ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)--CURRENTLY IN THE STATE NEW YORKERS MUST BE REGISTERED TO VOTE IN ORDER TO APPLY FOR AN ABSENTEE OR MAIL-IN BALLOT.  

BUT A BILL PASSED AT THE END OF SESSION COULD CHANGE THIS, IF GOV. KATHY HOCHUL SIGNS IT.  
 
IF SHE SIGNS IT – STUDENTS ABOUT TO TURN 18 AND MOVING AWAY TO COLLEGE COULD GAIN access TO MAIL-IN BALLOTS.  
 
“This will really ensure that folks like students, young voters who won’t be in their county at the time of the election or even not with early mail voting will still be able to do that,” said Erica Smitka, deputy director at the League of Women Voters of New York.  
 
SMITKA said THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR MAIL IN AND ABSENTEE BALLOTS CAN BE EXTENSIVE, MAKING IT MUCH MORE IMPORTANT YOUNG VOTERS HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO APPLY AND ULTIMATELY HAVE THEIR VOTE COUNT.  
 
SHE ALSO SAid THIS LEGISLATION IS A WAY TO ENGAGE MORE YOUNG VOTERS IN THE ELECTION PROCESS.  
 
 
“When folks build the habit of voting early, they’re more likely to continue that habit and that civic participation throughout their lives. So, this is a way to make sure that folks are engaged but then also to continue that engagement and to ensure that younger voters have the ability to vote, I think that’s probably the biggest thing,” said Smitka. 
 
SOME POLITICAL EXPERTS SAid YOUNGER VOTERS WILL BE SIGNIFICANT IN THE OUTCOME OF THIS UPCOMING ELECTION — PARTICULARLY STUDENTS WHO MAY BE VOTING IN DIFFERENT CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS FROM WHERE THEIR PARENTS LIVE.
 
“If you’re going to college let's, say in Binghamton of Syracuse or New Paltz or somewhere or in Nassau County, you have a greater chance there of your vote mattering more in a competitive district,” said  Shawn Donahue,  a political science professor at SUNY Buffalo.