By: Joe Kuhn
Rockland United, “a community of progressive activists” operating here in the county, gathered on Nyack’s Main Street last Wednesday to protest any attempt to block the counting of absentee ballots. The group expressed apprehension that both President Donald Trump and several candidates for state office had called for election officials to stop processing mail-in votes earlier that day.
“Our democracy depends on fair and just elections – which includes counting every ballot in every state across the country,” says Michelle Lockett of Rockland United. “As we saw in the primaries, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a large number of absentee ballots, and we must ensure everyone’s voice is heard here in Rockland and across the nation.”
The demonstration was organized after Republican candidates Mike Lawler (for Assembly District 97) and Bill Weber (running for State Senate District 38) each filed a suit with Rockland’s Supreme Court which could potentially block the counting of absentee votes. Both Lawler and Weber are currently projected to win their respective races.
In response, Rockland United, partnering with other local activists, rallied at Hezekiah Easter Park to demand that “every vote is counted in the 2020 Election – at the local and national level.” There were more than 40,000 requested absentee ballots in Rockland County this election, and nearly 30,000 had been returned by Sunday. Ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 can arrive by mail until Nov. 10th.
“We cannot allow any winner to be determined in all ballot races without every vote in our county, state and nation counted,” says Gina Ironside of Rockland Citizens Action Network. “Today, we rally to stand for our democracy and stand with fellow citizens across the state and country.”
On Monday State Senator David Carlucci announced that he plans to introduce legislation to require absentee ballots to be counted as they come in during the next election. He hopes that the measure “will ensure New Yorkers know the winners of Election Day much sooner.”