From the Morning Memo:

State lawmakers today will take up a package of election reforms designed to make it easier to register to vote and cast a ballot.

The bills, along with a pair of constitutional amendments, are virtually perennial proposals that have not gained a vote in the state Senate under Republican rule, but are now certain to pass given Democratic control of the chamber.

The legislation includes:

Make it easier for those who move to transfer their registration
Allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote.
Close the loophole in the state’s campaign finance law that allows unlimited donations through a web of limited liability companies
Create a system of early voting
Consolidate the state and federal primaries into one day

Lawmakers will also consider first passage of two constitutional amendments that would allow for no-fault absentee balloting and same-day voter registration.

The measures, designed to boost the state’s comparatively low voter turnout, have won the praise of good-government groups.

“We believe this package thoughtfully improves the voting and registration process,” said Reinvent Albany in a bill memorandum in support. “The various elements are phased in over years, so boards of election should be able to effectively implement the many reforms without being overwhelmed.”

But local governments have raised concerns about some aspects of the legislation, pointing to the need to fund local boards of election in order to carry out the changes.

“Election costs are the mandated responsibility of county governments through local boards of elections,” said Stephen Acquario of the Association of Counties.

“The operational budgets for these local boards have been enacted at the close of 2018. Additional costs associated with staffing and securing early voting locations, printing and counting additional ballots, ensuring elections are safe from cyber security threats, and meeting other legal election requirements have not been fully calculated by the state and counties.”

The group estimated the changes could cost between $500,000 to $1 million for each county.