New York State Says It Can’t Afford Pre-Paid Postage For Absentee Ballots

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CANTON, NY (NCPR) – The ACLU of New York, Common Cause and other advocacy groups are asking New York to mandate pre-paid postage for absentee ballots in the November general election. But the state’s budget office says doing so would require more federal funds.

The Let NY Vote Coalition says pre-paying postage on return envelopes for absentee ballots will reduce obstacles for voters with health risks, who may not want to go out to purchase stamps, and for low-income voters. The chair of the State Senate’s aging committee, Sen. Rachel May, has also expressed her support.

All New York voters are permitted to request absentee ballots for the November general election. Photo: Iab Lucero , Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated pre-paid postage for absentee ballots in the June primaries, which a spokesperson for the New York State Division of the Budget, Freeman Klopott, said was funded with federal dollars.

“[T]he State is facing a $62 billion revenue decline over four years and the funds initially provided by Congress that supported pre-paid envelopes for New York’s primary in June have largely been spent, highlighting once again the need for the Federal government to deliver necessary funding to states.”

Cuomo has issued an executive order requiring county boards of elections to make plans to accept completed ballots at their offices, early voting sites and at polling sites on Election Day, Klopott noted.