By Joe Kuhn
Tuesday, Feb 16, marks the last day that on the fence New Yorkers will be able to register for a different political party. On Monday Governor Cuomo announced that he signed Executive Order 202.94 extending the enrollment period for voters to make changes to their party enrollment by two days, creating statewide policy that ensures voters can take advantage of this option even though the deadline this year was last Sunday. This change is necessary to ensure that Boards of Election have adequate time to process these voter-requested changes considering many Boards are short-staffed and operating with reduced density due to the pandemic. The change will go into effect immediately.
“The right to vote is one of the sacred pillars of our democracy, and as we continue to fight the war on Covid, we can’t put democracy on hold,” said Cuomo. “We are extending the period for voters to change their party enrollment until Tuesday, February 16 to help break down more barriers to the ballot box and help ensure everyone has a chance to exercise this fundamental right.”
In 2019, the Governor signed legislation (S.6532A/A.8228B) expediting party enrollment changes to make it easier for voters to participate in primary elections. Previously, changes to party enrollment did not take effect until after the November general election, requiring voters to wait as long as a year for changes to take effect. The new law removed the October 11 deadline and gave voters until February 14 to make changes to party enrollment.