senate Bill S1461

Amended

Relates to early voting in the state of New York

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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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  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 19 / Mar / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO ELECTIONS
  • 19 / Mar / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 1461A

Summary

Relates to early voting in the state of New York.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S1461
S1461A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Elections
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§3-400, 4-117, 8-102, 8-104 & 8-508, add Art 8 Title VI §§8-600 & 8-602, El L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1461

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the election law, in relation to early voting

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this
bill is to
establish early voting in primary, general and special elections in
the State of New York.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends § 3-400(9) of the election law to provide
that election inspectors at early voting locations shall be local
board of elections employees as chosen by the commissioners of such
board of elections on an equal and bipartisan basis.

Section 2 of the bill amends § 4-117 of the election law to ensure
that early voting information, including days, hours and locations
are mailed to registered voters as part of the "mail check" process.

Section 3 of the bill amends § 5-210(3) of the election law to require
that any completed voter application form be received by any county
board of elections, or postmarked to the same, not later than the
fifteenth day before a special election.

Section 4 of the bill amends § 7-202(4) of the election law to allow
county boards of elections the freedom to use existing ballot
scanners at early voting locations or purchase new digital recording
electronic voting machines for the same purpose.

Section 5 of the bill amends § 8-102 of the election law to add a new
paragraph (k) which provides that when paper ballots are used in
early voting locations the machines and locations shall, except where
provided, be opened in the same manner as on election day.

Section 6 of the bill amends § 8-104 by adding a new subdivision 7 to
require that the same polling place protocols that are observed on
election day be extended to all early voting days.

Section 7 of the bill amends § 8-508(2)(b) of the election law to
provide that a space for challenged early voters be included on the
"challenge report".

Section 8 of the bill adds a new title VI (§ 8-600 & 8-602) to the
election law entitled "Early Voting" and sets forth the parameters of
such early voting.

§ 8-600 states:

* Early voting shall take place during the 14 days before a general
election and the seven days before any primary election.

* Local boards of elections shall designate at least five polling
places in each county for early voting and that such polling places


shall be geographically located so as to provide all voters in each
county an equal opportunity to cast a ballot.

* Early voting hours shall be from 8:00 AM until 7:00 PM each day,
including weekends.

* The board of elections shall notify every registered voter of the
dates, hours and polling places available for early voting.

* The paper ballots cast during early voting shall be the same as those
cast on election day. However, ballots cast during the early voting
period shall not be canvassed until election night, and then, in the
same manner as emergency ballots cast on election day.

* Voters casting ballots early shall be subject to challenge in the
same manner as those voters casting ballots on election day.

* The names of those voters casting ballots early shall be recorded at
the end of each day of early voting in an effort to ensure that early
voters do not appear in election day poll books and thus cast a
second ballot.

* Ballots cast during the early voting period shall not be canvassed
until the polls close on election day.

* The State Board of Elections is empowered to create rules and
regulations necessary to ensure the proper administration of the
early voting scheme as set forth in this bill.

Section 9 of the bill is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: According to the Bipartisan Policy
Center, New York
State's voter turnout rate for the 2012 general election was
approximately 46.3. This is a 12% difference from the turnout in the
2008 general election. Though this year's turnout statistics may have
been dampened due to the effects of Superstorm Sandy, the fact
remains that New York has one of the lowest (third behind Hawaii and
West Virginia) voter turnout rates in the United States.

Enhancing access to voting is perhaps the most effective way to raise
the voter turnout rate in New York State. Early voting does just that.

There are many obstacles to in-person voting on Election Day in New
York: polling place hours often conflict with work schedules, some
voters have transportation issues, long lines and waits at polling
places, etc. Early voting, alleviates several of these issues through
its various provisions. Under this bill early voting will take place
from 8:00 AM until 7:00 PM on every early voting day (even on
weekends) in various (at least five) polling places throughout each
county. Further, under the provisions of this legislation, New
Yorkers will have the ability to cast a ballot up to 14 days before a
general election and up to a week before a primary or special
election. In addition, it is hoped that this convenient alternative
to in-person voting on election day will ease the burden on election
day polling sites by spreading out voting and thus shortening lines
and wait times on election day.


It is time that New York State joins the 32 other states and the
District Columbia and institute early voting. All New Yorkers,
regardless of work schedule or personal and professional commitments
should have the ability to vote in each and every election. Early
voting will make voting easier, more convenient, and most
importantly, more accessible in our State.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None

FISCAL IMPLICATION: There will be additional costs
associated with
staffing early voting locations as well as with printing and counting
paper ballots associated with early voting, in addition to other
unstated costs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the
first of January
next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.

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

                                  1461

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  STEWART-COUSINS -- 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 early voting

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

  Section  1.  Section  3-400 of the election law is amended by adding a
new subdivision 9 to read as follows:
  9.  NOTWITHSTANDING  ANY  INCONSISTENT  PROVISIONS  OF  THIS  SECTION,
ELECTION  INSPECTORS  AT  EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS, INCLUDING THOSE IN THE
CITY OF NEW YORK, SHALL CONSIST OF  BOARD  OF  ELECTIONS  EMPLOYEES  WHO
SHALL  BE  APPOINTED  BY  THE  COMMISSIONERS OF SUCH BOARD OF ELECTIONS.
APPOINTMENTS TO THE OFFICES OF ELECTION INSPECTOR OR POLL CLERK IN  EACH
EARLY  VOTING  LOCATION  SHALL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED BY THE MAJOR POLITICAL
PARTIES.
  S 2. Subdivision 1 of section 4-117 of the election law, as amended by
chapter 288 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows:
  1. The board of elections, between August first and  August  fifth  of
each  year, shall send by first class mail on which is endorsed "ADDRESS
CORRECTION REQUESTED" and which contains a request that  any  such  mail
received  for persons not residing at the address be dropped back in the
mail, a communication,  in  a  form  approved  by  the  state  board  of
elections,  to  every registered voter who has been registered without a
change of address since the beginning of  such  year,  except  that  the
board  of elections shall not be required to send such communications to
voters in inactive status. The communication shall notify the  voter  of
the days and hours of the ensuing primary and general elections, INCLUD-
ING  THE DAYS AND HOURS FOR EARLY VOTING AND THE LOCATIONS THEREFOR, the
place where he appears by his registration records  to  be  entitled  to
vote,  the  fact  that voters who have moved or will have moved from the
address where they were last registered must  re-register  or,  that  if

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD05564-01-3

S. 1461                             2

such  move  was to another address in the same county or city, that such
voter may either notify the board of elections of  his  new  address  or
vote  by  paper  ballot at the polling place for his new address even if
such  voter  has  not  re-registered, or otherwise notified the board of
elections of the change of address. If the location of the polling place
for the voter's election district  has  been  moved,  the  communication
shall contain the following legend in bold type: "YOUR POLLING PLACE HAS
BEEN  CHANGED.  YOU NOW VOTE AT..........". The communication shall also
indicate whether the polling place is accessible to physically  disabled
voters, that a voter who will be out of the city or county on the day of
the  primary  or  general  election  or a voter who is ill or physically
disabled may obtain an absentee ballot, that a physically disabled voter
whose polling place is not accessible may request that his  registration
record  be moved to an election district which has a polling place which
is accessible, the phone number to  call  for  applications  to  move  a
registration  record  or  for  absentee  ballot  applications, the phone
number to call for the location of registration and polling places,  the
phone  number  to call to indicate that the voter is willing to serve on
election day as an election inspector, poll  clerk,  interpreter  or  in
other  capacities, the phone number to call to obtain an application for
registration  by  mail,  and  such  other  information  concerning   the
elections  or  registration as the board may include. In lieu of sending
such communication to every registered voter, the board of elections may
send a single communication to a  household  containing  more  than  one
registered  voter,  provided that the names of all such voters appear as
part of the address on such communication.
  S 3. Subdivision 3 of section 5-210 of the election law, as amended by
chapter 179 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read as follows:
  3. Completed application forms, when received by any county  board  of
elections  and,  with  respect  to  application forms promulgated by the
federal election  commission,  when  received  by  the  state  board  of
elections,  or  showing  a  dated cancellation mark of the United States
Postal Service or contained in an envelope showing such a dated  cancel-
lation mark which is not later than the twenty-fifth day before the next
ensuing primary, general or special election, and received no later than
the  twentieth  day before such election, or delivered in person to such
county board of elections not  later  than  the  [tenth]  FIFTEENTH  day
before  a  special election, shall entitle the applicant to vote in such
election, if he or she is otherwise qualified, provided,  however,  such
applicant  shall  not vote on a voting machine until his or her identity
is verified. Any county board of elections receiving an application form
from a person who does not reside  in  its  jurisdiction  but  who  does
reside  elsewhere in the state of New York, shall forthwith forward such
application form to the proper county board of elections. Each board  of
elections  shall  make  an  entry  on  each  such form of the date it is
received by such board.
  S 4. Subdivision 4 of section 7-202 of the election law, as  added  by
chapter 181 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read as follows:
  4.  Local boards of elections which obtain voting machines pursuant to
this chapter may  determine  to  purchase  direct  recording  electronic
machines  or  optical scan machines in conformance with the requirements
of this chapter.  LOCAL BOARDS OF ELECTIONS MAY PURCHASE DIRECT  RECORD-
ING  ELECTRONIC  MACHINES TO BE USED SOLELY FOR EARLY VOTING PURSUANT TO
SECTION 8-600 OF THIS CHAPTER. LOCAL BOARDS OF ELECTIONS MAY  CHOOSE  TO
EMPLOY  EITHER  BALLOT SCANNERS OR DIRECTION RECORDING ELECTRONIC VOTING
MACHINES FOR THE PURPOSE OF EARLY VOTING.

S. 1461                             3

  S 5. Subdivision 1 of section 8-102 of the election law is amended  by
adding a new paragraph (k) to read as follows:
  (K)  IF EARLY VOTING IS CARRIED OUT ON PAPER BALLOTS THE PROVISIONS OF
THIS SUBDIVISION, EXCEPT FOR PARAGRAPHS (H), (I) AND (J), SHALL APPLY TO
EACH DAY OF EARLY VOTING AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 8-600 OF THIS  ARTI-
CLE.  FURTHER,  AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH DAY OF EARLY VOTING THE INSPEC-
TORS SHALL INSPECT THE BALLOT MARKING DEVICE TO SEE THAT IT IS  IN  GOOD
WORKING  ORDER;  INSPECT THE PLACEMENT OF PRIVACY BOOTHS TO PRESERVE THE
SECRECY OF VOTING; INSPECT THE SCREEN  OF  THE  BALLOT  MARKING  DEVICE;
INSPECT  THE  POLLING  PLACE TO MAKE CERTAIN THERE IS NO WAY THAT ANYONE
CAN VIEW ANY VOTING ACTION BY A VOTER AT THE BALLOT MARKING DEVICE OR IN
A PRIVACY BOOTH; AND AFFIX A CONSPICUOUS NOTICE, IN THE FORM  PRESCRIBED
BY  THE  STATE  BOARD OF ELECTIONS, IN A PROMINENT PLACE NEAR THE BALLOT
SCANNER AND IN THE PRIVACY BOOTH, INSTRUCTING THE VOTER ON HOW TO  PROP-
ERLY MARK A BALLOT IN ORDER TO HAVE HIS OR HER VOTE COUNTED. SUCH NOTICE
SHALL  BE  PRINTED  IN  ENGLISH AND SUCH OTHER LANGUAGES AS THE BOARD OF
ELECTIONS MAY DETERMINE TO BE APPROPRIATE.
  S 6. Section 8-104 of the election law is  amended  by  adding  a  new
subdivision 7 to read as follows:
  7.  THIS  SECTION SHALL APPLY ON ALL EARLY VOTING DAYS AS PROVIDED FOR
IN SECTION 8-600 OF THIS ARTICLE.
  S 7. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 8-508 of  the  election
law,  as  amended by chapter 200 of the laws of 1996, is amended to read
as follows:
  (b) The second section of such report shall be reserved for the  board
of  inspectors to enter the name, address and registration serial number
of each person who is challenged on the day of election OR ON ANY DAY IN
WHICH THERE IS EARLY VOTING PURSUANT TO SECTION 8-600 OF  THIS  ARTICLE,
together  with  the  reason  for the challenge.   If no voters are chal-
lenged, the board of inspectors shall enter the  words  "No  Challenges"
across  the  space reserved for such names. In lieu of preparing section
two of the challenge report, the board of elections may provide, next to
the name of each voter on the computer generated  registration  list,  a
place  for the inspectors of election to record the information required
to be entered in such section two, or provide at the end of such comput-
er generated registration list, a place for the inspectors  of  election
to enter such information.
  S  8. Article 8 of the election law is amended by adding a new title 6
to read as follows:
                                TITLE VI
                              EARLY VOTING
SECTION 8-600. EARLY VOTING.
        8-602. STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS;  POWERS  AND  DUTIES  OF  EARLY
                 VOTING.
  S  8-600.  EARLY  VOTING. 1. BEGINNING THE FOURTEENTH DAY PRIOR TO ANY
GENERAL ELECTION FOR ANY PUBLIC OR PARTY OFFICE,  AND  THE  SEVENTH  DAY
PRIOR TO ANY PRIMARY OR SPECIAL ELECTION FOR ANY PUBLIC OR PARTY OFFICE,
PERSONS  DULY REGISTERED TO VOTE FOR CANDIDATES FOR SUCH OFFICE SHALL BE
PERMITTED TO VOTE IN PERSON BY BALLOT FOR A CANDIDATE FOR SUCH OFFICE.
  2. THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS OF EACH COUNTY AND IN THE CITY OF NEW  YORK,
THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, SHALL DESIGNATE AT LEAST
FIVE POLLING PLACES IN EACH COUNTY FOR PERSONS TO VOTE EARLY PURSUANT TO
THIS  SECTION. SUCH POLLING PLACES SHALL BE GEOGRAPHICALLY LOCATED SO AS
TO PROVIDE ALL VOTERS IN THE COUNTY  AN  EQUAL  OPPORTUNITY  TO  CAST  A
BALLOT,  INSOFAR  AS  IS PRACTICABLE. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4-104 OF
THIS CHAPTER SHALL APPLY TO THE DESIGNATION OF POLLING PLACES FOR  EARLY

S. 1461                             4

VOTING  EXCEPT WHERE SUCH PROVISIONS ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THIS SUBDIVI-
SION.
  3.  POLLS  SHALL  BE  OPEN  FOR EARLY VOTING FROM EIGHT O'CLOCK IN THE
MORNING UNTIL SEVEN O'CLOCK IN THE EVENING EACH DAY, INCLUDING  SATURDAY
AND SUNDAY.
  4.  THE  BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL NOTIFY EVERY REGISTERED VOTER OF THE
DATES, HOURS AND POLLING PLACES AVAILABLE FOR EARLY VOTING.
  5. THE FORM OF PAPER BALLOTS, IF USED IN EARLY  VOTING,  SHALL  COMPLY
WITH THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE SEVEN OF THIS CHAPTER THAT ARE APPLICABLE
TO  VOTING BY PAPER BALLOT ON ELECTION DAY AND SUCH BALLOT SHALL BE CAST
IN THE SAME MANNER AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION  8-312  OF  THIS  ARTICLE,
PROVIDED  HOWEVER  THAT  BALLOTS  CAST  DURING EARLY VOTING SHALL NOT BE
DEPOSITED IN A SCANNER, BUT RATHER IN A SECURE STORAGE CONTAINER.
  6. VOTERS CASTING BALLOTS PURSUANT TO THIS TITLE SHALL BE  SUBJECT  TO
CHALLENGE  AS  PROVIDED IN SECTIONS 8-500, 8-502 AND 8-504 OF THIS ARTI-
CLE.
  7. PAPER BALLOTS CAST PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE  CANVASSED  AT
THE  CLOSE  OF THE POLLS ON ELECTION DAY IN THE SAME MANNER AS SPECIFIED
IN SECTION 9-110 OF THIS CHAPTER, PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT SUCH EARLY VOTED
BALLOTS SHALL BE EXEMPT FROM THE  REQUIREMENT  THAT  SUCH  ELECTION  DAY
PAPER  BALLOTS  SHALL NOT HAVE BEEN SCANNED BECAUSE A BALLOT SCANNER WAS
NOT AVAILABLE OR BECAUSE THE BALLOT HAD BEEN ABANDONED BY A VOTER AT THE
BALLOT SCANNER. BALLOTS  CAST  ON  DIRECT  RECORDING  ELECTRONIC  VOTING
MACHINES  SHALL  BE  CANVASSED ACCORDING TO THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF
THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS AS PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO SECTION 8-602 OF
THIS ARTICLE.
  8. AT THE CLOSE OF EACH DAY OF EARLY VOTING THE NAMES OF THOSE  VOTERS
WHO VOTED EARLY SHALL BE RECORDED BY THE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS OR BY
THE  BOARD  OF  ELECTIONS  IN  THE CITY OF NEW YORK TO ENSURE THAT THOSE
VOTERS DO NOT VOTE A SECOND TIME ON ELECTION DAY.
  9. NO EARLY BALLOTS CAST PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL  BE  CANVASSED
IN ANY WAY PRIOR TO THE CLOSE OF THE POLLS ON ELECTION DAY.
  S 8-602. STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS; POWERS AND DUTIES FOR EARLY VOTING.
ANY   RULE  OR  REGULATION  NECESSARY  FOR  THE  IMPLEMENTATION  OF  THE
PROVISIONS OF THIS TITLE SHALL BE PROMULGATED  BY  THE  STATE  BOARD  OF
ELECTIONS  PROVIDED  THAT  SUCH  RULES  AND  REGULATIONS  SHALL  INCLUDE
PROVISIONS TO ENSURE THAT BALLOTS CAST  EARLY,  BY  ANY  METHOD  ALLOWED
UNDER  LAW,  ARE COUNTED AND CANVASSED AS IF CAST ON ELECTION DAY AND TO
REQUIRE THAT THE OPENING OF EARLY VOTING POLLS IN COUNTIES USING  DIRECT
RECORDING  ELECTRONIC  VOTING  MACHINES,  SHOULD ANY COUNTIES USE DIRECT
ELECTRONIC  VOTING  MACHINES,   INCLUDE   PROVISIONS   REQUIRING   DAILY
INSPECTION  OF THE MACHINES TO ENSURE GOOD WORKING ORDER, DEMARCATION OF
THE ONE HUNDRED FOOT NO ACTIVITY ZONE AROUND THE POLLING PLACE  AND  ANY
OTHER  RULES  AND  REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO ENSURE AN EFFICIENT AND FAIR
EARLY VOTING PROCESS THAT RESPECTS THE PRIVACY OF  THE  VOTER.  PROVIDED
FURTHER  THAT  SUCH  RULES AND REGULATIONS SHALL REQUIRE THAT THE VOTING
HISTORY RECORD FOR EACH VOTER BE CONTINUALLY  UPDATED  TO  REFLECT  EACH
INSTANCE OF EARLY VOTING BY SUCH VOTER.
  S  9. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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