Absentee Ballot Qualification for School District Elections 2022

As many may remember, the criteria to qualify to vote by absentee ballot was expanded for national, state, and local, including school district, elections in 2020 and 2021. The expanded criteria permitted voters to request and qualify to vote by absentee ballot if they preferred to vote absentee due to concern over the risk of contracting or spreading disease if voting in-person.

That expanded criteria expired on January 1, 2022. Risk of contracting or spreading disease is no longer a permitted reason to qualify for absentee voting. Currently, a qualified voter may vote as an absentee voter if during all hour of voting on the day of an election he or she will be:

(1) absent from the county of his or her residence; or

(2) unable to appear at the polling place because of illness or physical disability, or duties related to the primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled, or because he or she will be or is a patient in a hospital; or

(3) an inmate or patient of a veteran's administration hospital; or

(4) absent from his or her voting residence because he or she is detained in jail awaiting action by a grand jury or awaiting trial, or confined in jail or prison after a conviction for an offense other than a felony, provided that he or she is qualified to vote in the election district of his or her residence.

School district clients should be aware that there is a bill moving through the New York State Legislature that would reinstate the expanded qualification for one more year. Senate Bill S7619 passed the State Senate on January 10, 2022 and is currently awaiting vote by the State Assembly. If the Assembly passes the bill, then the Governor will sign or veto the bill. This article will be immediately updated upon any action by the Governor.

As always, Honeywell Law Firm is available to assist with implementation of legal requirements. Contact us at info@honeywelllawfirm.com for further information and guidance.