Regular Session - January 14, 2019

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 1                NEW YORK STATE SENATE

 2                          

 3                          

 4               THE STENOGRAPHIC RECORD

 5                          

 6                          

 7                          

 8                          

 9                  ALBANY, NEW YORK

10                  January 14, 2019

11                      3:30 p.m.

12                          

13                          

14                   REGULAR SESSION

15  

16  

17  

18  LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR KATHLEEN C. HOCHUL, President

19  ALEJANDRA N. PAULINO, ESQ., Secretary

20  

21  

22  

23  

24  

25  


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 1                P R O C E E D I N G S

 2                THE PRESIDENT:   The Senate will 

 3   come to order.  

 4                I ask everyone to rise and repeat 

 5   with me the Pledge of Allegiance.

 6                (Whereupon, the assemblage recited 

 7   the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.)

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   In the absence of 

 9   clergy, I ask that everyone bow their head for a 

10   moment of silent reflection or prayer.

11                (Whereupon, the assemblage respected 

12   a moment of silence.)

13                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you.

14                The reading of the Journal.

15                THE SECRETARY:   In Senate, Sunday, 

16   January 13, 2019, the Senate met pursuant to 

17   adjournment.  The Journal of Saturday, 

18   January 12, 2019, was read and approved.  On 

19   motion, Senate adjourned.

20                THE PRESIDENT:   Without objection, 

21   the Journal stands approved as read.

22                Presentation of petitions.

23                Messages from the Assembly.

24                Messages from the Governor.

25                We have a communication from the 


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 1   Governor of the State of New York, and the 

 2   Secretary will read.

 3                THE SECRETARY:   "Dear Senators, I 

 4   would appreciate the privilege of the presence of 

 5   all the Members of the New York State Senate at 

 6   the Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre on January 15, 

 7   2019, at 2:00 p.m., to deliver the 2019 State of 

 8   the State and Budget Address.

 9                "Very truly yours, Andrew M. Cuomo."

10                THE PRESIDENT:   To be filed in the 

11   Journal.

12                Reports of standing committees.

13                Reports of select committees.

14                Communications and reports from 

15   state officers.

16                Motions and resolutions.

17                Senator Gianaris.

18                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Good afternoon, 

19   Madam President.  

20                On behalf of Senator Kaminsky, I 

21   move that the following bill be discharged from 

22   its respective committee and be recommitted with 

23   instructions to strike the enacting clause:  

24   Senate Bill 82.  

25                THE PRESIDENT:   So ordered.


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 1                Senator Gianaris.

 2                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 3   there will be an immediate meeting of the 

 4   Rules Committee in Room 332 of the Capitol.

 5                THE PRESIDENT:   There will be an 

 6   immediate meeting of the Rules Committee in 

 7   Room 332 of the Capitol.  

 8                The Senate will stand at ease.

 9                (Whereupon, the Senate stood at ease 

10   at 3:33 p.m.)

11                (Whereupon, the Senate reconvened at 

12   3:56 p.m.)

13                THE PRESIDENT:   The Senate will 

14   come to order.

15                Senator Gianaris.

16                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

17   is there a Rules Committee report at the desk?  

18                THE PRESIDENT:   There is a 

19   Committee on Rules report at the desk, and the 

20   Secretary will read.

21                THE SECRETARY:   Senator 

22   Stewart-Cousins, from the Committee on Rules, 

23   reports the following bills:  

24                Senate Print 1046, by 

25   Senator Hoylman, an act to amend the 


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 1   Education Law; 

 2                Senate Print 1047, by 

 3   Senator Hoylman, an act to amend the 

 4   Executive Law; 

 5                Senate Print 1048, by 

 6   Senator Gianaris, Concurrent Resolution of the 

 7   Senate and Assembly proposing an amendment to 

 8   Section 5 of Article II of the Constitution; 

 9                Senate Print 1049, by 

10   Senator Comrie, Concurrent Resolution of the 

11   Senate and Assembly proposing an amendment to 

12   Section 2 of Article II of the Constitution; 

13                Senate Print 1099, by 

14   Senator Carlucci, an act to amend the 

15   Election Law;

16                Senate Print 1100, by 

17   Senator Carlucci, an act to amend the 

18   Election Law; 

19                Senate Print 1101, by 

20   Senator Kavanagh, an act to amend the 

21   Election Law; 

22                Senate Print 1102, by Senator Myrie, 

23   an act to amend the Election Law;

24                Senate Print 1103, by 

25   Senator Stewart-Cousins, an act to amend the 


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 1   Election Law; 

 2                Senate Print 1190, by 

 3   Senator Bailey, an act to amend the 

 4   Judiciary Law; 

 5                Senate Print 1191, by 

 6   Senator Comrie, an act to amend a chapter of the 

 7   Laws of 2018; 

 8                Senate Print 1192, by 

 9   Senator Bailey, an act to amend the 

10   Economic Development Law; 

11                Senate Print 1193, by 

12   Senator Stewart-Cousins, an act to amend a 

13   chapter of the Laws of 2018; 

14                Senate Print 1194, by 

15   Senator Sanders, an act to amend a chapter of the 

16   Laws of 2018; 

17                Senate Print 1195, by 

18   Senator Bailey, an act to amend a chapter of the 

19   Laws of 2018; 

20                Senate Print 1196, by 

21   Senator Breslin, an act to amend the Insurance 

22   Law; 

23                Senate Print 1263, by 

24   Senator Metzger, an act to amend the Tax Law and 

25   the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law; 


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 1                Senate Print 1264, by 

 2   Senator Gianaris, an act to amend the 

 3   Civil Practice Law and Rules; 

 4                Senate Print 1276, by Senator Funke, 

 5   an act to amend the Election Law; 

 6                And Senate Print 1277, by 

 7   Senator Gounardes, an act to amend the Tax Law.

 8                All bills reported direct to third 

 9   reading.

10                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Gianaris.

11                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Move to accept 

12   the Rules Committee report.

13                THE PRESIDENT:   All in favor of 

14   accepting the report by the Rules Committee 

15   signify by saying aye.

16                (Response of "Aye.")

17                THE PRESIDENT:   Opposed?  

18                (No response.)

19                THE PRESIDENT:   The report is 

20   accepted.

21                Senator Gianaris.

22                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

23   there is a supplemental calendar at the desk.  We 

24   will be taking up several bills from this 

25   calendar.  And I ask that we begin by taking up 


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 1   Calendar Number 8, by Senator Myrie.

 2                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

 3   read.

 4                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 8, 

 5   by Senator Myrie, Senate Print 1102, an act to 

 6   amend the Election Law in relation to early 

 7   voting.

 8                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Lay it aside.

 9                THE PRESIDENT:   Lay it aside.

10                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Okay, 

11   Madam President, next we're taking up 

12   Calendar Number 3, by Senator Gianaris.

13                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

14   read.

15                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 3, 

16   by Senator Gianaris, Senate Print 1048, 

17   Concurrent Resolution of the Senate and Assembly 

18   proposing an amendment to Section 5 of Article II 

19   of the Constitution.

20                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Lay it aside.

21                THE PRESIDENT:   Lay it aside.

22                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Next, 

23   Madam President, please take up Calendar Number 

24   4, by Senator Comrie.

25                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 


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 1   read.

 2                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 4, 

 3   by Senator Comrie, Senate Print 1049, Concurrent 

 4   Resolution of the Senate and Assembly proposing 

 5   an amendment to Section 2 of Article II of the 

 6   Constitution.

 7                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Lay it aside.

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   Lay it aside.

 9                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Next, Calendar 

10   Number 5, by Senator Carlucci.

11                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

12   read.

13                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 5, 

14   by Senator Carlucci, Senate Print 1099, an act to 

15   amend the Election Law.

16                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Lay it aside.

17                THE PRESIDENT:   Lay it aside.

18                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Calendar Number 

19   6, also by Senator Carlucci.

20                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

21   read.

22                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 6, 

23   by Senator Carlucci, Senate Print 1100, an act to 

24   amend the Election Law.

25                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Lay it aside.


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 1                THE PRESIDENT:   Lay it aside.

 2                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Calendar Number 

 3   7, by Senator Kavanagh.

 4                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

 5   read.

 6                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 7, 

 7   by Senator Kavanagh, Senate Print 1101, an act to 

 8   amend the Election Law.

 9                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Lay it aside.

10                THE PRESIDENT:   Lay it aside.

11                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Next is 

12   Calendar Number 9, by Leader Stewart-Cousins.

13                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

14   read.

15                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 9, 

16   by Senator Stewart-Cousins, Senate Print 1103, an 

17   act to amend the Election Law.

18                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Lay it aside.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   Lay it aside.

20                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

21   I'd ask that you please begin the controversial 

22   calendar, beginning with Calendar Number 8.

23                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

24   ring the bell, and the Secretary will read.

25                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 8, 


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 1   by Senator Myrie, Senate Print 1102, an act to 

 2   amend the Election Law.

 3                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Madam President.

 4                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Griffo.

 5                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Madam President, I 

 6   believe that there is an amendment at the desk.  

 7   I waive the reading of the amendment and ask that 

 8   you call upon Senator Young for an explanation.

 9                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator 

10   Griffo.  

11                Upon reviewing the amendment, in 

12   accordance with Rule VI, Section 4B, I rule it 

13   nongermane and out of order at this time.

14                SENATOR GRIFFO:   As unaccustomed as 

15   I am to receiving the ruling rather than 

16   delivering it --

17                (Laughter.)

18                SENATOR GRIFFO:   -- I did 

19   anticipate such.  And I would ask, 

20   Madam President, that we appeal the rule of the 

21   chair and that you recognize Senator Young to be 

22   heard on the appeal.

23                THE PRESIDENT:   The appeal has been 

24   made and recognized, and Senator Young may be 

25   heard.


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 1                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Thank you.

 2                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

 3   Madam President.

 4                This amendment would amend Senate 

 5   1102 on early voting to do the following.  First 

 6   of all, it would make the state real property tax 

 7   cap permanent.  It would impose a 2 percent cap 

 8   on state spending and would require that the 

 9   state provide funding for all mandates it imposes 

10   on local governments.

11                This amendment clearly is germane to 

12   Senate 1102, for as the sponsor of 1102 admits, 

13   such bill clearly has a fiscal impact.  It has a 

14   very negative fiscal impact on local governments 

15   and on statewide spending.

16                Every day we hear from our 

17   overburdened taxpayers about the cost of living 

18   in New York.  Last year we lost 200,000 residents 

19   because of that heavy tax burden.  This 

20   bill-in-chief actually will drive up those costs 

21   even more, and we will lose more people.

22                So this bill-in-chief also affects 

23   state spending, that's why we have the spending 

24   cap for the state included, and it also requires 

25   significant action by the State Board of 


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 1   Elections, so it increases state costs.

 2                And this is a huge unfunded mandate.  

 3   That's why the taxpayers of this state, who are 

 4   crying for relief, need this amendment to be put 

 5   on this bill.  Thank you.  

 6                Thank you, Madam President.

 7                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.  

 8                I want to remind the house that the 

 9   vote is on the procedures and the ruling of the 

10   chair.

11                All those in favor of overruling the 

12   chair signify by saying aye.

13                (Response of "Aye.")

14                THE PRESIDENT:   Opposed?  

15                (Response of "Nay.")

16                THE PRESIDENT:   The nays have it -- 

17                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Show of hands, 

18   please.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   Let's have a show 

20   of hands.  All those in favor of overruling the 

21   decision of the chair please indicate by showing 

22   your hands.

23                (Show of hands.)

24                THE PRESIDENT:   Announce the 

25   results.


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 1                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 20.

 2                THE PRESIDENT:   The ruling of the 

 3   chair stands.  The nays have it.

 4                The bill-in-chief is before the 

 5   house.

 6                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Madam President, I 

 7   ask that you recognize Senator Young.

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Young.

 9                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

10   Madam President.  Will the sponsor yield to some 

11   questions?  

12                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

13   yield?

14                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

15   President.

16                SENATOR YOUNG:   There he is.  I'm 

17   getting used to everyone's new seating 

18   arrangements.  So there you are, way in the back.  

19   Welcome to the Senate.  

20                I have just a few questions -- quite 

21   a few, actually -- about this bill.  And first of 

22   all, why is this piece of legislation, 

23   Madam President, necessary?  

24                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

25   when it comes to access to the ballot box, I 


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 1   think today we begin the journey of bringing 

 2   New York from worst to first.  Throughout this 

 3   country's history, we've had a sordid and at 

 4   times disgraceful record on voting rights, and in 

 5   New York we often look with derision at other 

 6   states who actively suppress the franchise by 

 7   making it harder to vote.  

 8                But the truth is our antiquated 

 9   voting laws, including the lack of early voting, 

10   have had the same function.  We tell the people 

11   of our state that they should participate in our 

12   democracy, that they should use their 

13   constitutional right, a right that is at the 

14   center of our political system, and yet we only 

15   give them one day to exercise that right.  

16   Thirty-eight other states have recognized that 

17   this right is too precious to be allocated to 

18   just one day.

19                And I know what you're thinking, 

20   that these are liberal urban centers run by 

21   liberal Democrats pushing a liberal agenda.  But 

22   you'd be surprised to know that Texas has early 

23   voting, and New York does not.  Louisiana has 

24   early voting, and New York does not.  Arizona, 

25   Tennessee, and Georgia have early voting, but 


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 1   New York does not.  In fact, we are one of only 

 2   12 states that do not have early voting.  So 

 3   today it is time for us to go from worst to 

 4   first.

 5                If you work two jobs and are charged 

 6   with childcare, we should be making it easier for 

 7   you to vote and not harder.  If you run a 

 8   business that requires your full attention and 

 9   presence during Election Day, we should be making 

10   it easier for you to vote, not harder.  And if 

11   there is an emergency, whether that is a family 

12   emergency or a work emergency, or if you live in 

13   the city and utilize the subway, on that rare 

14   occasion when there's a subway emergency -- 

15                (Laughter.)

16                SENATOR MYRIE:   -- we should be 

17   making it easier for you to vote, and not harder.

18                Early voting opens up our democracy, 

19   and it is a worthy investment.  Over the coming 

20   weeks we will be discussing the details of the 

21   budget of the State of New York, and it is 

22   important that we prioritize funding early 

23   voting.  The state already spends approximately 

24   $300 million on the operations of our Boards of 

25   Elections.  Early voting, at an estimated cost of 


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 1   about 10 million, is merely 3 percent of that.

 2                It is a well worthy investment to 

 3   increase voter participation, open up our 

 4   democracy, and bring our state into the 

 5   21st century.

 6                Now, some have questioned why we are 

 7   taking this up so early in the session, and my 

 8   response to that is simple.  Voting is the right 

 9   that protects all other rights.  We all in this 

10   chamber are here for one reason, and that is to 

11   express the will of the voters.  If that will is 

12   impeded on, whether implicitly or explicitly, 

13   nothing else that we do matters.

14                Early voting will open up our 

15   democracy, and it is time that we get it done 

16   now.

17                (Applause from the gallery.)  

18                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

19   Madam President.  Would the sponsor continue to 

20   yield?  Senator Myrie, are you --

21                THE PRESIDENT:   Does the sponsor 

22   yield?

23                SENATOR YOUNG:   Are you yielding?

24                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

25   President.


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 1                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 2                SENATOR YOUNG:   Okay.  I wanted to 

 3   ask whether you're familiar with several studies 

 4   that have been conducted on early voting, 

 5   including those done by the Washington Post, 

 6   October 24, 2018, the Pew Research Center, which 

 7   was done on September 23, 2013, the National 

 8   Conference of State Legislatures, January 3, 

 9   2019, citing Pew, and the American Journal of 

10   Political Science, which was conducted on 

11   September 9, 2013.  Are you familiar with those 

12   studies?  

13                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

14   am not familiar with the studies that the Senator 

15   just referenced.

16                SENATOR YOUNG:   Okay.  Well, thank 

17   you for letting me know that.  Just to let you 

18   know what those studies found is that they all 

19   concluded that early voting does not, does not 

20   increase voter turnout but merely affords people 

21   who would have voted anyway with a chance to vote 

22   before Election Day.

23                And in fact, the Pew analysis said 

24   it actually found that early voting will lead to 

25   lower turnout.  And this is a quote:  "Reformers 


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 1   hate it when this happens.  The country's most 

 2   widely adopted reform, designed to make voting 

 3   easier, may lower the chances that an individual 

 4   voter will go to the polls.  This result up-ends 

 5   the conventional view that anything that makes 

 6   voting easier will raise turnout.  These studies 

 7   found just the opposite."

 8                So I'm wondering -- through you, 

 9   Madam President, will the sponsor yield?  

10                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

11   President.

12                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   Senator Myrie, why 

14   are you so confident that this proposal will 

15   actually raise turnout in New York State when it 

16   has been shown to fail in other states and 

17   actually not increase voter turnout?  

18                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

19   am not familiar with the studies that my 

20   colleague just outlined.  But I am familiar with 

21   the long lines that I personally experienced when 

22   I went to vote last November.  I am familiar with 

23   the many people in my state who through 

24   obligations, work- or family-related, are unable 

25   to participate in their democracy because of the 


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 1   15 hours -- and in some places in this state, 

 2   even shorter -- that they have to exercise their 

 3   constitutional right.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, Madam 

 5   President.  Will the sponsor continue to yield?  

 6                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 7   yield?  

 8                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

 9   President.

10                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

11                SENATOR YOUNG:   So let me just 

12   clarify, Senator Myrie.  So you said you haven't 

13   looked at other states' results or any kind of 

14   studies regarding this, and you did say that we 

15   haven't had any kind of time early in the session 

16   to have any kind of hearings or any kind of input 

17   from the citizens.

18                So with this failure in other 

19   states, why are you so confident, again, that it 

20   would work in New York?  Especially with all of 

21   the other issues associated with this as far as 

22   costs to local governments and so on.

23                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

24   the studies that my colleague is citing I am 

25   unfamiliar with, and I am not sure I will assume 


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 1   the results of those studies without knowing what 

 2   the methodology was.  But voting participation 

 3   and the increase of voting participation is one 

 4   piece of the voting reform package that we are 

 5   carrying today.

 6                Early voting in isolation will help 

 7   folks to vote when it's convenient for them, but 

 8   there are a number of other policies that, 

 9   combined, will take New York from being in the 

10   bottom 5 percent in this country to the top.  I 

11   think it is an embarrassment that we fancy 

12   ourselves a progressive bastion, but even in a 

13   high-turnout election, we remain 46th in the 

14   nation in voting.  

15                So I think that early voting is just 

16   a first step to increase participation.

17                (Applause from the gallery.)  

18                THE PRESIDENT:   I wish to remind 

19   the visitors that clapping is not allowed in the 

20   chambers.  Thank you.  Until the end of the 

21   debate.

22                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, Madam 

23   President.  Will the sponsor continue to yield?  

24                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

25   yield?  


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 1                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

 2   President.

 3                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor 

 4   continues to yield.

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   Senator Myrie, are 

 6   you familiar with the fact that there are 

 7   constitutional questions that actually surround 

 8   this legislation?  Are you familiar with that?

 9                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

10   I'd ask that my colleague elaborate on those 

11   constitutional questions.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   I thought you'd 

13   never ask.  So actually, Section 1 of Article II 

14   of the State Constitution provides that "every 

15   citizen shall be entitled to a vote at every 

16   election for all officers elected by the people."

17                The Constitution, under Section 2, 

18   Article II, then goes on to make a singular 

19   exception for this requirement that all voting 

20   must be conducted on a single day, when and only 

21   when the voter casts an absentee ballot and meets 

22   the specific limited requirements therefor.

23                So can the sponsor explain where you 

24   find the constitutional authority to transform 

25   New York's Election Day from beyond the single 


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 1   prescribed Election Day in Section 1, Article II, 

 2   into two periods totaling eight days with a 

 3   seven-day pre-Election Day voting period, a 

 4   two-day break, and then Election Day?  That can't 

 5   be found anywhere in the Constitution.  So where 

 6   do you find this authority to change the 

 7   Constitution?

 8                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, it 

 9   is -- I'm not aware of any constitutional flaws 

10   with the early voting bill.  We are not changing 

11   the Election Day, but simply allowing voters to 

12   vote earlier.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, Madam 

14   President, will the sponsor continue to yield?  

15                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

16   continue to yield?  

17                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

18   President.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   The Senator yields.

20                SENATOR YOUNG:   Senator Myrie, I 

21   just went over the sections of the Constitution 

22   that it actually violates, and the question is, 

23   how can this proposal ever meet the 

24   constitutional requirement that every citizen 

25   shall be entitled to a vote at every election 


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 1   when the Constitution itself, the case law 

 2   thereunder, and the past practice of our state 

 3   for the last 242 years has been to view the term 

 4   "at every election" to mean on a single 

 5   Election Day?  

 6                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, we 

 7   believe that this bill is constitutional.  I 

 8   believe that my colleague is referring to 

 9   provisions that are relevant to absentee voting.  

10   But we believe that the bill as currently written 

11   is constitutional.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  Through 

13   you, Madam President, will the sponsor continue 

14   to yield?  

15                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

16   yield?  

17                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

18   President.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

20                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you for that 

21   answer, Senator Myrie, but that's --

22                THE PRESIDENT:   Please, Senator, I 

23   wish to remind you to direct your questions 

24   directly to the chair.

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you for your 


                                                               122

 1   answer to that, the sponsor.  But can the sponsor 

 2   cite a single court case that interprets this 

 3   constitutional provision to allow for two 

 4   separate periods of eight days of voting for both 

 5   primary and general elections?  

 6                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

 7   no.

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.

 9                I'd like to go on to questions -- 

10   through you, Madam President -- regarding 

11   registration and voter fraud.

12                THE PRESIDENT:   Does the sponsor 

13   yield?

14                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

15   President.

16                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

17                SENATOR YOUNG:   I was just curious, 

18   what protections -- you know, everybody has as 

19   their most sacred right as Americans to have 

20   their vote counted.  And I know that's probably 

21   the intention of this, although it does just the 

22   opposite with actually having lower voting 

23   turnouts.  

24                But what protections does this bill 

25   on early voting have within its text to prevent 


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 1   noncitizens from voting in early elections?  

 2                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, as 

 3   the law currently stands, it is a crime to vote 

 4   as a noncitizen.  

 5                And the bill also requires that the 

 6   State Board of Elections ensure that folks are 

 7   not voting more than once.  It is currently a 

 8   felony to do so, and nothing in this bill changes 

 9   that.

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, Madam 

11   President, will the sponsor continue to yield?  

12                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

13   continue to yield?  

14                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

15   President.

16                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

17                SENATOR YOUNG:   As I cited the 

18   sections of the Constitution that are violated by 

19   this bill -- and we do have constitutional 

20   limitations in general.  So is this bill just the 

21   first step to allow noncitizens to vote in 

22   New York?  

23                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, if 

24   I could just say that the constitutional flaws 

25   alleged -- and they have not been found to 


                                                               124

 1   actually be in violation of the Constitution.  

 2   And what this bill does is encourage 

 3   participation in our democracy.  It opens up the 

 4   process, and it allows for New Yorkers to vote at 

 5   an earlier and more convenient time.

 6                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, Madam 

 7   President, will the sponsor continue to yield?  

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 9   continue to yield?  

10                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

11   President.

12                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   Is the sponsor 

14   aware that Section 5 of Article II of the State 

15   Constitution provides that "Laws shall be made 

16   for ascertaining by proper proofs the citizens 

17   who shall be entitled to the right to suffrage"?  

18                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

19   nothing in this bill changes the current 

20   statutory structure that governs who can vote.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, Madam 

22   President, will he continue to yield?  

23                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

24   continue to yield?  

25                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 


                                                               125

 1   President.

 2                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 3                SENATOR MAYER:   Senator Myrie, are 

 4   you further aware that the primary proof to 

 5   validate a voter at an election polling site is a 

 6   poll book in which a validly registered voter's 

 7   name, age, and signature appears for voter 

 8   identification by election officials at the same 

 9   polling place?  

10                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

11   yes, I am aware.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   Is the sponsor 

13   aware that by this bill authorizing that any 

14   voter can vote at any polling place within their 

15   county of residence during the early voting 

16   period, that each and every polling place must 

17   maintain and have available all of the poll books 

18   for the entire county?  

19                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

20   firstly, a voter now can vote at any polling 

21   location via affidavit ballot.  

22                But secondly, I believe that we will 

23   be looking into poll books and how we can 

24   modernize that in order to help facilitate early 

25   voting at a later time.


                                                               126

 1                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 2   Madam President, that's an interesting response, 

 3   because when we're passing legislation, you 

 4   should have in place safeguards --

 5                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator, are you 

 6   asking him to continue to yield?  

 7                SENATOR YOUNG:   -- to -- to make 

 8   sure that the right systems are in place.  So are 

 9   you telling me that the poll books will be 

10   handled at a different date and not have the 

11   system in place to put this in place?  

12                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator, I didn't 

13   hear a request to have the sponsor continue to 

14   yield.  Is that your request on the floor?  

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   Will the sponsor 

16   continue to yield?  

17                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, Madam 

18   President.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor 

20   continues to yield.

21                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

22   the bill calls for early voting to be instituted 

23   in the first general election of this year.  We 

24   have time -- the State Board of Elections has 

25   assured us that this is enough time to address 


                                                               127

 1   some of these issues on execution.  And we 

 2   believe that that is sufficient time in order to 

 3   make sure that this is executed in the right way.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 5   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

 6   yield.

 7                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 8   continue to yield?  

 9                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

10   Madam President.

11                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor 

12   continues to yield.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   So when I go to 

14   vote every election, there are poll books there, 

15   as I said, and they're pretty extensive.  And 

16   they're very thick.  It takes a while for the 

17   poll workers to go through them.

18                And if people are voting early, can 

19   the sponsor tell us how the provisions of this 

20   bill allow for all of the poll books to be 

21   updated on a realtime basis so as to prevent 

22   election fraud if and when a voter tries to cast 

23   their vote at multiple polling places during the 

24   voting period?  Which could happen.  How will 

25   those books be updated in real time?  


                                                               128

 1                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

 2   the bill calls for at least one polling site for 

 3   every 50,000 registered voters.  And in 43 out of 

 4   the 63 counties in this state, that would merely 

 5   require one polling site.  And in most instances, 

 6   that polling site would be the local Board of 

 7   Elections.

 8                The voter rolls as they are 

 9   currently maintained, we believe that it would 

10   not present a problem for most people in this 

11   state to vote early.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

13   Madam President.  Will the sponsor continue to 

14   yield?  

15                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

16   continue to yield?  

17                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

18   Madam President.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

20                SENATOR YOUNG:   Is the sponsor 

21   aware that this bill further seriously erodes 

22   election and ballot security by allowing voters 

23   that employees or election inspectors have found 

24   to have already voted, to actually vote again by 

25   affidavit ballot?  


                                                               129

 1                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

 2   affidavit ballots are not canvassed until after 

 3   the election.  This bill does not change when 

 4   canvassing begins, merely when voting begins.  

 5   And so as affidavit ballots are currently 

 6   secured, they will be continue to be secured in 

 7   the same fashion.

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 9   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

10   yield?  

11                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

12   continue to yield?  

13                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

14   Madam President.

15                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

16                SENATOR YOUNG:   Can the sponsor 

17   tell us how this bill provides for the security 

18   and safekeeping of all the polling places during 

19   the seven-day early voting period?

20                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, as 

21   I've previously mentioned, in the overwhelming 

22   majority of the counties the polling site will in 

23   all likelihood be the Board of Elections, and so 

24   they will continue the security measures as 

25   currently promulgated by the law.


                                                               130

 1                The State Board of Elections is also 

 2   charged in this bill with promulgating laws and 

 3   giving discretion to the local Boards of 

 4   Elections in order to institute security measures 

 5   as they see fit.

 6                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 7   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

 8   yield?  

 9                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

10   continue to yield?

11                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

12   Madam President.

13                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   So what if these 

15   polling places are not at the Boards of 

16   Elections?  Can the sponsor tell us how this bill 

17   provides for the security and safekeeping of the 

18   blank and completed ballots during the seven-day 

19   early voting period?  

20                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

21   the bill builds in discretion for the local 

22   Boards of Elections to deal with security as they 

23   see fit.

24                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

25   Madam President, will the sponsor yield?  


                                                               131

 1                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 2   yield?  

 3                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 4   Madam President.

 5                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 6                SENATOR YOUNG:   So does the sponsor 

 7   think that in order to protect the integrity and 

 8   safeguard the polling books, the ballots, the 

 9   voting machines, that the counties are going to 

10   have to hire some kind of security in order to 

11   safeguard that?  And have you done any kind of 

12   research into how much that would cost?

13                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

14   the bill builds in discretion for the local 

15   Boards of Elections to carry out securing the 

16   ballots as they see fit.

17                We will note that currently each 

18   Board of Elections chooses how they secure their 

19   absentee ballots, they choose how they secure 

20   their affidavit ballots, and this bill does not 

21   take away that discretion that allows them to 

22   secure the ballots as they see fit.

23                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

24   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

25   yield?  


                                                               132

 1                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 2   continue to yield?  

 3                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 4   Madam President.

 5                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 6                SENATOR YOUNG:   So what you're 

 7   saying, then, is that there is going to be 

 8   additional costs, but it should be up to the 

 9   local governments to try to figure it out?

10                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

11   the local Boards of Elections, as previously 

12   mentioned, in all likelihood their polling sites 

13   will be designated at the local Board of 

14   Elections.  But if that is not the case, there 

15   may be some fiscal impact, and over the next 

16   couple of weeks we will be discussing what that 

17   will be.  

18                The Governor, in last year's budget, 

19   placed money for early voting.  We anticipate 

20   that that money will be there again.  And we 

21   also, in some of the other bills that we are 

22   considering today, anticipate that there will be 

23   significant savings that will offset any 

24   additional costs.

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, Madam 


                                                               133

 1   President.  Would the sponsor continue to yield?  

 2                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 3   continue to yield?  

 4                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 5   Madam President.

 6                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 7                SENATOR YOUNG:   Can the sponsor 

 8   tell us how much the additional training that is 

 9   necessary of election workers for security, the 

10   security burden, how much will that cost?

11                SENATOR MYRIE:   The security costs 

12   are -- because the local Boards of Elections will 

13   have discretion over how they secure the ballots, 

14   that is not something that we can estimate 

15   currently.

16                However, the offsets that are 

17   provided by some of these other bills we think 

18   will provide adequate resources.  

19                And the truth is this is a question 

20   of whether or not we are willing to invest in our 

21   democracy.  We believe that this is a well worthy 

22   investment and one that we will have the 

23   resources to do.

24                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

25   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 


                                                               134

 1   yield?  

 2                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 3   continue to yield?  

 4                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 5   Madam President.

 6                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 7                SENATOR YOUNG:   So can the sponsor 

 8   share how the number of one polling place for 

 9   every 50,000 voters will work?  You're talking 

10   about having voter registration sites, and it 

11   would be -- or voter voting sites, and it would 

12   be at the Board of Elections.  But is the sponsor 

13   aware that there are 16 counties in upstate 

14   New York where the entire population of the 

15   county is under 50,000 people, and often with 

16   thousands of square miles of land area?  As 

17   opposed to the City of New York, which has a 

18   population of over 8.5 million people contained 

19   in only 302 square miles.

20                So I just want to give you a little 

21   snapshot of upstate New York.  I, for example, 

22   represent a very rural upstate district.  We all 

23   represent roughly the same number of people, yet 

24   in my district geographically I have 4,100 square 

25   miles where people live, in contrast to where you 


                                                               135

 1   live, where it's very compressed.  And I figured 

 2   out once I can fit Manhattan in my district 

 3   121 times.

 4                So with all of these upstate 

 5   counties that have a whole variety of issues 

 6   related to transportation, related to geography 

 7   and distance and so on, how is that going to be 

 8   treated?  For example, Hamilton County has a 

 9   population of under 4500 citizens and a land area 

10   of over 1800 square miles and an annual county 

11   budget of $3.7 million.  And it's being put under 

12   the same formula and burdens for early voting as 

13   New York City, which has over 8.5 million 

14   citizens, a land area of 302 square miles, and an 

15   annual budget of $88 billion.

16                Are you familiar with these upstate 

17   counties, and have you spend time there?  Do you 

18   know what it's like to live in rural New York?

19                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

20   was born and raised in Brooklyn, and I am very 

21   proud to be from there, know what it's like to 

22   live there as well.

23                Let me just say that the bill builds 

24   in discretion for the local Boards of Elections 

25   to designate more than one polling site.  So if 


                                                               136

 1   there are geographical concerns that would be an 

 2   undue hardship on the voters in that particular 

 3   county, that Board of Elections can change the 

 4   number of designated polling sites.

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 6   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

 7   yield?  

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 9   yield?

10                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

11   Madam President.

12                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor 

13   continues to yield.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  

15                Does the sponsor believe that the 

16   serious disproportionate burdens that this bill 

17   imposes on upstate counties is fair?  

18                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

19   will disagree with my colleague's premise.  We do 

20   not feel like this is an undue hardship on 

21   upstate counties.  It is the reason why we have 

22   built in discretion in this bill, because we know 

23   that we have 62 diverse counties, 62 counties 

24   with different priorities and different needs.  

25   And the people that know that the best are the 


                                                               137

 1   local Boards of Elections.  It is the precise 

 2   reason that we have built in discretion in this 

 3   bill.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.

 5                Madam President, will the sponsor 

 6   continue to yield?  

 7                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 8   continue to yield?  

 9                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

10   Madam President.

11                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   Is the sponsor 

13   aware that the New York State Association of 

14   Counties, which is a bipartisan organization that 

15   represents all of the counties of this state, is 

16   strongly opposed to this bill?

17                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

18   NYSAC in fact said that they support the bill as 

19   long as there is funding to source it.  That 

20   funding -- as we have mentioned, we believe not 

21   only has the Governor indicated that he will be 

22   investing in this, but through the savings that 

23   we will get through some of the other pieces of 

24   legislation.  

25                I will also note that some of the 


                                                               138

 1   legislation that we are considering today is 

 2   supported by NYSAC.  And in fact they have dealt 

 3   with this as a package because they are aware 

 4   that the offsets in some of the reforms will help 

 5   pay for some of the others.

 6                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  And 

 7   we'll get more into the cost in just a moment.  

 8                But through you, Madam President, 

 9   will the sponsor continue to yield?  

10                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

11   continue to yield?  

12                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

13   Madam President.

14                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   Is the sponsor 

16   aware that several states that had in the past 

17   adopted early voting are now considering amending 

18   or repealing such program because of lack of 

19   voter turnout and because of the complaints of 

20   voters who have voter remorse after casting an 

21   early vote before a late-breaking surprise that 

22   occurs in an election?  

23                So we've seen several elections 

24   around the country where something came out right 

25   before the election, but within the span of the 


                                                               139

 1   early voting period, that was a significant issue 

 2   that the voters were very concerned about and 

 3   were not able to change their vote.

 4                Are you aware that several states 

 5   are looking to actually either repeal or amend 

 6   early voting?  

 7                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

 8   I'm not aware of any states that are looking to 

 9   repeal early voting.

10                But on the substance of the 

11   argument, early voting does not mandate that you 

12   vote early, it gives you the option to vote 

13   early.  If you have obligations on Election Day, 

14   you should not be prevented from participating in 

15   your democracy.  You have the choice whether 

16   you'd like to wait to see what is the most 

17   late-breaking news, or you can vote at your 

18   convenience.  That is the purpose of this bill, 

19   to open up our democracy and increase 

20   participation.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

22   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

23   yield?  

24                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

25   continue to yield?  


                                                               140

 1                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 2   Madam President.

 3                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   So if you vote on 

 5   Day 1 of the opening of early voting and then 

 6   something comes out on Day 6, you're saying that 

 7   it's just too bad that that person can't change 

 8   their vote and -- even though they're very upset 

 9   by what might have come out?

10                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

11   this bill gives people the choice to vote early.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   So through you, 

13   Madam President, it doesn't address the issues 

14   that I just brought up.

15                Will the sponsor continue to yield?  

16                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

17   continue to yield?  

18                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

19   Madam President.

20                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   Can the sponsor 

22   tell us what the total costs of this early voting 

23   program, which would require a vast expansion of 

24   local and state resources by now requiring that 

25   elections be conducted for an additional seven 


                                                               141

 1   days before both a primary and general election 

 2   in every county of the state -- can you tell us 

 3   how much it's going to cost?  You've referenced 

 4   that there's going to be money.  How much money 

 5   will we need to cover this cost?

 6                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

 7   the estimated costs have been around $10 million, 

 8   but it is not entirely clear what the total costs 

 9   will be.  

10                I think that we have -- the budget 

11   comes out tomorrow; I think we will have more 

12   robust discussion about what those needs are.  

13   But the estimated cost is around $10 million, 

14   which is 3 percent of the $300 million that the 

15   state currently spends on operations for Boards 

16   of Elections.

17                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

18   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

19   yield?  

20                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

21   continue to yield?  

22                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

23   Madam President.

24                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   I'm not sure the 


                                                               142

 1   sponsor may be aware, but the feedback that we 

 2   are getting from the counties is that with all 

 3   the costs regarding early voting, whether it's 

 4   the inspectors, the transportation, the ballots, 

 5   the ballot security, the local authorities for 

 6   law enforcement to protect the ballots, rent that 

 7   may be needed to have early voting sites, 

 8   additional supplies that are needed, inspector 

 9   training and response, machine preparation, 

10   electronic poll roster books -- the list goes on 

11   and on where this is an enormous unfunded 

12   mandate.  

13                In Dutchess County alone, they're 

14   saying that this will cost them around $800,000.  

15   In Suffolk County, it takes at least three days 

16   to print poll roster books and at least two days 

17   to process the data.  Therefore, all Suffolk 

18   County poll roster books would need to be 

19   digitized, and that will cost $750,000 to a 

20   million dollars.  

21                The estimate is is that proposal 

22   actually would cost about $30 million.  And so 

23   the $10 million figure that you came up with, I'm 

24   not sure where you came up with that.  But could 

25   you tell me how that was determined?


                                                               143

 1                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

 2   using information we received from the State 

 3   Board of Elections, as well as the money that was 

 4   appropriated in the last budget by the Governor, 

 5   we determined that the estimated cost would be 

 6   $10 million.

 7                I'd just like to read -- I have a 

 8   report here from the New York State Association 

 9   of Counties, a sentence in the report that says 

10   "The expense of the proposed changes can be 

11   lessened by allowing the federal and state 

12   primaries to be held on the same day, which the 

13   State Legislature has the power to permit under 

14   Election Law Section 8-100."  That is something 

15   that we will be taking up later today.

16                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  Through 

17   you, Madam President, will the sponsor continue 

18   to yield?  

19                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

20   continue to yield?  

21                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

22   Madam President.

23                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

24                SENATOR YOUNG:   Since this is an 

25   enormous unfunded mandate -- and I do want to 


                                                               144

 1   remind the members that were here and let the new 

 2   members know that actually in the Governor's 

 3   budget proposal last year, there was $7 million 

 4   set aside for early voting.  All of the counties 

 5   came together and said that it came nowhere near 

 6   the cost of covering all of those unfunded 

 7   mandates.

 8                So do you, Senator Myrie, support 

 9   unfunded mandates?  

10                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

11   no.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

13   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

14   yield?  

15                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

16   continue to yield?  

17                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

18   Madam President.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

20                SENATOR YOUNG:   I'm going to wrap 

21   up here in a minute.  But have you actually 

22   spoken with local Boards of Elections regarding 

23   the costs and administration of this bill?  

24                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

25   yes.


                                                               145

 1                SENATOR YOUNG:   Okay.  And also how 

 2   many additional voters does the sponsor project 

 3   that this bill will increase in New York State?  

 4                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

 5   can my colleague please repeat the question?  

 6                SENATOR YOUNG:   How many additional 

 7   voters does the sponsor project that this bill 

 8   will increase in New York State?  How many more 

 9   voters do you think this is going to turn out for 

10   this enormous unfunded mandate and $30 million 

11   extra cost?  

12                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

13   first let me note that the language of this as an 

14   unfunded mandate is entirely premature, given 

15   that we do not have a budget or a budget proposal 

16   yet.

17                But secondly, I would note that it 

18   is unclear how many more voters.  But if you are 

19   a single mom who cannot vote on Election Day 

20   because you have to take care of your children 

21   and you have to work, and you now have the option 

22   to vote earlier, then in my mind this bill would 

23   have been worth it.  

24                If you are a small business owner 

25   that is running your business the entire 


                                                               146

 1   Election Day and you now have the opportunity to 

 2   vote earlier, in my mind this bill is worth it.  

 3                We are giving people the option to 

 4   vote earlier and increasing access to our 

 5   democracy.

 6                SENATOR YOUNG:   Madam President, on 

 7   the bill.

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Young on 

 9   the bill.

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

11   Madam President.  Thank you, Senator Myrie, for 

12   your answers.  

13                You know, today is a very pivotal 

14   day as far as elections go.  And it is of deep 

15   concern to people across this state that their 

16   property taxes, their tax burden is far too 

17   heavy, that they are crying out to state 

18   government to help.  We have seen 200,000 

19   people -- last year alone, 200,000 people flee 

20   this state because of the tax burden.

21                And this is something that local 

22   governments are saying -- the Association of 

23   Counties is saying, local governments are saying 

24   that this is a proposal that is extraordinarily 

25   flawed because it drives up local costs.  There 


                                                               147

 1   are things that have not been thought through.  

 2                Security.  How are they going to 

 3   handle the ballots at night?  Poll workers.  How 

 4   are you going to train all the people that are 

 5   necessary to do this, and what cost is attached 

 6   to that?  You know, making sure that the 

 7   integrity of elections is protected.  

 8                The states that actually have done 

 9   early voting are looking to actually either 

10   repeal it or amend it, because there is nothing 

11   that indicates that it actually turns out voters, 

12   that it increases voter participation as the 

13   sponsor has said that it will do.

14                There are constitutional issues 

15   related to this proposal.  And there are just so 

16   many questions.  There hasn't been any kind of 

17   public hearing on this.  There hasn't been any 

18   kind of public input on this.  This is just being 

19   rushed through.  And it's really truly a problem 

20   for the people of this state.

21                We don't know -- we'll find out 

22   soon, but we don't know how much money would be 

23   allocated in the budget to cover these 

24   significant costs.  But it is estimated that it 

25   will cost the counties $30 million.  If we care 


                                                               148

 1   about the taxpayers of this state, if we care 

 2   about doing what's right, if we care about 

 3   protecting the integrity of our elections, then 

 4   we should come up with a better way than this 

 5   bill.  

 6                Thank you, Madam President.

 7                THE PRESIDENT:   Seeing and hearing 

 8   no other Senator that wishes to be heard, the 

 9   debate is closed --

10                SENATOR TEDISCO:   I wish to be 

11   heard, Madam President.

12                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator, on the 

13   bill.

14                SENATOR TEDISCO:   Madam President, 

15   first of all let me wish you a belated Happy 

16   New Year.  And thank you for the opportunity to 

17   speak on this piece of legislation.

18                I think all of us in this room 

19   understand and know we have an obligation and 

20   really want to have as many individuals and 

21   citizens that we represent from our Senate 

22   districts, both us and the Assembly and the 

23   Governor, come to the polls and vote.  We'd like 

24   a hundred percent, I think.  Because we know, in 

25   a representative democracy, the more of our 


                                                               149

 1   constituents that take part in it, the better 

 2   that representative democracy works.

 3                But we also have some guardian 

 4   angels, and they are the election commissioners 

 5   and their staff and the volunteers, who have a 

 6   very difficult job and, as has been mentioned by 

 7   my colleague Senator Young, are strapped for 

 8   funding in many instances.  

 9                And I can tell you individuals like 

10   myself who represent a district like the 49th 

11   Senatorial District, where 70 percent of my towns 

12   are in the Adirondacks, rural areas, have a 

13   difficulty with communication, have a difficulty 

14   with funding, have a difficulty with finding 

15   staffing and finding volunteers.  If this is a 

16   serious unfunded mandate, you're going to 

17   seriously impact representative democracy in 

18   those areas.

19                Right now in many of my districts, 

20   in the upper level -- you may not know this or 

21   understand this -- we have no cellphone access up 

22   there.  You've got to basically, and this is 

23   maybe not an exaggeration, use homing pigeons or 

24   smoke signals to get a first responder in parts 

25   of my district.  No cellphone.  No broadband.  No 


                                                               150

 1   website infrastructure like we bring Amazon in.  

 2   We can't bring small businesses in up there.  

 3                So that's first and foremost my 

 4   concern, about the cost of this and really 

 5   funding this, because I don't see where that's 

 6   taking place.

 7                But the good Senator, the sponsor, 

 8   talked about discretion.  And I think 

 9   Senator Young hit upon that.  The ultimate 

10   discretion is not to impact the control of 

11   somebody's vote.  Yes, they can make a 

12   determination under this particular bill on so 

13   many days to vote early.  But to suggest it's one 

14   way or that's it -- you vote the ninth day with 

15   nine days out, and then let's suggest perhaps 

16   this scenario take place.  We're probably going 

17   to make some other changes in legislation, we may 

18   be legalizing a drug that they call a drug that 

19   extends into other serious drugs, a bridge drug.  

20   And some people may get out there and say, I'm 

21   going to take a couple of drinks, but I'm not 

22   going to drink to the point where they can test 

23   me on that and show that I'm above the .08.  

24   Because there is a test for that.  

25                But they may not have a test for 


                                                               151

 1   marijuana.  In Colorado, there's a 50 percent 

 2   increase in deaths on the road by impaired 

 3   individuals smoking marijuana.  Could be a lot of 

 4   carnage out there.  

 5                What if the person you vote for or 

 6   one of your constituents votes for in five days 

 7   out gets in a car impaired by marijuana and 

 8   alcohol and kills a family?  Well, they had the 

 9   discretion.  They voted nine days out.  That's 

10   it, you put your vote in.  You really want that 

11   vote to count for that person that killed 

12   somebody on the road, no matter what they did to 

13   do that?  Or robbed a bank.  Or there was a 

14   sexual assault.  I don't think you want to take 

15   that opportunity away.

16                In some other states -- and this 

17   would make more sense to me, if after that 

18   happened they could go back and say, look, I know 

19   Election Day's coming up, I want to make a change 

20   on that.

21                THE PRESIDENT:   Order in the 

22   chambers.  Order in the chambers.  Let the 

23   Senator speak.

24                SENATOR TEDISCO:   Excuse me.  Yeah.

25                So my constituents' concern, and 


                                                               152

 1   they've talked to me about that, they understand 

 2   the mandate for funding but they also understand 

 3   they want to control their own vote.  And to them 

 4   it makes some sense, maybe.  But it doesn't make 

 5   some sense not for them to claw it back as other 

 6   states have done.  

 7                So that's my real concern about 

 8   this, and that's why I'm going to vote no on 

 9   this.

10                THE PRESIDENT:   Seeing and hearing 

11   no other Senator that wishes to be heard, the 

12   debate is closed.  

13                The Secretary will ring the bell.

14                Read the last section.

15                THE SECRETARY:   Section 10.  This 

16   act shall take effect immediately.

17                THE PRESIDENT:   Call the roll.

18                (The Secretary called the roll.)

19                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Krueger to 

20   explain her vote.

21                SENATOR KRUEGER:   Thank you, 

22   Madam President.  

23                I want to thank my colleague 

24   Senator Zellnor Myrie for his excellent first 

25   debate on the floor of the Senate, and soon we'll 


                                                               153

 1   applaud, I think, his first bill being passed.

 2                But I wanted to say why I'm voting 

 3   for this bill.  And I was listening to the 

 4   back-and-forth, and I'm actually confused.  Early 

 5   voting just means we give people the option to 

 6   vote early.  We're not making them vote early.  

 7   We don't need to train more people to handle 

 8   voting.  It just means some of them will get 

 9   there a week early.  

10                And as was pointed out over and over 

11   again, there's enormous discretion left to the 

12   Boards of Elections as to how many locations and 

13   who's handling.  And I don't know about anyone 

14   else, but I lived through a six and-a-half-week 

15   recount where the Board of Elections had to be 

16   held responsible for ballots in their location 

17   for six and a half weeks.  Some of my colleagues 

18   have lived through much longer recounts.  Boards 

19   of Election know how to hold ballots once they 

20   get them, they'll count them on the day of the 

21   election.  So nobody's voting and getting theirs 

22   counted early.  

23                And so with all due respect, when 

24   someone just said early voting could be a gateway 

25   drug, it might be a gateway drug to more people 


                                                               154

 1   voting in lots of different ways.  And I think 

 2   we're going to pass a bunch of bills here this 

 3   evening that will ensure there are more 

 4   opportunities for people to be able to legally 

 5   cast their ballot in New York State, and that's a 

 6   win for democracy.  

 7                I proudly vote yes, Madam President.

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

 9                Senator Ortt to explain his vote.

10                SENATOR ORTT:   Thank you, 

11   Madam President.  

12                I'm not confused.  I want to -- 

13   there was something that the sponsor said when he 

14   was asked the need for the legislation.  And he 

15   rattled off several states -- Texas, Alabama, 

16   Louisiana.  Because of course if those wayward 

17   folks have already done this, then we in New York 

18   should be doing it already, right?  But there's 

19   one thing he failed to mention.  In each of those 

20   states they have something that we don't have 

21   that is not being proposed at all in this slew of 

22   election reforms, and that's voter I.D. laws.  So 

23   they have the security and the protection and 

24   early voting.

25                But we aren't doing that.  We just 


                                                               155

 1   want early voting.  We just want the costs.  

 2   There are 34 states -- and there's 38 that have 

 3   early voting; there are 34 that have voter I.D. 

 4   laws, including some states that are run by 

 5   Democratic legislatures or have strong Democratic 

 6   majorities in them.  So the argument for early 

 7   voting sort of seems very similar and runs 

 8   concurrent to the argument for voter I.D.  But of 

 9   course we don't have that.  

10                So we don't have any security, we 

11   don't have any notion of protecting the integrity 

12   of the electoral process, which is equally 

13   important.  Because there's no doubt in my mind 

14   that these measures today, while laudable in 

15   their goals, I think are nebulous in their 

16   results, but also there's no question they 

17   increase the opportunity for fraud.  I'm not 

18   saying they increase fraud, but there is no 

19   doubt, there should be little doubt in this room 

20   that it increases the opportunity for voter 

21   fraud.  

22                And that, added to the increase in 

23   cost and mandates to our local government, that 

24   should worry and concern everyone in this room.  

25   And for that reason, I'll be voting in the 


                                                               156

 1   negative.

 2                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

 3                Senator Bailey to explain his vote.

 4                SENATOR BAILEY:   Thank you, 

 5   Madam President.  

 6                I would like to applaud my colleague 

 7   Senator Myrie for his, as Senator Krueger put it, 

 8   excellent first foray into the floor of the 

 9   New York State Senate.  

10                And before your arrival, Senator 

11   Myrie, I was the designated hitter for hostile 

12   amendments during the budget when it came to 

13   voting.  And I told my famous story that when I 

14   was 18, my parents and grandparents told me that 

15   when you turn 18, you get a Lotto ticket in one 

16   hand and a voter registration card in the other.  

17                But after that, what tools are we 

18   giving to our students?  That we go to schools 

19   and say "Go out and vote, it matters," but we 

20   don't give them the chance to vote.

21                This bill and these remarks will 

22   serve -- will serve as my remarks for this 

23   incredible package that is going forward today.  

24   These remarks in this package are incredible for 

25   our state.  They allow opportunities for single 


                                                               157

 1   mothers, for constituents of ours that often 

 2   struggle, making the choice between do I vote 

 3   today or do I go to work?  It shouldn't have to 

 4   be a choice.  Your vote is free.  People died for 

 5   the right to vote.  

 6                My grandfather told me a story about 

 7   how his grandfather was unable to vote.  So I 

 8   vote every election I can get.  And if I get a 

 9   chance to vote early, I certainly will.  

10                And to speak about the costs, I 

11   understand the concerns.  And the fiscal 

12   concerns are reasonable and laudable and notable.  

13   But ladies and gentlemen, there's no greater cost 

14   than suppressing somebody's vote and not allowing 

15   them to vote.  

16                Madam President, I vote aye.

17                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

18                Senator Young to explain her vote.

19                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

20   Madam President, to explain my vote.

21                It was a lengthy questioning period, 

22   so I'd just like to sum it up.  We don't know the 

23   cost.  We don't know the funding source.  We 

24   don't have a system in place to administer the 

25   program.  We don't have any data that establishes 


                                                               158

 1   that it increases voter turnout.  We don't have 

 2   voter equity between upstate and New York City.  

 3   We don't know why we are rushing this bill 

 4   through as the first bill of the session.  

 5                The budget is established by the 

 6   Executive.  This bill is before the house.  This 

 7   bill is an unfunded mandate.  If the Governor is 

 8   going to do this and funding it, then why are we 

 9   doing this now?

10                Thank you, Madam President.  I urge 

11   my colleagues to vote no.

12                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

13                Senator Hoylman to explain his vote.

14                SENATOR HOYLMAN:   Thank you, 

15   Madam President.  

16                We're doing this now because it 

17   sends such an important message to the people of 

18   New York that we are changing things in this 

19   state.  And, you know, it's that expression:  

20   Democracy is like a muscle.  If you don't use it, 

21   you lose it.  

22                So I want to commend Senator Myrie 

23   for putting forth this legislation.  Because we 

24   already have early voting, Madam President.  We 

25   have it in the New York State Senate.  When I 


                                                               159

 1   convened my first Judiciary Committee meeting 

 2   this morning, I received a number of voting 

 3   tallies conveniently filled out by our colleagues 

 4   in the comfort of their offices.  They didn't 

 5   attend the committee meeting.  

 6                Shouldn't New Yorkers have that same 

 7   convenience when they're casting some of the most 

 8   important votes of their lifetime here in our 

 9   state?

10                So I'm very, very thankful that our 

11   leader and Senator Myrie are pushing this agenda 

12   forward.  I vote aye.

13                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

14                Senator LaValle to explain his vote.

15                SENATOR LaVALLE:   Thank you, 

16   Madam President.  

17                I enjoyed the exchange between 

18   Senator Young and Senator Myrie, and I thought 

19   you did a terrific job, you know, answering the 

20   questions.

21                This bill, early voting, is going to 

22   get a lot of attention.  It is kind of one of the 

23   most important bills of the package that we will 

24   be voting on.  It would be a good idea, and the 

25   Governor has certainly made voting reform 


                                                               160

 1   something that he's very interested in.  We 

 2   should hold hearings.  We should hold a hearing 

 3   on these bills, but particularly the early 

 4   voting.

 5                So I'm going to support this because 

 6   I spent, quite honestly, two hours discussing 

 7   your bills with my staff.  So I've made an 

 8   investment in this.  But I do believe that we 

 9   really need to hold hearings on this, and 

10   particularly this bill, because I think there are 

11   a lot of questions that I think need to be 

12   answered.  But I'm going to vote yes, 

13   Madam President.

14                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

15                Senator Jackson to explain his vote.

16                SENATOR JACKSON:   Thank you, 

17   Madam President.  

18                I'm Robert Jackson from the 

19   31st Senatorial District in Manhattan.  And my 

20   district is 13 miles long, compared to some of my 

21   colleagues that have hundreds of thousands of 

22   acres.  

23                But I say to you that we live in a 

24   very dense populated city, New York City, 

25   approximately 8.5 million people.  And I am a 


                                                               161

 1   Democratic District Leader in the 71st Senatorial 

 2   District Part A.  And I say to you that I have 

 3   seen constituents go all the way around the block 

 4   and wait hours to vote.  And many of my 

 5   constituents in northern Manhattan especially, 

 6   where the income of individuals is under $35,000 

 7   a year, where some of them work two or three jobs 

 8   a day, some work seven days a week.  And quite 

 9   frankly, they deserve the opportunity to be able 

10   to vote on any day they can.  And early voting 

11   will provide that.

12                And I'd say that when people go to 

13   the polls on a specific day, and if it's raining 

14   outside or if it's freezing outside and they have 

15   to wait around the block, that discourages them 

16   from voting.  And we need to encourage them in 

17   any way possible for them to vote.

18                And I could have sat here and just, 

19   say, keep quiet and then when the vote turns up, 

20   say yes.  But I'm here to represent over 300,000 

21   constituents in my district, and they want me to 

22   speak up on the floor and tell you how they feel.  

23   And I say to you that mostly all of them would 

24   say yes, that -- vote yes, Robert Jackson, on 

25   early voting.


                                                               162

 1                Thank you.

 2                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

 3                Senator Funke to explain his vote.

 4                SENATOR FUNKE:   Thank you, 

 5   Madam President.  

 6                I want to thank Senator Myrie for 

 7   bringing this legislation forward and 

 8   Senator Young for the pertinent and important 

 9   questions that she asked during this debate.

10                I'm going to vote yes on this 

11   legislation.  While there doesn't seem to be a 

12   whole lot of evidence that early voting has made 

13   a significant difference in the states that have 

14   early voting, I do believe that allowing citizens 

15   to cast their votes over a longer period of time 

16   certainly has the potential to rejuvenate our 

17   democratic system and ensure that everybody has 

18   the opportunity to participate.  

19                But it is my sincere hope that the 

20   Governor, who sometimes is known for fuzzy math, 

21   will find a way to finance this extra cost on our 

22   counties when he proposes his budget tomorrow, 

23   and eliminate what otherwise certainly is an 

24   unfunded mandate approved by this legislature, 

25   with unfunded mandates being the largest driver 


                                                               163

 1   of our local taxes.  And Senator Myrie, I don't 

 2   believe that $10 million is going to be a patch 

 3   on what it's going to cost to do this.

 4                So I agree with the philosophy, and 

 5   now I say let's follow it up with the reality of 

 6   putting money behind it and not further burden 

 7   our county Boards of Elections and our counties 

 8   in New York State.  

 9                I will vote aye, Madam President, 

10   thank you.

11                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

12                Senator Seward to explain his vote.

13                SENATOR SEWARD:   Thank you, 

14   Madam President, to explain my vote.

15                I'm certainly all in favor of 

16   expanding opportunities for people to vote.  

17   That's the very foundation of our democracy.  I'm 

18   all in favor of that.

19                However, I find this legislation 

20   before the house today to be very premature, 

21   because there are differences of opinion about 

22   how much it's going to cost.  But we do know 

23   this.  It's going to cost local governments more 

24   money.  It's another unfunded mandate.

25                Now, the Governor is presenting his 


                                                               164

 1   budget tomorrow afternoon.  I've been reading 

 2   today that he's going to be including these 

 3   provisions in his budget proposal with, with 

 4   monies to support it and to take care of local 

 5   governments.  So I don't know why we're rushing 

 6   this today.  

 7                I believe that in light of all of 

 8   the questions that have been raised about 

 9   procedure and process and costs, let's postpone 

10   this bill for today.  Let's, through the budget 

11   process, have a deliberative process so that all 

12   of these issues can be fully aired, take input 

13   from those who will actually be implementing this 

14   legislation should it become law, and let's make 

15   sure we in fact have the dollars behind it.

16                So because I feel this is premature 

17   in moving with this bill today, Madam President, 

18   I vote no.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

20                Senator May to explain your vote.

21                SENATOR MAY:   Thank you, 

22   Madam President.

23                I represent a district that is both 

24   urban and rural, and I have spoken to thousands 

25   of constituents over the last year, many, many of 


                                                               165

 1   whom are very excited about the idea of early 

 2   voting, as well as some of the elections 

 3   commissioners.  So I'm not concerned about the 

 4   rural/urban divide here.  

 5                I ran for office because I'm tired 

 6   of hearing "in New York we can't do that."  I'm 

 7   tired of hearing 38 states have early voting, but 

 8   we can't do that in New York.  Or 49 states have 

 9   a single primary, and we can't do that in 

10   New York.

11                It is time that we say yes, we can 

12   do this in New York.  And I am excited to vote 

13   yes on this bill.  Thank you.

14                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

15                Senator Lanza to explain your vote.

16                SENATOR LANZA:   Thank you, 

17   Madam President.  

18                First, Madam President, I want to 

19   begin by violating rule number one in modern 

20   politics, which frowns upon civility, and I want 

21   to commend Senator Myrie in his first debate.  

22   And I really and truly appreciate the 

23   professionalism which you displayed during that 

24   debate.

25                I'm going to support this, but I 


                                                               166

 1   have some serious concerns, and most of those 

 2   were outlined by Senator Young.  These are real 

 3   questions.  Yes, we can do anything in New York.  

 4   We've got to make sure that we do it right.  

 5   We've got to make sure that we don't cause more 

 6   harm than good.  We can do it, but we've got to 

 7   set our minds out to do it.  

 8                This is going to cost millions of 

 9   dollars to implement this, and we've got to find 

10   the money.  Does that mean we're going to take 

11   $30 million away from healthcare or are we going 

12   to cut some other programs?  These are questions 

13   that need to be asked and answered as we move 

14   forward.

15                Another thing Senator Young touched 

16   upon is the idea of siting these additional early 

17   voting places.  I live in and represent the 

18   people of Staten Island -- more than 500,000 

19   people there, fewer voters.  When you say that 

20   the number of sites is going to be made at the 

21   discretion of some bureaucrat, that concerns me.  

22   They may withdraw their discretion to put more 

23   than one site or more than two sites.  And I 

24   don't know where they're going to put them.

25                So a concern to me, and perhaps a 


                                                               167

 1   constitutional question, is this.  If the early 

 2   polling site is put at the far end of my borough, 

 3   which is where the Board of Elections site is, 

 4   we've increased access -- early access, albeit -- 

 5   for some voters on Staten Island, but we've 

 6   constructively denied that early voting access to 

 7   a vast majority, geographically, of the rest of 

 8   that county.

 9                Were I a voter in the other end of 

10   Staten Island, wouldn't I have a real, credible 

11   claim that my neighbors across the island have 

12   been given a right to vote that I have been 

13   denied?

14                It's an issue that needs to be 

15   addressed.  We can do it.  Senator Myrie, I 

16   congratulate you on this first piece of 

17   legislation.  But nevertheless, the process 

18   should not end here.  We ought to move forward, 

19   as Senator LaValle suggested, with answering 

20   these very serious questions.

21                Madam President, I vote aye.

22                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

23                Announce the result.

24                THE SECRETARY:   Those recorded in 

25   the negative on Calendar Number 8 are 


                                                               168

 1   Senators Amedore, Antonacci, Gallivan, Jordan, 

 2   O'Mara, Ortt, Ritchie, Serino, Seward, Tedisco 

 3   and Young.  Also Senator Helming.  Also 

 4   Senator Griffo.

 5                Ayes, 48.  Nays, 13.

 6                THE PRESIDENT:   The bill is passed.

 7                (Applause, cheers from galleries.) 

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Gianaris.  

 9   Senator Gianaris.  

10                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Thank you, 

11   Madam President.  

12                I have a feeling we're going to be 

13   doing this a lot this year because there's so 

14   many new members, but we should congratulate 

15   Senator Myrie on his first bill passed in the 

16   house.  

17                (Standing ovation.)

18                SENATOR GIANARIS:   With that, 

19   Madam President, if we could move to Calendar 

20   Number 3.

21                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

22   ring the bell, and the Secretary will read.

23                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 3, 

24   by Senator Gianaris, Senate Print 1048, 

25   Concurrent Resolution of the Senate and Assembly 


                                                               169

 1   proposing an amendment to Section 5 of Article II 

 2   of the Constitution.  

 3                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Young.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

 5   Madam President.  Will the sponsor yield for some 

 6   questions?  

 7                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes, 

 8   Madam President.

 9                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

11   Madam President.

12                So what this would do, this is a 

13   constitutional amendment which would remove the 

14   presently required 10-day advance period before 

15   Election Day for citizens to register to vote in 

16   New York State, thereby paving the way for 

17   same-day registration.

18                It would require a vast expansion of 

19   local and state resources by requiring that local 

20   Boards of Elections must process and verify a 

21   large additional number of registrations on an 

22   ongoing basis without any time frame, up until 

23   the closing of the polls, without any concomitant 

24   meaningful benefit, since this measure would not 

25   allow anyone to vote who cannot vote simply by 


                                                               170

 1   registering 10 days beforehand.  

 2                Why has absolutely no state money 

 3   been appropriated whatsoever in this bill to 

 4   provide funding for this enormous unfunded state 

 5   mandate?  

 6                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 7   as my colleague pointed out, this is first 

 8   passage of a constitutional amendment, not the 

 9   enacting legislation.  This will have to be 

10   passed again at some point in the next 

11   Legislature and then go to referendum.  So I 

12   would imagine that the allocation of resources is 

13   premature at this time, since it won't actually 

14   be in effect for a few years.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

16   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

17   yield?

18                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

20   continue to yield?  

21                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes, 

22   Madam President.

23                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor will 

24   yield.

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   So what the sponsor 


                                                               171

 1   is saying is that we should just go pass this 

 2   even though there are major fiscal implications, 

 3   and we'll just deal with those later and we 

 4   shouldn't worry about them now?  Is that what 

 5   you're saying, Senator?  

 6                SENATOR GIANARIS:   No, 

 7   Madam President, I'm not saying that at all.  I'm 

 8   saying that this is the first passage of 

 9   authorization to enact enabling legislation which 

10   cannot be enacted until at least 2022, I believe.  

11   And so we have several years before the budget 

12   needs to provide any money for the implementation 

13   of this amendment.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

15   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

16   yield?  

17                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

18   continue to yield?  

19                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

20                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   So you're saying 

22   we'll worry about that later, because your 

23   sponsor memo indicates that there's no fiscal 

24   implications for this bill.  And with all the 

25   increased number of registrations it seeks to 


                                                               172

 1   have processed and with all the new voters it 

 2   seeks to bring to the polls, how can you even 

 3   begin to assert that this bill will have no cost?  

 4                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 5   people register to vote all the time.  And they 

 6   register on any day of the year they want to 

 7   register.  It's a question of when that 

 8   registration then goes into effect and allows 

 9   them to vote.  So the Boards of Elections will 

10   not necessarily need to register people that 

11   otherwise would not be entitled to register 

12   anyway.  We're just making it easier for people 

13   to vote.  

14                My colleague is correct that in fact 

15   the intention of this amendment is to have more 

16   people vote in more of our elections.  And I 

17   can't imagine why anyone would have a problem 

18   with that, but she's welcome to express 

19   opposition if she likes.

20                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

21   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

22   yield?

23                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

24   continue to yield?  

25                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.


                                                               173

 1                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 2                SENATOR YOUNG:   Has the sponsor 

 3   inquired of the State Board of Elections 

 4   regarding the cost and administration involved 

 5   with this bill?

 6                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.  We were 

 7   informed that the costs are nominal.

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   And who did you 

 9   speak with?  

10                SENATOR GIANARIS:   The State Board 

11   of Elections.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   Who at the State 

13   Board of Elections?  

14                SENATOR GIANARIS:   You actually 

15   want a staffer's name at the State Board of 

16   Elections?

17                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

18   Madam President, I'm just curious, because I've 

19   gotten an opposite response from the State Board 

20   of Elections.  So I was just wondering where he 

21   got his information.

22                SENATOR GIANARIS:   I am happy, at 

23   the conclusion of this debate, to share the name 

24   of the individual with Senator Young if she 

25   likes, but I don't have that at my disposal right 


                                                               174

 1   now.

 2                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 3   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

 4   yield?

 5                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 6   continue to yield?  

 7                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 9                SENATOR YOUNG:   Has the sponsor 

10   inquired with local Boards of Elections regarding 

11   the cost and administration of this bill?  Have 

12   you talked to local boards about it?  

13                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes, I've had a 

14   number of conversations with the local boards in 

15   my area, as well as informal conversations with 

16   others.

17                SENATOR YOUNG:   Will the sponsor 

18   continue to yield?  

19                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

20   yield?  

21                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

22                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

23                SENATOR YOUNG:   Has the sponsor had 

24   any conversations with local Boards of Elections 

25   outside of New York City?


                                                               175

 1                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

 2                SENATOR YOUNG:   Okay.  And what was 

 3   their response?  

 4                SENATOR GIANARIS:   We could -- in 

 5   order to try and save some time here, the 

 6   response I've gotten from anyone I've spoken to 

 7   at the Boards of Elections, counties or states, 

 8   are that there may be some nominal costs but 

 9   nothing of great significance associated with 

10   this amendment.  

11                And in any event, as we already 

12   discussed, any potential cost that might be borne 

13   won't be effectuated until 2022 at the earliest.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

15   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

16   yield?  

17                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

18   yield?  

19                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

20                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   How many 

22   registrations does the sponsor project that this 

23   bill will increase in New York State?  

24                SENATOR GIANARIS:   I'm sorry, can I 

25   ask Senator Young to repeat her question?  


                                                               176

 1                SENATOR YOUNG:   How many 

 2   registrations do you think this will increase?

 3                SENATOR GIANARIS:   What we have in 

 4   terms of data from other states, Madam President, 

 5   is that turnout increases anywhere from 3 to 

 6   7 percent where same day registration is in 

 7   effect.

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 9   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

10   yield?  

11                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

12                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   So the reason for 

14   and the rationale behind a ten-day registration 

15   period in the Constitution is to allow the Boards 

16   of Elections sufficient time to process and 

17   verify identities, citizenship, and residences of 

18   voters, and then to provide polling places with 

19   such information so as to allow such duly 

20   registered and verified voters to vote.

21                How could the Boards of Elections 

22   process and verify identities, citizenship, and 

23   residences of voters and then provide polling 

24   places with such information on a realtime basis 

25   as the bill would require?  


                                                               177

 1                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 2   currently the affidavit ballot system is one in 

 3   which people who are not on the rolls cast a 

 4   vote, and then the Board of Elections 

 5   subsequently confirms their identity and whether 

 6   they are registered to vote.

 7                This is not the enacting 

 8   legislation, so I don't know exactly how -- 

 9   specifically whether that form of implementation 

10   would apply here.  But there are various 

11   mechanisms that would get put in place to ensure 

12   that the people who are voting are actually the 

13   proper people who should be voting.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

15   Madam President, would the sponsor continue to 

16   yield?  

17                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

18   yield?

19                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

20                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor will 

21   yield.

22                SENATOR YOUNG:   Just following up 

23   on what you just said, wouldn't the provisions of 

24   this bill effectively require electronic poll 

25   books, which simply do not exist at this present 


                                                               178

 1   time?  

 2                SENATOR GIANARIS:   It's -- such a 

 3   system is not required, but it would certainly 

 4   make it easier to implement this.

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   So through you, 

 6   Madam President, the sponsor is saying that the 

 7   system that would be required is not included in 

 8   this bill, just to clarify.

 9                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Uh --

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   Would the sponsor 

11   continue to yield?  

12                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Sure.

13                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor 

14   continues to yield.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

16   Madam President.

17                This proposal could also seriously 

18   upset the current time-tested and secure 

19   environment for voting at polling places.  Is the 

20   sponsor aware that if the same-day registration 

21   is effectuated, which is the goal of this 

22   constitutional amendment, that polling places 

23   across the state would be transformed from an 

24   organized, secure place in which to cast a ballot 

25   to an immensely busy, multitasking facility where 


                                                               179

 1   voters mix with those who have yet to register 

 2   and those who may not be able to register by law?  

 3                SENATOR GIANARIS:   First of all, 

 4   let me correct my colleague, since she wanted to 

 5   characterize my previous answer.  I did not say 

 6   that whatever is required is not provided for in 

 7   this bill.  I specifically said that such a 

 8   system would not be required but would make it 

 9   easier.  It would be up to the implementing 

10   legislation to make that determination later.

11                I also disagree with the current 

12   question, because as the Senator well knows, we 

13   just passed early voting a few minutes ago in 

14   this chamber.  And that will alleviate a lot of 

15   pressure on Election Day in terms of people 

16   piling up and creating a more crowded polling 

17   place on Election Day.

18                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

19   Madam President, would the sponsor continue to 

20   yield?  

21                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

22   yield?  

23                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

24                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   So just following 


                                                               180

 1   up on what you just said, you said early voting.  

 2   But this is about same-day registration.  So on 

 3   any one of those days it could be chaotic, 

 4   because it's going from a place where people go 

 5   to vote to being a place where people come to 

 6   register to vote.  There's no verification in 

 7   place of a person's identity, and it's going to 

 8   going to create chaos.  

 9                So even if it's on the first day of 

10   early voting or the last day of voting, it's 

11   going to change the whole nature of the polling 

12   place.  And don't you think that that could be a 

13   problem with people showing up to register to 

14   vote, lots of people, the polling site not being 

15   ready for that influx, and having serious 

16   consequences?  

17                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

18   it is our intention to change the very way that 

19   people vote in this state.  That's why we're here 

20   today passing these incredibly important bills.  

21   So yes, that would happen, because more people 

22   would vote.  

23                However, the reason early voting is 

24   relevant is because the people voting in a 

25   particular election would be spread out over 


                                                               181

 1   10 days of voting, as opposed to requiring them 

 2   all to show up on one day for a set number of 

 3   hours.  And so therefore on any given day, the 

 4   amount of people in a polling place would be less 

 5   than they would be under the current election 

 6   process.

 7                SENATOR YOUNG:   Will the sponsor 

 8   continue to yield, then?

 9                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

10   yield?

11                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

12                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   Well, just 

14   following up on what you just said, is the 

15   sponsor aware that in Minnesota, a state with 

16   one-quarter of the population of New York, over 

17   350,000 persons offered themselves for same-day 

18   registration?  And if such a same situation were 

19   to present itself in New York, it would present 

20   chaos in every polling place.

21                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

22   I'm not aware that that would create chaos.  I 

23   don't believe it would create chaos.  And I hope 

24   we have 350,000 more people voting in this state.  

25   In fact, I hope it's a lot more than that.


                                                               182

 1                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 2   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

 3   yield?  

 4                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 5   yield?

 6                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

 7                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.  

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   This bill presents 

 9   numerous and serious election security and fraud 

10   issues.  Section 5 of Article II of the State 

11   Constitution provides that "Laws shall be made 

12   for ascertaining, by proper proofs, the citizens 

13   who shall be entitled to the right of 

14   suffrage" -- voting -- "hereby established, and 

15   for the registration of voters."  

16                Can the sponsor tell us how, without 

17   a sufficient advance period of registration 

18   before voting, Boards of Elections and their 

19   employees can provide the constitutionally 

20   guaranteed proper proofs of assuring that there 

21   is election security and lack of voting fraud as 

22   mandated in Section 5 of Article II of the 

23   State Constitution?  How are they going to be 

24   able to verify that people are who they say they 

25   are, that they're not voting in other polling 


                                                               183

 1   sites?  How will that happen under this system?  

 2                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 3   the same way it's happened in 15 other states -- 

 4   states larger than ours, like California, states 

 5   smaller than ours, like Iowa and Maine.  If these 

 6   states can do it, I have confidence that New York 

 7   State can do it as well.

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 9   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

10   yield?  

11                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

12   yield?

13                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

14                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor will 

15   yield.

16                SENATOR YOUNG:   But by eliminating 

17   the sufficient time that Boards of Elections and 

18   their employees can verify voter registration -- 

19   and by the way, in a lot of the states that allow 

20   this, they have voter I.D.  They have to show a 

21   photo to prove who they are.  This bill does not 

22   have anything regarding voter I.D.

23                So it would allow for people who may 

24   want to vote numerous times, multiple locations, 

25   not really presenting who they really are.  And 


                                                               184

 1   why would we want to put into place a system that 

 2   actually opens the door for fraud on steroids?

 3                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 4   because policies like voter I.D. are not intended 

 5   to capture people who are not supposed to vote, 

 6   they are intended to prevent people from voting.  

 7   And we don't believe in that, at least this new 

 8   Senate Majority doesn't believe in that here in 

 9   New York.  

10                We want to encourage people to vote.  

11   Fifteen states have this.  Not all of them have 

12   voter I.D. laws.  And there has not been any 

13   significant documented fraud occurring in any of 

14   those states.  So it is nothing but a red herring 

15   to suggest that somehow trying to make it easier 

16   for people to vote will create fraud.  That is a 

17   conversation going on nationally that has been 

18   discredited, and we are not about that New York 

19   anymore.

20                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

21   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

22   yield?  

23                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

24   yield?  

25                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.


                                                               185

 1                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor will 

 2   yield.

 3                SENATOR YOUNG:   Can the sponsor 

 4   tell us how in the world does the provisions of 

 5   registration under this bill ever begin to 

 6   satisfy the "proper proofs" requirement of the 

 7   State Constitution?

 8                SENATOR GIANARIS:   I didn't hear 

 9   the end of that question.

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   If they don't have 

11   time to really look at peoples' identity and that 

12   sort of thing, how does it meet the "proper 

13   proofs" provision of the Constitution?

14                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

15   the implementing legislation is not what's before 

16   us today.  The Board of Elections will have their 

17   say about how best to administer this.  Fifteen 

18   other states are doing it.  There has been no 

19   significant problem in any of those states.  

20   There's been no documented fraud in any of those 

21   states.  I have confidence that New York can do 

22   it.

23                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

24   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

25   yield?  


                                                               186

 1                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 2   yield?

 3                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

 4                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   So, Senator 

 6   Gianaris, you're saying that there isn't any 

 7   voter fraud in other states.  But my question to 

 8   you is, do you believe that everybody's vote 

 9   should count?

10                SENATOR GIANARIS:   That's the 

11   question?  Madam President, yes, I believe 

12   everybody's vote should count.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   So if there -- 

14   through you, Madam President, if the sponsor will 

15   continue to yield.

16                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

17   yield?

18                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Yes.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

20                SENATOR YOUNG:   So if you believe 

21   that every vote should count, which I think we 

22   all believe that every vote should count, if you 

23   don't have systems in place to rule out the 

24   fraud, doesn't that cancel out a whole bunch of 

25   citizens' votes who are authorized to vote, who 


                                                               187

 1   are saying who they are, who are only voting once 

 2   instead of multiple times -- doesn't that cancel 

 3   out one of the most sacred freedoms that we have 

 4   as Americans, and that's the right to vote, the 

 5   right to choose our leaders?  

 6                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 7   I certainly believe every vote should count.  I 

 8   also believe every eligible voter should vote.  

 9   And maybe that's where we're disagreeing.

10                There is no reason to think there 

11   will be people voting multiple times.  There's no 

12   reason to think there will be any significant 

13   fraud that occurs when more people -- where it's 

14   made easier for more people to vote.  And I 

15   believe a lot of these questions and the changes 

16   you would suggest as part of this proposal would 

17   only be meant to deter people from voting.  

18                We are here to make it easier for 

19   people to vote today, and that's what this bill 

20   would do.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   Madam President, on 

22   the bill.

23                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Young on 

24   the bill.

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 


                                                               188

 1   Madam President.

 2                I appreciate my colleague's answers, 

 3   although I don't think that there are some really 

 4   good answers to some of the questions that we 

 5   have.

 6                There are several problems 

 7   associated with this piece of legislation.  

 8   Problem one is the enormous unnecessary cost, 

 9   because this bill would require a vast expansion 

10   of local resources by now requiring that local 

11   Boards of Elections must process and verify a 

12   large additional number of registrations on an 

13   ongoing basis without any kind of time frame, up 

14   to the time of the closing of the polls, without 

15   any concomitant meaningful benefit.  

16                As absolutely no state money is 

17   appropriated whatsoever, this bill turns out to 

18   be an enormous unfunded state mandate that is 

19   going to drive up taxpayer costs all over the 

20   state.

21                Problem two, it presents a serious 

22   administrative challenge.  The reason for and the 

23   rationale behind this bill -- my phone's talking 

24   to me.  The reason for and the rationale behind a 

25   10-day registration period is to allow Boards of 


                                                               189

 1   Elections sufficient time to process and verify 

 2   identity, citizenship, residences of voters, and 

 3   then to provide the polling places -- and this is 

 4   key, they need this information -- so as allow 

 5   such duly registered and verified voters to vote.  

 6                This definitely cannot be done 

 7   without electronic poll books, which simply do 

 8   not exist at this present time.  Eliminating this 

 9   advance period would significantly expand costs 

10   and administrative difficulties for every local 

11   Board of Elections across the state.  That is 

12   what the Boards of Elections are telling us.

13                Problem number three, it offers 

14   chaos and serious disruption in polling places.  

15   This proposal could also seriously upset the 

16   current time-tested and secure environment for 

17   voting at polling places.  In Minnesota, a state 

18   with one-quarter the population of New York -- 

19   think about that, one-quarter of the population 

20   of New York -- over 350,000 persons offered 

21   themselves for same-day registration.

22                If a similar situation were to exist 

23   here in New York, it would present chaos in every 

24   polling place across the state, where if similar 

25   numbers appear, over a million people would 


                                                               190

 1   bull-rush the polls if you do the same 

 2   percentages.  Organized, secure polling places 

 3   would be transformed from places where a person 

 4   can securely cast their ballot to a registration 

 5   free-for-all where confused people who have never 

 6   registered or voted now show up to cause delay, 

 7   confusion and unnecessary and avoidable crowds.

 8                Problem four, serious election 

 9   security issues related to fraud.  This bill 

10   mostly presents numerous and serious election 

11   security fraud issues.  Without a sufficient 

12   advance period of registration before voting, 

13   Boards of Elections and their employees simply 

14   cannot, they cannot provide the constitutionally 

15   guaranteed proper proofs of assuring that there 

16   is election security and lack of voting fraud, as 

17   mandated in Section 5 of Article II of the 

18   State Constitution.

19                This constitutional amendment is an 

20   open invitation for voter fraud, allowing people 

21   to vote multiple times in multiple election 

22   districts while not affording Boards of Elections 

23   the ability to verify any voter information 

24   whatsoever before an election.

25                There's so many problems, there's so 


                                                               191

 1   many questions with this bill.  And I would 

 2   seriously urge my colleagues to vote no on this 

 3   because of the voter fraud concerns.

 4                THE PRESIDENT:   Seeing and hearing 

 5   no other Senator that wishes to be heard, the 

 6   debate is closed.  

 7                The Secretary will ring the bell.

 8                Call the roll.

 9                (The Secretary called the roll.)

10                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Rivera to 

11   explain your vote.

12                SENATOR RIVERA:   Thank you, 

13   Madam President.  

14                I'm voting in the affirmative on 

15   this piece of legislation.  I certainly 

16   congratulate my colleague Zellnor Myrie on his 

17   first passage just a little bit ago, and I think 

18   that this is a very solid piece of legislation by 

19   Senator Gianaris.  

20                I'll be voting in the affirmative on 

21   the rest of the package today, but I felt it 

22   necessary to stand up for a second and just make 

23   sure that we state this for the record clearly.  

24   Voter fraud is not a real problem.  I will state 

25   it again.  Voter fraud is not a real problem.  It 


                                                               192

 1   is not a real problem in this state, it is not a 

 2   real problem in this country.  

 3                Various comprehensive and credible 

 4   studies have shown that in a billion votes cast, 

 5   Madam President, 31 instances of credible voter 

 6   fraud were found -- 31, in a billion votes.  

 7   Voter fraud is not a problem.  It is instead, as 

 8   was stated clearly by my colleague, a red herring 

 9   to actually restrict the vote.  And lest we 

10   forget, it has been used for many generations to 

11   actually, again, make sure that people that were 

12   not allowed access to the ballot have less access 

13   to the ballot.  Let's get over that.  

14                This is a great piece of 

15   legislation, as well as the other ones that we're 

16   voting for today.  I vote in the affirmative.  

17                Thank you, Madam President.

18                THE PRESIDENT:   Announce the 

19   result.

20                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Gounardes 

21   to explain his vote.

22                SENATOR GOUNARDES:   Yes, Madam 

23   President, I'll also be supporting this 

24   legislation for the very reasons that my 

25   colleague Senator Rivera alluded to.  Using voter 


                                                               193

 1   fraud as a reason to not advance and modernize 

 2   our election laws is fraud in and of itself.  

 3   There are no documented or very few documented 

 4   cases of voter fraud across our entire country.  

 5   In fact, in a 10-year study that was done 

 6   recently, there were only 13 documented or 

 7   confirmed alleged cases of voter fraud, and yet 

 8   47,000 UFO sightings.  

 9                So I think the concern should be 

10   about people who see UFOs in the skies rather 

11   than trying to raise the boogeyman and specter of 

12   nonexistent voter fraud as a way to prevent 

13   people from exercising their constitutional right 

14   to vote and to have access to the ballot box.  

15   And this legislation will go a long way to making 

16   it easier to break down these barriers, break 

17   down those restrictions, and let everyone be able 

18   to have their voice heard.  

19                And for those reasons, I'll be 

20   voting in the affirmative.  Thank you.

21                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

22                Announce the result.

23                THE SECRETARY:   Those recorded in 

24   the negative on Calendar Number 3 are 

25   Senators Akshar, Funke, Gallivan, Griffo, 


                                                               194

 1   Helming, Jordan, Lanza, Little, O'Mara, Ortt, 

 2   Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Robach, Serino, Seward, 

 3   Tedisco and Young.

 4                Ayes, 44.  Nays, 17.

 5                THE PRESIDENT:   The resolution is 

 6   adopted.

 7                Senator Gianaris.

 8                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 9   can we next take up Calendar Number 4, by Senator 

10   Comrie.

11                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

12   ring the bell.

13                The Secretary will read.  

14                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 4, 

15   by Senator Comrie, Senate Print 1049, Concurrent 

16   Resolution of the Senate and Assembly proposing 

17   an amendment to Section 2 of Article II of the 

18   Constitution.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Young.

20                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

21   Madam President.  Will the sponsor yield for some 

22   questions.

23                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

24   yield to questions?  

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   But before we 


                                                               195

 1   begin, it's interesting -- because I'm going to 

 2   be touching on voter fraud in a minute, but it's 

 3   interesting to hear all of my colleagues, my 

 4   Democratic colleagues, talk about their viewpoint 

 5   that there's absolutely no voter fraud --

 6                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator -- 

 7   Senator -- are you on the bill, Senator?  

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   -- when people have 

 9   been screaming about it since the 2016 election.  

10   But that's another story.

11                Senator Comrie --

12                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator, direct 

13   your comments to the chair.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   This bill would 

15   require a vast expansion of local resources by 

16   not requiring that local Boards of Elections 

17   produce, print, process and count a large 

18   additional number of absentee ballots on an 

19   ongoing basis without any concomitant meaningful 

20   benefits, since this measure would not allow 

21   anyone to vote who cannot vote by some other 

22   means at present.

23                Why has absolutely no state money 

24   been appropriated whatsoever in this bill to 

25   provide for this huge unfunded mandate?


                                                               196

 1                SENATOR COMRIE:   I'm sorry, someone 

 2   was in my ear.  

 3                (Laughter.)

 4                SENATOR COMRIE:   Can you repeat the 

 5   essence of your question again, please?  I'm 

 6   honored to take questions from you, I've been 

 7   looking forward to this all week.

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   Okay, I'll give the 

 9   abridged version.  Why has absolutely no state 

10   money been appropriated whatsoever in this bill 

11   to provide for this enormous unfunded state 

12   mandate?  

13                SENATOR COMRIE:   As you know, 

14   Senator, this no-excuse absentee voting bill that 

15   we're putting forth is a constitutional bill 

16   that's going to require two votes from the 

17   State Senate to happen.  It's been voted on in 

18   the State Assembly for the past three consecutive 

19   years.  I'm grateful that it comes today to the 

20   Senate floor with cosponsorship of every member 

21   of the Majority conference.

22                There is already absentee ballot 

23   mandate that absentee ballots are printed for 

24   elections by the state.  It does not change that.  

25   We look forward to having this voted twice and 


                                                               197

 1   then go before the voters as a constitutional 

 2   amendment.  So there's no need to put a dollar 

 3   amount on it today, because this is something 

 4   that is going to take time and actually will come 

 5   before the voters as something that the voters 

 6   will vote on after 2022.

 7                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 8   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

 9   yield?  

10                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

11   continue to yield?  

12                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

13                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   So the sponsor has 

15   indicated and he just reiterated that there are 

16   no fiscal implications for this bill.

17                SENATOR COMRIE:   I did not say 

18   there were no fiscal implications.  I said we did 

19   not do a fiscal impact today because we already 

20   have absentee ballots that are automatically 

21   printed and accessed by every county, as per law.

22                SENATOR YOUNG:   But through you, 

23   Madam President, your actual sponsor memo 

24   indicates that are there are no fiscal 

25   implications for this bill.  


                                                               198

 1                And basically what the sponsor is 

 2   saying is that yes, there are a lot of costs 

 3   associated with that, but we'll pass this first 

 4   without knowing what they are and then come back 

 5   later and tell the taxpayers how much money they 

 6   have to pony up.

 7                But has the sponsor inquired with 

 8   the State Board of Elections regarding the costs 

 9   and administration involved with the provisions 

10   of this bill?  

11                SENATOR COMRIE:   This bill, along 

12   with all the package of bills that will be vetted 

13   today are being passed now so that we can have 

14   those discussions in the budget process.  But 

15   again, on this specific bill, there's no 

16   immediate cost.  And the cost that -- as I said 

17   earlier, absentee ballots are already done by 

18   mandate by the government, by the state, so that 

19   absentee ballots are in every Board of Elections 

20   district, every ED today for whenever there's an 

21   election.  So we don't anticipate a major 

22   extended cost in absentee ballots at the board.

23                This also is a no-excuse absentee 

24   ballot which will give people the same 

25   opportunity that if you're impaired, if you're 


                                                               199

 1   sick, if you're on a mandated travel because of 

 2   your job, if you're a parent, if you're someone 

 3   that just can't get to the polling, you know that 

 4   you can't get there on Election Day, you'll have 

 5   another tool, another option so that you'll be 

 6   able to vote and cast your ballot as a New York 

 7   State citizen.

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 9   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

10   yield?

11                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

12   yield?

13                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

14                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   How many absentee 

16   ballots does the sponsor project that this bill 

17   would increase in New York State?  

18                SENATOR COMRIE:   I don't believe 

19   that it will increase any amount of the total 

20   absentee ballots, because each precinct has a 

21   certain percentage of absentee ballots that are 

22   already preprinted.  

23                Also, with this opportunity, you're 

24   still going to have to fill out an application to 

25   do an absentee ballot, which will go to the Board 


                                                               200

 1   of Elections prior to Election Day so that you 

 2   can actually receive the absentee ballot, which 

 3   must be filed, at the latest, by Election Day.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 5   Madam President, would the sponsor continue to 

 6   yield?  

 7                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 8   yield?

 9                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

10                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

11                SENATOR YOUNG:   What is the annual 

12   cost of a local board to produce, print, process 

13   and count an absentee ballot, do you know?  

14                SENATOR COMRIE:   I don't have that 

15   exact figure.  But they're already -- as I said 

16   earlier, each Board of Elections, each local 

17   board has to print absentee ballots to be 

18   available at the polling place on Election Day.  

19   It would be the same cost that they are now.

20                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  And 

21   will the sponsor continue to yield?  

22                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

23   yield?  

24                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

25                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.


                                                               201

 1                SENATOR YOUNG:   Is the sponsor 

 2   aware that -- the reason for and rationale behind 

 3   absentee ballots is to allow people who otherwise 

 4   would be unable to cast a ballot on Election Day, 

 5   due to absence of the voter from the voting 

 6   jurisdiction or due to a disability or illness of 

 7   the voter that would prevent them from voting at 

 8   the polls on Election Day, to be able to vote.  

 9   But is the sponsor aware that such absentee 

10   ballots are expensive, labor-intensive and time 

11   consuming in distributing, processing, and 

12   counting and slow the entire election process in 

13   determining results?

14                SENATOR COMRIE:   We believe that -- 

15   and the host of groups that are supporting this 

16   bill, the New York City Bar Association, the 

17   Democratic Lawyers Council, the New York State 

18   Vote Coalitions and the League of Women Voters -- 

19   believe that this could actually bring costs down 

20   because it will enable people that already know 

21   that they cannot vote on Election Day to file 

22   their absentee ballots early so that that can 

23   make sure that that process is eliminated.

24                We don't believe that there will be 

25   any additional costs, and we believe that 


                                                               202

 1   actually there will be a cost savings so that 

 2   people don't have to show up at the Board of 

 3   Elections or an election site, tying up lines, 

 4   complaining about why they cannot file an 

 5   absentee ballot.

 6                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 7   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

 8   yield?  

 9                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

10   continue to yield?  

11                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

12                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   Now, through my 

14   Boards of Elections -- and I did attend an event 

15   a few days ago where Boards of Elections 

16   commissioners from around the state were there, 

17   and they actually disagreed with the sponsor on 

18   what was just said about the additional cost.

19                But -- so we don't agree on that, 

20   and we're hearing it from the front lines 

21   regarding the cost.  So we're -- it's 

22   established, this is an unfunded mandate, it's 

23   going to cost localities a lot of money, drive up 

24   taxes for taxpayers.  But -- so can the sponsor 

25   tell us why we should do this bill if we also 


                                                               203

 1   just did that bill to implement early voting?  

 2   Aren't the two duplicative, and don't they 

 3   overlap each other, and then you've got two huge 

 4   unfunded mandates upon each other?

 5                SENATOR COMRIE:   Again, we don't 

 6   believe that this will be a -- this is just the 

 7   first of two votes that has to be taken before 

 8   this is brought to the people in a constitutional 

 9   amendment, with all of the language fully fleshed 

10   out by the time it goes before the voters, with 

11   all the costs imparted in it by the time it goes 

12   to the voters in 2022.  We are not concerned 

13   about -- and again, we believe that at the end of 

14   the day, there will be a savings as a result of 

15   this opportunity where we will create no excuses 

16   for people to be able to go out and do the 

17   absentee ballot.

18                And again, I want to remind folks 

19   that this is going to go before the voters in a 

20   constitutional amendment that will be fully 

21   vetted by everyone in this room and vetted 

22   through the budget process.  So by the time we go 

23   to 2022, it will be a fully fleshed document with 

24   all of the costs involved.

25                I also believe that we should not 


                                                               204

 1   deny any voter the opportunity to have this as a 

 2   part of their tool so that they can exercise 

 3   their franchise as a New York State citizen, to 

 4   be able to vote when it's convenient for them to 

 5   vote and not be stuck in voting or running to the 

 6   poll at 7 o'clock at night to find out that their 

 7   poll site was changed, they didn't know it 

 8   because they've been to that poll site for five 

 9   or ten years, and they're walking with a kid or 

10   they're walking with a cane, and they don't want 

11   to go anywhere else, they want to be able to vote 

12   where they were because they stood on a line for 

13   an hour and a half to exercise their franchise, 

14   they came from work, they're already grumpy.  

15   I've been in polling sites where I've had to 

16   ameliorate people and calm people down so that 

17   they could stay on line so that they could fill 

18   out an absentee ballot.  

19                The no-excuse absentee ballot would 

20   eliminate that opportunity.  It would shorten the 

21   lines, it would stop excuses, and it would stop 

22   the frustration from poll workers who would also, 

23   after a long day, have to put up with people 

24   coming at them at the last minute insisting that 

25   they want to be able to vote and they're told 


                                                               205

 1   they can't.

 2                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

 3   Madam President.  Will the sponsor continue to 

 4   yield?

 5                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 6   yield?

 7                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

 8                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

 9                SENATOR YOUNG:   Is the sponsor 

10   aware that this constitutional amendment will 

11   increase the risk of coercion, where a person 

12   such an employer, for example, somebody's job 

13   depends on that employer supporting what they're 

14   doing.  But an employer now can demand that 

15   employees vote by absentee and insist they 

16   complete their ballots in front of him.  Have you 

17   contemplated that potential?  

18                SENATOR COMRIE:   I'm contemplating 

19   it now.

20                (Laughter.)

21                SENATOR COMRIE:   But I would say 

22   that anyone that has a situation where an 

23   employer is trying to intimidate them into not 

24   being able to vote on Election Day should contact 

25   their legislator so that that person can be 


                                                               206

 1   properly indicted and convicted for voter 

 2   harassment.

 3                I don't think that any employer in 

 4   their right mind in this day and age, in our 

 5   instant communications opportunity, would be able 

 6   to get away with that unless the constituent just 

 7   decided not to fight them.  But anybody that will 

 8   have an opportunity between now and 2022 to look 

 9   at this issue will know that there's a protection 

10   built in to ensure that everyone has the right to 

11   vote.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  

13   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

14   yield?  

15                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

16   yield?  

17                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

18                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

19                SENATOR YOUNG:   What about the 

20   scenario -- so maybe there's not an overt like, 

21   You vote this way and you vote in front of me.  

22   But the employees or -- you know, maybe it's a 

23   union leader, maybe it's a boss.  But just 

24   filling out the absentee ballot in front of them 

25   presents a significant risk.  So even if it's not 


                                                               207

 1   overt, it still could influence how someone would 

 2   vote, correct?  

 3                SENATOR COMRIE:   Senator, I would 

 4   hope that no one is intimidated by a union leader 

 5   or a president or a boss as they're filling out 

 6   an absentee ballot.  It can be done privately no 

 7   matter where it's being presented to you.  

 8                And I think that it's easy enough 

 9   for us to make sure that once we put this law out 

10   in a constitutional amendment that those issues 

11   and those possibilities will be definitely vetted 

12   and promoted so that anyone can feel comfortable 

13   with voting by absentee ballot.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, Senator 

15   Comrie.

16                Madam President, will the sponsor 

17   continue to yield?

18                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

19   yield?

20                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

21                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

22                SENATOR YOUNG:   So is the sponsor 

23   further aware that this bill would abandon, for 

24   all those who now choose to vote by absentee 

25   rather than at the polling place, that such voter 


                                                               208

 1   will now be abandoning hundreds of years of 

 2   proven privacy and voting security controls 

 3   present at Election Day polling places that are 

 4   not available, those same protections are not 

 5   available when you vote by absentee ballot?  

 6                SENATOR COMRIE:   Again, I think 

 7   that a person choosing to vote by absentee ballot 

 8   is doing it as a convenience and as a choice and 

 9   they'd like to do it from the comfort of their 

10   home, the opportunity to do it if they're infirm, 

11   the opportunity not to have to leave their job or 

12   the opportunity to be able to do it before they 

13   have to go away.  And I think that the 

14   opportunities for privacy will be actually 

15   enhanced for those people that choose to vote by 

16   absentee ballot.

17                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  Is the 

18   sponsor willing to continue to yield?  

19                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

20                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor will 

21   yield.

22                SENATOR YOUNG:   Is the sponsor also 

23   aware that the challenges of securing a huge new 

24   number of paper ballots and protecting them from 

25   nefarious activity or merely accidental loss, 


                                                               209

 1   damage or destruction, also presents a serious 

 2   issue?

 3                SENATOR COMRIE:   Again, I don't 

 4   believe that the handling of the ballots will be 

 5   changing in any significant way from the way that 

 6   absentee ballots are registered and transmitted 

 7   now.  I would hope that improvements over time 

 8   with technology and opportunities, that we will 

 9   be able to do this electronically, hopefully, in 

10   the next ten years, which will only further 

11   secure the absentee ballot process.  

12                But I've not heard of anyone that's 

13   talked about fraud with absentee balloting in the 

14   last three election cycles that I'm aware of.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   I'd like to follow 

16   up on that, please, if the sponsor will still 

17   yield.

18                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

19                THE PRESIDENT:   Does the sponsor 

20   yield?  The sponsor will yield.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   So through you, 

22   Madam President, I actually looked up cases of 

23   different voter crimes that have occurred not 

24   only across the country, but in New York State.  

25   Are you familiar with the Hector Ramirez case, 


                                                               210

 1   who was a 2014 State Assembly candidate for the 

 2   86th Assembly District?  

 3                SENATOR COMRIE:   I'm not aware of 

 4   that case.

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   Okay.  So Hector 

 6   Ramirez pleaded guilty to one count of criminal 

 7   possession of a forged instrument.  He was 

 8   running for the Assembly, and he deceived voters 

 9   into giving their absentee ballots to his 

10   campaign on the false premise that the campaign 

11   would then submit the ballots.  Instead, 

12   Ramirez's campaign inserted his name on at least 

13   35 of the absentee ballots.

14                So there's one tangible recent case 

15   where absentee ballots were actually collected 

16   and forged.

17                SENATOR COMRIE:   Senator, that is a 

18   crime.  And any crime that is comitted by any 

19   individual will be vigorously prosecuted by law 

20   enforcement officials.  And I don't believe that 

21   Hector Ramirez is a sitting Assemblyman, and he 

22   got his just deserts by the voters.  And I'm sure 

23   that he has also gotten his just deserts by the 

24   prosecutorial system that definitely investigated 

25   that particular case.


                                                               211

 1                And I would hope that anyone that 

 2   tries to use an absentee ballot in a fraudulent 

 3   way is discovered and prosecuted quickly, because 

 4   we need to protect the process for those people 

 5   that want to use their democratic right to be 

 6   able to vote in no-excuse absentee voting.

 7                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

 8   Madam President.  Will the sponsor continue to 

 9   yield?

10                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

11   yield?

12                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

13                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor will 

14   yield.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   Well, thank you, 

16   Senator Comrie, for that.  And I believe that 

17   Hector Ramirez got what he deserved also by 

18   defrauding the voters.  But this is not an 

19   isolated case.  Are you familiar with the case -- 

20   it was actually a major scandal that occurred in 

21   Troy in 2013, where there was a voter fraud 

22   scandal, people went to jail or they got -- some 

23   went to jail, some got community service.  But 

24   they were doing the same thing, in conjunction 

25   with the Working Families Party.  They were 


                                                               212

 1   harvesting -- they were harvesting absentee 

 2   ballots.

 3                And during the questionable 

 4   circumstances surrounding these cases, witnesses 

 5   throughout both trials provided a glimpse into 

 6   the seedy political underworld that existed that 

 7   allowed this to happen.  They preyed on those 

 8   that they felt were the most vulnerable members 

 9   of society, making them easy targets for voter 

10   schemes.  

11                So for example, they targeted -- and 

12   this was all brought up in court, by the way.  

13   They targeted immigrants --

14                SENATOR COMRIE:   And were 

15   prosecuted, if I recall, Madam President.

16                SENATOR YOUNG:   Right.  And they're 

17   the ones that got caught.  But this is the type 

18   of thing that already exists that I believe that 

19   the bill that's before us today will actually 

20   make a lot worse.

21                But they targeted immigrants who 

22   struggled with the English language and had 

23   little knowledge of the U.S. election process.  

24   They targeted college kids with little money, 

25   paying them for their voter registration cards.  


                                                               213

 1   They targeted people living in low-income housing 

 2   because there was a sense that poor people were 

 3   less likely to ask any questions.  And they 

 4   tricked mentally disabled individuals into 

 5   signing over their absentee ballots.  

 6                What in this bill before us right 

 7   now builds any kind of protections against those 

 8   types of situations from happening?

 9                SENATOR COMRIE:   Senator, I believe  

10   there are already plenty of protections in place 

11   to prevent fraud from individuals that are intent 

12   on doing fraud.  

13                I would hope that collectively that 

14   everyone that is involved in elections would make 

15   sure that whenever they saw fraud, that they 

16   would point it out quickly.  And as those people 

17   were prosecuted, that we made sure that they got 

18   the necessary punishment for a heinous act for 

19   violating our constitutional right as citizens 

20   for taking advantage of poor people and people 

21   that were indigent and people that were not able 

22   to understand what the process was.  I think 

23   that's a horrible example.  

24                But we will be doing everything we 

25   can to inform voters of what their rights are, 


                                                               214

 1   what their obligations are, and what the 

 2   opportunities are for enforcement.  And I'm glad 

 3   that that was brought to -- that was highlighted, 

 4   that was discovered.  And I'm sure that working 

 5   together across the aisle with all my colleagues 

 6   over the next three years before 2022 to make 

 7   sure that this is done in a way that all 

 8   New Yorkers would be able to feel comfortable 

 9   about casting a ballot through absentee voting.

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

11   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

12   yield?

13                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

14   yield?

15                SENATOR COMRIE:   Yes.

16                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor will 

17   yield.

18                SENATOR YOUNG:   So those were just 

19   a couple of cases out of many.  I have a lot 

20   right here from throughout New York State.  But 

21   is the sponsor also aware that the large increase 

22   in total volume of absentee paper ballots only 

23   increases the chances of misconduct concerning 

24   such ballots from false or fraudulent ballots, 

25   stuffing the ballot box, to mass solicitation of 


                                                               215

 1   votes from vulnerable populations, as I said, to 

 2   the purposeful miscollection of ballots for voter 

 3   suppression, as was recently alleged in 

 4   North Carolina?  

 5                All of those factors, are you 

 6   aware -- I mean, that increases the chances of 

 7   voter fraud.  And as I said earlier, every time 

 8   voter fraud occurs, it cancels out the vote of 

 9   citizens who have the right to vote in this 

10   country.

11                SENATOR COMRIE:   Senator, as you 

12   know, in New York State it's required that you 

13   fill out an affidavit before you get an absentee 

14   ballot.  I think that is one process that will 

15   definitely stay in place.  And making sure that 

16   that affidavit is filled out will decrease the 

17   opportunity for voter fraud.  This is not 

18   North Carolina, where you can grab three dozen 

19   absentee ballots, take them to a neighborhood and 

20   get them signed and turned in at the same time.  

21   There will be an affidavit required.

22                I believe that through due 

23   diligence, through all of the people in this room 

24   and all of the people around this state that are 

25   concerned about fair and fair elections, that any 


                                                               216

 1   bad actors -- and there will always be bad actors 

 2   no matter what system is in place.  There will 

 3   always be someone to try to subvert the system.  

 4                But I believe that working together, 

 5   we can eliminate those bad actors and, with the 

 6   advent of technology, even clean up anyone that's 

 7   trying to do voter fraud so that we can have an 

 8   opportunity for people to have options and to 

 9   have no-excuse absentee voting.

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, Senator 

11   Comrie.

12                And Madam President, on the bill.

13                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator, on the 

14   bill.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

16   Madam President.

17                This bill has several deeply 

18   concerning aspects that call into question the 

19   administrative difficulty and cost of this 

20   measure, together with its overall negative 

21   impact on the integrity of our elections in 

22   general.

23                Problem one, enormous unnecessary 

24   cost.  I hate to keep repeating myself, but there 

25   is something that is prevalent throughout all of 


                                                               217

 1   these bills that is a theme:  Unfunded mandates, 

 2   huge costs to the taxpayers.  It would require a 

 3   vast expansion of local resources by now 

 4   requiring that local Boards of Elections produce, 

 5   print, process and count a large additional 

 6   number of absentee ballots on an ongoing basis 

 7   without any meaningful benefit since this measure 

 8   would not allow anyone to vote who cannot vote by 

 9   some other means at present.  

10                We just passed something that 

11   allowed for early voting that also has a 

12   significant cost to the taxpayers.  This does 

13   too.  I don't understand, it's very difficult to 

14   understand why you would do both when there are 

15   huge enormous impacts on the taxpayers and at the 

16   same time they duplicate what you're trying to 

17   get at.  As absolutely no state money is 

18   appropriated whatsoever, this bill is an enormous 

19   unfunded state mandate.  

20                Problem two, presents serious 

21   administrative challenges.  The reason for and 

22   rationale behind absentee ballots is to allow 

23   people who otherwise would not be able to cast a 

24   ballot on Election Day, due to the absence of the 

25   voter from the voting jurisdiction or due to a 


                                                               218

 1   disability or illness of the voter that would 

 2   prevent them from voting at the polls on 

 3   Election Day, to be able to vote.  

 4                But such ballots are expensive, as 

 5   the Boards of Elections will tell you, 

 6   labor-intensive and time-consuming in 

 7   distributing, processing and counting.  And they 

 8   actually slow the entire election process because 

 9   it takes so long.  And already we have issues 

10   where results may not be determined in a close 

11   election for weeks and even months.  This would 

12   slow it down even further.  

13                It would also require voters to take 

14   multiple steps to vote:  One, properly apply for 

15   the absentee ballot, complete the ballot, 

16   properly enclose it in the board's return 

17   envelope, properly sign and date such envelope, 

18   and return such ballot back to the Board of 

19   Elections by mail or hand delivery before 

20   Election Day.  

21                Compare that to what happens at the 

22   polls.  At the polls, that voter would merely 

23   sign in, fill out their ballot, and deposit it in 

24   a voting machine to vote.  

25                Problem three, serious election 


                                                               219

 1   fraud.  Security issues.  This bill also presents 

 2   numerous and serious issues regarding fraud.  

 3   This not only arises because of an increased risk 

 4   of coercion that I brought up -- where a person 

 5   such as an employer, a union leader and so on, 

 6   now can demand that employees vote by absentee 

 7   and insist they complete their ballot in front of 

 8   them -- but also because of the hundreds of years 

 9   of proven privacy and voting security controls 

10   present at Election Day at polling places, that 

11   those protections are not available when you use 

12   absentee ballots.  

13                The challenges of securing a huge 

14   new number of paper ballots and protecting them 

15   from nefarious activity, or even just losing 

16   them, merely accidental loss, which we have been 

17   reading about in the news recently about ballots 

18   getting lost in certain elections -- paper 

19   ballots only increase the chance of misconduct 

20   concerning such ballots from false or fraudulent 

21   ballots, which is known as stuffing the ballot 

22   box, to mass solicitation of votes from 

23   vulnerable populations, to the purposeful 

24   miscollection of ballots for voter suppression, 

25   as was recently alleged in North Carolina.  And 


                                                               220

 1   frankly, they had to void that entire election 

 2   because of that problem.  

 3                And problem four, duplicative, as I 

 4   said, of early voting.  

 5                And so this amendment appears to be 

 6   repeating something, rising costs, all the 

 7   problems with fraud.  It's begging the question, 

 8   why should we do this?  

 9                And so the recommendation is that we 

10   do not pass this constitutional amendment, that 

11   we stick to systems that actually protect the 

12   integrity of our elections.  And so I would urge 

13   my colleagues to not pass this today.  

14                Thank you.  

15                THE PRESIDENT:   Seeing and hearing 

16   no other Senator that wishes to be heard, the 

17   debate is closed.

18                The Secretary will ring the bell.  

19                Call the roll.

20                (The Secretary called the roll.)

21                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Metzger to 

22   explain your vote.

23                SENATOR METZGER:   Thank you.  I'm 

24   very pleased to be cosponsoring this legislation 

25   and supporting it.  


                                                               221

 1                To Senator Young's question of why 

 2   we would move forward with this, it's because 

 3   there are people that actually can't get to the 

 4   polls, have a really hard time getting to the 

 5   polls.

 6                I represent a largely rural 

 7   district, huge areas.  There's no public 

 8   transportation, and people have a hard time 

 9   getting to the polls.  There are people that work 

10   two, three jobs, they have families, they are 

11   challenged to get to the polls.

12                So this is about expanding voter 

13   participation.  This whole package of amendments 

14   does this.  The early voting alone cannot get to 

15   every single obstacle that is confronting voters.  

16   And this will go a long way to making sure 

17   everyone can exercise that fundamental right to 

18   vote.

19                Thank you.

20                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

21                Senator Boyle to explain his vote.

22                SENATOR BOYLE:   Thank you, 

23   Madam President.  I want to explain my vote.  

24                I want to commend Senator Comrie on 

25   bringing this bill, this resolution to the floor, 


                                                               222

 1   and all the other colleagues that are supporting 

 2   it.  

 3                I was honored to be the prime 

 4   sponsor of this legislation in years past.  And 

 5   this really came to me years ago when I was 

 6   speaking to my Aunt Susan at the time, an elderly 

 7   woman not in good health.  And so many of our 

 8   constituents, we know -- they basically lie.  

 9   They say they're going to be out of town, they 

10   say they're going to be sick.  But my Aunt Susan, 

11   who wanted to vote for me, but I would say I feel 

12   guilty -- and it was a very difficult for her to 

13   get to the polls, but she did it, when now with 

14   this bill it's very simple.  Anybody can vote by 

15   absentee without making any excuse.

16                Also very quickly in terms of the 

17   early voting and this bill, please consider my 

18   bill, or please, Majority member, take it, to 

19   call for a final vote, a piece of legislation 

20   that says if you do absentee or you do early 

21   voting, you always have the opportunity to go on 

22   Election Day and make your final vote.  And that 

23   one counts, negating the earlier one.  

24                We all remember the guy running for 

25   Congress out in Montana who beat up the reporter 


                                                               223

 1   the night before Election Day.  He won, because 

 2   so many constituents had voted early.  He may not 

 3   be there.  And there's other examples like that.  

 4   Please consider that.  

 5                On this resolution, I vote in the 

 6   affirmative.

 7                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Harckham to 

 8   explain your vote.

 9                SENATOR HARCKHAM:   Thank you very 

10   much, Madam President.  

11                I commend Senator Comrie and all 

12   colleagues for sponsoring measures in this 

13   package.  I'm sitting here bewildered, listening 

14   to the array of fear and the sky is falling, and 

15   that everything that we are considering now will 

16   create chaos.  And I guess this must have been 

17   what it was like when we were debating horseless 

18   carriages coming on our dirt roads a hundred 

19   years ago when these legislative and electoral 

20   processes were in gear.

21                We've heard about a lot about how 

22   people leave New York because of high taxes.  The 

23   other reason people leave is that this state does 

24   not work for them.  And we have an opportunity to 

25   make lives easier for people, to make it easier 


                                                               224

 1   to vote, to give them more time in their day to 

 2   their families, to commuting, to working.

 3                So there are so many things that 

 4   this package of bills touches upon.  I'm 

 5   wondering what the resistance is all about.  That 

 6   voter fraud has been unfounded, both in this 

 7   state and in this country.  The issue of the 

 8   unfunded mandates has been addressed and will be 

 9   addressed both in the Governor's budget -- and we 

10   are a coequal branch of government, and we can 

11   and we will fund these measures.  We don't want 

12   to pass these costs along to local governments.

13                So what's the resistance to making 

14   life easier and making voter access more 

15   affordable and accessible?  

16                Thank you.

17                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Krueger to 

18   explain your vote.

19                SENATOR KRUEGER:   Thank you, 

20   Madam President.  I rise to support this bill.  

21                And you know, it's sort of 

22   interesting, because the theme seems to have been 

23   "but if it costs us more."  Well, I guess I would 

24   ask, what is the cost of democracy?  Maybe it 

25   does cost us more, some of the things.  But 


                                                               225

 1   interestingly, as this bill was being debated, I 

 2   was looking at research that's been done.  And 

 3   for states who have expanded their absentee 

 4   voting and gone to mail voting, actually the 

 5   research is clear.  It's cheaper to handle a 

 6   ballot through the mail than people coming into 

 7   sites.

 8                So does it require a change in 

 9   system per person at some level?  Yes.  But 

10   apparently a mail voting in an absentee ballot 

11   option is not an increased cost, it actually 

12   shows itself to be a decreased cost.  And yet it 

13   still lets us expand voting for more people, and 

14   that's the goal here of all these bills today.  

15                So I'm proud to stand and vote yes, 

16   Madam President.

17                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.  

18                Senator Sanders to explain your 

19   vote.

20                SENATOR SANDERS:   Thank you, 

21   Madam President.  

22                I have heard excellent arguments 

23   from many of the people raising these points.  I 

24   am yet to be convinced, however.  I have to 

25   remind my colleagues that the problems of 


                                                               226

 1   democracy can only be solved by more democracy.  

 2   You can't solve the problems by saying, well, 

 3   since there is a problem, we won't have it at 

 4   all.

 5                I think that the approach that the 

 6   Coun -- Councilmember, hmm -- Senator Comrie is 

 7   taking is an excellent approach.  It's part of 

 8   what the agenda is coming up with.  And I 

 9   encourage all of us to figure out ways that we 

10   can make sure that more of the people of 

11   New York, more of the American people participate 

12   in democracy.

13                When we are way down on the line of 

14   states that are voting, that should be a warning 

15   shot to all of us.  All of us should be doing 

16   something and coming up with some proposals to 

17   ensure that we make it easier and that we make 

18   government that exists more beneficial to the 

19   average New Yorker.

20                So I'm proud to support my colleague 

21   from Queens and vote yes on this measure.  

22                Thank you.

23                THE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, Senator.

24                Announce the result.

25                THE SECRETARY:   Those recorded in 


                                                               227

 1   the negative on Calendar Number 4 are 

 2   Senators Jordan, Ortt, Ranzenhofer and Young.

 3                Ayes, 57.  Nays, 4.

 4                THE PRESIDENT:   The resolution is 

 5   adopted.

 6                THE SECRETARY:   Also Senator 

 7   Helming.  

 8                Ayes, 56.  Nays, 5.

 9                THE PRESIDENT:   The resolution is 

10   adopted.

11                Senator Gianaris.

12                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

13   can we please take up Calendar Number 5, by 

14   Senator Carlucci.

15                THE PRESIDENT:   The Secretary will 

16   ring the bell, and the Secretary will read.  

17                THE SECRETARY:   Senator Carlucci 

18   moves to discharge, from the Committee on Rules, 

19   Assembly Bill 775 and substitute it for the 

20   identical Senate Bill Number 1099, Third Reading 

21   Calendar 5.

22                THE PRESIDENT:   The substitution is 

23   so ordered.

24                The Secretary will read.

25                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 5, 


                                                               228

 1   by Assemblyman Dinowitz, Assembly Print 775, an 

 2   act to amend the Election Law.

 3                THE PRESIDENT:   Senator Young.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

 5   Madam President.  Will the sponsor yield?  

 6                THE PRESIDENT:   Will the sponsor 

 7   yield?  

 8                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

 9   Madam President.

10                THE PRESIDENT:   The sponsor yields.

11                SENATOR YOUNG:   Where did he go?  

12   Oh, there.  I'm still getting used to all the 

13   seat changes.  Thank you, Senator Carlucci, for 

14   yielding for some questions.  

15                This is a fundamental change to how 

16   the state voter registration system operates.  

17   And I was wondering, just like the other bills, 

18   have you spoken to county Boards of Elections and 

19   the state Board of Elections to ensure they have 

20   the capabilities to implement this system?  

21   Especially since these changes have an effective 

22   date 60 days after the bill becomes law.  I mean, 

23   that's pretty quick.  Have you spoken to them?  

24                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Thank you, 

25   Madam President.  And thank you, Senator.


                                                               229

 1                Yes I've had the opportunity to 

 2   speak to a few election commissioners.  And what 

 3   I get the sense of with this legislation, as you 

 4   said, it's a simple change for our bureaucracy 

 5   but a giant change for our democracy.  All this 

 6   is doing is simply using the technology that we 

 7   already have.

 8                After the Help Americans Vote Act, 

 9   it required New York State to get on board and 

10   make a New York State voter database so that we 

11   have a complete picture of all the voters in 

12   New York State.  

13                However, if you move in New York 

14   State, if you move from Rockland County to 

15   Orange County, from Rockland to Westchester, you 

16   name it, you have to physically go and reregister 

17   to vote.  If you move within the county or within 

18   your city, you don't have to reregister to vote.

19                So the Board of Elections, they tell 

20   us that this is a smart piece of legislation 

21   because about 30 percent of people's address 

22   changes in New York State are from county to 

23   county.  So this is simply ending that confusion, 

24   allowing people to vote on Election Day and 

25   earlier, with the legislation that's passed 


                                                               230

 1   earlier today, to remove those barriers that 

 2   currently exist.

 3                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

 4   Madam President.  Will the sponsor continue to 

 5   yield?  

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 7   Carlucci, do you continue to yield?  

 8                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

 9   Madam President.

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   Do you have an 

11   estimate of how many voters this would affect?  

12   How many registered voters move out of their 

13   counties every single year?  

14                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Well, the Board 

15   of Elections tells us that in the entirety of all 

16   the address changes that they get, it's 

17   approximately 30 percent that this would affect, 

18   that are physically moving from county to county.  

19   That doesn't include, obviously, people from out 

20   of state or moving from within their county.  But 

21   over 30 percent are moving from county to county 

22   or from out of the city to another county.

23                SENATOR YOUNG:   That's a pretty 

24   high number.

25                Through you, Madam President, would 


                                                               231

 1   the sponsor continue to yield?  

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 3   Carlucci?  

 4                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

 5   Madam President, I yield.

 6                SENATOR YOUNG:   So let me give you 

 7   a hypothetical situation.  Say there's a student 

 8   who's registered in Albany County and that 

 9   student moves to Buffalo to go to college.  How 

10   would the county Board of Elections ensure that 

11   that student is not enrolled in both Albany and 

12   Erie counties?  

13                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Well, according 

14   to this legislation, they do have to submit a new 

15   action to trigger an address change.

16                For example, if they go to the DMV 

17   and register their address at this new location 

18   in Buffalo, I believe was the example, or they 

19   register with other types of agencies, that would 

20   allow for that address change to promulgate.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   How do we ensure 

22   that the voter's registration is removed from the 

23   Albany voter roll?  How do we ensure that?  What 

24   mechanism is in place so that there's 

25   enforcement?  


                                                               232

 1                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Well, this is 

 2   very simple, and that's the beauty of this simple 

 3   legislation.  We're taking advantage of the 

 4   technology that already exists.  This technology 

 5   in fact has been around since 2005.  We've had 

 6   access to it for 14 years now, but we really 

 7   haven't been using its full potential.

 8                Right now we can just look at that 

 9   voter database and allow for when someone does 

10   make that address change, that we make those 

11   corrections to the voter database and that person 

12   is simply registered in that new location, the 

13   Board of Elections is notified where they moved 

14   from, and they're able to make those changes as 

15   it's detailed in the legislation.

16                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

17   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

18   yield?  

19                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

20   Carlucci?  

21                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

22   Madam President.

23                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  Does 

24   the State Board of Elections have to coordinate 

25   with Albany and Buffalo to make sure the voter is 


                                                               233

 1   enrolled in Buffalo while removing their 

 2   enrollment from Albany.

 3                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   I'm sorry, Madam 

 4   President?

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   So is the State 

 6   Board of Elections involved?  Do they have to 

 7   coordinate with Buffalo and Albany to make sure 

 8   the voter is enrolled in Buffalo while removing 

 9   their enrollment from Albany?  Does the state 

10   board have to coordinate with the two counties?

11                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   There is 

12   coordination going on, yes, and that's the idea, 

13   that we have one state, we have one database.  

14   And it's a very simple coordination.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  

16                Through you, Madam President, will 

17   the sponsor continue to yield?  

18                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

19   Carlucci?  

20                THE WITNESS:  Yes, Madam President.  

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   So under this new 

22   system, will the county Boards of Elections need 

23   to access voter rolls of other counties in the 

24   state?  

25                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes.  Under the 


                                                               234

 1   voter database that exists, they have access to 

 2   the entire voter database of every registered 

 3   voter in New York State.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   So do you have 

 5   security concerns about opening up the voter 

 6   rolls?

 7                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   I'm sorry, 

 8   Madam President, will the Senator repeat the 

 9   question?  

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   So you said yes, 

11   right?  So do you have security concerns with 

12   opening up the voter rolls?

13                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   I don't have any 

14   security concerns with this piece of legislation.  

15   We're not really opening up the voter rolls, 

16   we're simply allowing -- changing a technicality 

17   in the law, I believe is a technicality, where 

18   we're simply changing a few lines in the 

19   legislation that currently exists by allowing 

20   them to make that transfer automatically.  

21                Where right now what happens is 

22   someone moves and they know, hey, Election Day is 

23   coming, so they go to their polling place, they 

24   say, "Hey, I want to vote, I moved," and the 

25   polling inspector says, "Well, you're not in the 


                                                               235

 1   book, so okay, fill out this affidavit."  They 

 2   fill it out, and then what happens is when the 

 3   rubber hits the road, that affidavit doesn't 

 4   count.  If they moved within the county or they 

 5   moved within the city, it does count.

 6                So all we're doing is allowing for 

 7   that simple change in the legislation to exist.  

 8   So we're just modifying a few sentences of the 

 9   Election Law and giving that authority to the 

10   Board of Elections to make this simple change.

11                Instead of having the voter jump 

12   through these hoops; there's really no reason to 

13   do that.  We already have the information, we 

14   have the data, let's take advantage of the 

15   technology that exists.

16                SENATOR YOUNG:   So through you, 

17   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

18   yield?  

19                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

20   Carlucci, do you continue to yield?  

21                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

22   Madam President.

23                SENATOR YOUNG:   This new system 

24   will require additional training manuals and 

25   procedures for the state Board of Elections and 


                                                               236

 1   every county Board of Elections.  I don't see any 

 2   appropriation in the bill language, so how will 

 3   this be paid for?  

 4                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Well, this is -- 

 5   as we've been talking about all day, that if 

 6   there is substantial monies that are required, 

 7   this is something that our Legislature, the 

 8   Senate, is committed to funding.

 9                We could talk about the cost, but 

10   what are the costs if we don't put these reforms 

11   in?  What are the costs of allowing people not to 

12   have access to the polls?  What's the cost of 

13   someone having to jump through the hoops to 

14   reregister, just fill out extra paperwork, when 

15   we don't need it?  There's a cost to that.

16                So the cost to this is extremely 

17   minimal, even according to the Board of 

18   Elections.  In terms of what these changes in 

19   this legislation are actually doing, the cost is 

20   minimal.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

22   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

23   yield?  

24                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

25   Carlucci?  


                                                               237

 1                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

 2   Madam President.

 3                SENATOR YOUNG:   Wouldn't it make 

 4   more sense to find out what the costs are before 

 5   we take action and pass a major change in how the 

 6   state law operates?  Wouldn't it make more sense 

 7   to know?  You're committing to reimburse the 

 8   counties and make them whole, but we don't know 

 9   how much that is going to cost.

10                I guess one of the recurring themes 

11   today is that we're going to pass all this and 

12   figure out what it costs and how to pay for it 

13   later.  Why haven't we done that in advance?  I 

14   think that would be a much better way to go about 

15   it, especially since the effective date is 

16   60 days after the bill becomes a law.

17                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Thank you, 

18   Senator.

19                The cost.  I believe that this will 

20   actually save New York money.  This is about 

21   using the technology that's available to us.  

22   It's about stepping into the 21st century and 

23   accessing what already exists, what other states 

24   have already taken advantage of.  This makes it 

25   more efficient, saves costs to the taxpayer 


                                                               238

 1   ultimately, and saves costs to the voter that 

 2   they don't have to jump through hoops like 

 3   they've had to do in the past.

 4                As far as training, the Board of 

 5   Elections is continually training their staff, 

 6   and they already know how to access the New York 

 7   State voter database.  So I believe that the 

 8   training on this transfer, this automatic 

 9   transfer would be extremely minimal, would be 

10   very minimal cost initially, and ultimately 

11   saving money for the taxpayer long-term.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

13   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

14   yield?  

15                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

16   Carlucci?  

17                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

18   Madam President, I yield.

19                SENATOR YOUNG:   So, you know, how 

20   is this going to work?  I mean, people are going 

21   to have to continually check the voter rolls to 

22   make sure that somebody isn't registered to vote 

23   in another county within the state.  Common sense 

24   would tell you that you would need additional 

25   staffing to be able to do that.  And also you 


                                                               239

 1   need to make sure that people aren't voting in 

 2   two or more locations.  

 3                So I don't see any kind of controls 

 4   in this bill that really put in systems that 

 5   would disallow duplicate voting.

 6                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   As far as if 

 7   someone is committing fraud in voting in two 

 8   places, that's something that people can try to 

 9   vote as many times as they can try, and we need 

10   stamp out fraud wherever it exists.  I believe in 

11   no way does this legislation open the door to 

12   fraud.  In fact, I think this gives us a better 

13   control of maintaining our database.

14                Right now, New York State does a 

15   very poor job of updating our voter files.  This 

16   allows us to do that.  And it's very simple.  If 

17   a voter goes in -- and maybe no one was notified 

18   of an address change, that they go in and submit 

19   that affidavit ballot, and then it's upheld 

20   because they've had -- they've been -- they've 

21   moved out of county.

22                Simple things can be -- from the 

23   post office, if a return mail with forwarding 

24   information is done.  Like we talked about the 

25   DMV.  Those are just a few of the examples of 


                                                               240

 1   where the Board of Elections would be notified.

 2                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

 3   Madam President.  Will the sponsor continue to 

 4   yield?

 5                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 6   Carlucci?  

 7                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

 8   Madam President, I yield.

 9                SENATOR YOUNG:   Is this bill 

10   constitutional, or does it violate Section 6 of 

11   Article II of the State Constitution?  

12                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   I believe that 

13   this bill is constitutional.  And we know that 

14   because of the Help Americans Vote Act, which 

15   created the statewide voter registration list, 

16   that prior to that maybe this would have been a 

17   problem because we would have had to recreate the 

18   wheel and create the statewide voter registration 

19   list.  

20                But therefore, that there is this 

21   official list, I believe that it is 

22   constitutional and will meet the muster of our 

23   courts.

24                SENATOR YOUNG:   Actually, this bill 

25   violates Article II, Section 6 of the State 


                                                               241

 1   Constitution.  Such a --

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 3   Young, are you asking Senator Carlucci to 

 4   continue to yield?  

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   -- may provide by 

 6   law for a system or systems --

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 8   Young, are you asking Senator Carlucci to 

 9   continue to yield?

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   Yes, will he 

11   continue to yield?  

12                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   Okay, I'll start 

14   again.  This bill violates Article II, Section 6 

15   of the State Constitution:  "The Legislature may 

16   provide by law for a system or systems of 

17   registration whereby upon personal application a 

18   voter may be registered and his or her 

19   registration continued so long as he or she shall 

20   remain qualified to vote from an address within 

21   the jurisdiction of the board with which such 

22   voter is registered."  I'll say that again:  

23   "Within the jurisdiction of the board with which 

24   such a voter is registered."

25                By making this a statewide transfer, 


                                                               242

 1   voters now will be qualified to vote outside the 

 2   county boards of jurisdiction, violating the 

 3   provision.

 4                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Thank you, 

 5   Senator.

 6                Well, the Boards of Elections are 

 7   defined by statute, not the Constitution.  There 

 8   was a provision placed in the Constitution in 

 9   1995 to accommodate the change of address 

10   requirement from the National Voter Registration 

11   Act.  At the time in 1995 there was no statewide 

12   voter registration list, and voter records were 

13   maintained exclusively by those county Board of 

14   Elections and New York City Board of Elections.

15                After the Help Americans Vote Act of 

16   2002, which we talked about, New York enacted in 

17   2005 a statewide voter registration list.  Today, 

18   the Election Law provides that "There shall be 

19   one official record of the registration of each 

20   voter.  Such record shall be maintained in an 

21   interactive, statewide, computerized voter 

22   registration list.  Such statewide voter 

23   registration list shall constitute the official 

24   list of voters of the State of New York.  Such 

25   list shall be in the custody of the State Board 


                                                               243

 1   of Elections and administered and maintained by 

 2   the State Board of Elections."

 3                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, Senator 

 4   Carlucci.

 5                On the bill.

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 7   Young on the bill.

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   Again, I believe 

 9   that this piece of legislation is not ready for 

10   prime time, because it will be very difficult for 

11   Boards of Elections to administer the proposed 

12   changes, in contrast to what my colleague was 

13   saying.  A large number of people move throughout 

14   the state, and Boards of Elections will now have 

15   to coordinate with one another to make the 

16   necessary changes.  My colleague said that the 

17   boards probably have to change 30 percent of 

18   voter registrations every year.  That's a lot.

19                This will also mean each Board of 

20   Elections will have to open up their database to 

21   all other Boards of Elections throughout the 

22   state, which raises some serious issues with 

23   security.  As I pointed out, it does violate 

24   Article II, Section 6 of the State Constitution.  

25                And so for those reasons, again, 


                                                               244

 1   this is another bill that we should not be 

 2   considering at this time, the very beginning of 

 3   the session -- have not had any hearings, no 

 4   public input, nothing.  And yet we're forging 

 5   ahead with unfunded mandates and different 

 6   provisions that actually encourage voter fraud.

 7                So again, I believe this is a good 

 8   "no" vote.

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Seeing and 

10   hearing no other Senator that wishes to be heard, 

11   the debate is closed.  

12                The Secretary will ring the bell.

13                Read the last section.

14                THE SECRETARY:   Section 7.  This 

15   act shall take effect on the 60th day after it 

16   shall have become a law.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Call the 

18   roll.

19                (The Secretary called the roll.)

20                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

21   Carlucci to explain his vote.

22                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Thank you, 

23   Madam President.  And I want to thank my 

24   colleagues for supporting this important piece of 

25   legislation.  


                                                               245

 1                Like we talked about, this is a 

 2   simple change for our bureaucracy, a giant change 

 3   for our democracy.  This is -- we can take 

 4   advantage of the technology that's at our 

 5   fingertips, make it more accessible for people to 

 6   vote, save taxpayer dollars in the long run, and 

 7   have one less headache for the voters of New York 

 8   State.  

 9                Let's continue to remove these 

10   obstacles to voting and, like our chairman had 

11   talked about, let's go from worst to first.  And 

12   this is another way to do it.  

13                Thank you, Madam President.

14                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Announce 

15   the results.

16                THE SECRETARY:   Those recorded in 

17   the negative on Calendar Number 5 are 

18   Senators Akshar, Amedore, Helming, Jordan, 

19   LaValle, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Robach, Serino, 

20   Seward and Young.  Also Senator Lanza.

21                Ayes, 49.  Nays, 12.

22                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The bill 

23   is passed.

24                Senator Gianaris.

25                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Can we please 


                                                               246

 1   move on to Calendar Number 6, by 

 2   Senator Carlucci.

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 

 4   Secretary will ring the bell, and the Secretary 

 5   will read.

 6                THE SECRETARY:   Senator Carlucci 

 7   moves to discharge, from the Committee on Rules, 

 8   Assembly Bill Number 774 and substitute it for 

 9   the identical Senate Bill Number 1100, 

10   Third Reading Calendar 6.

11                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 

12   substitution is ordered.

13                The Secretary will read.

14                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 6, 

15   by Assemblyman Lavine, Assembly Print 774, an act 

16   to amend the Election Law.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

18   Young.

19                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

20   Madam President.  Will the sponsor yield?  

21                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

22   Carlucci, will you yield?  

23                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

24   Madam President.

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, Senator 


                                                               247

 1   Carlucci.  

 2                This bill would require county 

 3   Boards of Elections to keep people on the rolls 

 4   for up to two years before they can vote.  Is 

 5   that correct?

 6                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes.  This 

 7   allows 16- and 17-year-olds to preregister to 

 8   vote.  We believe that this will increase voter 

 9   turnout for young people.  

10                Unfortunately, in New York State, 

11   believe it or not, in 2016 the latest data that 

12   we have available right now, only 47 percent of 

13   people under the age of 24 were even registered 

14   to vote.  And then in this past election, where 

15   we all were elected to this chamber, young people 

16   under the age of 24 represented only 8 percent of 

17   the electorate.  

18                We know we can do much better than 

19   that.  In fact, in 1971, when Congress passed the 

20   amendment, the constitutional amendment to lower 

21   the voting age to 18, it took only four months 

22   for the states to ratify that constitutional 

23   amendment.  So the 26th Amendment to the 

24   Constitution was the quickest to be ratified.  

25   That was 1971.  It's almost five decades later, 


                                                               248

 1   and yet we've done little to remove the barriers 

 2   that we know exist to having young people 

 3   participate in the voting process.

 4                So by allowing 16- and 17-year-olds 

 5   to preregister to vote when they're in school, 

 6   when they're going to the DMV, it's an amazing 

 7   opportunity to allow thousands more young people 

 8   to register.  And if we register them, the odds 

 9   are that their voter participation goes up.

10                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

11   Madam President.  Will the sponsor continue to 

12   yield?  

13                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

14   Carlucci?  

15                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

16   Madam President, I yield.

17                SENATOR YOUNG:   Do county Boards of 

18   Elections have the capabilities and the resources 

19   to do this by January 1, 2020, which is what the 

20   bill says?  Would they have to hire additional 

21   staff, for example?  Would they need new 

22   programming?

23                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Thank you, 

24   Senator.  No, I believe that our Boards of 

25   Elections are very capable of handling this 


                                                               249

 1   legislation.  The members of the Boards of 

 2   Elections that I've spoke to are excited and 

 3   ready to implement this change.  It will be very 

 4   minor, the change, in terms of requirements for 

 5   them.  We will change the voter registration form 

 6   as it's detailed in the legislation in front of 

 7   you.  

 8                And right now our Board of Elections 

 9   are very qualified in handling voter registration 

10   applications.  This simply extends the 

11   opportunity for people to register in New York 

12   State.

13                So really in terms of the Boards of 

14   Elections, there's no real added responsibility 

15   for them except for the opportunity to register 

16   more people.  And keep in mind, this takes 

17   effect, the legislation takes effect January 1st 

18   of 2020, and people turn 16 at all different 

19   times.  So it's not as if we're going to get a 

20   mad rush of people the first day it starts, but 

21   it will be a staggered amount of people 

22   registering throughout the year.

23                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

24   Madam President.  Will the sponsor continue to 

25   yield?  


                                                               250

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 2   Carlucci?  

 3                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

 4   Madam President, I yield.

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   Well, you know, 

 6   it's easy for us to sit here and say there's not 

 7   going to be any additional cost or, you know, 

 8   we're not out on the front lines implementing 

 9   this.  

10                But the reality is anytime we 

11   implement something new, there's a cost that is 

12   associated with it.  It costs money.  Because you 

13   need to have people to put these systems in place 

14   and so on.

15                So who would pay for the additional 

16   requirement that the county boards must 

17   collaborate with high schools to promote voter 

18   registration and preregistration?  

19                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   I'm sorry, 

20   Senator, I missed the last part of what you 

21   asked.

22                SENATOR YOUNG:   Who would pay for 

23   the additional requirement that county boards 

24   must collaborate with high schools to promote 

25   voter registration and preregistration?  Who pays 


                                                               251

 1   for that?

 2                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Again, I'm 

 3   sorry, can you repeat the question?  Madam 

 4   President?  

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   Who would pay for 

 6   the additional requirement that county boards 

 7   must collaborate with high schools to promote 

 8   voter registration and preregistration?

 9                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   According to the 

10   legislation as it reads, these policies may -- it 

11   says may -- include collaboration with county 

12   Boards of Elections to conduct voter registration 

13   and preregistration in high schools.  So the key 

14   word there is "may."  

15                And I believe that the commissioners 

16   of the Boards of Elections that I know that I've 

17   met are already doing many of these activities.  

18   They want to engage young people.  They know the 

19   perfect opportunity is when our students are in 

20   high school, they're learning about the 

21   governmental process, they're possibly excited to 

22   be involved.  So it's an opportunity to do that.

23                So I believe that there really are 

24   minimal costs, again, with this legislation.  

25   Yes, there might be some costs to change the 


                                                               252

 1   voter registration form, some simple changes.  

 2   But these are minor changes when we keep in mind 

 3   that we have one of the lowest voter 

 4   participation rates in the nation.  And the fact 

 5   that our young people are not even registered to 

 6   vote -- if they're not registered to vote, they 

 7   can't vote.  That's a major problem.  

 8                And in New York State, we've had a 

 9   problem with this for years.  It's time we 

10   address it.  This is a simple change.  Over a 

11   dozen other states are doing it.  And in doing 

12   that, they've shown their voter participation 

13   rates increase.

14                I know we've had success with this 

15   because we've all in this chamber worked closely 

16   on improving the organ donation participation 

17   rates in New York State.  And what's one of the 

18   things that we did that's made a profound impact 

19   on the percentage of people enrolled in the organ 

20   donor program?  We allow them to enroll when 

21   they're 16 years of age.  Because until recently, 

22   97 percent of the people that enrolled in the 

23   organ donor program did it through the Department 

24   of Motor Vehicles.

25                So what an opportunity when young 


                                                               253

 1   people are going to get their learner's permit, 

 2   when they're going to get their driver's license 

 3   for the first time, that's the opportunity we 

 4   have to enroll them.  And then when they turn 18, 

 5   the job is already done.  All they have to do is 

 6   show up and vote.

 7                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  

 8                Madam President, through you, will 

 9   the sponsor continue to yield?  

10                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

11   Carlucci?  

12                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

13   Madam President, I yield.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.

15                You know, we all know that 16- and 

16   17-year-olds are very mobile.  They may go off to 

17   college, they may move to a different part of the 

18   state when they turn 18 years old, and they may 

19   reregister at the county where their college is 

20   located, for example.  How do we ensure that 

21   these individuals are not registered to vote at 

22   two addresses?  

23                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Well, that's 

24   great, that's why we passed the legislation prior 

25   to this.  Because we have the ability, we have 


                                                               254

 1   the technology.  Let's use it.

 2                So because we just passed that 

 3   legislation prior to this about the universal 

 4   transfer of registration, this makes it simple.  

 5   So it really takes any added work out of that 

 6   equation.

 7                SENATOR YOUNG:   Well -- through 

 8   you, Madam President, will the sponsor continue 

 9   to yield?  

10                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

11   Carlucci?  

12                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

13   Madam President, I yield.

14                SENATOR YOUNG:   Well, as in the 

15   previous bill, you said that there were hoops, 

16   but the hoops are just somebody just registering 

17   to vote in a new -- am I not speaking loud 

18   enough?  In the previous bill that we just 

19   discussed, right, you said that there were hoops 

20   that people had to jump through in order to 

21   register to vote, which is simply registering to 

22   vote.  Is that correct?  

23                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   That's correct.

24                SENATOR YOUNG:   So if it's just the 

25   hoop, the only hoop is registering to vote, then 


                                                               255

 1   there's no like warning system to a county that 

 2   this person is actually registered in another 

 3   locality.  Is that correct?  

 4                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   I'm sorry, I'm 

 5   having a hard time following.  Are we talking 

 6   about the universal transfer or are we talking 

 7   about the preregistration?

 8                SENATOR YOUNG:   You're saying just 

 9   like the previous bill, that it will make sure 

10   that nobody is registered to vote in more than 

11   one site.

12                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   That's correct.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   But you said the 

14   only way that works is if somebody registers to 

15   vote.  That's the hoop, that's the big 

16   impediment, that they have to register again.  

17   But there's no alarm that goes off that says to 

18   the Boards of Elections, you'd better go in and 

19   check that system to make sure that that person 

20   is not registered to vote in two localities or 

21   more.

22                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Well, no, that's 

23   the beauty of our system, is that with the 

24   statewide voter registration system, we're able 

25   to crack down if someone is registered in 


                                                               256

 1   multiple locations.

 2                And yes, it is a hoop to jump 

 3   through if we ask someone -- they've already 

 4   registered, they live in New York State.  And I 

 5   can take the example in my district that spans 

 6   two counties, that someone can move within one 

 7   part of my district, but then they move to 

 8   another part of the district and they have to 

 9   reregister.

10                So it is an inconvenience.  It's 

11   confusion to the voter.  And when we're talking 

12   about 16- and 17-year-olds, the problem is that 

13   when we have that opportunity to register them, 

14   we're missing that opportunity.  And then like 

15   you -- like the speaker has pointed out, that 

16   they move or they go to college, and then it gets 

17   even more complicated to get them registered to 

18   vote.

19                So this is a great opportunity.  

20   That we're not recreating the wheel, we're doing 

21   what other states have done to improve their 

22   voter participation rates for younger people.  

23   And the fact is study after study has shown that 

24   if we start those habits young, early, those 

25   habits continue.  And that's a habit that we want 


                                                               257

 1   to proliferate here in New York State.  We want 

 2   our young people, that if they vote when they're 

 3   18, they're going to continue to vote.  And that 

 4   is only going to be good for our democracy.

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

 6   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

 7   yield?  

 8                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 9   Carlucci?  

10                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

11   Madam President, I yield.

12                SENATOR YOUNG:   As I said, 16- and 

13   17-year-olds are very mobile.  And the system 

14   that we just passed in the previous bill doesn't 

15   have any kind of trigger to alert people that 

16   people may be registered to vote in multiple 

17   locations.

18                You know, let's use my own situation 

19   as an example.  I went off to college at SUNY 

20   Fredonia, I transferred to St. Bonaventure.  So 

21   if I had registered to vote at all three of those 

22   locations, then I could have voted at home in 

23   Livingston County, I could have voted in 

24   Chautauqua County at Fredonia State, and I could 

25   have voted in Cattaraugus County at 


                                                               258

 1   St. Bonaventure University.

 2                So say a college student, young, 

 3   maybe doesn't even understand all the laws, but, 

 4   you know, their Uncle Bill is running for mayor 

 5   in Livingston County, at a village in Livingston 

 6   County.  They want to vote for their Uncle Bill.  

 7   They're registered to vote there right now 

 8   because they haven't been culled out from the 

 9   rolls, because there isn't any kind of alarm that 

10   goes off when somebody registers to vote in 

11   multiple locations.  

12                So maybe that student says:  "I want 

13   to get Uncle Bill elected as mayor.  I love my 

14   Uncle Bill, I'm going to vote for him."  And then 

15   their college roommate from the college they 

16   transferred from says, "You know what, I got fed 

17   up with these townies here, I'm running for 

18   mayor, and I need for you to vote.  I know you're 

19   still registered to vote here; I need for you to 

20   vote in the mayoral election so that I can win.  

21   I'm your roommate, I'm your former roommate, 

22   you've got to vote for me."  

23                And then in the third location 

24   there's a hot election going on, peer pressure at 

25   that college that that person should go out to 


                                                               259

 1   the polls and vote.

 2                How do you detect somebody voting in 

 3   all those situations?  Somebody realistically 

 4   could be voting in every one of those situations, 

 5   multiple times in multiple jurisdictions.

 6                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Again, this is 

 7   about updating our voter rolls.  And the Senator 

 8   brings up some points that are important.  We 

 9   want to make sure that people aren't voting in 

10   multiple locations.  

11                In no way do I believe that the 

12   legislation before us opens the door to that, any 

13   more than currently exists right now.  We know 

14   that's against the law.  We know that the 

15   legislation that we previously passed does more 

16   to keep regular maintenance of the voter 

17   database.  

18                And so I believe that by moving this 

19   package of legislation, we do more to fight 

20   abuses that might exist, or the hypothetical 

21   situation that was brought up by the Senator.  

22   And I believe in no way does the preregistration 

23   of 16- and 17-year-olds create any more room for 

24   fraud than what already exists.

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 


                                                               260

 1   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

 2   yield?  

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 4   Carlucci?  

 5                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

 6   Madam President, I yield.

 7                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.

 8                What happens if somebody has 

 9   registered to vote when they're 16 years old and 

10   then they move out of state?  What happens to 

11   their voter registration?  How do we ever even 

12   know that they're actually not in the state and, 

13   you know, they don't -- and they're voting in 

14   elections and they don't even live in the state?

15                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, that's 

16   where we've worked with the United States Postal 

17   Service.  And national change of address would 

18   notify us.  And by using a more robust and 

19   capable voter data management system, by allowing 

20   the Board of Elections to have that ability, 

21   we'll be able to maintain that.

22                And if that state -- then they'd 

23   have to register in that state, that voter will 

24   have to meet those guidelines that are set forth 

25   in the state that they moved to.


                                                               261

 1                But this legislation before us does 

 2   not touch that realm of jurisdiction that you 

 3   talked about.  The bill beforehand would.  And 

 4   the bill that we discussed before, as I've had 

 5   conversations with commissioners of elections, it 

 6   allows them to do that.

 7                We all know, we've seen our voter 

 8   data lists.  And it has unactive voters.  The 

 9   legislation that we passed earlier allows us to 

10   maintain the database at a more progressive rate 

11   and allows the commissioner of elections in those 

12   local boards to update and manage the list and be 

13   able to remove people from the voter file if 

14   they're registered in another part of the state.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

16   Madam President.  Through you, will the sponsor 

17   continue to yield?  

18                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

19   Carlucci, do you continue to yield?  

20                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Yes, 

21   Madam President, I yield.

22                SENATOR YOUNG:   How do you ensure 

23   this bill will not lead to politicking -- 

24   mailers, robocalls, for example -- to people who 

25   are two years away from being eligible to vote?  


                                                               262

 1                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   I don't know how 

 2   we would prevent that.  And just like anybody 

 3   that's registered to vote or anybody that has a 

 4   driver's license, anybody that goes online, data 

 5   is being used at a rapid pace.  And they're 

 6   eligible to be contacted by any group or any 

 7   political party to try to encourage them to 

 8   persuade in any direction that they'd like to do.

 9                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

10   Madam President.  On the bill.

11                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

12   Young on the bill.

13                SENATOR YOUNG:   You know, we always 

14   want young people to register to vote and to be 

15   able to do that.  And we already allow in this 

16   state persons to register who are turning 

17   18 years old by the end of the calendar year.  So 

18   that exists.  

19                Only 13 states allow 16- and 

20   17-year-olds to preregister.  But this 

21   legislation places an additional burden on the 

22   Board of Elections that now has to keep a 

23   registration on file for up to two years before 

24   the individual is even eligible to vote.  This 

25   will require programmatical changes to state and 


                                                               263

 1   local voting registration systems without any 

 2   time or money to accomplish this.

 3                Given the mobility of 16- and 

 4   17-year-olds, it will be difficult to track their 

 5   movement and keep voter rolls up to date as they 

 6   move to college or relocate for a job, resulting 

 7   in inaccurate voter rolls.

 8                There already are outreach and 

 9   Get Out The Vote programs for persons of high 

10   school age.  Additional programs would mean 

11   additional costs on local Boards of Elections.

12                And finally, this bill will likely 

13   lead to politicking, mailers, robocalls, 

14   et cetera, to people who are two years away from 

15   being eligible to vote.

16                Again, a common theme with all these 

17   pieces of legislation today:  Unfunded mandates, 

18   heavy cost, security issues, and the opening of 

19   the door to election fraud.

20                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Seeing and 

21   hearing no other Senator that wishes to be heard, 

22   debate is closed.

23                The Secretary will ring the bell.

24                Read the last section.

25                THE SECRETARY:   Section 4.  This 


                                                               264

 1   act shall take effect on the first of January 

 2   next succeeding the date on which it shall have 

 3   become a law.

 4                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Call the 

 5   roll.

 6                (The Secretary called the roll.)

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 8   Salazar to explain her vote.

 9                (No response.)

10                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

11   LaValle to explain his vote.

12                SENATOR LaVALLE:   I wanted to 

13   explain my vote, but -- go ahead.  They 

14   recognized you first.

15                SENATOR SALAZAR:   Thank you, 

16   Madam President.

17                While I will be voting in support of 

18   Senator Carlucci's bill, I want to highlight a 

19   concern about the need to protect young people 

20   who are not citizens.  

21                Upon implementation of this bill, 

22   attempts to preregister 16-to-17-year-old 

23   students may inadvertently lead immigrant youth 

24   in our communities to mistakenly commit a federal 

25   crime.  As we all know, it is unfortunately a 


                                                               265

 1   felony under current law for noncitizens to 

 2   register to vote.  And I think that it attempts 

 3   to mass-preregister high school students, 16- and 

 4   17-year-olds, without adequately warning students 

 5   that upon turning 18 they would be registered to 

 6   vote and that if they're not a citizen, that 

 7   that's a felony.

 8                I think that the language of the 

 9   bill doesn't adequately demand that those who are 

10   administering it or mass-preregistering students 

11   would warn students about -- and young people 

12   about this.

13                So that's my concern.  I would hope 

14   that the benefits of passing this legislation 

15   will outweigh that risk, and so I will be voting 

16   in the affirmative.  Thank you.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

18   Salazar in the affirmative.

19                Senator LaValle to explain his vote.

20                SENATOR LaVALLE:   Thank you, 

21   Madam President.

22                I just want to once again say, and 

23   particularly on a bill like this, we should be 

24   having hearings.  We should hear what are the 

25   numbers, what are the avenues that presently we 


                                                               266

 1   are registering students.

 2                It seems every time I turn around, 

 3   the student registers to get a driver's permit, 

 4   they are enrolled to vote.  And on and on and on.

 5                So I think we really should be 

 6   looking at the numbers, because we do want to get 

 7   our young people involved at the earliest 

 8   possible time.  And I think both political 

 9   parties are doing that.  But I think we need to 

10   see what the evidence is and what we are doing 

11   and what is the result.

12                Now, we could stand on our heads -- 

13   and most 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds have a lot 

14   that they're involved in.  School, they're 

15   involved in socializing, and on and on and on.

16                So I'm going to support the bill, 

17   but I once again really feel we should be doing 

18   hearings on this whole package so that we are 

19   really giving these bills their proper standing.

20                So I vote yes, Madam President.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

22   Little to explain her vote.

23                SENATOR LITTLE:   Thank you, 

24   Madam President.

25                While I have joined in voting for 


                                                               267

 1   many of these reforms to the election process, I 

 2   will not be voting for this bill.  And when I 

 3   look at a piece of legislation, I usually ask two 

 4   questions:  Is this necessary, and is this 

 5   beneficial?  The answer to those questions in 

 6   regard to this bill, in my mind, is no.

 7                A 16-year-old, I can remember 

 8   getting a driver's permit.  That's pretty 

 9   exciting.  That's the thing you are interested in 

10   that day.  Getting it, you would have to make 

11   sure you checked off the box, you would have to 

12   make sure you completed the bottom.  Did you go 

13   in there prepared to talk about what are you 

14   thinking of in voting and why you wanted to vote 

15   and all of that?  

16                So -- and is it beneficial?  As has 

17   been mentioned, many of these students may never 

18   ever vote in New York State even, and there may 

19   be issues, as the Senator mentioned, with someone 

20   who is not a documented citizen.

21                But more importantly, it's a senior 

22   in high school who is hearing about government 

23   and the reasons for voting and going out and 

24   getting your first vote and that exciting thing 

25   about enrolling and being a voter on 


                                                               268

 1   Election Day.  Many of these 18-year-olds are 

 2   seniors who are going into the workforce, going 

 3   into the military, going to college, but know the 

 4   importance of voting.

 5                So I cannot see where this is 

 6   beneficial or it's going to create any more 

 7   voters.  And what it is going to create is more 

 8   expense, as Senator Young so aptly spoke about.  

 9   And it's also going to create more work for the 

10   Board of Elections.  I spoke to two of my six 

11   election commissioners this morning, and both of 

12   them, this was not a bill on their radar screen, 

13   they could see no benefit from it, it's just more 

14   work, more complications.  

15                And we've already addressed a lot of 

16   issues that are going to cost more and require 

17   more work in what we have passed today, so 

18   therefore I will be voting no.

19                Thank you.

20                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

21   Biaggi to explain her vote.

22                SENATOR BIAGGI:   Thank you.

23                I stand today in support of this 

24   bill, and I am actually very excited to vote yes 

25   in favor of this bill.  And I just wanted to 


                                                               269

 1   share that we are -- I actually wanted to 

 2   reorient our perspective in this body.  

 3                We are a very privileged body.  And 

 4   so for many of us we grew up, perhaps, with 

 5   discussions about elections and democracy around 

 6   the dinner table.  Most people do not.  In fact, 

 7   as I remember during my campaign, many people 

 8   that were young that I spoke to didn't even know 

 9   that there was an election coming up or who was 

10   on the ballot.

11                And so as we know, civics in 

12   classrooms has been declining for many different 

13   years.  And I think that the cost of bringing 

14   more people into the democratic fold is truly 

15   invaluable.  And so this is an important bill.  

16   This will bring more people into our democracy.  

17   And I am very proud to vote yes in favor of this 

18   bill today.

19                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

20   Carlucci to explain his vote.

21                SENATOR CARLUCCI:   Thank you, 

22   Madam President.  And I want to thank all the 

23   supporters of this legislation and all the 

24   comments that were made.

25                And yes, I believe that this 


                                                               270

 1   legislation is necessary.  It's necessary because 

 2   like we said, less than half of the people under 

 3   the age of 24 are even registered to vote.  And 

 4   so we have to do something about that.  There's a 

 5   problem.  

 6                Is it beneficial?  Yes, it's 

 7   beneficial to our democracy.  Because we saw a 

 8   Pew Research study that came out and said that 

 9   one of the biggest reasons why young people don't 

10   vote -- they said yes, there's people that say 

11   their vote doesn't matter, that the races aren't 

12   competitive.  That's one reason.  I couldn't make 

13   it to the polls, that's another reason.  That's 

14   why we're doing early voting.

15                But another reason was they never 

16   registered to vote.  In fact, 5 million young 

17   people each year, the study shows, miss out 

18   because they just didn't register to vote.  So 

19   all this is doing is correcting a major problem.  

20                And yes, I'd be happy to do hearings 

21   on this topic.  I've had this bill for about 

22   eight years, and we've been talking about it.  

23   And other states have been moving forward while 

24   New York has stayed stagnant.  And there's a cost 

25   to that.  


                                                               271

 1                Yes, there's a cost to putting some 

 2   new words on an application.  But there's a cost 

 3   of missing out.  There's a saying, right, 

 4   discipline weighs ounces; regret weighs tons.  

 5   And that's how we have to think.  

 6                We've got to be proactive.  There's 

 7   a problem.  There's an obvious problem.  

 8   Forty-seven point four percent of people under 

 9   the age of 24 are registered in New York State.  

10   That means over 50 percent don't even have the 

11   opportunity.  We could talk to them all day long, 

12   but because of the rules on the books in New York 

13   State, it stays as an obstacle for young people 

14   participating.  And there's a cost to that.  

15                So we want to turn that around.  We 

16   want to make a major investment in New York 

17   State, and that starts with empowering our young 

18   people.  So I vote yes on this legislation, and I 

19   want to thank my colleagues for doing the same.  

20                Thank you, Madam President.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Announce 

22   the results.

23                THE SECRETARY:   Those recorded in 

24   the negative on Calendar Number 6 are 

25   Senators Antonacci, Boyle, Funke, Griffo, 


                                                               272

 1   Helming, Jordan, Lanza, Little, O'Mara, Ortt, 

 2   Ritchie, Serino, Seward and Young.

 3                Ayes, 47.  Nays, 14.

 4                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The bill 

 5   is passed.

 6                Senator Gianaris.

 7                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Can we please 

 8   take up Calendar Number 7, Madam President.

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 

10   Secretary will ring the bell, and the Secretary 

11   will read.

12                THE SECRETARY:   Senator Kavanagh 

13   moves to discharge, from the Committee on Rules, 

14   Assembly Bill Number 776 and substitute it for 

15   the identical Senate Bill 1101, Third Reading 

16   Calendar 7.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 

18   substitution is so ordered.

19                The Secretary will read.

20                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 7, 

21   by Assemblymember Simon, Assembly Bill 776, an 

22   act to amend the Election Law.

23                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

24   Griffo.

25                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Madam President, I 


                                                               273

 1   believe there's an amendment at the desk.  I 

 2   would waive the reading of that amendment and ask 

 3   that you call on Senator Young for an 

 4   explanation.

 5                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Thank you, 

 6   Senator Griffo.

 7                Upon review of the amendment, in 

 8   accordance with Rule 6, Section 4B, I rule it 

 9   nongermane and out of order at this time.

10                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Madam President, I 

11   appeal the ruling of the chair and ask that you 

12   recognize Senator Young to be heard on that 

13   appeal.

14                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The appeal 

15   has been made and recognized, and Senator Young 

16   may be heard.

17                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

18   Madam President.

19                This amendment clearly, clearly, 

20   clearly is germane to the bill-in-chief because 

21   we are amending the exact same sections of law.  

22   It's hard to believe that that was just ruled in 

23   the way that it was.

24                The amendment would actually go 

25   further to amend our campaign finance laws by 


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 1   getting soft money entirely out of politics.  

 2   This amendment would bring the state campaign 

 3   finance laws in line with the federal campaign 

 4   finance law, because under this amendment 

 5   corporations, labor organizations, limited 

 6   liability companies, joint stock associations and 

 7   other corporate entities would be prohibited from 

 8   making campaign contributions.  We believe that 

 9   this amendment would help reduce corruption in 

10   this state.

11                You know, in this day and age 

12   oftentimes the money in politics that is spent to 

13   try to influence people who are elected to office 

14   has been corrupting.  And why aren't we moving to 

15   ban all soft money just like the federal 

16   government does, to avoid that corruption?  

17                And so I would urge my colleagues to 

18   actually vote for this amendment because it is 

19   good government.  Thank you.

20                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Thank you, 

21   Senator, 

22                I want to remind the house that the 

23   vote is on the procedures of the house and the 

24   ruling of the chair.

25                Those in favor of overruling the 


                                                               275

 1   chair signify by saying aye.

 2                (Response of "Aye.")

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Opposed?  

 4                (Response of "Nay.")

 5                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Show of hands, 

 6   please.

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   A show of 

 8   hands has been requested and so ordered.  

 9                (Show of hands.)  

10                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 21.

11                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The ruling 

12   of the chair stands, and the bill-in-chief is 

13   before the house.

14                Senator Young.

15                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  Will 

16   the sponsor yield?  

17                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

18   Kavanagh, will you yield?  

19                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Yes, 

20   Madam President.

21                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  

22                This bill closely aligns with the 

23   federal money on LLC contributions, but only LLC 

24   contributions.  Why use the federal model for LLC 

25   contributions but not for corporations and labor 


                                                               276

 1   organizations?  

 2                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Madam Speaker, 

 3   this bill -- Madam President, rather.  I got used 

 4   to that in some other context.  

 5                Madam President, this bill addresses 

 6   one of the -- in my opinion, the single most 

 7   egregious loophole in our campaign finance 

 8   system, which is the fact that our election laws 

 9   are entirely silent on how LLCs should be 

10   treated.  And in a ruling of the State Board of 

11   Elections shortly after LLCs were created in law 

12   in 1994, the Board of Elections ruled that LLCs 

13   would be treated just as if they were 

14   individuals, even though, as we all know, they 

15   are business entities that share some of the 

16   attributes of corporations and some of the 

17   attributes of partnerships.

18                It should be noted that the 

19   federal -- since my colleague has asked about 

20   federal treatment, the Federal Election 

21   Commission made a similar ruling that LLCs should 

22   be treated as individuals initially and very 

23   shortly thereafter, as we got experience with 

24   LLCs, realized that was mistaken, and on a 

25   bipartisan basis more than two decades ago 


                                                               277

 1   decided that in fact for federal purposes LLCs 

 2   ought to be treated as partnerships and 

 3   corporations under the federal -- under the way 

 4   those entities are treated under federal law.

 5                This bill, which like many of the 

 6   bills we have today has been debated for a number 

 7   of years -- and passed, I should note, in the 

 8   Assembly nearly four years ago on a bipartisan 

 9   basis -- would basically treat LLCs in a manner 

10   similar to the way the federal government treats 

11   LLCs, by eliminating the treatment of them as 

12   individuals.

13                The effect of that loophole at the 

14   moment is that any individual, any entity using 

15   LLCs can give an absolutely unlimited amount of 

16   money to any politician in the state or any party 

17   committee.  There's literally, if people are 

18   willing to abuse this loophole, absolutely no 

19   limit.  

20                And it's not hypothetical.  We have 

21   seen, for example, the Glenwood Management 

22   companies, which were integral to the scandals 

23   that brought down Senator Skelos in this house 

24   and Speaker Silver in the Assembly.  In that 

25   instance the entity created more than 50 LLCs 


                                                               278

 1   through which they gave contributions and gave 

 2   millions and millions of dollars to a few 

 3   politicians.

 4                To put it in comparison, the entire 

 5   contributions aggregated of all corporations in 

 6   the state in a given year is about a 

 7   million dollars.  In 2014, the single biggest LLC 

 8   contributor, one entity, created LLCs and gave 

 9   $4.3 million, more than four times the entire 

10   corporate amount statewide.  

11                So this bill deals with LLCs because 

12   LLCs are the biggest and most problematic 

13   loophole in our system.  

14                Why we don't choose to today take up 

15   questions that my colleague may have about labor 

16   unions is that labor unions and their 

17   participation in election laws are already quite 

18   heavily regulated by election law.  They're also 

19   regulated by labor law and other laws at both the 

20   state and federal level.  And yet LLCs currently 

21   have no regulation at all, and that is what we're 

22   intending to address with this bill.

23                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you, 

24   Madam President.  Will the sponsor continue to 

25   yield?  


                                                               279

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 2   Kavanagh, do you continue to yield?

 3                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Happily, 

 4   Madam President.

 5                SENATOR YOUNG:   Well, thank you for 

 6   that long answer.  But, you know, I did bring up 

 7   corporations and labor organizations.  You're 

 8   adhering the LLC contributions to the federal 

 9   model.  My question is this.  Why not do it for 

10   all soft money?  Why not go across the board?  

11   Why not have an even playing field?  Why not have 

12   parity?

13                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Madam President, 

14   I'll confess I don't understand the way my 

15   colleague is using the term "soft money."  In my 

16   understanding, soft money typically refers to 

17   money that is given to party committees for 

18   things like committee housekeeping expenses and 

19   other things, and hard money typically refers to 

20   money that is given directly to campaigns for 

21   campaign purposes.  And again, the big loophole 

22   in our state law with respect to hard money is 

23   the LLC loophole.

24                The Governor I think in the last 

25   couple of days -- I was recuperating from a 


                                                               280

 1   medical procedure in the last couple of days, so 

 2   I didn't follow it that closely.  But I believe 

 3   the Governor in the last few days has proposed to 

 4   ban corporate contributions.  That is something 

 5   that I certainly, from my experience in this 

 6   area, would welcome, but it is not germane to 

 7   what we're doing today.

 8                What we're doing today is trying to 

 9   for the first time in this state in more than two 

10   decades, in almost a quarter century of LLCs 

11   being a tremendous loophole in the law, close 

12   that loophole.  

13                And again, corporations in our law 

14   are already heavily regulated.  A corporation -- 

15   a single individual can give $65,000 right now to 

16   a statewide candidate, and then they can give 

17   another $65,000 to another candidate, and then 

18   they can give tens of thousands of dollars to 

19   candidates for the legislature.

20                A corporation can give -- the total 

21   amount a corporation can give in a single 

22   calendar year right now is $5,000.  That's $5,000 

23   aggregated, not just to one candidate, but to all 

24   candidates the corporation might give to.  

25   Corporations have other restrictions as well.


                                                               281

 1                So again, if my colleague on the 

 2   other side of the aisle wishes to address -- 

 3   close the -- close the sort of -- excuse me, 

 4   Madam President, eliminate the ability of 

 5   corporations to give entirely, I think that's a 

 6   proposal that would have been welcome in this 

 7   house, at least by some of us, for many years, 

 8   and probably we will welcome as the session goes 

 9   forward.  

10                But today we're dealing with an 

11   enormous loophole that has been abused by party 

12   committees and elected officials in the state for 

13   far too long.  And the purpose of this bill is to 

14   close that loophole, not to address some of the 

15   many other concerns that we have bills on to 

16   address in the campaign finance system.

17                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  

18                Through you, Madam President, would 

19   the sponsor continue to yield?  

20                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

21   Kavanagh, do you continue to yield?

22                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Yes, 

23   Madam President.

24                SENATOR YOUNG:   This bill would 

25   apply contribution limits to minority interest 


                                                               282

 1   holders of an LLC, is that correct?

 2                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   That's not the 

 3   way that I would -- the bill would -- the bill 

 4   does two distinct things.  It attributes the 

 5   contributions of an LLC to the parties that 

 6   actually own the LLC, whether they themselves be 

 7   LLCs or whether they be individuals.  So if an 

 8   LLC gives $5,000, as it would continue to be 

 9   permitted under this bill, and say there are five 

10   owners with a 20 percent stake each, a thousand 

11   dollars of that contribution would be attributed 

12   to those owners.  

13                And then the effect it would have on 

14   those owners to which it is attributed to would 

15   depend on their status.  So if I am an individual 

16   and I own a 20 percent stake in an LLC, I have 

17   now effectively given a thousand dollars to the 

18   politician -- the political committee or to the 

19   candidate who has received that thousand dollars.  

20   That would then go against my otherwise 

21   applicable limits to give money.  

22                If the thing were an LLC, again, it 

23   would then be applied to that LLC, which would go 

24   against the $5,000 limit that LLC has applied to 

25   it.  It would also, in my reading of the bill, 


                                                               283

 1   then have to be attributed back by that LLC to 

 2   any prior owners of that LLC, until we get to the 

 3   ultimate source of the money.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   So through you, 

 5   Madam President, actually the way that this bill 

 6   works is that it would apply contribution limits 

 7   to minority interest holders of an LLC, so a 

 8   minority interest holder could be opposed to the 

 9   contribution, you're saying that it would be 

10   spread out, so if an LLC -- say you own 

11   10 percent, you have a 10 percent interest holder 

12   of an LLC, and yet the rest of the LLC members 

13   say we're going to donate to candidate X.  Okay?  

14   Because you're a minority owner, you don't have 

15   the power to stop the actual contribution because 

16   you only are a 10 percent shareholder.

17                So yet in spite of that fact, as you 

18   said, the contribution will be spread to every 

19   person, every interest holder of an LLC, whether 

20   you wanted to support that candidate or not.  

21   So -- and it would be attributed to their actual 

22   contribution limit.  So say they supported 

23   another candidate and they wanted to give the 

24   full contribution to that candidate, they no 

25   longer would be able to do so because the amount 


                                                               284

 1   they can give is reduced because other 

 2   shareholders and their LLC decided to give a 

 3   contribution and they did not agree to it.  Isn't 

 4   that correct?  

 5                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Madam President, 

 6   I believe that we're actually interpreting the 

 7   law pretty similarly.

 8                The verb that my colleague on the 

 9   other side had chosen before was to apply it to 

10   another person.  But yeah, it attributes the 

11   contribution to the owners of the thing.

12                Now let's -- the rest of it is a 

13   little difficult -- the objection that's 

14   contained implicitly in the rest of the question 

15   is a little hard for me to understand.  Right now 

16   if I'm a minority owner in an LLC and I don't 

17   have an ability under that terms of that LLC to 

18   block a contribution from that LLC and that LLC 

19   is giving to a candidate whom I oppose, that LLC 

20   can effectively give $65,000 of my money to a 

21   candidate I oppose.

22                Under this law, my -- the idea 

23   that -- it is still true that if I'm a minority 

24   LLC owner and I haven't read the fine print of 

25   the documents that created the LLC or my 


                                                               285

 1   particular rights with respect to that LLC -- and 

 2   the minority owner of an LLC may have rights to 

 3   block certain transactions by an LLC.  But 

 4   hypothetically, if I haven't read that, the 

 5   ability of that LLC to give money on my behalf 

 6   that I wouldn't otherwise give has been 

 7   dramatically reduced by this bill.  The LLC will 

 8   be able to give no more than $5,000 in aggregate 

 9   to all possible candidates, whether I support or 

10   oppose them.  And I would retain my right, just 

11   as I have now, to give contributions to 

12   candidates of my choice.

13                The second part of that I find even 

14   harder to understand, the idea that -- let's say 

15   hypothetically an LLC is giving to a candidate I 

16   oppose, there's no aggregate -- there's no 

17   aggregate limit for the amount of money you give 

18   in a particular campaign.  There's a limit to how 

19   much you can give to a candidate.  

20                So if an LLC I have -- let's say in 

21   the example of my colleague on the other side of 

22   the aisle, if the LLC has given $5,000 to a 

23   candidate I oppose and I am a 10 percent owner, I 

24   have effectively just given a $500 contribution 

25   to a candidate.  I'm welcome at that point to 


                                                               286

 1   give an $11,000 contribution to the opponent of 

 2   the person who the LLC gave to, or a $65,000 

 3   check if the person is a statewide candidate.

 4                So again, it's hard to understand 

 5   how a bill that diminishes the ability of LLCs to 

 6   give on behalf of the people who own the LLC is 

 7   somehow worse, by my colleague's lights, than, 

 8   you know, than the status quo.

 9                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

10   Madam President, would the sponsor continue to 

11   yield?  

12                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

13   Kavanagh, will you continue to yield?  

14                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Happily, 

15   Madam President.

16                SENATOR YOUNG:   So actually what 

17   you're saying I don't believe is correct, because 

18   it would limit the aggregate amount that a person 

19   who is a shareholder in an LLC would be able to 

20   contribute.  Because -- so -- so I don't believe 

21   that what you're saying is correct, number one.

22                And number two, that's not 

23   constitutional.  Because we have freedom of 

24   speech in this country, and the courts have 

25   interpreted the ability to contribute to the 


                                                               287

 1   candidates of your choice as a freedom of speech 

 2   issue.  So actually this violates the First 

 3   Amendment of the Constitution.

 4                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Madam President, 

 5   I guess that was an implicit question now, if I 

 6   may respond.

 7                First of all, as I noted, this has 

 8   effectively been the law at the federal level for 

 9   more than two decades, and it has been challenged 

10   in federal court cases -- I do not have citations 

11   because it's been well-established law for nearly 

12   a quarter-century that this does not violate the 

13   Constitution.  

14                What it is saying, effectively, is 

15   if your money, in the form of your ownership of 

16   an LLC, has gone to a candidate, we're going to 

17   consider that your money going to a candidate, 

18   which we commonly call a contribution.

19                If -- the only sense in which it 

20   would limit my ability to give additionally is if 

21   as a result of that money, which again is value 

22   that has gone from me, from an entity I own, to a 

23   candidate, if I hit some other preexisting limit, 

24   like if I hit the limit on contributions to 

25   individual candidates, there is also, you may 


                                                               288

 1   know, Madam President, an aggregate limit that an 

 2   individual may give in New York.  That is 

 3   $150,000.

 4                So theoretically, it could cause me 

 5   to reach a threshold beyond which I wouldn't be 

 6   able to give.  But again, those thresholds have 

 7   been upheld by courts many times.

 8                The way our courts, starting with 

 9   Buckley v. Valeo and working all the way to today 

10   have divided this line is the courts have said we 

11   have a core interest in preventing the corruption 

12   or the appearance of corruption when money goes 

13   directly to candidates or to political parties.

14                There are ample opportunities -- in 

15   fact, courts have expanded the opportunities for 

16   people to participate in the political system 

17   outside of the hard money system that goes 

18   actually to influence elections by giving to 

19   candidates or campaigns.  But there's no 

20   abridgment of somebody's rights that is contained 

21   in this bill.

22                SENATOR YOUNG:   Through you, 

23   Madam President, will the sponsor continue to 

24   yield?  

25                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 


                                                               289

 1   Kavanagh?  

 2                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Yes, 

 3   Madam President.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   Won't this 

 5   legislation likely lead to additional dark money 

 6   as individuals who once set up multiple LLCs 

 7   based on the proportion -- or who once set up 

 8   multiple LLCs will now set up independent 

 9   expenditure committees which have very lax 

10   reporting requirements?  

11                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Through you, 

12   Madam President, there are many opportunities to 

13   spend money in our system outside of coordinated 

14   campaign activity with parties and candidates.  

15   If I -- I believe that many -- it is clear from 

16   the fact that so much hard money is spent, it's 

17   clear, in fact, that particularly that so much 

18   hard money is spent through LLCs, a substantial 

19   fraction of all money that goes to party 

20   committees has gone through LLCs in recent years.

21                It seems clear that many 

22   contributors feel like they get the best bang for 

23   their buck by giving money directly to candidates 

24   and directly to parties.  And presumably that's 

25   why they do it, because they believe they'll gain 


                                                               290

 1   influence because they believe they will be 

 2   giving the greatest aid to the candidate of their 

 3   choice, which is a legitimate desire in a 

 4   democracy.

 5                Whether somebody who is now going to 

 6   be blocked from spending hard money in this 

 7   unlimited manner that is currently allowed by law 

 8   might choose to spend their money in other ways, 

 9   that is activity that has been protected by the 

10   Constitution under current interpretations of the 

11   Supreme Court.  I don't care to speculate whether 

12   Glenwood Management would have spent millions and 

13   millions of dollars on an independent expenditure 

14   campaign or whether they would have just passed 

15   on trying to influence the elections they chose 

16   to influence.

17                But what we know is that they abused 

18   this loophole to give many, many millions of 

19   dollars to a handful of politicians and party 

20   committees, and again in a way that is entirely 

21   unlimited in our current system.  And I believe 

22   closing that loophole will make our system 

23   tighter and have greater integrity, not less 

24   integrity.

25                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  


                                                               291

 1                Madam President, on the bill.

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   On the 

 3   bill.

 4                SENATOR YOUNG:   Free speech is a 

 5   critical element in a functioning democracy.  

 6   However, money in politics can lead to 

 7   corruption.  This legislation will likely lead to 

 8   additional dark money as individuals who once set 

 9   up multiple LLCs will now set up independent 

10   expenditure committees, which have very lax 

11   reporting requirements.

12                There's a constitutional problem 

13   with this bill.  An argument can be made that by 

14   attributing contributions to all members of the 

15   LLC based on the proportion of the member's 

16   ownership interest, minority members are having 

17   their First Amendment rights infringed upon.

18                Why not do what we said we wanted to 

19   do in the amendment?  Why not have corporations, 

20   labor organizations, limited liability companies, 

21   joint stock associations, and other corporate 

22   entities being permitted -- being prohibited -- 

23   why don't we prohibit them from making campaign 

24   contributions just like the federal government 

25   does?  This is only a small slice.  It opens the 


                                                               292

 1   door to more corruption because it doesn't apply 

 2   the same rules across the board.

 3                This bill surpasses free speech, and 

 4   I think that members should consider voting no.

 5                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Seeing and 

 6   hearing no other Senator that wishes to be heard, 

 7   debate is closed.

 8                The Secretary will ring the bell.

 9                Read the last section.

10                THE SECRETARY:   Section 3.  This 

11   act shall take effect on the seventh day after it 

12   shall have become a law.

13                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Call the 

14   roll.

15                (The Secretary called the roll.)

16                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

17   Krueger to explain her vote.

18                SENATOR KRUEGER:   Thank you very 

19   much, Madam President.  

20                I'm exceptionally happy that we are 

21   taking up this bill tonight.  I think that 

22   Senator Kavanagh, even though he is just coming 

23   off an illness, did an extraordinary job of 

24   explaining why this bill is so important.  

25                Clearly it's constitutional.  


                                                               293

 1   Clearly there is dark money in politics.  And I'm 

 2   sorry, if you look at the facts on who's spending 

 3   dark money in politics, shockingly, there's a 

 4   direct correlation between them and the people 

 5   who are pouring money through LLCs.  It's not two 

 6   different universes now.  So at least we might 

 7   knock out one of the universes by which they 

 8   over-influence the outcome of elections.  

 9                And Senator Young, do I think we can 

10   do more?  Yes, I do.  But this is the beginning 

11   of my 17th year here, and I have wanted to close 

12   this LLC loophole since before I got here.  

13                So I couldn't be happier that 

14   tonight we are passing this -- I think it already 

15   passed in the other house -- we are passing it in 

16   both houses.  And the Governor says he is 

17   supporting signing this bill, so I look forward 

18   to that event.  

19                I vote yes, Madam President.  Thank 

20   you.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Announce 

22   the results.

23                THE SECRETARY:   Those recorded in 

24   the negative on Calendar Number 7 are 

25   Senators Akshar, Gallivan, Helming, Jordan, 


                                                               294

 1   O'Mara, Ortt and Young.  

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 3   Hoylman to explain his vote.

 4                SENATOR HOYLMAN:   Thank you.  

 5   That's a bit of an afterthought, I guess.  

 6                But nevertheless, I wanted to 

 7   commend Senator Kavanagh, who I think gave an 

 8   absolute master class on debating an issue that 

 9   has really vexed this chamber for so long.  

10                And I wanted to thank 

11   Senator Kavanagh and Senator Krueger and 

12   Senator Squadron for actually suing the Board of 

13   Elections on the LLC loophole.  Let's face it.  

14   Companies are not people.  This is common sense.  

15   Closing this loophole is the most significant 

16   ethics reform that this chamber has done, I would 

17   say, in 25 years.  

18                So congratulations to my colleagues 

19   for this movement forward, to the leader for 

20   making this a priority, and for the people of 

21   New York, who will finally know that we're here 

22   to serve them and not hidden contributors behind 

23   the masks of LLCs.  

24                I vote aye.

25                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:


                                                               295

 1                Senator Lanza to explain his vote.

 2                SENATOR LANZA:   Thank you, 

 3   Madam President.

 4                You know, Senator Young, I listened 

 5   to her ask the sponsor of the bill a question 

 6   over and over and over again, and there was no 

 7   answer.  And the question is this.  Why not treat 

 8   all individuals as individuals and all 

 9   non-individuals the same?

10                An LLC, granted, is not an 

11   individual.  You said it.  There's precedent that 

12   equates it to being a corporation.  Neither are 

13   all these other entities -- labor organizations, 

14   PACs.  So why the different treatment?  We all 

15   know the answer to the question.  Nobody home is 

16   being fooled.  This is not reform.  

17                I'm going to vote yes, because this 

18   ought to be the first step.  But the subsequent 

19   steps that are required if we are truly 

20   interested in reform are to treat all 

21   non-individuals the same.  We know why LLCs are 

22   being treated differently than other entities 

23   which are not individuals:  Because there's a 

24   perception, perhaps based in reality, LLCs 

25   support Republicans.  We're going to ban them.  


                                                               296

 1   They're evil.  We need reform.  We need to stop 

 2   them from giving money to the candidates of their 

 3   choice.  

 4                But to the other non-individuals -- 

 5   who by the way, when you say they shouldn't be 

 6   forced to support a candidate not of their 

 7   choice, my wife is a schoolteacher.  She belongs 

 8   to the UFT.  I promise you, the UFT is providing 

 9   money to people who run against people like me.  

10   That's not her choice either.  

11                So why don't we treat them in the 

12   same way that we are now going to treat LLCs?  

13   It's very simple.  Those who give to Republicans:  

14   Evil.  Those who give to Democrats:  Keep the 

15   money flowing.  

16                I vote in the affirmative.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

18   Kavanagh to explain his vote.

19                SENATOR KAVANAGH:   Madam President, 

20   Senator Hoylman to explain his vote -- it must be 

21   really late to yield to a question.  

22                But I did want to, since there was a 

23   question there it's been asserted wasn't 

24   answered, and a colleague across the aisle who I 

25   have great respect for providing his own answer, 


                                                               297

 1   I just thought I would address that particular 

 2   issue.

 3                This bill treats LLCs in a manner 

 4   for some purposes that is similar to the way we 

 5   treat partnerships, because LLCs have some of the 

 6   attributes of partnerships.  And it treats them 

 7   in other ways like corporations, because they 

 8   have some attributes of corporations.  

 9                We are now, for the first time in 

10   this state, treating all business entities as if 

11   they are not ordinary human beings and preventing 

12   them from being used to give millions and 

13   millions of dollars from a single individual or a 

14   small number of people.

15                The second thing I would like to 

16   note is that it is simply false that LLC 

17   contributions have been partisan in the past.  

18   Not surprisingly, the contributions that come 

19   through LLCs go to Democrats and to Republicans.  

20   Statewide campaigns tend to be the largest 

21   recipients of LLC contributions because they have 

22   giant campaign limits, and that includes 

23   Democrats as well as Republicans.  

24                The Democratic Assembly Campaign 

25   Committee was a very large recipient of these 


                                                               298

 1   kinds of contributions when, in his sixth week as 

 2   the Speaker, following Shelly Silver's scandalous 

 3   departure from that position, closed the LLC 

 4   loophole, notwithstanding obvious partisan 

 5   interests.  

 6                This is simply not a partisan issue.  

 7   It's only been partisan in that one chamber of 

 8   this house has refused to close the loophole, and 

 9   the fact that the State Board of Elections has 

10   split two to two for a long time on how to close 

11   it.

12                But this is now -- what we are now 

13   doing is taking a step to close an equal 

14   opportunity loophole that a lot of Democrats and 

15   Republicans have both exploited more or less 

16   equally.  

17                Thank you, Madam President.

18                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Announce 

19   the results.

20                THE SECRETARY:   Those recorded in 

21   the negative on Calendar Number 7 are 

22   Senators Akshar, Gallivan, Jordan, O'Mara, Ortt 

23   and Young.

24                Ayes, 55.  Nays, 6.

25                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The bill 


                                                               299

 1   is passed. 

 2                (Applause from gallery.)

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 4   Gianaris.

 5                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Thank you, 

 6   Madam President.  

 7                And last but not least, can we 

 8   please take up Leader Stewart-Cousins' bill, 

 9   Calendar Number 9.  

10                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 

11   Secretary will ring the bell, and the Secretary 

12   will read.

13                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 9, 

14   by Senator Stewart-Cousins, Senate Print 1103, an 

15   act to amend the Election Law.

16                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

17   Griffo.

18                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Madam President, I 

19   believe there is an amendment at the desk.  I 

20   would waive the reading of the amendment and ask 

21   that you call upon Senator Akshar for an 

22   explanation.

23                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Thank you, 

24   Senator Griffo.

25                Upon review of the amendment, in 


                                                               300

 1   accordance with Rule 6, Section 4B, I rule it 

 2   nongermane and out of order at this time.

 3                SENATOR GRIFFO:   I would appeal the 

 4   ruling of the chair and ask that you recognize 

 5   Senator Akshar for an explanation on the appeal.

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The appeal 

 7   has been made and recognized, and Senator Akshar 

 8   may be heard.

 9                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Madam President, 

10   thank you very much for your indulgence.  

11                I would respectfully offer that this 

12   amendment is in fact germane, in that it attempts 

13   to correct what I would describe as a major flaw 

14   in this particular piece of legislation.  That 

15   flaw being that as currently authored, the 

16   legislation is mixing our governing calendar with 

17   our political calendar.

18                And I would offer to you that our 

19   chief responsibility as legislators is to pass a 

20   responsible, on-time, and a balanced budget -- 

21   last year, $168 billion.

22                This bill makes the petition 

23   deadline the very same deadline as the state's 

24   budget.  And I believe that it's going to create 

25   unnecessary conflict and opportunities for 


                                                               301

 1   corruption.

 2                Our motto, whether we're Republicans 

 3   or Democrats, should always be "people before 

 4   politics."  And I would respectfully offer that 

 5   putting our political calendar and mixing it with 

 6   our governing calendar is putting our politics 

 7   before people.

 8                The amendment will ensure that 

 9   members of the Legislature come to each and every 

10   legislative session day and fulfill their 

11   obligations as elected officials instead of 

12   staying home passing petitions and campaigning.  

13   And I don't want to see anyone become plagued by 

14   what I will call the Espaillat empty chair 

15   syndrome.

16                But if in fact that is what plagues 

17   you and you've been bit by the Espaillat empty 

18   chair syndrome, I think it's important for all of 

19   us, Republicans and Democrats alike, to let the 

20   people know that we will in fact be held 

21   accountable and if we miss a day of the 

22   legislative session because we're home 

23   campaigning and the like, that we will be fined 

24   equal to one day's compensation.  

25                Thank you, Madam President.


                                                               302

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Thank you, 

 2   Senator.

 3                I want to remind the house that the 

 4   vote is on the procedures of the house and the 

 5   ruling of the chair.

 6                Those in favor of overruling the 

 7   chair signify by saying aye.

 8                (Response of "Aye.")

 9                SENATOR GRIFFO:   Show of hands, 

10   please. 

11                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   A show of 

12   hands has been requested and so ordered. 

13                (Show of hands.)  

14                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 20.

15                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The ruling 

16   of the chair stands, and the bill-in-chief is 

17   before the house.

18                Senator Akshar.

19                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Madam President, 

20   will the sponsor yield for a couple of questions?

21                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

22   am not the sponsor of the bill, but I will be 

23   answering questions.  

24                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Senator, thank 

25   you.  And I'll be brief, because it's like giving 


                                                               303

 1   a speech before dinner, never a good thing.  

 2                What is the purpose of this 

 3   particular bill?  Madam President, if he'd be so 

 4   kind to yield.

 5                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 6   Myrie, do you yield.

 7                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 8   Madam President.

 9                New York is the only state in the 

10   union that has two separate primaries.  This is a 

11   bill -- we've heard much discussion today about 

12   unfunded mandates.  This is a bill that would 

13   save the state millions of dollars, and it would 

14   give our servicemen and women overseas the 

15   opportunity not only to participate in the 

16   federal elections, but so that they can have a 

17   voice in their local elections as well.

18                This bill will also reduce voter 

19   confusion, so that we have our primaries on the 

20   same day, and allow for increased participation.

21                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Madam President, 

22   through you, if the sponsor would continue to 

23   yield.

24                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

25   Myrie, do you continue to yield?  


                                                               304

 1                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 2   Madam President.

 3                SENATOR AKSHAR:   I'm just curious 

 4   how you conclude that June is the best date for 

 5   this particular election.

 6                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

 7   the June voting date is a date on which voters 

 8   are already accustomed to voting.  It is, I 

 9   think, a more suitable option than voting during 

10   July or August, when many families are away and 

11   where the air-conditioning in polling sites may 

12   not be tolerable.  

13                It also allows for us to be in 

14   compliance with federal law, giving our overseas 

15   servicemen and women the opportunity to 

16   participate in their democracy.

17                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Madam President, 

18   will the sponsor yield?  

19                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Do you 

20   continue to yield?  

21                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

22   Madam President.

23                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Have you ever been 

24   to the North Country, Senator?  

25                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 


                                                               305

 1   yes, I have.

 2                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Madam President, 

 3   will the sponsor continue to yield?  

 4                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Do you 

 5   continue to yield, Senator Myrie?

 6                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 7   Madam President.

 8                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Have you ever been 

 9   to the North Country in the wintertime?  

10                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

11   attended Cornell Law School in Ithaca.  

12                (Laughter.)

13                MULTIPLE VOICES:  That's the 

14   Southern Tier.   

15                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Madam President, 

16   will the sponsor continue to yield?  

17                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

18   Myrie, do you continue to yield?  

19                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

20   Madam President.

21                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Have you ever been 

22   to Malone?

23                (Laughter.)

24                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

25   have not.


                                                               306

 1                SENATOR AKSHAR:   If the sponsor 

 2   would continue to yield.

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 4   Myrie, do you continue to yield?  

 5                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 6   Madam President.

 7                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Recently we had a 

 8   primary -- in this past year, as you're well 

 9   aware.  Are you aware of what the turnout was in 

10   the federal primary in 2018?  

11                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

12   am not aware.

13                SENATOR AKSHAR:   It was 11 percent.  

14                If the sponsor would continue to 

15   yield.

16                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

17   Myrie, do you continue to yield to a question?  

18                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

19   Madam President.

20                SENATOR AKSHAR:   The state primary 

21   was in September.  Are you knowledgeable on what 

22   the turnout was in that particular primary?  

23                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

24   am not.

25                SENATOR AKSHAR:   It was 27 percent.


                                                               307

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 2   Akshar, are you asking a question of Senator 

 3   Myrie?  

 4                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Yeah, I was, and 

 5   then I gave the answer.  So my apologies.

 6                If sponsor would continue to yield.

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 8   Myrie, do you continue to yield?  

 9                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

10   Madam President.

11                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Do you believe 

12   that having the primary in June will extend the 

13   campaign season?  

14                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

15   would ask my colleague to clarify what he means 

16   by an extension.  

17                My understanding is that it would 

18   give a longer opportunity between the primary and 

19   the general election, but it is unclear if that 

20   is what my colleague is suggesting.

21                SENATOR AKSHAR:   I'll move on.  

22   Will he yield to another question?

23                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

24   Myrie, do you continue to yield?  

25                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 


                                                               308

 1   Madam President.

 2                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Do you believe in 

 3   mandate relief?  

 4                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

 5   can my colleague repeat the question?  

 6                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Does the sponsor 

 7   believe in providing mandate relief to 

 8   municipalities?  And does the sponsor believe 

 9   that this particular bill will in fact create 

10   that mandate relief?

11                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

12   yes.

13                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Will the sponsor 

14   continue to yield?  

15                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Will you 

16   continue to yield, Senator Myrie?  

17                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

18   Madam President.

19                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Does the sponsor 

20   believe that the monies that will be saved by 

21   consolidating the primaries should offset the 

22   additional costs that will come with some of the 

23   other voting reforms that we've passed today, 

24   some of which I've supported?  

25                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 


                                                               309

 1   yes.

 2                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Will the sponsor 

 3   continue to yield?

 4                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Do you 

 5   continue to yield, Senator Myrie?  

 6                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 7   Madam President.

 8                SENATOR AKSHAR:   I'm just curious 

 9   as to whether the sponsor believes that in 

10   providing mandate relief -- clearly he believes 

11   that we should do that, but should we be using 

12   the monies that we save in this particular bill 

13   to offset others or actually fund these reforms 

14   that we heard about today?  

15                As a matter of fact, my esteemed 

16   colleague who I'm debating with right now said 

17   specifically that we must invest in our 

18   democracy.  So my question to the sponsor is 

19   should we be investing in that democracy by way 

20   of the savings we find in one bill, or in fact 

21   should we be funding these other initiatives that 

22   we're putting forward separately?

23                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

24   this bill would generate savings that would 

25   potentially be used to offset some of the costs 


                                                               310

 1   of our other proposed and passed reforms.  But we 

 2   look forward to having a robust discussion on how 

 3   we can permanently fund these reforms going 

 4   forward.

 5                SENATOR AKSHAR:   If the sponsor 

 6   would be so kind just to yield to a couple more 

 7   questions.

 8                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Do you 

 9   continue to yield, Senator Myrie? 

10                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

11   Madam President.

12                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Senator, do you 

13   believe that in moving up the process to June 

14   that this will in fact increase absenteeism by 

15   members of this esteemed body?  

16                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, 

17   there is no statutory requirement determining the 

18   session calendar.  That is something that is in 

19   control of this body and something that we can 

20   revisit in the future.

21                SENATOR AKSHAR:   If the sponsor 

22   would continue to yield.

23                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Do you 

24   continue to yield?  

25                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 


                                                               311

 1   Madam President.

 2                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Do you know what 

 3   the average annual snowfall is in Brooklyn?  

 4                (Laughter.)

 5                SENATOR MYRIE:   Madam President, I 

 6   do not.

 7                SENATOR AKSHAR:   It's 22 inches.  

 8                If the sponsor would continue to 

 9   yield.

10                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

11   Myrie, do you continue to yield for a question?  

12                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

13   Madam President.

14                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Does the sponsor 

15   know what the average annual snowfall is in 

16   Old Forge?  

17                SENATOR MAYER:   Madam President, 

18   no, I do not.

19                SENATOR AKSHAR:   It's 177 inches.  

20   Much more than Brooklyn, of course.  

21                Madam President, through you, I just 

22   wondered if the sponsor would yield to another 

23   question, and that question being does he 

24   understand the difficulties of having to petition 

25   in 177 inches of snow?  


                                                               312

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 2   Myrie, do you continue to yield?  

 3                SENATOR MYRIE:   Yes, 

 4   Madam President.

 5                I would only first say that this is 

 6   a requirement, petitioning, that is imposed on 

 7   our congressional races and has been conducted as 

 8   such for quite some time.  I believe that the 

 9   consolidation of the primaries would not impose 

10   an undue burden.  In fact, there is potential for 

11   state and local candidates to be on the same 

12   petition as our congressional candidates.

13                SENATOR AKSHAR:   On the bill, 

14   Madam President.

15                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

16   Akshar on the bill.

17                SENATOR AKSHAR:   Let me just thank 

18   the Senator for answering my questions.  I 

19   appreciate it.  I think he's done a remarkable 

20   job today answering our questions.

21                Look, I'm disturbed by the 

22   Majority's unwillingness to address what I think 

23   is an incredibly flawed portion of this 

24   particular bill.  I think that we're witnessing 

25   an unwillingness to let the people know back in 


                                                               313

 1   our respective districts that if we in fact move 

 2   forward with this, we're going to be spending our 

 3   time here in Albany where they expect us to be 

 4   doing their business.

 5                It is an issue -- unfunded mandates 

 6   and providing mandate relief is an issue that I 

 7   fought very hard for since arriving here three 

 8   years ago.  So while I am disappointed that we 

 9   won't be amending the Majority Leader's bill, I 

10   am in fact going to be supporting the bill today 

11   because I believe in providing mandate relief, 

12   and I believe it does that.  

13                Thank you, Madam President.

14                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Seeing and 

15   hearing no other Senator that wishes to be heard, 

16   debate is closed.  

17                The Secretary will ring the bell.

18                There's a substitution at the desk.  

19   The Secretary will read.

20                THE SECRETARY:   Senator 

21   Stewart-Cousins moves to discharge, from the 

22   Committee on Rules, Assembly Bill Number 779 and 

23   substitute it for the identical Senate Bill 1103, 

24   Third Reading Calendar 9.

25                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 


                                                               314

 1   substitution is so ordered.

 2                The Secretary will read.

 3                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 9, 

 4   by Assemblymember Lavine, Assembly Print 779, an 

 5   act to amend the Election Law.

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Read the 

 7   last section.

 8                THE SECRETARY:   Section 23.  This 

 9   act shall take effect immediately.

10                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Call the 

11   roll.  

12                (The Secretary called the roll.)

13                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

14   Gaughran to explain his vote.

15                SENATOR GAUGHRAN:   Thank you, 

16   Madam President.

17                I'm voting aye on this bill and 

18   thank our Majority Leader for bringing this 

19   forward.  

20                Some of the discussion I have 

21   listened to talks a lot about circulating 

22   petitions and talks about perhaps an 

23   inconvenience to some of us in the State 

24   Legislature when it comes to our elections in the 

25   future.  But I think we're forgetting what this 


                                                               315

 1   is really all about.  It's about the men and 

 2   women of New York who are in harm's way all over 

 3   this country that fight for us every day.

 4                And with a September primary, it is 

 5   a fact that they have received ballots that have 

 6   had the wrong names on them, they have received 

 7   ballots that didn't have names on them, and 

 8   many of them have not received ballots at all.

 9                Now, this body in the past was 

10   forced to have a June primary for federal 

11   offices, and I think it's a disgrace that we 

12   don't have that same opportunity to give the men 

13   and women of the military to vote for town 

14   supervisors, for mayors, and even for us when we 

15   run.

16                So I vote aye on behalf of the men 

17   and women who are fighting for us every single 

18   day.

19                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

20   Metzger to explain her vote.

21                SENATOR METZGER:   Thank you, 

22   Madam President.

23                A September primary is essentially 

24   incumbency insurance.  Consolidating the 

25   primaries is going to make this a much more 


                                                               316

 1   competitive election.  I want to thank our 

 2   Majority Leader for championing this legislation.  

 3                Having two primaries, I can tell you 

 4   firsthand, is extremely confusing to voters and 

 5   this, again, goes a long way to ensuring more 

 6   competitive elections.  

 7                Thank you very much.

 8                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 9   Krueger to explain her vote.

10                SENATOR KRUEGER:   Thank you, 

11   Madam President.

12                I'm also very proud to support this 

13   bill, and I want to thank our leader, Andrea 

14   Stewart-Cousins, for bringing it to the floor.  

15                And I don't know where Old Forge, 

16   New York is, but I looked up the weather.  And in 

17   April you have five days of snow, only 12 inches 

18   of snow recorded.  The rest of the states in this 

19   country manage to survive with one primary, and a 

20   bunch of those states are even farther north than 

21   New York.

22                So I'm quite confident we can 

23   guarantee an effective one-primary date for the 

24   State of New York.  And as already pointed out, 

25   we've been successfully doing the June primary 


                                                               317

 1   for our federal elections for a number of years 

 2   now, and there's no reason why we can't 

 3   successfully jump to a one-primary-per-cycle for 

 4   state and federal together.  

 5                It's commonsense legislation.  I 

 6   vote yes.  Thank you.

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

 8   Young.

 9                SENATOR YOUNG:   Thank you.  Thank 

10   you, Madam President.  To explain my vote.

11                You know, it's being represented 

12   that people don't want to have a consolidated 

13   primary.  That absolutely is false.  And in this 

14   house, we have passed several times consolidating 

15   the primary into one.

16                The question is when do you do it.  

17   And Senator Gaughran, you talk about the 

18   military.  We're concerned about the military 

19   too.  That's why we put forward a bill and passed 

20   it that would consolidate the primary toward the 

21   end of August, which is much more feasible.  

22                June obviously is not a good time to 

23   hold a primary.  And it's not just me saying 

24   that; the statistics bear that out, where voter 

25   turnout in June primaries is notoriously low.  


                                                               318

 1   You just have to look at what the results are.

 2                To have an election during session, 

 3   during the time when this body, the Assembly, the 

 4   Governor is formulating the state budget, is 

 5   passing legislation that is crucial to the people 

 6   of this state -- we all know that special 

 7   interests are out there advocating on behalf of 

 8   legislation.  

 9                And so, number one, there's really a 

10   true issue about the fact that people will miss 

11   time at the time when they're needed most, to do 

12   the budget, to do the legislation.  And 

13   again, that's not just something out of sky.  We 

14   saw Senator Espaillat missing more than 

15   900 votes, and he did it twice when he ran for 

16   Congress.  Nine hundred votes.  That is shirking 

17   your responsibility to the people in your 

18   district and the people of this state.

19                But we all know when we're making 

20   the budget, when we're forming policy, there is 

21   the temptation of corruption.  I can name former 

22   members who sat in this chamber or over in the 

23   Assembly who actually took bribes regarding 

24   legislation or things in the budget.  Why are we 

25   increasing opening the door to that corruption by 


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 1   actually having elections in the middle of 

 2   everything?  

 3                I think this bill is the wrong way 

 4   to go.  It invites corruption.  It's the wrong 

 5   time.  It's New York City imposing certain 

 6   requirements on the rest of the state, upstate 

 7   New York, that has terrible winters, has a 

 8   terrible time getting people out to sign 

 9   petitions, get the petitions signed.  All around, 

10   this is a bad idea, and I would urge people to 

11   vote no.

12                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

13   Kennedy to explain his vote.

14                SENATOR KENNEDY:   Thank you, 

15   Madam President.

16                First of all, let me start by 

17   congratulating all of our new colleagues for 

18   working so hard to get their message out today, 

19   have their messages heard, and speaking so 

20   eloquently on these extremely important issues.

21                The steps we're taking today are 

22   going to ensure that New Yorkers have their voice 

23   heard at the ballot box.  New York State has over 

24   the years systematically fallen behind so many 

25   other states in the nation.  


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 1                And the definition of insanity is 

 2   doing the same thing over and over again and 

 3   expecting a different result.  And so over time, 

 4   as New York State has fallen behind in getting 

 5   voters to the polls and there has been increased 

 6   voter apathy, nothing has changed and no reforms 

 7   have been enacted.

 8                So today this slate of reforms is 

 9   ensuring that once and for all the voting 

10   electorate has faith and trust restored in a 

11   working democratic process.  

12                And as it pertains to this last 

13   bill, the combining of both federal and state 

14   primaries, our communities are already dealing 

15   with folks having to go out and work in different 

16   weather conditions around the state, including 

17   upstate, including Buffalo, where I'm from, and 

18   having to deal with it based upon the federal 

19   calendar.

20                New York State is falling in line 

21   with the federal calendar and ultimately saving 

22   taxpayer dollars at the same time.

23                So I commend all of my colleagues on 

24   this important legislation.  We're moving 

25   New York State forward, and I'm excited to be a 


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 1   part of this transformational point in time in 

 2   the election laws in New York State history.  

 3                With that, Madam President, I vote 

 4   aye.

 5                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Seeing and 

 6   hearing no other Senator that wishes to explain 

 7   their vote, Leader Stewart-Cousins to close.

 8                SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS:   Thank 

 9   you, Madam President.

10                Last week I said on our opening day, 

11   I said it again earlier, I'll say it now:  As 

12   leaders we have a choice.  We have to follow a 

13   path of either building barriers or taking 

14   barriers down.  Today we are saying in New York 

15   by our actions here that we are tearing barriers 

16   down, that we are about opportunities, that we 

17   are about fixing a broken system, and that we are 

18   about restoring trust to our government.

19                As elected leaders we should not 

20   fear making it easier for eligible voters to 

21   vote.  We should really welcome it.  We need more 

22   voices to support this democratic ideal, not 

23   fewer.  We shouldn't fear restricting the flow of 

24   money into the electoral system.  Today is just 

25   the beginning.  Let's remember -- and I know we 


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 1   all do here -- that we are not here to serve the 

 2   powerful or the biggest checkbooks.  We're not 

 3   here to serve LLCs.  We're here to serve the 

 4   everyday people that send us here to do this 

 5   work.

 6                So the bills that we pass today are 

 7   about empowering New Yorkers and reforming our 

 8   electoral system, easing access to voting, having 

 9   New Yorkers exercise their constitutional right 

10   to have their voices heard.  And I know that we 

11   all know that shouldn't be and really isn't a 

12   partisan issue.

13                Other states have taken the lead on 

14   these issues of early voting, same-day 

15   registration, preregistration, no-excuse absentee 

16   ballots.  It's time for us in New York to catch 

17   up, because we intend to lead.

18                My bill for the single-primary 

19   Election Day, we know, as I know Senator Akshar 

20   said, it relieves a mandate.  It is saving 

21   taxpayer money, and it will encourage voter 

22   participation.  The savings from this will more 

23   than cover the costs of early voting and put 

24   money back into local governments.

25                In addition, again, I remind us that 


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 1   last year the Governor had put money in the 

 2   budget to fund voting reforms like early voting.  

 3   And so I am looking forward to seeing that again, 

 4   because we are really partners in making sure 

 5   that these reforms happen.  

 6                So the Senate Democratic Majority is 

 7   going to be taking historic actions.  This 

 8   chamber has made this great thing happen for the 

 9   electorate here in New York.  And as you know, 

10   it's only the beginning.  

11                So I want to thank all my colleagues 

12   for the spirited debate.  I think people will be 

13   happy to look in on this first day of session and 

14   see that we're talking about substantive things 

15   that are about them.  So I thank all of you, all 

16   of the bill sponsors.  I want to congratulate our 

17   freshman chairman on the wonderful job you did, 

18   Senator Myrie.  

19                And, you know, I just think that 

20   this is the beginning of a very good year for 

21   New York.  Thank you.  

22                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Announce 

23   the results.

24                THE SECRETARY:   Those recorded in 

25   the negative on Calendar Number 9 are 


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 1   Senators Antonacci, Funke, Helming, Jordan, 

 2   Lanza, O'Mara, Seward and Young.  Also 

 3   Senator Little.  

 4                Ayes, 52.  Nays, 9.

 5                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The bill 

 6   is passed.

 7                Senator Gianaris.

 8                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 9   is there any further business at the desk?

10                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

11   Gianaris, there is no further business at the 

12   desk.

13                SENATOR GIANARIS:   In that case, I 

14   move that we adjourn until tomorrow at 

15   11:00 a.m., Tuesday, January 15th.

16                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   On motion, 

17   the Senate stands adjourned until Tuesday, 

18   January 15th, at 11:00 a.m.

19                (Whereupon, at 8:13 p.m., the Senate 

20   adjourned.)  

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