EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – After being stuck in limbo for several months, the bill to move the Eastchester Fire District election date has been sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law.
If Cuomo signs the bill, the election date for the fire district would be moved from the second Tuesday in December to the general election in November. The bill was a joint effort between Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) and Sen. George Latimer (D-37). Cuomo has until midnight Sept. 27 to take action on the bill.
The main objective of the bill is to increase voter turnout for the election. The Eastchester fire district includes Bronxville and Tuckahoe. At previous discussions held by Latimer and Paulin, residents expressed displeasure at having to travel in the dead of winter, often in inclement weather, to vote.
If passed, the bill will make it more convenient for residents to cast their vote in the fire district election. Currently, 16 polling sites are open during the general election, but just eight are available during the December vote.
“As a former League of Women Voters president, I strongly believe in franchising voters,” Paulin said. “By moving the election to Election Day in November, voters will have longer hours to vote in their usual polling place. The goal all along was to increase voter turnout and I think this legislation will accomplish that.”
According to Latimer, on average, less than 5 percent of the registered voters in the district cast a vote during the December fire district elections.
“We reached out to the Eastchester community and a diversity of voices said they wanted the opportunity to vote in these elections at a more convenient time,” Latimer said. “This is an example of listening to the voice of the people.”
In addition to increased polling places and a more convenient election date, absentee ballots will be accepted and the polls will stay open longer.
“I’m thrilled that Cuomo is set to sign this bill into law,” Paulin added. “I believe it will make life a bit easier for the residents of Eastchester and afford them a greater opportunity to have a say in what is a very important decision.”
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