senate Bill S676

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Prohibits deceptive practices and the suppression of voters, and increases penalties for violations of the elective franchise

download bill text pdf

Sponsored By

Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

do you support this bill?

Actions

view actions (2)
Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to elections
Jan 09, 2013 referred to elections

Co-Sponsors

view additional co-sponsors

S676 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A2627
Current Committee:
Senate Elections
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Add §§17-151 & 17-153, amd §17-166, El L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S1009, A5915
2009-2010: S2554B, A9250A

S676 - Bill Texts

view summary

Makes the suppression of voters a civil violation.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S676

TITLE OF BILL:

An act
to amend the election law, in relation to prohibiting the suppression of
voters

PURPOSE:

This bill would create a new electoral crime of voter suppression,
punishable as a misdemeanor

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill cites this act as "the deceptive practices and
voter suppression act.

Section 2 amends article seventeen of the election law by adding a new
section 17-151, creating the crime of deceptive practices and
providing penalties therefor.

Section 3 of the bill amends the election law by adding a new section
17-153, creating the crime of suppression of voters and providing
penalties therefor.

Section 4 of the bill amends Section 17-166 to include any person
convicted of a felony under this article shall be convicted of a
class E felony.

Section 5 is the immediate effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

Unfortunately, even in the twenty first century voter suppression is
an all too real reality in this state. While sometimes it occurs
subtly, oftentimes the effort is much more pronounced and widespread.

Most recently, attempts to suppress the vote were documented in a
recent election in New York State. In that race, documented efforts
to suppress minority voters were captured by attorneys present in
many of the polling locations. Some of the suppressive actions
reported included an armed man with police shield escorting around
alleged poll watchers throughout various polling sites during voting
hours; repeated blanket challenges to minority voters at.a particular
polling location; gluing down the lever for a candidate on a machine
so that no one could vote for that candidate; people blocking the
entryways to select polling sites in heavily populated minority
areas; and a widespread challenge to nearly 6,000 Democratic voters
who allegedly did not live where their voter registration
information claimed they did.

In light of the blanket challenge to the registration of several thou
sand voters prior to the election and reports from the prior election
for that office alleging widespread voter suppression, the federal
government, exercising their discretion pursuant to the federal


Voting Rights Act of 1965, sent federal monitors to the district to
oversee the election.

One reporter from the New York Times who personally witnessed some of
the suppression activities described the situation as "chaotic." In
an editorial printed two days following the election, the reporter
stated that "it appeared there were a dozen or more alleged poll
watchers milling about and challenging one voter after another,
insisting that their signatures did not match the ones in the
registration books." Clearly, such suppressive efforts were to slow
down the lines to vote, hoping people would leave and force people to
vote on paper ballots, which could later be subject to scrutiny
and judicial review, This legislation would fill an important void in
the election law by creating a new statute that would directly
address and hold people accountable for intentionally suppressing the
vote. While it is unfortunate such a law is even needed, we as a
citizenry must send a message that actions such as what happened in the
situation described herein will no longer be tolerated and that from
now on, under this statute, those who seek to suppress the vote will
be held criminally accountable.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009: New bill
2010: S.2554B - Passed Senate
2011-12: S.1009 - Died Elections Committee

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                   676

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  STEWART-COUSINS,  ADAMS,  ADDABBO, BRESLIN, DIAZ,
  HASSELL-THOMPSON, KRUEGER,  MONTGOMERY,  PERKINS,  SAMPSON,  SQUADRON,
  STAVISKY  --  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  prohibiting  the
  suppression of voters

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

  Section 1.  This act shall be known and may be cited as the "deceptive
practices and voter suppression prevention act".
  S 2. The election law is amended by adding a  new  section  17-151  to
read as follows:
  S  17-151.  DECEPTIVE PRACTICES.   1. ANY PERSON, POLITICAL COMMITTEE,
LABOR ORGANIZATION, CORPORATION, OR OTHER ENTITY, WHETHER  ACTING  UNDER
COLOR OF LAW OR OTHERWISE, WHO KNOWINGLY COMMUNICATES OR KNOWINGLY CAUS-
ES TO BE COMMUNICATED DECEPTIVE INFORMATION, KNOWING SUCH INFORMATION TO
BE  FALSE  AND,  IN  ACTING  IN THE MANNER DESCRIBED, PREVENTS OR DETERS
ANOTHER PERSON FROM EXERCISING THE RIGHT TO VOTE  IN  ANY  ELECTION,  IS
GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR.
  2.  THE  FOLLOWING  DEFINITIONS  ARE  APPLICABLE  TO THIS SECTION: (A)
"DECEPTIVE INFORMATION" MEANS FALSE INFORMATION REGARDING: (I) THE TIME,
PLACE, OR MANNER  OF  ANY  ELECTION;  (II)  THE  QUALIFICATIONS  FOR  OR
RESTRICTIONS ON VOTER ELIGIBILITY FOR ANY ELECTION, INCLUDING ANY PENAL-
TIES  ASSOCIATED  WITH  VOTING  BY  INELIGIBLE VOTERS; (III) INFORMATION
REGARDING A VOTER'S REGISTRATION STATUS  OR  ELIGIBILITY;  OR  (IV)  THE
POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION OF ANY CANDIDATE; AND
  (B) "ELECTION" AS USED IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE DEEMED TO APPLY TO AND
INCLUDE  ALL  ELECTIONS  ADMINISTERED  BY  THE STATE OR CITY OF NEW YORK
BOARDS OF ELECTIONS, OR ANY COUNTY BOARD  OF  ELECTIONS,  INCLUDING  ANY

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02483-01-3

S. 676                              2

GENERAL,  PRIMARY,  RUN-OFF,  OR SPECIAL ELECTION FOR ANY STATE OR LOCAL
OFFICE OR BALLOT PROPOSITION.
  3.  ANY  PERSON  AGGRIEVED  BY  A VIOLATION OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS
SECTION MAY INSTITUTE A CIVIL ACTION  OR  OTHER  PROPER  PROCEEDING  FOR
PREVENTATIVE  RELIEF,  OR MAY APPLY FOR A PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY INJUNC-
TION, RESTRAINING ORDER, DECLARATORY JUDGMENT, OR  OTHER  ORDER  IN  ANY
COURT WITH JURISDICTION PURSUANT TO SECTION 16-100 OF THIS CHAPTER.
  4.  ANY  ATTEMPT  TO COMMIT AN OFFENSE DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF
THIS SECTION, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE PROVISION OF  THE  PENAL
LAW, IS A CLASS B MISDEMEANOR.
  5.  THE  PROVISIONS  OF ARTICLE TWENTY AND ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED FIVE OF
THE PENAL LAW, RELATING TO CRIMINAL LIABILITY FOR CONDUCT OF ANOTHER AND
CONSPIRACY, SHALL APPLY TO PROSECUTIONS UNDER THIS SECTION.
  6. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW,  THE  ATTORNEY  GENERAL
SHALL  HAVE  CONCURRENT  JURISDICTION  WITH ANY DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN THE
PROSECUTION OF ANY OFFENSES UNDER THIS  SECTION  RELATING  TO  DECEPTIVE
PRACTICES AS WELL AS ANY OFFENSES ARISING OUT OF SUCH PROSECUTION.
  S  3.  The  election  law is amended by adding a new section 17-153 to
read as follows:
  S 17-153. SUPPRESSION OF VOTERS. 1. ANY PERSON,  POLITICAL  COMMITTEE,
LABOR  ORGANIZATION,  CORPORATION,  OR  OTHER  ENTITY  WHO SUPPRESSES OR
THREATENS TO SUPPRESS THE RIGHT OF ANY PERSON TO LAWFULLY EXERCISE THEIR
FRANCHISE, OR IN ANY OTHER MANNER COMPELS SUCH  PERSON  TO  VOTE  OR  TO
REFRAIN  FROM  VOTING  FOR  OR AGAINST A PARTICULAR CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC
OFFICE OR FOR OR AGAINST A PARTICULAR BALLOT PROPOSITION IS GUILTY OF  A
CLASS A MISDEMEANOR.
  2. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "SUPPRESS" SHALL MEAN TO USE
FORCE,  AUTHORITY  OR AN ABUSE OF POWER TO PREVENT, RESTRAIN, INHIBIT OR
COMPEL ANOTHER FROM ACTING IN HIS OR HER OWN INTERESTS OR INTENTIONS, OR
INTO NOT ACTING AT ALL.
  3. ANY PERSON, POLITICAL COMMITTEE, LABOR ORGANIZATION, OR CORPORATION
WHO ATTEMPTS TO COMMIT AN OFFENSE DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION ONE  OF  THIS
SECTION IS GUILTY OF A CLASS B MISDEMEANOR.
  4.  THE  PROVISIONS  OF ARTICLE TWENTY AND ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED FIVE OF
THE PENAL LAW, RELATING TO CRIMINAL LIABILITY FOR CONDUCT OF ANOTHER AND
CONSPIRACY SHALL APPLY TO PROSECUTIONS UNDER THIS SECTION.
  5. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW,  THE  ATTORNEY  GENERAL
SHALL  HAVE  CONCURRENT  JURISDICTION  WITH ANY DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN THE
PROSECUTION OF ANY OFFENSES UNDER THIS  SECTION  RELATING  TO  DECEPTIVE
PRACTICES AS WELL AS ANY OFFENSES ARISING OUT OF SUCH PROSECUTION.
  S 4. Section 17-166 of the election law is amended to read as follows:
  S  17-166.  Penalty.  Any person convicted of a misdemeanor under this
article shall for a first offense be punished by A SENTENCE OF imprison-
ment for not more than one year, or by a  fine  of  not  less  than  one
hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or by both such fine
and imprisonment. Any person who, having been convicted of a misdemeanor
under this article, shall thereafter be convicted of another misdemeanor
under this article, shall be guilty of a felony.
  ANY PERSON CONVICTED OF A FELONY UNDER THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE CONVICTED
OF  A  CLASS  E FELONY FOR A FIRST OFFENSE AND FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT FELONY
OFFENSE UNDER THIS ARTICLE, A CLASS D FELONY.
  S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.