September 21st, 2023

by Danielle Wallace

New York Republicans announced a lawsuit against Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new law expanding early mail-in voting ahead of the 2024 election.

House GOP Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and a Republican and Conservative coalition that includes members of the New York Republican Congressional delegation, sued Hochul and the State of New York Wednesday “for attempting to remove basic safeguards on absentee voting and allowing unregulated mass mail ballots in clear violation of the state constitution.”

The lawsuit was announced immediately after Hochul signed the Early Mail Voter Act into law Wednesday. The law came as part of a new legislative package that Hochul billed as working to “strengthen democracy and protect voting rights in New York State.”

“Kathy Hochul and extreme New York Democrats are trying to destroy what is left of election integrity in New York,” Stefanik said in a statement. “Under Kathy Hochul’s failed leadership, elections are less secure and less transparent and will now be unconstitutional.”

The governor’s legislative package allows absentee ballots to be counted if they’ve been taped and show no signs of tampering and also creates a Golden Day, on the first day of early voting, when New Yorkers can register to vote and cast their ballots at their polling places the same day.

“Our laws are going to modernize and improve every step of the process from registering to casting your ballot to the Electoral College. It includes a law that’ll allow every New Yorker to vote early by mail,” Hochul said at a press conference Wednesday. The governor’s office billed the law as a “significant expansion of ballot access in New York State” providing millions of New York voters “with an easy, safe, and secure means of voting early by mail ballot.”

Democratic assemblywoman Karine Reyes even celebrated how by allowing voters to cast their ballots by mail, “we remove a critical barrier that voters face in having their voices heard: making time to physically go to their specific polling place and cast a ballot.”

But Republicans argue in their lawsuit that it violates the state constitution, which allows absentee ballots only for voters with a medical or physical disability or proof they’ll be out of their county of residence or New York City on Election Day. The law, the lawsuit says, will impose substantial administrative and financial burdens on county election boards, as well as candidates targeting voter outreach and mobilization campaigns to encourage people to show up in person at the polls on Election Day.

Hochul’s office says the law establishes a system for early voting by mail allowing all eligible, registered New York voters the opportunity to vote early by mail “in advance of an election.”

Under the law, a new application process will be developed to facilitate voter requests for early mail ballots, and voters will be able to request mail ballots up to ten days prior to the election in which they would like to vote early by mail. Boards of election will then be required to provide mail ballots with postage-paid return envelopes to all eligible and registered voters.

Early mail ballots must then be mailed back to the appropriate board of elections no later than Election Day and must be received by the board no later than seven days after Election Day.

The lawsuit notes that a proposed amendment to the state constitution to permanently enact “no excuse absentee voting” failed in 2021, yet Democrats allegedly later ushered through a nearly identical measure by renaming it to coincide instead with the term “early mail voting,” not absentee.

“When Democrats can’t compete, they cheat,” NYGOP Chairman Ed Cox said. “This cynical attempt to overrule the will of the voters and undermine the Democratic process is being challenged in court. Rather than work to stem the flow of our most productive taxpaying citizens out of the state, radical progressives are working to manipulate elections in their favor in their pursuit of power at all costs.”

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Richard Hudson alleged that New York Democrats “are more focused on rigging the rules than winning on issues.”

“Instead of working to stop crime, lower inflation and ensure parents’ rights in schools, they stick to their extreme policies that New Yorkers rejected once and will again in 2024,” he added.

“New Yorkers had a chance to vote on this policy in 2021, and they overwhelmingly rejected it,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “The RNC and its partners are stepping in because Kathy Hochul and New York Democrats are ignoring the outcome of that vote to push an unconstitutional attack on mail-in voting safeguards. Undermining election integrity is bad enough – circumventing the democratic process to do so is absolutely unacceptable.”

Fox News’ Maria Paronich contributed to this report.

See the full report from Fox News here.