State BOE extends deadline for absentee ballot applications
Despite damage from Sandy, Election Day will still take place in four days. The state Board of Elections is figuring out how many polling places in New York City and Long Island will have to be rearranged. They're also trying it make it easier for people who need to vote by absentee ballot. The move is drawing some rare praise for them. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has the story.
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With only four days to go before Election Day and as downstate continues to reel from the destruction of Superstorm Sandy, the state Board of Elections is extending its deadline for absentee ballot applications to Friday -- a full two days extra time.
State Board of Elections Spokesman John Conklin said, "The board met in an emergency session and felt it was necessary to allow extra time for voters to get an absentee application in."
The announcement of the extended deadline for absentee ballots is drawing praise from good-government groups who normally critical of the state Board of Elections.
League of Women Voters Legislative Director Barbara Bartoletti said, "Here in New York, the Board of Elections appears to have moved quickly."
The deadline extension allows voters to submit an application for an absentee ballot either by mail or by fax. Ballots still must be post marked by Election Day. The extension is in effect statewide, so voters displaced by Sandy can still vote this Tuesday.
Bartoletti said, "This is an important election and this was a devastating storm, but certainly anything that we can do as a league, or the governor's office can do, or that the Board of Elections can do is a very positive step."
And as New York begins to rebuild from the storm, Governor Andrew Cuomo says he expects that basic right all citizens will still be exercised come Tuesday.
"Not at this time," Cuomo said. "It's something that we're keeping an eye on, but not at this time."
Despite the deadline moving to Friday, voters still need to have a reason for why they need an absentee ballot.
Conklin said, "You still have to qualify for the absentee ballots. You have to be out of the county or caring for a sick relative or friend or be in the hospital or something like that."
In addition to the presidential election, New Yorkers are voting in a statewide U.S. Senate race between Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand and Wendy Long, more than half dozen contested races for the House of Representatives and 213 state legislative races.