senate Bill S1461A

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

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A689A
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:S1461A

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 and poll clerks, if necessary, at early
voting locations shall be local board of elections employees or duly
appointed individuals as chosen by the commissioners of such board of
elections on an equal and bipartisan basis under law.

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 § 8-104 of the election law to add a new
Paragraph (k) which provides that voting at all early voting sites
shall be conducted in the same manner as on election day with the
exception of the tabulation and proclamation of votes which shall be
completed according to subdivisions eight, nine and ten of section
8-600.

Section 4 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 5 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 6 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 be conducted from the third Thursday before a
general election until the Thursday before the general election.

*Early voting shall be conducted from the second Thursday before a
primary or special election until the Thursday before the primary or
special election.

*Local boards of elections shall designate at least four polling
places in each county for early voting (5 including the board of
elections itself) 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, And
from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday.


*The board of elections shall create a communication plan to notify
voters 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.

*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 7 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 and 9:00 AM to
5:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday in least four polling places in each
county (5 including the board of elections itself). 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--A

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. STEWART-COUSINS, GIANARIS, HOYLMAN, KRUEGER, SERRANO
  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to
  the  Committee  on  Elections  --  recommitted  to  the  Committee  on
  Elections in accordance with  Senate  Rule  6,  sec.  8  --  committee
  discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
  to said committee

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 OR POLL CLERKS, IF ANY, AT EARLY  VOTING  LOCATIONS,
SHALL  CONSIST  OF  EITHER  BOARD  OF  ELECTIONS  EMPLOYEES WHO SHALL BE
APPOINTED BY THE COMMISSIONERS OF SUCH BOARD OR DULY QUALIFIED  INDIVID-
UALS,  APPOINTED  IN THE MANNER SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION.  APPOINTMENTS
TO THE OFFICES OF ELECTION INSPECTOR OR POLL CLERK IN EACH EARLY  VOTING
LOCATION SHALL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED BETWEEN 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-

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD05564-09-3

S. 1461--A                          2

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
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 1 of section 8-102 of the election law is amended  by
adding a new paragraph (k) to read as follows:
  (K)  VOTING  AT  EACH EARLY VOTING SITE SHALL BE CONDUCTED IN A MANNER
CONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE, WITH  THE  EXCEPTION  OF
THE  TABULATION  AND  PROCLAMATION  OF  ELECTION  RESULTS WHICH SHALL BE
COMPLETED ACCORDING TO SUBDIVISIONS EIGHT,  NINE,  AND  TEN  OF  SECTION
8-600 OF THIS ARTICLE.
  S  4.  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  5.  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-

S. 1461--A                          3

er  generated  registration list, a place for the inspectors of election
to enter such information.
  S  6. 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  FOR  EARLY
                 VOTING.
  S  8-600.  EARLY  VOTING. 1. BEGINNING THE THIRD THURSDAY PRIOR TO ANY
GENERAL ELECTION FOR ANY PUBLIC OR PARTY OFFICE, AND THE SECOND THURSDAY
PRIOR TO ANY PRIMARY OR SPECIAL ELECTION FOR ANY PUBLIC OR PARTY OFFICE,
AND ENDING ON THE THURSDAY IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING A GENERAL,  PRIMARY  OR
SPECIAL ELECTION FOR ANY PUBLIC OR PARTY OFFICE, PERSONS DULY REGISTERED
AND  ELIGIBLE  TO VOTE FOR CANDIDATES FOR SUCH OFFICE SHALL BE PERMITTED
TO VOTE IN PERSON BY BALLOT FOR A CANDIDATE FOR SUCH OFFICE. VOTERS  WHO
CAST A VOTE AT AN EARLY VOTING SITE DURING THE EARLY VOTING PERIOD SHALL
BE PROHIBITED FROM VOTING ON ELECTION DAY.
  2. THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS OF EACH COUNTY SHALL DESIGNATE AT LEAST FIVE
POLLING  SITES,  INCLUDING THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS ITSELF, IN EACH COUNTY
OR BOROUGH IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, FOR PERSONS TO VOTE  EARLY  PURSUANT
TO  THIS  SECTION. SUCH POLLING SITES SHALL BE GEOGRAPHICALLY LOCATED SO
AS TO PROVIDE ALL VOTERS IN THE COUNTY AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY  TO  CAST  A
BALLOT,  INSOFAR  AS  IS  PRACTICABLE.  IN  THE  EVENT THAT THE BOARD OF
ELECTIONS DETERMINES THAT THE NUMBER OF EARLY VOTING SITES  IS  INSUFFI-
CIENT  DUE  TO  THE  NUMBER OF VOTERS WHO ARE VOTING EARLY, THE BOARD OF
ELECTIONS MAY ESTABLISH ADDITIONAL EARLY VOTING SITES  FOR  THE  CONVEN-
IENCE  OF  ELIGIBLE  VOTERS  WISHING TO VOTE AT SUCH EARLY VOTING SITES.
FURTHER, THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL GIVE ADEQUATE NOTICE  TO  ELIGIBLE
VOTERS  OF SUCH ADDITIONAL EARLY VOTING SITES. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION
4-104 OF THIS CHAPTER SHALL APPLY TO THE DESIGNATION OF  POLLING  PLACES
FOR EARLY VOTING EXCEPT WHERE SUCH PROVISIONS ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THIS
SUBDIVISION.
  3.  ANY  PERSON  ENTITLED  TO VOTE EARLY MAY DO SO AT ANY EARLY VOTING
SITE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO  OF  THIS  SECTION  IN  THE
COUNTY  WHERE  SUCH VOTER IS REGISTERED TO VOTE PROVIDED, HOWEVER, IF IT
IS IMPRACTICAL FOR THE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO PROVIDE  EACH  EARLY
VOTING  SITE ALL APPROPRIATE BALLOTS FOR EACH ELECTION TO BE VOTED ON IN
THE COUNTY OR SUCH BOARD OF ELECTIONS IS  UNABLE  TO  ENSURE  THAT  SUCH
VOTER  HAS NOT PREVIOUSLY VOTED EARLY DURING SUCH ELECTION, THE BOARD OF
ELECTIONS SHALL PROVIDE APPROPRIATE FORMS  OF  BALLOTS  ONLY  FOR  THOSE
VOTERS  REGISTERED  TO VOTE IN THE AREA SERVED BY SUCH EARLY VOTING SITE
AS DESIGNATED BY THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS.
  4. POLLS SHALL BE OPEN FOR EARLY VOTING  FROM  EIGHT  O'CLOCK  IN  THE
MORNING  UNTIL  EIGHT O'CLOCK IN THE EVENING EACH WEEK DAY AND FROM NINE
O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING UNTIL FIVE O'CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON  ON  SATURDAY
AND  SUNDAY.  NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT ANY
BOARD OF ELECTIONS FROM EXTENDING HOURS FOR EARLY VOTING PAST THE  TIMES
SPECIFIED HEREIN.
  5.  THE  BOARD  OF ELECTIONS SHALL CREATE A COMMUNICATION PLAN THAT IS
EASILY ACCESSIBLE AND UNDERSTOOD BY ALL VOTERS. SUCH COMMUNICATIONS PLAN
SHALL UTILIZE ANY AND ALL MEDIA OUTLETS, INCLUDING SOCIAL MEDIA.  INFOR-
MATION  TO  BE  PROVIDED  SHALL INCLUDE THE LOCATION OF ALL EARLY VOTING
SITES AND A NOTATION WHETHER  SUCH  SITES  ARE  ACCESSIBLE  TO  DISABLED
VOTERS, DATES AND HOURS OF OPERATION, A CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS MESSAGE TO
VOTERS NOTIFYING THEM THAT IF SUCH VOTERS CAST A BALLOT DURING THE EARLY

S. 1461--A                          4

VOTING PERIOD THEN THEY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO VOTE ON ELECTION DAY; AND
IF  EARLY VOTING POLLING PLACES ARE REGIONALIZED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION
THREE OF THIS SECTION, THE LOCATION OF THE EARLY  VOTING  POLLING  PLACE
SERVING  THE  VOTERS  OF  ANY  PARTICULAR  CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL
SUBDIVISION.
  6. 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 THE EARLY VOTING PERIOD SHALL
NOT BE CANVASSED UNTIL NINE O'CLOCK IN THE EVENING ON ELECTION DAY.
  7. 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.
  8.   NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISIONS OF  THIS  CHAPTER,  AT  NINE
O'CLOCK  IN  THE  EVENING  ON  ELECTION DAY, THE REMOVABLE ELECTRONIC OR
COMPUTERIZED DEVICES IN USE BY ALL VOTING SCANNERS USED DURING THE EARLY
VOTING PERIOD SHALL BE PROCESSED, IN  A  MANNER  NOT  INCONSISTENT  WITH
ARTICLE  NINE OF THIS CHAPTER, BY BIPARTISAN TEAMS OF BOARD OF ELECTIONS
EMPLOYEES  OR  ELECTION  INSPECTORS  AS  DESIGNATED  BY  THE  BOARD   OF
ELECTIONS.   THEREAFTER, TABULATED RESULTS TAPES SHALL BE PRODUCED AND A
CANVASS SHEET REFLECTING THE AGGREGATED VOTE  RESULTS  OF  EARLY  VOTING
SHALL BE COMPLETED AND SIGNED BY SAID BIPARTISAN CANVASS TEAMS.
  9.  NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER, AT THE END OF EACH
DAY OF EARLY VOTING, ANY EARLY VOTING BALLOTS THAT WERE NOT ABLE  TO  BE
SCANNED  AT  ANY EARLY VOTING SITE SHALL BE SCANNED BY A BIPARTISAN TEAM
OF INSPECTORS ASSIGNED TO SUCH EARLY VOTE SITE. ANY  SUCH  BALLOTS  THAT
REMAIN  UNSCANNED  BECAUSE THE SCANNER WAS UNAVAILABLE, OR BECAUSE OF AN
OVERVOTE OR BLANK BALLOT WARNING ON THE BALLOT SCANNER SCREEN, SHALL  BE
RETURNED  TO  THE  BOARD  OF ELECTIONS UNCOUNTED. AT NINE O'CLOCK IN THE
EVENING ON ELECTION DAY  AT  THE  BOARD  OF  ELECTIONS,  SUCH  UNSCANNED
BALLOTS  SHALL  BE  CANVASSED  BY BIPARTISAN TEAMS OF BOARD OF ELECTIONS
EMPLOYEES  OR  ELECTION  INSPECTORS  AS  DESIGNATED  BY  THE  BOARD   OF
ELECTIONS. THE VOTES FROM SUCH BALLOTS SHALL BE RECORDED ON TALLY SHEETS
AND  BE  SIGNED  BY  SAID BIPARTISAN CANVASS TEAMS. RESULTS TABULATED ON
SAID TALLY SHEETS SHALL BE ADDED TO THE TABULATED RESULTS TAPES  TOTALS,
AND  THE  SIGNED  TALLY  SHEETS  SHALL BE AFFIXED TO CORRESPONDING EARLY
VOTING CANVASS SHEETS.
  10. UPON THE COMPLETION OF THE CANVASS OF  ALL  EARLY  VOTING  BALLOTS
CAST, THE REMOVABLE ELECTRONIC OR COMPUTERIZED DEVICES USED IN ALL EARLY
VOTING SCANNERS SHALL BE USED TO PRODUCE THE UNOFFICIAL TALLY OF RESULTS
AS REQUIRED IN SECTION 9-126 OF THIS CHAPTER.
  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.  THE
STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL PROMULGATE  ANY  OTHER  RULES  AND  REGU-
LATIONS  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  7. 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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