September 20, 2023

STATEMENT: A “Significant Step Forward for New Yorkers” — Institute for Responsive Government Celebrates Signing of Mail Voting, Early Voting ‘Golden Day’ Bills

The pair of bills, which would add New York to the list of 35 states that offer vote-by-mail for eligible New Yorkers, were signed into law today by Governor Kathy Hochul

For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2023


ALBANY — Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul made key progress for all eligible voters in the state of New York by signing S7394 and A6132 into law. The Institute for Responsive Government strongly supported both of these bills, which will significantly improve access to voting in the Empire State.

S7394 will make New York the 36th state that opens the option to vote by mail to all eligible voters. Prior to this legislation, New Yorkers had to swear under penalty of perjury that they would be out of town, incapacitated by illness, or disabled in order to cast a mail ballot. The new law allows any eligible voter to request and cast an “early mail ballot” without providing a reason for needing to vote by mail.

A6132 expands voter registration opportunities during early voting. With last year’s extension of the state’s voter registration deadline to 10 days prior to Election Day (S2951A), there is now a single day of overlap between the early voting period and the voter registration period. Recognizing this opportunity, A6132 creates a “Golden Day” where eligible citizens can register to vote at the polls on the first day of early voting, and go on to vote the same day. A6132 additionally creates protections to ensure that eligible voters who register close to the registration deadline do not have their ballots rejected due to administrative errors.

Golden Day or “Golden Week” systems are used in a number of other states that have a pre-election day deadline for voter registration, such as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. In other states, these periods have proven helpful at allowing large numbers of voters, particularly from communities of color, to register and cast a ballot in a single trip to the polls.

Sam Oliker-Friedland, executive director of the Institute for Responsive Government, issued the following statement:

“These bills represent a significant step forward for New Yorkers. Adding the Empire State to the growing list of states with a vote-by-mail option open to all eligible voters will reduce barriers to participation while limiting the burden placed on election officials on Election Day. Blue, red, and purple states alike have adopted this common-sense policy, and we applaud the New York Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul for prioritizing access to our democracy for eligible voters across the state.

“Additionally, the creation of a ‘Golden Day’ makes the registration process substantially more efficient for eligible voters. Without this change, an unregistered voter appearing at an early voting site might need to travel to the county board of elections office, submit their registration form in-person, and then return to the early voting site. This is responsive government in action: previous multiple, unnecessary journeys between the early voting site and the county office will now become one-stop shopping.” 

For any questions on mail voting, or ‘Golden Day’ same-day registration and early voting, please contact


The Institute for Responsive Government is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to ensuring state and federal governments work effectively for the very people they serve. IRG provides data, research, and expertise to elected officials in order to find practical policy solutions that make government systems more efficient, accessible, and responsive.