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The Election Protection Act of 2020 is introduced

The state Senate Republican Conference has introduced the Election Protection Act of 2020, a package of legislation to secure the integrity of the voting process, and to provide state funding to local election boards for proper PPE and supplies for safe in-person voting.

Already, 100,000 mail-in ballots in New York City have been misprinted, 800 ballots on Long Island must be resent, and a ballot harvesting scandal has emerged in Minnesota. On top of mail-in voter problems and the potential for fraud, New York requires no identification at polling sites as a majority of states do for security purposes.

“Voting is an important right, and one that we must secure and protect against any potential fraud. That we are seeing so many problems arise due to the unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots is worrisome, and stories about cash-for-ballot harvesting in Minnesota must be taken seriously. Every citizen’s vote should count and we have a duty to ensure the integrity of this process,” said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.

THE ELECTION PROTECTION ACT OF 2020

¯ S.2091 (Ortt) – Requires voters to present a valid photo identification.

¯ S.7621 (Jordan) – Requires that any application to vote “made simultaneously and integrated with an application for a motor vehicle drivers’ license” shall require the applicant to provide their social security number to prevent illegal immigrants from purposefully or inadvertently registering to vote in the wake of the Greenlight Law.

“Elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. That’s why ensuring an election process that’s safe, honest, and fair is critically important, and should be a bi-partisan priority. Every vote counts and the integrity of our elections process must be protected from mistakes and outright election fraud. That cannot be tolerated. Our ‘Election Protection Act’ would do exactly that and help protect our elections from fraud, COVID, and other threats so voters can exercise their civic duty, and do so safely and securely with full confidence in the integrity of our electoral process. My bill in particular would ensure that the Green Light Law isn’t abused as a gateway to voter fraud that is so corrosive to our democracy,” Senator Daphne Jordan said.

¯ S.8506 (Borrello) – Prohibits ballot harvesting.

“At a New York State Senate hearing two months ago on the problem-plagued primary elections, my colleagues and I warned that a similar Executive Order by the Governor encouraging absentee ballot voting in the general election could be even more disastrous, as our state doesn’t have the funding or the election infrastructure needed to efficiently and securely manage a massive mail-in voting effort,” said Senator George Borrello. “That debacle has begun unfolding, as evidenced by the 100,000 mail-in ballot misprint in New York City. Chaos like this increases the chances of both voter disenfranchisement and fraud, as we saw in June, and undermines the integrity of our elections. The measures we are announcing today, including my bill prohibiting the shady practice of ballot harvesting, are urgently needed to give New Yorkers an electoral system they can trust.”

¯ S.9006 (Ritchie) – Creates the crime of voter intimidation or harassment. A person would be guilty of voter intimidation or harassment when he or she, with intent to influence how an individual votes in an election: (1) intentionally harasses or intimidates another person or engages in a course of conduct or by committing acts which place such person in reasonable fear of physical injury; or (2) threatens retaliation against such individual based on the individual voting for a certain candidate, proposition or ballot measure.

¯ S.9007 (Ritchie) – Establishes the New York Voter Integrity Fund and repeals the State Campaign Finance Fund. Money from the fund could be used by the Board of Elections for expenses related to personal protective equipment (PPEs), poll worker wages, pre-paid postage for absentee ballots, absentee ballot envelopes, mail notification cards, absentee ballot applications, and absentee ballots.

“Our vote is our voice and now, more than ever, it is critical that each of our voices are heard,” said Senator Patty Ritchie. “Not only will these measures help to protect the integrity of the voting process, one of the bills I sponsor will ensure local governments-that are struggling in the wake of an economic shutdown-receive the support they need to comply with election-related unfunded mandates handed down by Albany.”

¯ S.8998 (Funke) – Remove a voter from voting rolls due to death. The State Board of Elections would be required to annually review the social security administration death master file and notify the relevant local board of elections of any and all deceased voters on their registration roll. The local board of elections would then be required to remove the deceased voter from the roll.

“Every legitimate vote should be counted, but with the massive increase in the number of mail-in ballots and the disaster we saw during the primary particularly in New York City, more safeguards are needed to protect the integrity of our elections,” said Senator Rich Funke. “This package of bills is made up of common sense proposals aimed at addressing legitimate concerns with our current procedures. The only reason to oppose them is political.”

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