On Dec. 10, 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed two pieces of legislation designed to modernize New York’s voting laws and increase voter participation. One law seeks to ensure that “absentee ballots match ballots used to vote in the district on Election Day” (S.3135/A.2687) and the second seeks to ensure “that the new, simpliﬁed absentee ballot applications created in 2010 are used in school district elections” (S.2038A/A.1922).
But there is a problem. Although the Legislature amended Education Law Section 2018-a, which applies to districts that require each voter to register in advance of election day (a system called personal registration), it failed to modify Education Law Section 2018-b, which applies to districts that allow voters to register at polling sites on the day of an election (called poll registration).
District clerks must be aware of the distinction between a system of personal registration and a system of poll registration, in order to ensure that the appropriate form of absentee ballot application is issued. (If your district clerk is unsure of what method of registration is used in your district, consult with your school attorney.)