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In the Community: From the Office of Senator Samra Brouk

Senator Samra Brouk has voted with the Senate Majority to pass a slate of voting rights reforms to make voting more convenient, modernized and secure.

The New York State Senate has passed pro-democracy legislation at the start of every legislative session since 2019.

The package will improve New York State’s electoral system, allow for portable polling locations, expand ballot drop-off locations, establish the New York Voting and Elections Database, allow food and non-alcoholic drinks to refresh voters waiting in line at the polls and establish voter suppression as a criminal offense.

“We must ensure that voters have full faith in our elections—from their security and efficiency to the knowledge that voting is accessible, convenient and above all fair,” Brouk said. “Protecting our ballots and making the right to vote more easily accessible to all eligible voters is essential to the functioning of our democracy, which is why we passed this crucial legislation.”

The election reforms build on the Senate Majority’s long standing commitment to protecting the franchise and stands in contrast to the repeated attacks on democracy in recent years.

The legislative package includes the following bills:

  • Electoral Crime of Voter Suppression: This bill, S.263, sponsored by Senator Stewart-Cousins, prohibits deceptive practices and the suppression of voters, and increases penalties for violations of the elective franchise.
  • Portable Polling Locations for Early Voting: This bill, S.242, sponsored by Senator Rachel May, amends the election law to allow counties the option to establish portable polling places for early voting.
  • Absentee Ballot Drop-off Box Locations: This bill, S.610, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, allows local Board of Elections to establish absentee ballot drop-off locations to provide voters with a convenient alternative option to submit their absentee ballots.
  • New York Voting and Elections Database: This bill, S.657, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, establishes the New York voting and elections database and institute to maintain a statewide database of voting and election data.
  • Refreshments at the polls: This bill, S.616, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, allows snacks and non-alcoholic drinks to be given to voters waiting in line at the polls.
  • Restricts Forum Shopping: This bill, S.350, sponsored by Senator Robert Jackson, restricts forum shopping for constitutional challenges to election laws. Currently, it is far too easy for those seeking to destabilize the elections process through frivolous litigation. This bill aims to reduce and prevent these attempts to destabilize the election process.

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