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Bill To Allow Early Voting Introduced In Assembly

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced a bill that would allow New Yorkers to vote up to 14 days before a general election and seven days before a special or primary election at certain designated polling sites. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

President Barack Obama cast his vote for the 2012 presidential election 12 days before Election Day.

Now, Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the New York State Assembly wants to give New York voters the chance to do the same thing.

"Early voting has been done in other states very effectively, and I think New York would benefit," Silver said.

Thirty-two states already have early voting. New York doesn't.

"I don't see why anybody should oppose it," Silver said. "I think our goal should be to have as many people involved in the process. Democrats, Republicans, Independents can all take advantage of it."

Silver's plan would allow voters to cast ballots two weeks before the general election and a week before primary elections. He said it will prevent long lines and logjams at polling sites, which were seen all over the city on Election Day this year.

Some city Board of Elections officials have endorsed the idea.

"I think what's right for voters is for them to have an opportunity to join those other states and vote early and avoid those long lines that we see on Election Day," said New York City Board of Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco.

One of the leaders of the State Senate has also endorsed the idea.

"I applaud Speaker Silver's proposal," said State Senator Jeff Klein. "Any way we can get more and more people engaged in our electoral process is a good thing."

But not everyone is casting their ballot for it.

The governor's office said it is reviewing the legislation.

Back in 2010, the Bloomberg administration actually proposed the idea.

"Our voting process policies are the worst of any state in the nation," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the time.

The mayor issued a report pushing early voting.

But on his radio show on Friday, the mayor was tepid to it.

"You know, there's something, I like the idea that there is a day you have to stop everything and show up," Bloomberg said. "I think it reminds you of the fact of what being a citizen means. But having said that, Shelly is not the first one to do this."

Even if early voting gains steam in Albany and is approved sometime early next year, the speaker's office said there is no way it would be in place for next year's mayor's race.

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