senate Bill S7380

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Amends provisions of the election law to address certain issues affecting village elections

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jun 21, 2012 committed to rules
Jun 06, 2012 advanced to third reading
Jun 05, 2012 2nd report cal.
Jun 04, 2012 1st report cal.1001
May 02, 2012 referred to elections

Votes

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Jun 4, 2012 - Elections committee Vote

S7380
8
0
committee
8
Aye
0
Nay
0
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
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Elections Committee Vote: Jun 4, 2012

S7380 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A10647
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§15-108 & 15-128, add §15-115, El L

S7380 - Bill Texts

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Relates to clarifying the number of signatures required on an independent nominating petition in a municipality with less than a thousand residents; relates to declination of office and filling vacancies; relates to establishing residency at the time of nomination in village elections; relates to paper ballots counted by hand in village elections and eliminating the ability of a candidate to timely file via mailing with postmark before midnight of the last date to file a petition.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S7380

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the election law, in relation to clarifying the number
of signatures required on an independent nominating petition in a
municipality with less than a thousand residents, declination of office
and filling vacancies, establishing residency at the time of nomination
in village elections, paper ballots counted by hand in village elections
and eliminating the ability of a candidate to timely file via mailing
with postmark before midnight of the last date to file a petition

PURPOSE:
To update several provisions of the Election Law to address certain
issues affecting village elections.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one amends § 15-108(6) of the Election Law to clarify that the
actual number of required signatures for an independent nominating
petition in a village with less than a thousand residents is 5% of
registered voters at the previous village election.

Section two adds a new subdivision to § 15-128 of the Election Law,
Notice to Person Chosen to a Village Office, to provide a procedure
in the event that a candidate elected for office declines the position.
This new language clarifies that a vacancy in office is created when
someone declines office, which should subsequently be filled subject
to the provisions set forth in § 3-312 of the Village Law.

Section three adds a new subdivision to § 15-108 of the Election Law
to require any candidates for village elective office establish
residency by the time they file nominating or designating petitions.

Section four adds a new section to Article 15 of the Election Law to
provide a practical format for villages using hand-counted paper
ballots, as opposed to lever or scanning machines.

Section five adds a new subdivision to § 15-108 of the Election Law,
to specify that for village elections, any papers required to be
filed with the village election officer must be delivered on or
before 5 PM on the last day to file.

Section six sets the enacting date.

JUSTIFICATION:
Villages running their own elections face unique challenges. The
provisions in this bill are meant to address issues experienced by
village election officers and candidates. Specifically:

There has been confusion as to how many signatures are required for
independent nominating petitions in villages with less than a
thousand residents. The language provided in this bill would clarify
a common misconception that the number required is 5% of those that
actually voted in the previous village election. Statements from the
state Board of Election and other statutory provisions indicate that


the number of signatures required is actually 5% of registered voters
at the last election.

The law is silent as to what happens when someone elected to office
declines the position. This bill would provide villages with a
practical procedure to address declinations of office.

Currently, the law allows candidates for village office to establish
residency by Election Day. However, unintended vacancies in office
have occurred when candidates have failed to establish proper
residency. Requiring candidates for village office to establish
residency by the date of nomination, as opposed to the date of the
election, will deter such vacancies.

Currently, New York's election law only addresses the format of paper
ballots that are to be used by scanner voting machines and does not
provide for any other form of paper ballot. Consequently, villages
that are conducting elections by hand count must either use paper
ballots in a format that complies with state law but is unsuitable
for the hand counting process, or use paper ballots in a format that
work for hand counted elections, but do not comply with state law.
This legislation will correct this oversight.

Under the Election Law, election paperwork is deemed to have been
timely filed so long as it is postmarked before midnight of the last
date to file a petition. This is problematic because it deters
individuals from lawfully examining and challenging designating
petitions and nominating petition, since prospective challengers must
file their challenges not later than one day after the last day to
file petitions with the village clerk. Thus, if a candidate postmarks
his petition on the last day, and it is received by the clerk the
next day, or even later, the deadline for someone to challenge that
petition has passed. This legislation will address the issue by
requiring candidates to file papers on or before the due date.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This is a new bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediately.

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

                                  7380

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               May 2, 2012
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. MARTINS -- 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 clarifying  the  number
  of  signatures  required  on  an  independent nominating petition in a
  municipality with less  than  a  thousand  residents,  declination  of
  office  and  filling  vacancies, establishing residency at the time of
  nomination in village elections, paper  ballots  counted  by  hand  in
  village elections and eliminating the ability of a candidate to timely
  file  via  mailing  with  postmark before midnight of the last date to
  file a petition

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

  Section  1.  Subdivision  6  of  section 15-108 of the election law is
amended to read as follows:
  6. An independent nominating petition for a  village  office  must  be
signed  by  at  least  one hundred voters in villages containing a popu-
lation of five thousand or more; by  at  least  seventy-five  voters  in
villages  containing  a  population of three thousand and less than five
thousand; and by at least fifty voters in villages  containing  a  popu-
lation  of  one  thousand  and less than three thousand; and in villages
containing a population of less than one thousand by voters numbering at
least five per centum of the number of [voters] THOSE PERSONS REGISTERED
TO VOTE at the last regular village election. For the purposes  of  this
section,  the  population  of  a village shall be determined by the last
federal decennial or local special population  census  federally  super-
vised pursuant to section twenty of the general municipal law.
  S  2.  The  opening paragraph of section 15-128 of the election law is
designated subdivision 1 and a new subdivision 2 is  added  to  read  as
follows:
  2.  A  PERSON  ELECTED  MAY  DECLINE THE OFFICE TO WHICH HE OR SHE WAS
ELECTED BY NOTIFYING THE VILLAGE CLERK IN WRITING. THE FILING OF A WRIT-
TEN DECLINATION WITH THE VILLAGE CLERK CREATES A VACANCY IN  THE  OFFICE
EFFECTIVE AT THE START OF THE OFFICIAL YEAR FOLLOWING THE ELECTION.  THE
VACANCY  SHALL  BE  FILLED  AFTER  THE START OF THE OFFICIAL YEAR BY THE

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD15723-01-2

S. 7380                             2

MAYOR, EXCEPT THAT A VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF MAYOR SHALL BE  FILLED  BY
THE  BOARD  OF  TRUSTEES, IN THE SAME MANNER AND FOR THE PERIODS OF TIME
SET FORTH IN SECTION 3-312 OF THE VILLAGE LAW.
  S  3.  Section  15-108  of the election law is amended by adding a new
subdivision 11 to read as follows:
  11. AN INDIVIDUAL RUNNING FOR ELECTED OFFICE MUST BE A RESIDENT OF THE
VILLAGE BY THE LAST DAY TO FILE A CERTIFICATE  OF  PARTY  NOMINATION  IF
SUCH  INDIVIDUAL  IS  NOMINATED  AT A PARTY PRIMARY OR CAUCUS, NOT LATER
THAN FORTY-SEVEN DAYS PRIOR TO THE VILLAGE ELECTION  PURSUANT  TO  PARA-
GRAPH  (A)  OF  SUBDIVISION SEVEN OF THIS SECTION, OR BY THE LAST DAY TO
FILE AN INDEPENDENT NOMINATING PETITION IF SUCH INDIVIDUAL IS  NOMINATED
BY  THE  FILING  OF  AN  INDEPENDENT NOMINATING PETITION, NOT LATER THAN
THIRTY-FIVE DAYS PRIOR TO THE VILLAGE ELECTION PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (A)
OF SUBDIVISION EIGHT OF THIS SECTION.
  S 4. The election law is amended by adding a  new  section  15-115  to
read as follows:
  S  15-115. PAPER BALLOTS COUNTED BY HAND IN VILLAGE ELECTIONS. 1.  FOR
VILLAGES CONDUCTING AN ELECTION WHERE PAPER BALLOTS ARE TO BE COUNTED BY
HAND, THE FORMAT OF THE BALLOTS SHALL CONFORM  TO  THE  REQUIREMENTS  OF
THIS  SECTION.  THIS  SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO ELECTIONS WHERE SCANNER
MACHINES ARE USED.
  2. PAPER BALLOTS SHALL BE PRINTED ON PAPER OF A QUALITY, SIZE,  COLOR,
AND  WEIGHT THAT HAD BEEN APPROVED BY THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS PRIOR
TO THE SEVENTH DAY OF JULY, TWO THOUSAND TEN.
  3. ALL PAPER BALLOTS OF THE SAME KIND FOR THE SAME POLLING PLACE SHALL
BE IDENTICAL. A DIFFERENT, BUT IN EACH CASE UNIFORM STYLE  AND  SIZE  OF
TYPE,  SHALL BE USED FOR PRINTING THE NAMES OF CANDIDATES, THE TITLES OF
OFFICES, POLITICAL DESIGNATIONS, AND THE READING FORM OF  ALL  QUESTIONS
SUBMITTED.  THE  NAMES OF CANDIDATES SHALL BE PRINTED IN CAPITAL LETTERS
IN BLACK-FACED TYPE.
  4. EACH BALLOT SHALL BE PRINTED ON THE SAME SHEET WITH  A  STUB  WHICH
SHALL  BE  SEPARATED  THEREFROM  BY  A  HORIZONTAL  LINE OF PERFORATIONS
EXTENDING ACROSS THE ENTIRE WIDTH OF THE BALLOT. ON THE FACE OF THE STUB
SHALL BE PRINTED THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE VOTER. ON THE BACK OF THE  STUB
IMMEDIATELY  ABOVE  THE  CENTER  OF  THE  INDORSEMENT ON THE BACK OF THE
BALLOT, SHALL BE PRINTED "NO.  ......"  THE  BLANK  TO  BE  FILLED  WITH
CONSECUTIVE  NUMBER OF BALLOTS BEGINNING WITH "NO. 1", AND INCREASING IN
REGULAR NUMERICAL ORDER.
  5. ON THE BACK OF THE BALLOT, BELOW THE LINE OF PERFORATIONS, JUST  TO
THE  RIGHT  OF CENTER, AND OUTSIDE WHEN THE BALLOT IS FOLDED, AND ON THE
FRONT OF THE BALLOT, DIRECTLY BELOW THE PERFORATED LINE, SHALL BE PRINT-
ED THE FOLLOWING INDORSEMENT, THE BLANKS PROPERLY FILLED IN:
"OFFICIAL BALLOT FOR VILLAGE OFFICERS.
(DATE OF ELECTION.)
(FACSIMILE OF  THE  SIGNATURE  OF  OFFICER  OR  OFFICERS  PROVIDING  THE
BALLOT.)"
  6.  ON THE STUB AT THE TOP OF THE BALLOT OR ON THE EDGE OF SUCH BALLOT
SHALL BE PRINTED IN HEAVY BLACK TYPE THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS:
"INSTRUCTIONS
(1) MARK ONLY WITH A PEN HAVING BLUE OR  BLACK  INK  OR  WITH  A  PENCIL
HAVING BLACK LEAD.
(2)  TO VOTE FOR A CANDIDATE WHOSE NAME IS PRINTED ON THIS BALLOT MAKE A
SINGLE CROSS X MARK OR A CHECK V MARK IN ONE OF THE SQUARES TO THE RIGHT
OF AN EMBLEM OPPOSITE HIS OR HER NAME.

S. 7380                             3

(3) TO VOTE FOR A PERSON WHOSE NAME IS NOT PRINTED ON THIS BALLOT  WRITE
OR  STAMP  HIS OR HER NAME ON A BLANK LINE UNDER THE NAMES OF THE CANDI-
DATES FOR THAT OFFICE.
(4)  TO  VOTE  YES  OR NO ON A PROPOSAL MAKE A SINGLE X OR V MARK IN THE
SQUARE OPPOSITE YOUR VOTE.
(5) ANY OTHER MARK OR WRITING,  OR  ANY  ERASURE  MADE  ON  THIS  BALLOT
OUTSIDE THE VOTING SQUARES OR BLANK SPACES PROVIDED FOR VOTING WILL VOID
THIS ENTIRE BALLOT.
(6)  DO  NOT OVERVOTE. IF YOU SELECT A GREATER NUMBER OF CANDIDATES THAN
THERE ARE VACANCIES TO BE FILLED, YOUR BALLOT  WILL  BE  VOID  FOR  THAT
PUBLIC OFFICE OR PARTY POSITION.
(7)  IF  YOU TEAR, OR DEFACE, OR WRONGLY MARK THIS BALLOT, RETURN IT AND
OBTAIN ANOTHER. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CORRECT  MISTAKES  ON  THE  BALLOT  BY
MAKING ERASURES OR CROSS OUTS. ERASURES OR CROSS OUTS MAY INVALIDATE ALL
OR  PART  OF YOUR BALLOT. PRIOR TO SUBMITTING YOUR BALLOT, IF YOU MAKE A
MISTAKE IN COMPLETING THE BALLOT OR WISH TO CHANGE YOUR BALLOT  CHOICES,
YOU MAY OBTAIN AND COMPLETE A NEW BALLOT. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO A REPLACE-
MENT BALLOT UPON RETURN OF THE ORIGINAL BALLOT."
  7.  EACH  SUCH BALLOT SHALL BE PRINTED IN SECTIONS IN WHICH THE CANDI-
DATES' NAMES, EMBLEMS AND POLITICAL DESIGNATIONS, THE  BALLOT  PROPOSALS
AND  OTHER REQUISITE MATTER SHALL EACH BE BOXED IN BY HEAVY BLACK LINES.
ON THE BALLOT SHALL BE VOTING SQUARES IN WHICH  VOTERS  MAY  MAKE  THEIR
VOTING  MARKS. ALL VOTING SQUARES SHALL BE BOUNDED BY HEAVY BLACK LINES,
THE PERPENDICULAR LINES TO BE NOT LESS THAN  ONE-SIXTEENTH  OF  AN  INCH
WIDE.  THE  VOTING  SQUARES  AND THE SPACES OCCUPIED BY THE EMBLEM SHALL
HAVE A DEPTH AND WIDTH OF FIVE-SIXTEENTHS OF AN INCH. NO VOTING  SQUARES
SHALL  BE  PROVIDED IN FRONT OF THE BLANK SPACES PROVIDED FOR A VOTER TO
WRITE IN A NAME.
  8. THE SPACE FOR THE TITLE OF AN OFFICE SHALL BE THREE-EIGHTHS  OF  AN
INCH,  AND  THE NAME OF A CANDIDATE OR FOR WRITING IN A NAME, ONE-FOURTH
OF AN INCH, IN DEPTH. AT THE LEFT OF THE NAME OF EACH DESIGNATED  CANDI-
DATE  SHALL  BE  AN  ENCLOSED  VOTING SPACE, THREE-EIGHTHS OF AN INCH IN
WIDTH AND APPROXIMATELY ONE-FOURTH OF AN INCH IN DEPTH,  BOUNDED  ABOVE,
BELOW AND TO THE RIGHT BY BLACK LINES, HEAVIER THAN THOSE WHICH SEPARATE
THE  SPACES  CONTAINING  THE  NAMES OF CANDIDATES. TO THE LEFT OF VOTING
SPACES WHICH DO NOT ADJOIN A VERTICAL LINE  DIVIDING  TWO  PARTS,  THERE
SHALL BE A HEAVY BLACK VERTICAL LINE APPROXIMATELY ONE-EIGHTH OF AN INCH
IN  WIDTH. NO VOTING SPACE SHALL BE PROVIDED IN THE SPACE FOR WRITING IN
NAMES. IN SUCH CASE, THE SPACE CORRESPONDING TO A VOTING SPACE SHALL  BE
ALL BLACK.
  9. BELOW THE NAMES OF THE CANDIDATES FOR EACH OFFICE OR POSITION THERE
SHALL  BE  PRINTED AS MANY BLANK SPACES, FOR WRITING IN NAMES OF PERSONS
FOR WHOM THE VOTER DESIRES TO VOTE, AS THERE ARE PERSONS TO BE NOMINATED
OR ELECTED.
  10. IN CASE THE SECTIONS SHALL BE SO NUMEROUS AS TO  MAKE  THE  BALLOT
UNWIELDY  IF  THEY  ARE PRINTED IN ONE COLUMN, THEY MAY BE PRINTED IN AS
MANY COLUMNS AS SHALL BE NECESSARY,  AND  IN  THAT  CASE,  IN  ORDER  TO
PRODUCE A RECTANGULAR BALLOT, BLANK SECTIONS MAY BE USED.
  11. THE NAMES OF PARTIES OR INDEPENDENT BODIES WHICH CONTAIN MORE THAN
FIFTEEN LETTERS MAY, WHENEVER LIMITATIONS OF SPACE SO REQUIRE, BE PRINT-
ED ON THE BALLOT IN AN ABBREVIATED FORM. IN PRINTING THE NAMES OF CANDI-
DATES  WHOSE  FULL  NAMES  CONTAIN  MORE  THAN FIFTEEN LETTERS, ONLY THE
SURNAME MUST BE PRINTED IN FULL. THE OFFICER OR BOARD CHARGED  WITH  THE
DUTY OF PREPARING THE BALLOTS SHALL REQUEST EACH SUCH CANDIDATE TO INDI-
CATE,  IN  WRITING,  THE  SHORTENED  FORM  IN  WHICH,  SUBJECT  TO  THIS
RESTRICTION, HIS NAME  SHALL  BE  PRINTED.  IF  NO  SUCH  INDICATION  IS

S. 7380                             4

RECEIVED  FROM  SUCH CANDIDATE WITHIN THE TIME SPECIFIED IN THE REQUEST,
SUCH OFFICER OR BOARD SHALL MAKE THE NECESSARY DETERMINATION. NO  EMBLEM
SHALL  OCCUPY  A SPACE LONGER IN ANY DIRECTION THAN THE VOTING SQUARE TO
WHICH IT RELATES.
  S  5.  Section  15-108  of the election law is amended by adding a new
subdivision 12 to read as follows:
  12. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1-106 OF  THIS  CHAPTER,
ALL  PAPERS  REQUIRED  TO  BE  FILED  PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE WHICH ARE
DELIVERED IN PERSON OR SENT BY MAIL TO THE VILLAGE ELECTION  OFFICER  AS
DEFINED  IN  SECTION 15-124 OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE DEEMED TIMELY FILED
WHEN RECEIVED BY THE VILLAGE ELECTION OFFICER ON OR BEFORE FIVE P.M.  ON
THE  LAST DAY TO FILE ANY SUCH PAPERS. FAILURE OF THE POST OFFICE OR ANY
OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY TO DELIVER SUCH PAPERS ON OR BEFORE FIVE P.M.  ON
THE LAST DAY TO FILE SHALL BE A FATAL DEFECT.
  S 6. This act shall take effect immediately.

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