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New York Appellate Court Will Consider GOP Challenge to Mail-In Voting Law

State judge upholds early mail voting law (Credits: Newsday)

Next week, a New York appellate court is set to hear a Republican challenge to the state’s recently enacted no-excuse mail-in voting law, known as the New York Early Mail Voter Act.

Championed by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and signed into law in September 2023, the New York Early Mail Voter Act allows voters to cast their ballots by mail during the early voting period.

Previously, New York voters were only eligible to vote absentee if they were absent from their county or New York City, or if they couldn’t vote in person due to illness or physical disability.

Judge upholds New York early voting by mail law (Credits: Spectrum News)

Following the law’s passage and in line with their ongoing opposition to mail-in voting, the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Congressional Committee, New York Republican State Committee, Conservative Party of New York, and Republicans like Elise Stefanik promptly filed a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

In anticipation of the upcoming oral arguments, Gianaris emphasized to Democracy Docket, “Voting is a fundamental right, and the easier we make it, the stronger our democracy becomes. It’s no surprise that this law faces opposition from those seeking to restrict voters’ constitutional rights.”

Republicans contend that the new law violates the New York Constitution by extending mail-in voting eligibility beyond the two categories stipulated in the state constitution.

Republicans quietly push mail-in voting (Credits: Politico)

Initially, the trial court dismissed the lawsuit in February, ruling that Republicans had not sufficiently proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Early Mail Voter Act violated the NY Constitution. Republicans swiftly appealed this decision to an appellate court, seeking to continue the case.

Gianaris expressed confidence, saying, “Like similar legal battles in other states, I believe our law will stand. I take pride in our accomplishments in New York and remain committed to expanding access to the ballot box.”

This lawsuit is among many filed by groups opposing expanded voting rights ahead of the 2024 elections. Presently, the RNC and its Republican affiliates are engaged in 26 anti-voting lawsuits, with 11 specifically targeting mail-in voting.

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