Cuomo Signs Young’s Election Inspector Bill

Legislation proposed by state Sen. Cathy Young to allow the practice of split shifts for election inspectors was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.

As it stands now, election inspectors must commit to working a full shift on Election Day. During most elections, polls are open for an average of 16 hours with additional time typically required to prepare and close down polling sites.

Election inspectors are responsible for ensuring that voters are processed in a fair and efficient manner and according to election law.

Finding inspectors who are willing or able to commit to the workday is becoming no easy task. Election Day can especially be a long and tiring one for many seniors who work as election inspectors.

The new law permits Boards of Election to divide the shift, thereby eliminating a major obstacle to election inspector recruitment and retention. The payment for each worker would be adjusted accordingly.

Following Cuomo’s signature, Young, R-Olean, said the measure will protect the integrity of the election process. In addition, she said securing the number of inspectors has been challenging due to the strenuous time frame.

“State law requires that polling places be supervised by at least one inspector from each of the two major political parties throughout the entire time they are open,” Young said. “Allowing Boards of Election the option of dividing shifts will help attract new volunteers and also ensure that inspectors are engaged, responsive and focused on their duties, rather than being fatigued by a marathon workday.”

Young’s legislation passed through the Senate and Assembly before session concluded this year. The law won’t take effect until March 2018.

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