Assemblyman Charles Lavine and other Nassau County officials recently announced Nassau County’s 15 early voting locations for the 2019 general election. It will be the first year when the early voting locations will be implemented after the law, written by Lavine, was passed in to state government and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January.
“The law provides nine days of early voting, including two full weekends,” said Lavine. “This covers both primaries and the general election. Those of us in the state legislature believe it is our obligation and responsibility to make voting easier for New Yorkers.”
The law was among the first bills passed by the state government in the 2019 session with the Democratic party in charge of the state Senate and Assembly. Lavine said that, in the past, the Senate was resistant to early voting laws but the change of leadership gave them an opportunity to move this law forward.
“We found that we [the Assembly] had partners in our sister legislature who were willing to join us, along with the governor, in making it easier for New Yorkers to vote by providing them with extra days to cast their ballots,” said Lavine. “It’s pretty obvious that the easier we make it for people to vote, the more people will want to be invested in the political process.”
One of the 15 early voting locations is the Town of Oyster Bay South Town Hall, which is on 977 Hicksville Rd. in Massapequa. But while it is likely the most convenient place to go to for residents of Massapequa, voters can vote for their local officials at any of the 15 locations that provide early voting.
“Anybody who is registered to vote in Nassau County can vote at any of the 15 locations,” said Lavine. “For example, at the Mid-Island Y JCC, voting there can be for Plainview residents or for someone in Lawrence or Port Washington who works in the area. They can cast their ballot there or any of the other locations. If someone works a good distance from where they live, this gives them an opportunity to cast a ballot closer to where they work.”
In addition to the early voting sites, there was also reform passed that will make it easier for voters to mail in absentee ballots before the election. While a “no excuse” bill was passed in 2019, these measures are not yet implemented as they need to be passed by the 2021 state legislature and voted on by the public, which means those who file absentee ballots must still provide a reason for not going out to vote.
Local officials are thrilled by the implementation of early voting and encourage residents to take advantage of it.
“The right to vote and participate in elections is the very foundation of our democracy,” said Senator Kevin Thomas, who represents parts of Massapequa. “Early voting is critical to breaking down barriers and improving participation in the democratic process. I want to thank Assemblymember Lavine for introducing comprehensive early voting legislation, as well as County Executive [Laura] Curran and Commissioner [David] Gugerty for working to ensure that Nassau County voters have equal access to polling locations.”
“Democracy is, at its core, about the ability of a citizen to exercise their right to vote,” said Senator John Brooks, who also represents the Massapequa area. “For many Americans who become effectively disenfranchised by their lack of ability to get to the polls in the short window available, early voting is simply a reaffirmation of their right to engage in the electoral process. Early voting expands democracy.”
Lavine is very pleased that New York is moving in this direction when it comes to voting and is hoping that the rest of the U.S. takes notice of what the state is doing.
“We value democracy,” said Lavine. “We need more people involved in our elections. The more people invested in our system of democracy, the better that system is itself. New York is sending a signal to the rest of the country that voting is an inherent and essential right, not only to protect it, but to be enlarged.”
For more information on all the early voting sites for this year’s election as well as the specific days to vote, visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/566/Board-of-Elections.