Op-ed by New York State Senator Samra Brouk, SD-55
Voting is how America decides its fate. It’s how we fund schools and get roads paved, but it’s also how we decide our response to urgent matters, like climate change, the opioid crisis, and gun violence in our communities.
A singular vote may feel small when you’re at the ballot, but it is in fact the most sacred right of American citizens. One we must fight to protect every day.
In 2021, as we watch states across the country introduce legislation that further disenfranchises voters, it is imperative that New York lead the way in continuing to strengthen its election and voting processes.
As a member of the New York Senate Committee on Elections, I review election policy to identify improvements, like using modern technology, to make simple, commonsense updates. Some of the reforms I helped pass this year include allowing people to request an absentee ballot online (S6379), allowing absentee ballots to be postmarked by Election Day instead of seven days before (S6429), and providing more notice when a polling location has changed (S6216).
Democracy works best when people participate and changes like these enfranchise communities, generate more votes, and invigorate public discourse.
We know that it also matters how these new rules governing elections and vote counting are carried out by the state and local boards of elections. To gain a better perspective, my team visited with Monroe County Board of Elections Commissioners, Lisa Nicolay and Jackie Ortiz earlier this month during the manual hand-count of more than 30,000 ballots in the Democratic Primary for the three-person County Court race. Seeing democracy in action and the hard-working elections staff working with such professionalism underscores the importance of the work we’re doing in Albany to enfranchise every eligible voter.
I’m looking forward to continuing this work in the Senate Elections Committee, which is why your feedback is so crucial. I welcome your participation in a special in-person NYS Senate Legislative Hearing on Election and Voting Reforms on Thursday, August 5th at 12:00 PM to be held at the Monroe County Office Building.
If you would like to speak at this hearing, or submit a written testimony, please register at https://bit.ly/rocelectionhearing.
If you are interested in learning more about the work I am doing as your representative, please connect with me by visiting my website at brouk.nysenate.gov, or by emailing email@example.com.
New York Senator Samra G. Brouk (SD-55) (pronounced: Sah-mra Br-uuk) serves as a member of Senate Elections Committee and represents New York’s 55th Senate District, including Victor, East Bloomfield, West Bloomfield, Richmond, Bristol, South Bristol, Canadice, and Naples in Ontario County and Rush, Mendon, Pittsford, Perinton, Penfield, East Rochester, and Irondequoit, plus the east side of the City of Rochester in Monroe County. Senator Brouk also sits on Health, Education, Elections, Aging, Women’s Issues, and Alcoholism and Substance Abuse committees.