May 17, 2023

Institute for Responsive Government Applauds New York Leaders for $58 Million Investment in Election Infrastructure

New York — The Institute for Responsive Government released a statement applauding Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Governor Kathy Hochul for funding in the state budget to invest in local election departments.

“This budget shows that leadership in Albany understands that elections cannot be truly accessible without regular, ongoing investments in equipment and technology,” said Sam-Oliker-Friedland, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsive Government. “With funding for technology upgrades and an ongoing commitment to support voting by mail, New York is taking an important step forward to support local election officials. I’m grateful for the leadership of Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie and Governor Hochul  for getting this funding across the finish line.”

“As the level of government tasked with implementing so many of our state’s laws and programs, New York’s counties applaud the Governor and State Legislature for providing our local Boards of Election with the resources they need to ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to participate in our democracy,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario. “The investments contained in this year’s budget will be critical to ensuring county election officials can meet new challenges, guard against cyber threats, and keep our elections secure, efficient, and accessible to all voters.”

The budget includes the following investments:

$15 million to local Boards of Elections for technology upgrades and equipment. These funds can be used to replace voting machines, absentee ballot scanners, mail equipment and security upgrades.

$4 million – in annual funding to reimburse local boards of elections for vote by mail expenses, such as costs related to providing pre-paid return postage on absentee ballots and applications.

The budget also carries over funding from last year to support local election departments, including $743,000 for e-poll books, $24 million for software and technology upgrades at the state and local level, and $15 million in matching funds for Help America Vote Act grants.

Responsive Governing gave New York a “B” on its election scorecard last year, noting that the state’s refusal to enact same-day registration and no-excuse vote by mail provisions was holding it back from a top-tier grade.