senate Bill S542

Amended

Provides for the provision of voter registration forms to students by colleges, universities and public school districts

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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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  • 05 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 17 / May / 2011
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO ELECTIONS
  • 17 / May / 2011
    • PRINT NUMBER 542A
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 20 / Jan / 2012
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO ELECTIONS
  • 20 / Jan / 2012
    • PRINT NUMBER 542B
  • 11 / Apr / 2012
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO ELECTIONS
  • 11 / Apr / 2012
    • PRINT NUMBER 542C

Summary

Provides for the provision of voter registration forms to students by colleges, universities and public school districts; authorizes the pre-registration to vote of 16 year olds.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A1228
Versions:
S542
S542A
S542B
S542C
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Elections
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§5-211 & 5-210, El L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2009-2010: S1872C, A811B
2007-2008: S6169A, A11167

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S542

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the election law, in relation to voter registration and
enrollment

PURPOSE:
Improves access to voter registration materials and information for
high school and college students.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends § 5-211 of the election law to add a new subdivision
18 requiring all colleges, universities and public high schools to
make voter registration forms available to eligible students within 3
weeks of their arrival on campus, designate a location for
distribution of and assistance with such forms, and to submit any
forms collected to the local board of elections.

Section 2 amends § 5-211 of the election law to add public school
districts, colleges and universities to the list of agencies and
offices subject to the provisions of Motor Voter, with duties and
obligations set forth in subdivision 18.

Section 3 amends subdivision 8 of § 5-211 of the election law to add
public school districts, colleges and universities to the list of
agencies and offices subject to the provisions of Motor Voter, with
duties and obligations set forth in subdivision 18.

Section 4 provides that an applicant who submits a applicant to
register to vote must be at least 17 years of age at the time of
submission.
(Under current law, such applicant may be 17 only if he or she will be
turning 18 within the same calendar year.) A registered voter's
eligibility to cast a ballot will continue to commence on the voter's
18th birthday.

Section 5 provides an effective date of July 1, 2010 for college and
universities, and July 1, 2011 for public school districts.

JUSTIFICATION:
According to the results of an extensive study conducted by my office
of colleges in New York State, both public and private institutions
are remiss of Federal Law which requires them to make voter
registration forms readily accessible to enrolled students.

The report, Youth At the Polls: A Survey of Voter Registration at NYS
Colleges, surveyed over 60 schools across the state. under a 1998
Amendment of the Higher Education Act, all colleges in good faith are
required to provide voter registration forms to students physically
on campus before the state's deadline for federal and gubernatorial
elections. New York State election law also requires every public
college and university (SUNY CUNY) to provide voter registration
forms to every student at the start of each academic year and in
January of presidential election years.


Despite the state and federal mandate, a quarter of public schools
surveyed were not equipped to register students to vote, and 90%
failed to send students voter registration materials in the mail. Of
private schools, only 50% made voter registration materials available
on campus, and 0% offered information via a posting.

This bill would clarify the means by which colleges and universities
must satisfy their existing obligation to make voter registration
materials available to their students.

Expanding the law will allow us to enroll more voters while they are
still students in the public education system, thereby increasing the
likelihood of civic engagement and strengthening our democracy. This
bill is put forth in the memory of the late Dr. Ray Seidelman, who
taught, mentored, and engaged students in Politics at Sarah Lawrence
College for over twenty-five years. Sharing his belief in the
electoral process and grass roots democracy, he inspired his students
to actively participate in elections at all levels. Dr. Seidelman's
definition of democracy, "Democracy is not what we have, it is what
we aspire to be.
So dare to aspire to it, for in the process you become a democratic
citizen. It takes courage to live as a democratic citizen, and that's
why we fight for it; this will involve you in great risks, but it's
worth it because it will make you free." Ray believed in the
intrinsic value of political participation, for what it brings into
being within and between people joined in the struggle to create a
slightly more human life by pursuing justice, freedom, equality, and
democracy. He is known as a teacher linking theory with practice,
intellectual development with public-service learning, and political
theory with the duties and responsibilities of citizenship.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2008 - S.6169A - Referred to Elections
2009 - S.1872C - Referred to Elections

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect July 1, 2011; provided, however ,that the
provisions of this act shall only apply to school districts on and
after July 1, 2012.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   542

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, BRESLIN, DIAZ, DILAN, HASSELL-THOMPSON, HUNT-
  LEY, KRUEGER, MONTGOMERY, OPPENHEIMER, SAMPSON, STAVISKY -- read twice
  and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee
  on Elections

AN  ACT to amend the election law, in relation to voter registration and
  enrollment

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Section  5-211 of the election law is amended by adding a
new subdivision 18 to read as follows:
  18. ALL COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES AND PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS LOCATED IN THIS
STATE SHALL MAKE VOTER REGISTRATION  FORMS  AVAILABLE  TO  ANY  ELIGIBLE
STUDENTS IN THE SAME MANNER AND SUBJECT TO THE SAME PROVISIONS AND RULES
AND REGULATIONS AS ALL OTHER DESIGNATED AGENCIES; EXCEPT THAT A COLLEGE,
UNIVERSITY  OR  PUBLIC  HIGH  SCHOOL SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO COLLECT OR
MAINTAIN FORMS CONTAINING AN INDIVIDUAL'S  DECLINATION  TO  REGISTER  TO
VOTE  AS  REQUIRED  BY  SUBDIVISION TEN OF THIS SECTION, OR TO CONDUCT A
STUDY AND REPORT THEREON AS REQUIRED BY SUBDIVISION  SEVENTEEN  OF  THIS
SECTION.
  EACH  COLLEGE,  UNIVERSITY  AND  PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL SHALL PROVIDE EACH
ELIGIBLE STUDENT WITH A REGISTRATION FORM WITHIN THE FIRST  THREE  WEEKS
OF  SUCH  STUDENT'S  ENTRY  TO  SCHOOL  OR ARRIVAL ON CAMPUS PURSUANT TO
SUBDIVISIONS TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SEVEN,  NINE,  ELEVEN,  TWELVE  AND
FIFTEEN  OF  THIS  SECTION.  EVERY  COLLEGE,  UNIVERSITY AND PUBLIC HIGH
SCHOOL SHALL DESIGNATE AT LEAST ONE CONVENIENTLY  LOCATED  OFFICE  WHERE
STUDENTS MAY RECEIVE VOTER REGISTRATION FORMS AND PERSONAL ASSISTANCE IN
THE COMPLETION OF SUCH FORMS. EACH SUCH OFFICE SHALL PUBLICIZE ITS VOTER
REGISTRATION SERVICES PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION SEVEN OF THIS SECTION, AND
SHALL  OFFER  TO COLLECT AND TRANSMIT COMPLETED VOTER REGISTRATION FORMS

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00647-02-1

S. 542                              2

FROM STUDENTS TO THE LOCAL BOARD OF ELECTIONS PURSUANT  TO  SUBDIVISIONS
TWO, THREE, FIVE, NINE, ELEVEN, TWELVE AND FIFTEEN OF THIS SECTION.
  ANY COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OR SCHOOL DISTRICT MAY ELECT TO SOLICIT ONE OR
MORE  RECOGNIZED  NON-PARTISAN  CAMPUS  BASED  ORGANIZATIONS  OR STUDENT
GROUPS TO ASSIST IN ITS EFFORTS TO OFFER PERSONAL ASSISTANCE, COLLECTION
AND TRANSMITTAL OF VOTER REGISTRATION FORMS.
  IN ADDITION TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBDIVISIONS TWO, FIVE AND EIGHT OF
THIS SECTION, ALL COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES OFFERING VOTER  REGISTRATION
SERVICES SHALL INFORM STUDENTS OF THEIR RIGHT TO COMPLETE A VOTER REGIS-
TRATION  FORM  FROM  THEIR  COLLEGE OR PREVIOUS ADDRESS; INFORM STUDENTS
THAT THEIR DECISION TO REGISTER OR DECLINE TO  REGISTER  TO  VOTE  SHALL
HAVE NO BEARING ON THEIR COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY RECORD; AND NOTWITHSTAND-
ING  THE  PROVISIONS  OF  SUBDIVISION  NINE  OF  THIS SECTION, SHALL NOT
INQUIRE OR KEEP RECORDS PERTAINING TO ANY STUDENT'S ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE.
  IN ADDITION TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBDIVISION SEVEN OF THIS  SECTION,
ALL  COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS SHALL PLACE A PROMINENT
LINK ON THEIR INTERNET HOMEPAGE TO THE APPROPRIATE PAGE OF THE  INTERNET
WEBSITE  OF  THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS TO LEARN ABOUT
THE QUALIFICATIONS TO VOTE, AND TO DOWNLOAD A VOTER  REGISTRATION  FORM,
EXCEPT  THAT  FOR  COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND
FOR THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK SUCH LINK SHALL  BE
TO  THE  APPROPRIATE  PAGE  OF THE INTERNET WEBSITE OF THE NEW YORK CITY
BOARD OF ELECTIONS.
  THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND, IN THE CITY OF  NEW  YORK,  THE  NEW
YORK  CITY  BOARD  OF  ELECTIONS  SHALL OFFER COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES AND
SCHOOL DISTRICTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO USE CODED VOTER REGISTRATION  APPLI-
CATIONS THAT IDENTIFY EACH SUCH APPLICATION AS ORIGINATING FROM EITHER A
COLLEGE,  UNIVERSITY  OR PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL. IF A COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OR
SCHOOL DISTRICT ELECTS TO USE CODED VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATIONS,  IT
SHALL  BE  EXEMPT  FROM  ALL REPORTING REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SECTION. THE
STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL MAKE AVAILABLE AND PROVIDE FOR THE DELIV-
ERY OF SUCH CODED APPLICATIONS TO  ANY  COLLEGE,  UNIVERSITY  OR  SCHOOL
DISTRICT WITHIN THE STATE WHICH SUBMITS A REQUEST THEREFOR.
  EVERY  BOARD  OF  ELECTIONS  SCANNING  VOTER  REGISTRATION FORMS SHALL
CAPTURE ANY DESIGNATED AGENCY CODES THEREON AND REPORT THEM ON A MONTHLY
BASIS TO THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS.
  S 2. The opening paragraph of section 5-211 of the  election  law,  as
amended  by  chapter  200  of  the  laws  of 1996, is amended to read as
follows:
  Each agency designated as a participating agency under the  provisions
of  this  section,  AND  COLLEGE,  UNIVERSITY AND SCHOOL DISTRICT, shall
implement and administer a program of distribution of voter registration
forms pursuant to the provisions of this section. The following  offices
which  provide  public  assistance  and/or provide state funded programs
primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities are
hereby designated as voter registration agencies:    designated  as  the
state  agencies  which  provide  public assistance are the department of
[social services] FAMILY ASSISTANCE and the department of health.   Also
designated  as  public  assistance  agencies  are  all agencies of local
government that provide such assistance. Designated  as  state  agencies
that  provide programs primarily engaged in providing services to people
with disabilities are the department of labor,  office  for  the  aging,
division  of veterans' affairs, office of mental health, office of voca-
tional and  educational  services  for  individuals  with  disabilities,
commission  on  quality  of  care  for the mentally disabled, office [of
mental retardation and]  FOR  PEOPLE  WITH  developmental  disabilities,

S. 542                              3

commission  for the blind and visually handicapped, office of alcoholism
and substance abuse services, the office of the advocate for  the  disa-
bled  and all offices which administer programs established or funded by
such  agencies.  Additional state agencies designated as voter registra-
tion offices are the department of state and the  division  of  workers'
compensation.  Such  agencies shall be required to offer voter registra-
tion forms to persons upon initial application for services, renewal  or
recertification  for  services  and  change  of address relating to such
services. Such agencies shall also be responsible for providing  assist-
ance to applicants in completing voter registration forms, receiving and
transmitting the completed application form from all applicants who wish
to have such form transmitted to the appropriate board of elections. The
state  board  of  elections  shall, together with representatives of the
department of defense, develop and implement  procedures  for  including
recruitment  offices  of  the armed forces of the United States as voter
registration offices when such offices are so designated by federal law.
The state board shall also make request of the United States Immigration
and Naturalization Service to include applications for  registration  by
mail  with  any  materials which are given to new citizens.  [All insti-
tutions of the state university of New York and the city  university  of
New York, shall, at the beginning of the school year, and again in Janu-
ary  of  a  year  in  which  the president of the United States is to be
elected, provide an application for registration to each student in each
such institution.] The state board  of  elections  may,  by  regulation,
grant  a  waiver  from any or all of the requirements of this section to
any office or program  of  an  agency,  COLLEGE,  UNIVERSITY  OR  SCHOOL
DISTRICT,  if  it  determines that it is not feasible for such office or
program to administer such requirement.
  S 3. The opening paragraph of subdivision 8 of section  5-211  of  the
election  law, as amended by chapter 659 of the laws of 1994, is amended
to read as follows:
  Each participating agency, department, division or office  that  makes
available  voter registration forms pursuant to this section shall offer
with each application for the services or  assistance  of  such  agency,
department, division or office and with each recertification, renewal or
change  of address form relating to such service or assistance, a regis-
tration form together  with  instructions  relating  to  eligibility  to
register and for completing the form, except that COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES
AND  SCHOOL  DISTRICTS  SHALL  DISTRIBUTE  VOTER  REGISTRATION  FORMS IN
ACCORDANCE WITH SUBDIVISION EIGHTEEN OF THIS SECTION, AND forms used  by
the  department  of  [social services] FAMILY ASSISTANCE for the initial
application for services, renewal or recertification  for  services  and
change of address relating to such services shall physically incorporate
a  voter  registration  application  in a fashion that permits the voter
registration portion of the agency form to be detached  therefrom.  Such
voter  registration  application  shall  be designed so as to ensure the
confidentiality of the source of the  application.    Included  on  each
participating  agency's  application  for services or assistance or on a
separate form shall be:
  S 4. Paragraph (g) of subdivision 5 of section 5-210 of  the  election
law,  as  amended by chapter 179 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read
as follows:
  (g) Notice that the applicant must be a citizen of the United  States,
is [or will be at least eighteen years old not later than December thir-
ty-first  of  the  calendar  year in which he or she registers] AT LEAST

S. 542                              4

SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD WHEN HE OR SHE SUBMITS AN APPLICATION TO REGISTER TO
VOTE and a resident of the county or city to which application is made.
  S  5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2011; provided, however, that
the provisions of this act shall only apply to school districts  on  and
after July 1, 2012.

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