NEW YORK (PIX11) — The first bill from one of New York’s newest congressman would expand early voting nationwide — and days and days of waiting for election results would be a thing of the past.
U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman is a freshman Democrat who represents the new congressional district covering Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.
Goldman was flanked by the Rev. Al Sharpton and other voting rights advocates announcing the “Early Voting Act” as his maiden piece of legislation. The federal attorney and congressional staffer-turned lawmaker wants to require at least 14 days of early in-person voting.
New York and New Jersey currently have just nine days of early voting. Some states have more than a month, while others have no days of early voting.
Goldman’s bill would also aim to make polling places more accessible. It would require them when possible to be near public transportation. There would need to be a polling place on every college campus as well as efforts to bring more early voting to rural areas.
Finally, the Early Voting Act would require ballots cast early to be counted beforehand. The congressman said former President Donald Trump and his allies have used the uncertainty of election night counting to undermine democracy.
“We cannot have a vacuum awaiting results that is filled by extremists peddling conspiracy theories,” Goldman said speaking inside the National Action Network’s House of Justice.
Goldman and Sharpton framed the set of proposals as a straightforward voting expansion that is inherently bipartisan.
The GOP pushed back against more expansive voting rights efforts in previous years that have also included reforming the role of money in politics, tightening federal ethics rules, no-excuse mail-in voting and automatic voter registration.
“It’s not a setup that will help one party,” Sharpton argued. “It’s a setup that will ensure equal access, even access and accountability to everyone.”
“I do hope we will find allies across the aisle,” Goldman said. “As the Reverend said, this is not a partisan bill. We are not trying to allow Democrats to vote and not Republicans.”