County cautious on voting plan

Published Jan 10, 2017 at 4:10pm

Early voting and same-day registration would be required in Oneida County and elsewhere in the state in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s latest push to expand voting by New Yorkers.

Counties would have to provide at least one day of polling during the 12 days leading up to an election, under the proposal. Additionally, the Democrat wants one polling location for every 50,000 residents, open at least eight hours a day on weekdays and five hours on weekends.

With about 232,500 people, that means Oneida County would have to operate at least four polling sites. New York is one of only 13 states that does not allow early voting.

Besides early voting, Cuomo’s proposal also includes plans for same-day registration and automatic voter registration.

Oneida County’s election commissioners, Rose Marie Grimaldi and Jordan S. Karp, say they are withholding comment until they know more about what’s being proposed.

“These are broad strokes right now,” said Karp.

Grimaldi said there are election law considerations and budget implications that will have to be assessed.

Cuomo is highlighting his “Project Democracy” voting plan in his State of the State speech this week. The governor delivered the first of six addresses in New York City on Monday. He will give his Central New York version Wednesday in Syracuse.

Residents would also be able to register to vote on Election Day itself, instead of having to meet deadlines well in advance.

New Yorkers would automatically be registered to vote when they apply for an ID at the DMV, and would have to check an opt out box if they don’t want to register.

More on the governor’s proposals in his traveling State of the State speeches, see page 8.