senate Bill S2542

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Removes limitations on voting by absentee ballot that are required by the constitution

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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
Jan 13, 2014 to attorney-general for opinion
Jan 08, 2014 referred to judiciary
Feb 06, 2013 opinion referred to judiciary
Jan 23, 2013 to attorney-general for opinion
Jan 18, 2013 referred to judiciary

Co-Sponsors

S2542 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A2045
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Constitution, Concurrent Resolutions to Amend
Laws Affected:
Amd Art 2 ยง2, Constn
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S1563, A5911
2009-2010: S5028B, A8277A

S2542 - Bill Texts

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Removes limitations on voting by absentee ballot that are required by the constitution.

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BILL NUMBER:S2542

TITLE OF BILL:
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY
proposing an amendment to section 2 of article 2 of the constitution, in
relation to absentee voting

PURPOSE:
The bill is designed to allow any qualified person who is registered
to vote to do so by absentee ballot for any reason and without
explanation.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Amends section 2 of article II of the constitution to
delete the requirement that in order to vote by absentee ballot a
qualified person must anticipate being out of the county on the day
of the election ox unable to vote in person because
HE OR SHE may be absent from the county of
HIS OR HER residence or unable to appear in person at the polling
place due to illness or physical disability.

Section 2: Provides that the amendment be referred to the first
regular legislative session after the next general election of
members of the assembly and be published for three months prior to
the date of such election.

EXISTING LAW:

Section 2 of article II of the constitution requires that voters
anticipate that they will be out of the county on election day or
otherwise unable to go to the polls because of illness or physical
disability. No other exceptions are allowed, and over the years the
legislature has grafted onto this restriction additional requirements
for disclosure of the reason the person will be out of the county or
is unable to go to the polls, where the voter will be and the dates
that the voter will be away.

JUSTIFICATION:
The restrictions on absentee voting have proved more and more onerous
as we have become a more mobile society, and have also proven to be a
source of much litigation. The disclosures required by current law but
not the constitution not only violate peoples' privacy rights, but
because absentee ballot requests are a public record, they also pose
a threat to the safety and security of people who are ill or
disabled, as well as to the property of those who will be out of the
county.

The constitution's requirements, as well as those adopted by the
legislature have opened the door widespread and costly litigation in
close and hotly contested races, which place an unnecessary burden on
both candidates and the boards of elections. One of the most recent
examples of this occurred in the recently settled election in the
20th congressional District to replace Kirsten Gillibrand, who was
appointed to fill a Senate vacancy by the governor. In that contest,
Republican candidate Jim Tedesco challenged the absentee ballot cast


by Senator Gillibrand because she might have been in the district on
election day, despite the fact that a voter only needs to have a
reasonable expectation that he or
she will be absent from the county on election day in order to vote my
absentee ballot.

Removal of the constitutional restrictions on voting by absentee
ballot will eliminate such unnecessary wastes of time and money,
prevent the disenfranchisement of qualified voters and encourage
voting by those who might not otherwise go to the polls if it is
inconvenient. It will permit the Legislature to allow qualified
persons to request a paper ballot without requiring an explanation of
the reason for the request, which could be private and personal. It
will also empower the Legislature to consider and determine whether
new technologies may be used for voting at places other than at the
polling place, and whether voting by such means may take place on or
before the date set for an election.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009-2010: S.5028 - Passed Senate; Died in Assembly Rules.
2011-2012: S. 1563 - Referred to Judiciary.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

RESOLVED (if the Assembly concur), That the foregoing amendments be
referred to the first regular legislative session convening after the
next succeeding general election of members of the assembly, and, in
conformity with section 1 of article 19 of the constitution, be
published for 3 months previous to the time of such election.

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

                                  2542

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 18, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. ADDABBO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary

            CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY

proposing an amendment to section 2 of article 2 of the constitution, in
  relation to absentee voting

  Section 1. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That section 2 of  arti-
cle 2 of the constitution be amended to read as follows:
  S  2.  The legislature may, by general law, provide a manner in which,
and the time and place at which, qualified voters [who,  on  the  occur-
rence  of any election, may be absent from the county of their residence
or, if residents of the city of New York, from the city,  and  qualified
voters  who,  on the occurrence of any election, may be unable to appear
personally at the polling place because of illness or physical disabili-
ty,] may vote ON OR BEFORE THE DAY DESIGNATED FOR AN ELECTION AND  OTHER
THAN  BY PERSONAL APPEARANCE AT THE POLLING PLACE and for the return and
canvass of their votes.
  S 2. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That the  foregoing  amendment
be referred to the first regular legislative session convening after the
next  succeeding  general  election  of members of the assembly, and, in
conformity with  section  1  of  article  19  of  the  constitution,  be
published for 3 months previous to the time of such election.




 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD89028-01-3

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