senate Bill S3251

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to voter enrollment

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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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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to elections
Jan 31, 2013 referred to elections

S3251 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A935
Current Committee:
Senate Elections
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยงยง5-302 & 5-304, El L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S423, A5892
2009-2010: S4317, A7940

S3251 - Bill Texts

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Relates to voter enrollment.

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BILL NUMBER:S3251

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to voter
enrollment

PURPOSE: Enables a voter who has changed his enrollment from one party
to another to vote in a primary election unless the change is submitted
during the ninety days prior to a primary election.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1. Amends the election law to allow a voter who has changed his
enrollment from one party to another to vote in an upcoming primary
election unless the application forms were submitted within ninety days
of the primary election.

Section 2. Change of enrollment shall apply to an application by a
registered voter already enrolled in one party to enroll in a different
party. A change of enrollment received by the board of elections less
than ninety days before any primary shall be deposited in a sealed
enrollment box, which shall not be opened until the first Tuesday
following such Primary election and then can be removed and entered into
the rolls. An application for enrollment by an already registered voter
who is not enrolled in any party shall be treated in the same manner as
an application for registration. A voter enrolled with a political party
on the ninetieth day before any primary may not enroll with a different
political party prior to that primary election.

JUSTIFICATION: New York, along with the State of New Hampshire, has one
of the longest lead times to change voter enrollment in the entire coun-
try. Is New York State protecting the primary process by preventing
voters from easily changing their enrollment, or just limiting options
for voters?

Current New York State Law requires a voter to change their party
enrollment 30 days prior to general election preceding the primary in
which they want to vote. Very simply, your change in enrollment doesn't
go into effect until after a general election. New voters, however can
register up until 25 days before an election whereas registered voters
are subject to the lengthy enrollment deadline.

In the 1970's a group of New Yorkers prohibited from voting in party
primaries because they missed the date for switching parties challenged
the New York deadline, which was then the same as it is now. They argued
that the timeframe was unconstitutional because it restricted their
inherent rights under the 5th and 14th Amendments to affiliate with the
party of their. choosing.

Two lower courts ruled in Rosario v. Rockefeller that the New York's
enrollment deadline was unconstitutional. But in 1973, the Supreme
Court, in a five-to-four split, overturned the decision and upheld New

York's primary procedures. The state's policies did not absolutely
disenfranchise voters, said the Supreme Court, they merely nut in Place
a time restriction in relation to party affiliation. However, given the
importance of primary elections in our state, the current onerous limi-
tation on changing party registration substantially reduces voter's
opportunities to participate in the political process.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010: S.4317/A.7940 2011-2012: S.423/A.5892

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

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

                                  3251

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 31, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. KRUEGER -- 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 voter enrollment

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

  Section  1. Subdivisions 2 and 4 of section 5-302 of the election law,
subdivision 2 as amended by chapter 164 of the laws of 1985 and subdivi-
sion 4 as amended by chapter 91 of the laws of 1992, are amended to read
as follows:
  2. If the application form is for a voter who has changed his  enroll-
ment  [or  a  voter who has previously registered and not enrolled] FROM
ONE PARTY TO ANOTHER, then the board  of  elections  shall  compare  the
information  and  the  signature  appearing  on  each  application  form
received with that on the registration poll record of the applicant  and
if  found  to correspond in all particulars shall[, not earlier than the
Tuesday following the next general election and not later than the thir-
tieth day preceding the  last  day  for  publishing  enrollment  lists,]
proceed  in  the  manner  specified  in subdivision one [hereof] OF THIS
SECTION to enter such enrollment on such voter's registration poll card,
EXCEPT THAT ALL FORMS SUBMITTED DURING THE NINETY DAYS PRIOR TO A PRIMA-
RY ELECTION SHALL NOT BE PROCESSED UNTIL AFTER THAT ELECTION.
  4. Registration poll records of voters  whose  registrations  are  not
rejected by the board of elections shall forthwith be placed in the poll
ledger  or such voters' names shall forthwith be entered in the computer
files from which the computer generated registration lists are prepared,
except that the registration poll record of an otherwise qualified voter
who registers after the twenty-fifth day before a primary election shall
not be placed in such poll ledger or such voters' names shall not appear
on such a computer generated registration list until after such  primary
and  except  further  that the registration poll record of a voter whose
previous registration was cancelled pursuant to the provisions  of  this

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01046-01-3

S. 3251                             2

chapter  [after  the  previous  general election] DURING THE NINETY DAYS
PRIOR TO A PRIMARY ELECTION and who registers pursuant to the provisions
of this chapter after such cancellation shall not be placed in such poll
ledger  or such voters' names shall not appear on such a computer gener-
ated registration list until after the  [fall]  NEXT  primary  election,
unless  such voter has enrolled with the same party as the enrollment on
the registration which was so cancelled.
  The registration poll record of a voter who is not eligible to vote in
a primary election but who is eligible to vote  in  a  special  election
held  before  such primary election shall be placed in its regular place
in the poll ledger or in a special section of such poll ledger for  such
special  election  as  the  board of elections, in its discretion, shall
provide, or such name shall appear in its regular place on the  computer
generated  registration  list prepared for use in such special election.
Such poll record shall be removed from  such  poll  ledger  or  computer
generated registration list immediately after such special election.
  S  2.  Section  5-304 of the election law, subdivision 1 as amended by
chapter 147 of the laws of 1982, subdivision 3 as amended by chapter  90
of  the  laws  of 1991 and subdivision 4 as amended by chapter 62 of the
laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:
  S 5-304. Enrollment; change of enrollment or new enrollment by  previ-
ously registered voters. 1. A registered voter may change his enrollment
in the manner prescribed by this section.
  2.  The  term  "change of enrollment" shall apply to applications by a
registered voter already enrolled in one party to enroll in a  different
party[, or to delete his enrollment in any party, or an application by a
registered  voter  not  enrolled  in any party to enroll in a particular
party].
  3. A change of enrollment received by  the  board  of  elections  [not
later  than  the  twenty-fifth  day]  LESS  THAN NINETY DAYS before [the
general] ANY PRIMARY election shall be deposited in a sealed  enrollment
box,  which  shall  not be opened until the first Tuesday following such
[general] PRIMARY election. Such change  of  enrollment  shall  be  then
removed and entered as provided in this article.
  4.  Registered voters may apply for change of enrollment personally by
mail to or by appearing before a county board of elections or by appear-
ing before a board of inspectors.  If  the  applicant  has  appeared  in
person  and if the board finds that he or she is properly registered, it
shall provide the applicant with an application form for voter registra-
tion by mail which shall be treated as  an  application  for  change  of
enrollment  filed  pursuant  to  this  section. If the voter has applied
personally by mail, the county board of elections shall mail him or  her
an  application  form for voter registration by mail as provided by this
chapter. If a registered voter submits an application form for registra-
tion or enrollment as provided  by  this  chapter,  from  the  residence
address  from which he or she is then registered, and such form reflects
a change of enrollment, the county board of elections shall  treat  such
form  as  an application for change of enrollment filed pursuant to this
section. If such application form also sets forth a new  address  within
the  same  city  or county, the board of elections shall also treat such
form as an application for transfer of registration pursuant to  section
5-208  of  this  article.  If  a voter has cast a ballot in an affidavit
ballot envelope on which such voter claims a party enrollment  different
from the enrollment in the records of the board of elections, such affi-
davit shall be treated as an application for change of enrollment.

S. 3251                             3

  5. AN APPLICATION FOR ENROLLMENT BY AN ALREADY REGISTERED VOTER WHO IS
NOT  ENROLLED  IN  ANY  PARTY  SHALL BE TREATED IN THE SAME MANNER AS AN
APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION UNDER SECTION 5-210 OF THIS ARTICLE, EXCEPT
AS DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION SIX OF THIS SECTION.
  6.  NOTWITHSTANDING  ANY  OTHER  PROVISION  OF  THIS  CHAPTER, A VOTER
ENROLLED WITH A POLITICAL PARTY ON THE NINETIETH DAY BEFORE ANY  PRIMARY
ELECTION  MAY  NOT ENROLL WITH A DIFFERENT POLITICAL PARTY PRIOR TO THAT
PRIMARY ELECTION.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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