READER’S LETTER: The Right to Vote, Guaranteed Only for Some

To the Editor,

In our democracy, all citizens have an equal right to vote. This right is guaranteed, but that guarantee is pointless unless we have an equal chance to use it. Many New Yorkers don’t get that chance.

Early voting will give many more New Yorkers the opportunity to use their Constitutional right.

Thirty seven other states allow early voting. People can vote as much as a month before election day in these 37 states. They can vote on weekend days or in the evening, at their convenience. Lines are not hours long. People can vote quickly, reading and understanding the ballot, not waiting in line.

Our lives are subject to many time and place restrictions, but New Yorkers must show up at only their assigned polling place near home (not work) on one particular Tuesday. Not so for people in 37 other states.

Let NY Vote asks the New York legislature to pass early voting legislation that includes opening a polling place in every county (many in very large or very populous counties) with hours during the two weekends and evenings a week or two before the election.

Some New York counties resist this plan because it would add to their already tight election budget. The Governor proposed early voting and funds for it in his 2018 budget, but that proposal was dropped during negotiations. We need the Assembly and the Senate to pass state-funded early voting. No more negotiating it away!

Kathy Walters
Rockland CAN (Citizens Action Network)
Nyack

&

Catherine Ray
Ossining