New York

Snapshot: New York scores poorly on voting access, meeting only three of our seven benchmarks, and receives a middling score on ballot security, meeting five of our eight benchmarks. State officials largely rejected Donald Trump’s claims.

Ease of Voting

Some measures to expand access
3 out of 7 benchmarks

Ballot Security

Some measures to ensure accuracy and security
5 out of 8 benchmarks

What Politicians Say

Few responses that undermined the 2020 election
3 out of 4 benchmarks

In an indirect way, Trump made voting easier in his former home state. Trump’s attacks on elections and the Republican legislation that it inspired in other states led to Democratic legislators addressing long-standing issues with voting access in New York.

Since the 2020 election, New York lawmakers have passed a slew of bills to make it easier to register to vote; expand early voting, both in person and by mail; and ensure ballots are counted.

Still, the state continues to have less generous voting laws than other Democratic-dominated states.

New York remains one of the minority of states that does not offer no-excuse vote-by-mail, and has among the shortest in-person early voting periods among states that offer it.

In 2020, the state had the third-highest rate of rejecting mail-in ballots in the country, and a 2021 report from the state Senate found that problems in recent elections were due to “structural flaws” that have a disproportionate impact on poor, minority and disabled voters.


Ease of Voting

Is the state making it easy for eligible voters to register and cast a ballot?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How New York compares to other states
New York
Other states
← Easier to vote
Harder →
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7
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1
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Number of total benchmarks met

The New York legislature has recently passed a number of bills to improve voting access.

In 2021, the legislature expanded the state’s automatic voter registration program, which is expected to be in operation in 2023, to include students in the State University of New York system, expanded early voting, authorized the creation of a website where voters can request a mail-in ballot and automatically restored voting rights to felons upon release from prison.

Lawmakers also put constitutional amendments on the November ballot that would have allowed same-day voter registration and no-excuse vote-by-mail. Both measures failed.

In 2022, the legislature extended a pandemic-related law that allows voters to request a mail-in ballot to include “risk of contracting or spreading a disease” at the polling place.


Ballot Security

Is the state following best practices to ensure ballot counting is accurate and timely?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How New York compares to other states
New York
Other states
← More secure
Less secure →
8
7
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1
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Number of total benchmarks met

Like other Democratic-controlled states, New York has expansive standards for counting mail-in ballots. It accepts ballots received up to a week after the election, which can lead to delays in counting ballots and certifying elections that can undermine voter confidence.

A 2021 law went further, allowing mail-in ballots to be accepted if they were postmarked on Election Day. Previously, they had to be postmarked the day before the election.

Other recent laws authorized the creation of a website where voters could track the status of their mail-in ballot; allowed local elections administrations to pre-process mail ballots, which can speed up vote counting; and spelled out the process for voters to fix rejected ballots.

Some voting rights advocates say that more could be done behind the scenes as well.

In New York City, election administrators have a reputation for making basic mistakes such as sending mail-in ballots too late, mailing out defective ballots and accidentally including test ballots when reporting results of a closely watched election.

That has been a particular problem as the city recently embraced ranked-choice voting, in which voters make their picks for up to five candidates.


How Politicians Responded to the 2020 Election

What did the state do in the aftermath of Trump's defeat?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How New York compares to other states
New York
Other states
← Fewer efforts to undermine 2020 election
More →
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Number of total benchmarks met

On Jan. 6, three of the state’s seven Republican US representatives voted against certifying Biden electors from Arizona, and four voted against certifying Biden electors from Pennsylvania.

Representative Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking Republican in the House, has repeatedly made baseless claims about “voting irregularities” and alluded to conspiracy theories about the 2020 election while stopping short of endorsing them. She has also made debunked claims about voting in Georgia and Michigan.


Read the full methodology
Story by: Ryan Teague Beckwith and Bill Allison
Graphics by: Paul Murray, Allison McCartney and Mira Rojanasakul
With assistance by: Rachael Dottle, Marie Patino, Jenny Zhang, Gregory Korte, Romy Varghese, Vincent Del Giudice, Nathan Crooks, Margaret Newkirk, Shruti Date Singh, David Welch, Elise Young, Dina Bass, Brendan Walsh, Carey Goldberg and Maria Wood
Editors: Wendy Benjaminson, Wes Kosova, Alex Tribou and Yue Qiu
Photo editors: Eugene Reznik, Marisa Gertz and Maria Wood
Photo credits: Getty Images, Bloomberg and AP Photo