprinted absentee ballots.
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday acknowledged this could fuel the president's unsubstantiated claims that the election will be stolen from him this year. And he knocked the New York City Board of Elections for the ballot problems.
"Frankly the New York City Board of Elections has a history of less-than-stellar performances," Cuomo said.
The bills backed by Republicans in the state would require photo identification for voters. Another measure is designed to prevent undocumented immigrants from voting illegally by requiring any application to vote made be through applying for a driver's license, and including a Social Security number.
Additionally, Republicans want to reverse the coming statewide system of publicly financed campaigns. They seek to redirect the money to aid elections officials with expenses for personal protective equipment, poll worker wages, pre-paid postage for absentee ballots, and other measures to smooth absentee voting.
“Our vote is our voice and now, more than ever, it is critical that each of our voices are heard,” said Senator Patty Ritchie.
“Not only will these measures help to protect the integrity of the voting process, one of the bills I sponsor will ensure local governments—that are struggling in the wake of an economic shutdown—receive the support they need to comply with election-related unfunded mandates handed down by Albany,” said Ritchie.