senate Bill S1058A

2009-2010 Legislative Session

Requires polling places to be accessible to physically disabled voters

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Archive: Last Bill Status Via A584 - Vetoed by Governor


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

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Actions

view actions (14)
Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Sep 17, 2009 tabled
Sep 16, 2009 vetoed memo.60
Sep 04, 2009 delivered to governor
Jul 16, 2009 returned to assembly
passed senate
3rd reading cal.900
substituted for s1058a
Jul 16, 2009 substituted by a584a
ordered to third reading cal.900
committee discharged and committed to rules
May 19, 2009 reported and committed to finance
Apr 28, 2009 print number 1058a
amend and recommit to elections
Jan 22, 2009 referred to elections

Votes

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Bill Amendments

Original
A (Active)
Original
A (Active)

S1058 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A584A
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §4-104, El L

S1058 - Bill Texts

view 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.

view 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The bill repeats an outdated waiver process that was used to operate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.
view full text
The Bill text is not available.

S1058A (ACTIVE) - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A584A
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §4-104, El L

S1058A (ACTIVE) - Bill Texts

view 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.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER: S1058A

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

                                 1058--A

                       2009-2010 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 22, 2009
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. ADDABBO, SERRANO -- read twice and ordered printed,
  and when printed to be committed to  the  Committee  on  Elections  --
  committee  discharged,  bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and
  recommitted to said committee

AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to requiring polling plac-
  es to be accessible to physically disabled voters

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

  Section  1.  Subdivision  1-a of section 4-104 of the election law, as
amended by chapter 580 of the laws of  1995,  is  amended  and  two  new
subdivisions 1-b and 1-c are added to read as follows:
  1-a.  Each  polling  place  shall  [have  at  least  one entrance that
provides access, by ramp or otherwise, to  physically  disabled  voters,
provided, however, that this requirement may be waived in writing by the
county  board  of elections upon a petition to the board by the legisla-
tive body of the city or town designating such  polling  places  showing
good  and  sufficient  cause. In the city of New York and in counties in
which polling places are designated by the board of elections, the board
shall specify in writing why it has determined  that  it  is  unable  to
comply  with  the provisions of this subdivision. Such petition, waiver,
and written determination, as provided for in this subdivision, shall be
filed in the office of the board and be available for public inspection.
Such a waiver may be granted and filed or such a  written  determination
may  be  filed only where the board of elections determines, with regard
to each specific polling place for which a waiver is sought or a written
determination is to be filed, (1) that an alternative accessible polling
place is not reasonably available in the election district or a  contig-
uous  election  district  and  that  specific efforts were undertaken in
cooperation with persons with disabilities who have contacted the legis-
lative body of the city or town which requested such waiver or the board
of elections which filed such written determination to  locate  such  an

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00578-04-9

S. 1058--A                          2

alternative  accessible polling place and such efforts are listed in the
petition or written determination, (2) that compliance with the  polling
place  accessibility requirements of this subdivision would require that
unreasonable expenses be incurred and paid, pursuant to section 4-136 of
this  article  and  that  specific  information  regarding  expenses for
compliance is listed in the petition or written determination,  and  (3)
that  substantial efforts will be undertaken in cooperation with persons
with disabilities who have contacted the legislative body of the city or
town which requested such waiver or the board of elections  which  filed
such  written  determination  during  the period for which the waiver is
effective to achieve compliance with  the  polling  place  accessibility
requirements  of  this  subdivision  and  that  the specific substantial
efforts to be undertaken to achieve compliance are listed in  the  peti-
tion  or  written determination.   For purposes of this subdivision, the
term "persons with disabilities" shall mean  persons  with  disabilities
who shall be entitled to vote in the election district for which a waiv-
er  is  sought  and  service  centers for independent living established
pursuant to article twenty-three-A of the education law and other  enti-
ties  which  represent  the  interests  of  persons with disabilities. A
request for a waiver shall be filed at the same time that  the  list  of
polling places is submitted to or established by the board of elections.
The  board  of  elections shall forthwith prepare a list of all election
districts for which a waiver is sought or a written determination filed.
Such list together with all such petitions for waiver and written deter-
minations shall be  public  records  at  the  office  of  the  board  of
elections.  Not  later  than  May  seventh  of  each  year, the board of
elections shall mail a copy of said list by first class  mail  to  every
person  who  has  made  a  written  request for such list within the two
preceding calendar years. The board of elections shall either  grant  or
deny  the  waiver  no  later  than  June  first of the year in which the
request is made.  The state board of elections  shall  promulgate  regu-
lations  necessary  to ensure proper execution of the provisions of this
subdivision] BE ACCESSIBLE TO CITIZENS WITH DISABILITIES AND COMPLY WITH
THE ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES  ACT  OF
1990.  THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL PUBLISH AND DISTRIBUTE TO EACH
BOARD  OF  ELECTIONS  WITH THE POWER TO DESIGNATE POLL SITES, A CONCISE,
NON-TECHNICAL GUIDE DESCRIBING STANDARDS FOR  POLL  SITE  ACCESSIBILITY,
INCLUDING  A  POLLING  SITE ACCESS SURVEY INSTRUMENT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH
THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES (ADAAG) AND
METHODS TO COMPLY WITH SUCH STANDARDS. SUCH GUIDE AND  PROCEDURES  SHALL
BE DEVELOPED IN CONSULTATION WITH PERSONS, GROUPS OR ENTITIES WITH KNOW-
LEDGE  ABOUT  PUBLIC ACCESS AS THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL DETER-
MINE APPROPRIATE.
  1-B. THE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL CAUSE AN ACCESS SURVEY TO  BE
CONDUCTED  FOR  EVERY POLLING SITE TO VERIFY SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH
THE ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS CITED IN  THIS  SECTION.  COMPLETED  SURVEYS
SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND KEPT ON FILE AS A
PUBLIC RECORD BY EACH COUNTY. EACH POLLING SITE SHALL BE EVALUATED PRIOR
TO ITS DESIGNATION OR UPON CHANGES TO THE FACILITY. A SITE DESIGNATED AS
A POLLING PLACE PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE
EVALUATED  WITHIN TWO YEARS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SUBDIVISION BY
AN INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIED TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT SUCH SITE MEETS  THE
EXISTING  STATE  AND  FEDERAL ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS. ANY POLLING PLACE
DEEMED NOT TO MEET THE EXISTING ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS MUST MAKE NECES-
SARY CHANGES AND/OR MODIFICATIONS, OR BE MOVED TO A VERIFIED  ACCESSIBLE
POLLING PLACE WITHIN SIX MONTHS.

S. 1058--A                          3

  1-C. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL PROMULGATE ANY RULES AND REGU-
LATIONS NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION.
  S  2.  This  act  shall  take effect on the fifteenth of December next
succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law. Effective imme-
diately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation
necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective  date  are
authorized  and  directed  to  be  made  and completed on or before such
effective date.

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