This is a case of good intentions that wind up costing the taxpayers a fortune.
I think we can all agree that removing barriers from people being able to vote is a good thing. But leave it to New York State to take this noble concept and parlay it into a colossal waste of money.
As of last year, New York was one of just 12 states remaining that did not allow for early voting. If you wanted to cast a vote, you showed up on election day. In most places in New York, polling sites are usually open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Or, if you had a valid reason, such as you would be traveling out of state, you could submit an absentee ballot.
Some states allow for voters to cast a ballot on one of 10 different days prior to election. Others allow for a far more liberal mail-in voting system.
Despite New York having provided just the one day to vote, it rarely, if ever, impeded those who wanted to vote from actually voting. They made it their civic duty to carve out a few minutes of the day to go to the polling place and then move on with their business.
Yet in some cases, lines could be quite long. And stuff sometimes happens that divert your attention that day. So expanding the process within reason can be a good thing. But it has become politically correct to now demand more and more time to vote. And this isn’t cheap.
Some states have permitted voting over the internet, despite the obvious risk of fraud. Expanding mail-in voting can be safer than internet voting, but could also be fraught with problems, if over-relied upon.
I had recommended that besides the first Tuesday in November in which to vote, we open some polling places on a weekend day prior to that Tuesday. Apparently, that wasn’t enough for our give it all away friends in the New York State Legislature. No: they demanded 10 days of early voting and require 10 voting locations throughout Suffolk County — one in each town.
But even that is not enough for many of the naysayers, including the Newsday editorial board. We need to fund even more sites, they say. If you can’t drive within the parameters of your own town to cast a vote, then what do you expect people in the vast upstate New York regions to do? (Your regular local polling place will be be available on Election Day.)
Nassau County had to come up with $3 million to abide by this mandate. This is on top of the tens of millions funneled in from the state and federal governments. And guess who pays the bill?
But it gets even better. Our free spending, union pandering New York officials decided to make Election Day a state holiday. So now, all state employees get the day off at the public’s expense, purportedly to allow them sufficient time to vote. This is despite the fact that they now have 10 additional days in which to cast their ballots. You can’t make this stuff up.
And we wonder why our kids can’t afford to live here?