This morning, representing Empire State Indivisible, I joined New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda, Assembly Members Catalina Cruz and Harvey Epstein; and Susan Lerner of Common Cause at a press conference about codifying the city bill to track absentee ballots for all of New York State. Bill is sponsored in the New York Senate by Senator Sepúlveda and in the Assembly by Assembly Member Catalina Cruz.
I said the following.
My name is Danielle Brecker, I am a co-lead organizer of Empire State Indivisible.
The indivisible movement is predicated on holding those we elect to serve and the institutions of our democracy to account. This starts with voting.
The upcoming election is the most consequential of our lifetime. If we get it wrong we risk everything and we likely will not have the chance to make it right. We must do everything we can to ensure the fairness of this election. We must make sure that we register new voters, that all voters can participate in a safe way, and that no vote goes uncounted.
As part of that we must make sure that voters know the status of their absentee ballot. We saw the confusion and uncertainty during the primary election — many voters didn’t receive the absentee ballot they requested or were unsure if their completed ballot was received back to the boards of elections. There was no way of checking in or tracking that status of a ballot.
Last week the New York City board of elections announced a system to track absentee ballots. That day, I went online, applied for an absentee ballot and received a tracking number. I can now track my ballot on my phone in the same I would track any number of things that are far less important than voting. We must extend New York City’s. system to all of New York State.
Empire State Indivisible supports any measure that ensures every vote counts in the upcoming and all future elections. We urge the New York State legislature to return to session and pass senate bill S8949 to create a secure website and app that allows all New York voters to track the status of their absentee ballot.
Furthermore we are asking the legislature to use their power to pass additional measures to help register voters; make voting easy, accessible, and safe for all; and to fully fund and support Boards of Elections across New York State.
Everything is at stake in November. We must get it right.