The complete article can be found here at Times Union.
A state Supreme Court justice issued a split ruling Friday that found New York’s absentee ballot laws are partially unconstitutional, a decision that will hurl an element of disorder into the midterm election in which mail-in voting is already underway.
State Supreme Court Justice Dianne L. Freestone’s decision stopped short of overturning a change in Election Law that allows someone to vote by absentee ballot if they fear contracting COVID-19, a measure that she highly criticized but said could not be undone at this time.
Freestone’s ruling struck down a 2021 state law around the “canvassing” of absentee ballots. For now, the ruling will reinstate some of the laws that were in effect prior to last year’s changes, including allowing someone to vote in-person on Election Day to override any absentee ballot they may have submitted.
Republican officials contend that is an important provision because it enables a voter who learns something damning about a candidate before the election to change their vote.
The ruling also gives clearer ability for poll watchers, candidates and others to contest a ballot in the court, something that Republicans argued was curtailed under the 2021 law.
Freestone opinion noted that the COVID-19 excuse to vote by mail, which was passed into state law after voters rejected a no-excuse voting ballot proposition last year, presents an “Orwellian perpetual state of health emergency.” She described the measure as “cloaked in the veneer of ‘voter enfranchisement.'”
She said the Democrat’s argument that the coronavirus poses a current health risk is “replete with alarmist statistics.”