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ALBANY - The continuing political fight over control of the new Women’s Equality Party is making voting complex for absentee voters this fall, statewide and among military voters overseas.
The continuing political power struggle over the party created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last year to attract Republicans and voters not enrolled in a party continues in several counties. One case has already reached an appellate court and the whole issue could go to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
The Nassau County case faces appeal before a final, official ballot can be approved and sent to absentee voters who can’t cast ballots at their polling places.
In Suffolk County, final official ballots were sent out Monday. But any appeal of that county’s case or an overarching ruling by a higher state court could require an updated absentee ballot to be sent to voters, even if they already cast their vote, county officials said.
In the event that more than one vote is cast by an absentee voter, the board of elections will count the most recent vote received.
Absentee ballots had to be sent overseas to voters in the military by Oct. 2 under federal law. But disputes over who could run on the Women’s Equality Party line were still underway in several counties so an official, final ballot from their home county couldn’t be sent.
Those military voters received Federal Absentee Write-in Ballots, or FAWBs. Those are blank ballots, without candidates or offices listed. Under FAWBs, however, a military voter overseas can write in “Democratic,” “Republican” or other party to vote a straight party line. FAWBs can be emailed under federal law.
When those counties approve a final, official ballot, those ballots will be mailed to the military voters who can vote again. Local election officials will take the most recent absentee vote received at the county offices.
Other absentee voters not in the military overseas will get their absentee ballots “as soon as practicable” under state law.
There is no deadline for sending out absentee ballots, but voters have a deadline to cast them.
Absentee votes by these voters as well as military voters abroad must be postmarked by the day before the Nov. 3 election. If mailed, the military absentee votes must be received no later than 13 days after the election to be counted. Other absentee votes must be received at county offices no later than seven days after the election.