senate Bill S1058

Amended

Requires polling places to be accessible to physically disabled voters

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 22 / Jan / 2009
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 28 / Apr / 2009
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO ELECTIONS
  • 28 / Apr / 2009
    • PRINT NUMBER 1058A
  • 19 / May / 2009
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • 16 / Jul / 2009
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • 16 / Jul / 2009
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.900
  • 16 / Jul / 2009
    • SUBSTITUTED BY A584A

Summary

Requires each polling place to be accessible to physically disabled voters and provides guidelines which shall be in accordance with the accessibility requirements mandated pursuant to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S1058
S1058A
Legislative Cycle:
2009-2010
Versions Introduced in 2007-2008 Legislative Cycle:
S6311

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER: S1058

TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the election law, in relation to requiring polling
places to be accessible to physically disabled voters


PURPOSE :
The purpose of this bill is to update the state election law to be
consistent with federal accessibility requirements, eliminate state
polling place accessibility waiver language and include provisions to
the election law to reduce confusion regarding polling places access
requirements and increase the likelihood of substantial compliance.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
Section 1: Amends a clear standard that all polling places must be
accessible to citizens with disabilities per the accessibility
guidelines of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of
1990 and New York State Uniform Fire and Building Codes. This will
eliminate any confusion and direct the appropriate parties to the
relevant laws and agencies for guidance.

The bill repeats an outdated waiver process that was used to operate
inaccessible polling places. This past practice and language must be
deleted because it is illegal. All polling places must now be
accessible by federal law.

The State Board of Elections shall publish a concise, non-technical
guide to describe polling site accessibility standards and distribute
them to all board of elections and local governments with the power to
designate poll sites. The Guide will also include a polling site
access survey instrument and uniform procedures to be followed by
boards of elections to hear and remedy polling site accessibility
complaints. The guide will be developed in consultation with
appropriate stakeholders.

Additional provisions were included to help reduce confusion regarding
polling places access requirements and increase the likelihood of
substantial compliance. They include: completion of an access survey
for every polling place to verify compliance, submission of completed
surveys to the State Board of Elections, specifications about
qualifications of persons conducting the surveys as well as their
frequency. To ensure enforcement, a provision was added to support a
party's right to pursue the matter in court.

EXISTING LAW :
None.

JUSTIFICATION :
Many polling sites across the state are ill equipped to provide basic
access to people with disabilities. In turn, this has severely
affected their ability to go out and vote. Often times, such barriers
as steep steps and narrow doorways impede the only available routes to
these buildings. Entrances that are more accommodating to those with
disabilities are frequently obscured from view, due to a lack of
proper signage. Furthermore, many polling sites are located in
basements, which can only be reached by stairway. A lack of adequate
handicapped parking spaces has been a deterrent as well.

By mandating that all polling sites comply with these accessibility
guidelines, this law will help ensure that all people with
disabilities can be accommodated in a fair and equitable fashion at
all polling sites.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2007-2008 S.6311 - Died in Senate
2005-2006 A.120 - Passed Assembly, Died in Senate
2003-2004 A.5473A - Passed Assembly, Died in Senate
2001-2002 A.10623 - Referred to Elections

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
There are limited local fiscal implications.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect on the fifteenth of December next
succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
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The Bill text is not available.

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