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Queens Chronicle

Bill proposed over candidate dropouts

Addabbo wants voting machines to reject ballots for someone not in race

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 3:01 pm, Thu Jul 11, 2019.

Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) dropped out of the race for Queens district attorney several days before the Democratic primary but still received more than 1,000 votes.

In response, state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) introduced bill S.6618, which would require voting machines to reject ballots that contain a vote for a candidate who has officially withdrawn from a race prior to the election date and allow voters another chance to cast their ballot for someone still in the race, if they wish.

“I feel that all voters should be fully informed of all the active candidates in a race for political office,” Addabbo said in a statement. “Voters should know when they cast a vote for a candidate that has officially dropped out of the race and have the opportunity to fill out another ballot for a different candidate that is still running, if they so choose.”

The bill would amend election law to provide voters with a notice indicating that the individual they voted for is no longer a candidate and they could complete a new ballot.

The New York State Board of Elections would be authorized to publicize rules, regulations and programming necessary to implement this amendment to the election law.

“When Councilman Lancman dropped out of the Queens District Attorney race just four days before the election, I believe a lot of voters weren’t aware of the change and still voted for him on Election Day, when they may have wanted to vote for someone else if they knew he was no longer an active candidate,” Addabbo added. “With my bill, voters would get the opportunity to fill out a new ballot and ensure their vote is cast for an active candidate, or they can leave their vote the way it was if they please. My bill is aimed at giving voters the most up-to-date information on the candidates to ensure that their vote goes to someone who is still on the ballot.”

Lancman received more votes than candidates Jose Nieves and Betty Lugo.

Joann Ariola Shanks, chairwoman of the Queens Republican Party, believes the bill has merit.

“When they drop out ... Joan and John Q. Citizen, who are not really plugged in, they don’t know,” she said. “They missed the newscast or they didn’t see it in the paper that week. So they don’t know.

“They go and they vote. And they’re like, ‘Oh, I know Rory Lancman.’ Sometimes it’s just name recognition.”

If passed, the bill would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Welcome to the discussion.