Capitol Notes

Creation of online voter registration system stalled by COVID-19

The state Board of Elections has not been spared from New York’s fiscal woes.

“We’ve been instructed, I think like many state agencies, to limit our spending,” state BOE spokesman John Conklin told The Capitol Pressroom. “It’s basically only essential spending at this point.”

Conklin estimated that the board was tasked last year with 53 new responsibilities by the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, only some of which included funding.  As a result, the board’s focus has been on accomplishing the items they can do without spending money.

Included in last year’s budget was a law calling for the creation of an online voter registration, but Conklin said they can’t spend money on that project right now. “That’s kind of ground to a halt,” he said.

It’s also not clear what money will be available for the implementation of the state’s new public financing system, which was included in the budget adopted in early April. As part of that plan the state board is supposed to get three new commissioners, although it’s unclear whether that will happen as time.

We also spoke with Conklin about the June 23 primaries, which you can hear below.


The Capitol Pressroom · June 18, 2020: New York prepares for record number of absentee votes


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