The New York State Elections Commissioner Association, which includes both Genesee County Commissioners, wishes to express our support for Senate Bill #S8015A, which amends election law to further define temporary illness to include the spread or potential spread of a communicable disease during a declared state of emergency.
We support this measure to clarify the temporary illness excuse for absentee ballots under section 8-400 of NYS Election law to include the COVID-19 pandemic and future similar circumstances a valid excuse for requesting an absentee ballot.
Voters should not have to choose between their potential health and their right to cast a ballot. Making this change will allow Boards of Elections the freedom to accept applications for absentee ballots and reduce Election Day population during times of pandemic scares.
We urge the state legislature to pass this bill in this session to provide assurance to voters who want to use this option during the current health crisis. Adoption of this reform now will allow the voters to use this option during the June primaries and possibly the November General Election of 2020.
In Genesee County, Richard Siebert is the Republican Election Commissioner and Lorie Longhany is the Democratic Election Commissioner.
Genesee County Board of Elections is located in County Building One, 15 Main St., Batavia. Phone is (585) 344-2580, ext. 2207.