Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) – A year ago, Joseph R. Biden Jr. defeated Donald J. Trump in the 2020 United States Presidential Election. In a year marred by coronavirus restrictions, like lockdowns and random coronavirus surveillance testing, the virus made inroads on the political sphere. In turn, New York shattered its previous absentee ballot voting record with over 660,000 absentee ballots cast. Even with a contagious virus in the air, New Yorkers got out to vote at historic levels, breaking the 70% mark for the first time this century.
But a year later, things are a little different. As pointed out by Onondaga County’s Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny, only 31% of eligible New-Yorkers filled in their ballots.
Still, the results are final. Among statewide results, ballot propositions #3 and #4 did not pass. Measure #3 proposed legal same-day registration. Meanwhile, Measure #4 would have granted New Yorkers the chance to vote absentee- regardless of reasoning.
For Republicans, the issue of non-contact voting has been contentious since the 2020 election cycle. Conservative campaigns made false PSAs warning of abandoned conservative ballots and contended that the election was fraudulent. To Dustin Czarny, the mere accusation of fraud is a baseless attack, and he believes convenient voting, while time-consuming to account for, is the safest method for a safe election. “We are going through an issue with the early voting. We’re going to re-scan the ballots on that. But that’s not a security issue as much as that was a human mistake which points out to the checks and balances that we do have.”
To Augustus Leroux, the chairman of the New York Federation of College Republicans, a small difference in accuracy is not enough to change his stance on mail-in ballots. “People have plenty of time to register. I don’t know why 10 days is unreasonable… but I am amendable to” potential non-contact ballot initiatives.
Both Leroux and Czarny acknowledged propaganda that potentially steered the results of this election cycle. Leroux specifically stated that while he would entertain amendments to the current voting scheme, he just wants swift elections. “I like to give the example of District 22 between Claudia Tenney and Anthony Brindisi. Look how long that took to resolve. You can turn this into a voter’s rights issue all you want, but across the board, people have concerns with how long these elections are taking.”
More than anything else, both Leroux and Czarny want to see a return to normal voting. With minimal opportunities to vote remotely, we may be on track for a normal election; at least in terms of health and safety regulations.