New Yorkers forced from their homes because of Superstorm Sandy will be able to vote by affidavit ballot at any polling site in the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
He ordered the “extraordinary” measure as a way to preserve Sandy victims’ ability to vote, at least for president and U.S. Senate.
“We want everyone to vote. Just because people are displaced doesn’t mean they should be disenfranchised,” Cuomo said.
Voters living away from their homes will be able to vote for president and U.S. Senate from any polling place in New York state. Voters will be able to vote for candidates further down the ballot — candidates for Congress, state Senate and Assembly — only if they are voting in the same district where they live, Cuomo said.
“You can’t vote for what we call down-ballot individuals,” Cuomo said “Your vote will not be eligible.”
The executive order permits voters displaced by Sandy to sign a sworn statement that they’re legally registered to vote in the presidential and state races. They must first try to vote at their usual polling site.
Few details were released Monday. But a Cuomo spokesman said people using affidavit ballots won’t be required to show any more identification than other voters, who don’t normally have to prove their identity. The affidavit voters would have to be from areas declared a disaster because of Sandy: Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties. There was no estimate as to how many people might be able to vote by affidavit ballot.
That could play a role in several tight state Senate races in Queens, on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley. The races that are close, according to recent polls and to the campaigns, could result in deciding majority control of the Senate. Republicans currently have a 33-29 majority, having wrested control from Democrats two years ago.