Proposed legislation aims to accelerate absentee ballot counting process in NYS

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — While Election Day was a week ago, some races in New York State have yet to be called as local boards count absentee ballots.

“The frustration I have is that, here we are a week after the Election, and we still have no idea who won many of the races around the state. Whether it’s Congress, state legislature, local county races, we’re still very much in the dark,” said State Senator David Carlucci.

Due to current state law, absentee ballots cannot be counted until after Election Day. This election, with a record of more than 2.5 million absentee ballots requested, and more than 1.5 million of those returned, there’s been a hold-up on getting some clear results.

“Right now, I believe the media has such a tremendous role and responsibility and power in terms of they’re the ones that are interpreting what these results mean. And, I would like it to be a little more clear that it’s not an interpretation. It’s, hey, these are the numbers we have as of now,” Carlucci said. 

Senator Carlucci and Senator Mike Giannaris have legislation to speed up the process. The proposal would allow absentee ballots to start being canvassed on Election Day three hours before polls close. 

“Of course, absentee ballots could still come in after Election Day, and those votes will be counted. The idea here is to get as much of the vote as possible to the public so that everyone has a clear picture of who actually won or who has a chance of winning,” Carlucci said.

Carlucci says this election about 25 percent of the overall votes were absentee ballots. 

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