As New York, which successfully managed to hold most of its primary votes mostly by mail, has opened an online portal allowing residents to request an absentee ballot.
Gov Andrew Cuomo acted unilaterally to allow any person concerned about COVID-19 risk to request an absentee ballot, even as some southern states rule that COVID-19 fears aren’t a valid reason to vote absentee. ;
NYers have until Oct. 27 to mail in their ballots.
The absentee ballot portal went live Tuesday, and Cuomo heralded the launch as a move toward ensuring free and fair elections.
“As the November election approaches, we know that many voters feel vulnerable in the midst of this pandemic,” he said. “In line with the sweeping reforms we have implemented to make it easier for New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote, today we launch the online portal through which every registered voter concerned about COVID-19 can obtain an absentee ballot.”
USPS has advised Americans to request ballots no later than 15 days before the Nov. 3 vote.
To request a ballot, users must enter their birth date, county and ZIP code to confirm that you are already registered to vote. You are then taken to a page where you decide how you want the absentee ballot delivered.
Interestingly, when we tested the portal, we found that it didn’t include any requests for sensitive private information like an individual’s social security number. An individual could request an absentee ballot simply by entering in another individual’s birthday, address and zip code – all information that’s easily attainable.
The screen shots below are from the website for NYC’s board of elections. City-dwellers are directed there to finish the application, but virtually all of the same questions, and the complete lack of security, are the same.
We sincerely hope this doesn’t create a massive crush of fraudulent requests, as any motivated individual could use social media to fraudulently apply for absentee ballots, if only to prove a point.
And NY isn’t alone.
Three states are building or have launched a portal to allow voters to request absentee ballots online:
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) August 14, 2020