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Advocates call for full-funding of early-voting in budget

Supporters of early voting on Monday urged state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to provide funding for the provision in the final budget agreement.

The Democratic-led Legislature this month approved a bill that would create a system of early voting and Cuomo included the measure in his $175 billion budget proposal as well.

“As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, it’s great to see Governor Cuomo propose a strong voting rights agenda as part of his budget, but counties also need direct funding to execute priorities like early voting,” said Hazel Dukes, President New York NAACP and Rev. Dr Robert M Waterman, Pastor of Antioch Baptist of Brooklyn and President of African American Clergy and Elected Officials. “We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to make accessible, efficient elections more than just a dream for all New Yorkers.”

County governments have also called for the bill to be funded with a direct line item in the budget.

“Early voting is the right public policy for the state of New York and it is good for government to have more citizen engagement in the voting process. However, to avoid another unfunded mandate on local government and to successfully implement voting reforms, it would be helpful for the state to provide appropriate resources to counties, who administer the election system. NYSAC urges our state leaders to fully fund these important voting reforms in the 2019-20 State Budget,” said the New York State Association of Counties in a statement.

Cuomo’s office has said that savings from consolidating the state and federal primaries, as well as collecting sales on out-of-state Internet retail purchases would help pay for the measure.

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