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A02064 Summary:

BILL NOA02064
 
SAME ASSAME AS S02950
 
SPONSORKavanagh (MS)
 
COSPNSRCusick, Blake, Simon, Benedetto, Sepulveda, Dinowitz, Rosenthal L, Gottfried, Quart, McDonald, Fahy, Otis, Lupardo, Perry, Abinanti, Rozic, Galef, Jaffee, Lifton, Braunstein, Paulin, Colton, Cahill, Hevesi, Solages, Cook, Ramos, Skoufis, Cymbrowitz, Carroll, Englebright, Glick, Hunter, Seawright, Wallace, DenDekker, Walker, Ortiz, Jean-Pierre, Harris, De La Rosa, Vanel
 
MLTSPNSRBarnwell, Bronson, Buchwald, Lentol, Magee, Thiele, Titone
 
Amd 3-400, 4-117, 8-100, 8-102, 8-104 & 8-508, add Art 8 Title 6 8-600 - 8-602, El L
 
Relates to early voting; provides that beginning the eighth day prior to any election and ending on and including the second day prior to the election a person duly registered and eligible to vote shall be permitted to vote.
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A02064 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A2064
 
SPONSOR: Kavanagh (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to early voting   PURPOSE: This bill establishes a system to permit eligible voters throughout the State to vote in person during a designated period prior to any primary, special, or general election day.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one of the bill amends Section 3-400 of the election law by adding a new subdivision 9 to clarify the manner in which election inspectors and poll clerks are to be appointed for polling places for early voting, and setting a standard for wait times for early voting not to exceed thirty minutes. Section two of the bill amends section 4-117 of the election law by adding a new subdivision 1-a to require the board of elections to notify voters annually of the days, hours, and locations of polling places for early voting. The board of elections may satisfy this requirement by providing instructions in the notice regarding how to get the informa- tion via the internet or by phone. Section three of the bill amends subdivision 2 of section 8-100 of the election law to require that polls open at seven o'clock in the morning, rather than six o'clock, for primary elections in the city of New York and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie counties, and for all special elections and every other election throughout the State, except general elections for which polls shall continue to open at six o'clock in the morning, and to state that early voting hours shall be as set forth in section 8-600. Section four of the bill amends subdivision 1 of section 8-102 of the election law by adding a new paragraph (k) to apply the provisions of article 8 of the election law to early voting, except for certain provisions related to tabulation and proclamation of results. Section five of the bill amends section 8-104 of the election law by adding a new subdivision 7 to note that section 8-104 applies on early voting days. Section six of the bill amends paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 8-508 of the election law to provide that challenges of voters on early voting days should be included on the same type of report that records challenges on election day. Section seven of the bill amends article 8 of the election law by adding a new title 6, with new sections 8-600 and 8-602, setting out the proc- ess for early voting. Subdivision one of section 8-600 of the new title specifies that early voting begins on the eighth day prior to any general, primary, or special election and ends on and includes the second day prior (i.e., on the Sunday before a Tuesday election day). The subdivision also requires boards of elections to establish procedures to ensure that persons who vote during the early voting period aren't permitted to vote subsequent- ly in the same election. Subdivision two of section 8-600 of the new title specifies in para- graphs (a), (b), and (c) the number of required polling places for early voting. The required number depends on the number of registered voters in each county, with one polling place for each full increment of 50,000 registered voters, but no fewer than one and no more than seven sites required in each county. Counties would be able to add more sites at their discretion or, in certain circumstances, reduce the number below that otherwise required. Paragraph (d) of the subdivision requires locations to be chosen to give all eligible voters adequate, equitable access to early voting, to the extent practicable, and specifies certain factors to be considered in location decisions. Paragraph (d) also applies the provisions of section 4-104 of the election law to the designation of polling places for early voting; these are the existing requirements for siting polling places for election day voting. Subdivision three of section 8-600 of the new title requires that all voters should generally be able to vote at any polling place for early voting in their county, but allows for an exception if this would be impractical. Subdivision four of section 8-600 of the new title sets requirements for hours early voting must be available in each county, with substantial flexibility for the counties. Polls would be open for early voting for at least 8 hours between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, provided that one site at which all eligible voters may vote shall remain open until at least 8:00 p.m. on two weekdays in each calendar week of the early voting period, and for at least 5 hours between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. Counties would have the option of providing additional hours as well. They would be required to designate the standard hours of operation for early voting by May 1st each year; this is the day boards of elections must designate polling places for the coming year under existing law. Subdivision five of section 8-600 of the new title requires each board of elections to create a communication plan to inform eligible voters of the opportunity to vote early. Subdivision six of section 8-600 of the new title applies existing requirements for paper ballots to those to be used for early voting. Subdivision seven of section 8-600 of the new title applies existing requirements related to voter challenges to early voting. Subdivisions eight, nine, ten, and eleven of section 8-600 of the new title set out provisions for handling ballots and scanners at the end of each day of early voting and after the polls close on election day. Generally, the new subdivisions apply the same process for canvassing, tabulating, and announcing results that already apply on election day, with some minor adjustments to reflect that fact that early voting occurs over multiple days. No results for early voting would be tabu- lated before the polls close on election day. Section 8-602 of the new title sets forth certain powers and duties of the state board of elections to make rules regarding early voting. Section eight of the bill sets forth the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: Given the vital role that voting plays in a participatory democracy, New York should ensure that our elections are run in ways that meet contem- porary standards for accessibility, equity, and efficiency. Providing eligible voters the opportunity to vote in person during a designated period before election day would be a major step towards achieving this goal. Early voting would make it less burdensome for New Yorkers to access the polls and exercise their civic obligation to vote. Early voting would reduce inequity, because some voters have greater difficulty than others arranging to vote on a single designated day. And early voting would improve the efficiency of elections from the perspective of election administrators, as well as voters, by spreading the work of managing elections over a longer period of time, alleviating some of the problems that are created by the current system of having all in-person voting take place in a single day, such as long lines at the polls and exhausted poll workers. Establishing an 7-day early voting period running until the Sunday before election day would give busy New Yorkers, who often must juggle many personal, family, and work obligations, more flexibility in finding a time to vote. Those who are unable to vote on election day should not be excluded from participating in the democratic process merely because they are unavailable on a single day. Of particular importance in establishing an early voting period is the addition of weekend hours for in-person voting. Due to their own work schedules or those of partners with whom they share responsibilities as caregivers, many people have time to vote on the weekend that they do not have on weekdays. In order to ensure that early voting is instituted in a practical, effi- cient, and cost effective manner, this bill takes into account the wide variation in characteristics of different counties throughout the state, by providing county boards of elections with flexibility to establish locations and hours for early voting that are tailored to the unique circumstances of their respective counties. This flexibility is balanced by minimum standards that would ensure that all voters have a meaningful opportunity to vote early. The most significant way the bill allows for variations among counties relates to the number of polling places each county would be required to provide for early voting. New York's least populous county has fewer than 5,000 residents whereas its most populous has more than 2.5 million. To account for this wide variation, the minimum number of poll- ing places for early voting required in each county would be based on a tiered system, with one site per 50,000 registered voters, up to a maxi- mum of 7 required sites. The mandated number for each county would represent a minimum requirement; county boards of elections would be permitted to establish additional polling places at their discretion. The bill also contains several additional guidelines for the establish- ment of polling places for early voting to enhance the effectiveness of early voting and ensure that localities have the discretion to implement it efficiently. First, to the extent practicable, county boards of elections would be required to designate polling places in locations that maximize accessi- bility for eligible voters. The bill incorporates various guidelines that already apply to siting of election day polling places. Second, while the general rule established in the bill is that every eligible voter would be permitted to vote at any polling place in the county where he or she is registered, the bill recognizes that this may not always be practical because of the number of distinct ballot types that might be required at each polling place, and other factors. There- fore, the board of elections in each county would have the discretion to choose to make certain polling places serve only a portion of the coun- ty, provided that every voter has at least one polling place to vote early. Another way the bill allows for variations among counties relates to the hours for early voting. The bill establishes guidelines for the minimum number of hours that polling places for early voting would be required to be open, ensuring that all voters would have meaningful opportunities to avail themselves of the option to vote early. On the other hand, county boards of elections would have the discretion to set the specific hours for each polling place, to reflect the distinct needs and prefer- ences of New Yorkers in different parts of the state. These provisions would require that all early voting sites are open for at least eight hours on weekdays, including two days a week with evening hours, and for at least five hours on weekends and holidays. The requirement of evening hours two days a week overlaps somewhat with the existing requirement in election law section 3214 requiring that board of elections offices maintain extended hours on two weekdays in the two weeks prior to any general election. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have already instituted in-person early voting in one form or another. For all the foregoing reason, New York should do the same, and support the right of all New Yorkers to meet their civic obligations and participate in our democracy in a reasonable, accessible manner.   FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE: Minimal.   FISCAL IMPACT ON LOCALITIES: There will be some costs associated with early voting related to staff- ing polling places, providing outreach materials to educate the public about the new procedures, and other aspects of administering the system.   IMPACT ON REGULATION OF BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS: None.   IMPACT ON FINES, IMPRISONMENT, FORFEITURE OF RIGHTS, OR OTHER PENAL SANCTIONS: None.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2016: A08582B (Kavanagh) - Passed Assembly 2015: A08582 (Kavanagh) - Elections   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law and shall apply to any election held one hundred twenty days or more after it shall have taken effect.
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A02064 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          2064
 
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    January 17, 2017
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  KAVANAGH,  CUSICK,  BLAKE, SIMON, BENEDETTO,
          SEPULVEDA, DINOWITZ,  ROSENTHAL,  GOTTFRIED,  QUART,  McDONALD,  FAHY,
          OTIS,  LUPARDO,  PERRY, ABINANTI, ROZIC, GALEF, JAFFEE, LIFTON, BRAUN-
          STEIN, PAULIN, COLTON, CAHILL, HEVESI, SOLAGES, COOK, RAMOS,  SKOUFIS,
          CYMBROWITZ  -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. BUCHWALD, LENTOL, MAGEE,
          THIELE -- read once and referred to the Committee on Election Law
 
        AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to early voting
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  Section  3-400 of the election law is amended by adding a
     2  new subdivision 9 to read as follows:
     3    9.  Notwithstanding  any  inconsistent  provisions  of  this  article,
     4  election  inspectors or poll clerks, if any, at polling places for early
     5  voting, shall consist of either board of elections employees  who  shall
     6  be  appointed by the commissioners of such board or duly qualified indi-
     7  viduals, appointed in the manner set forth in this section. Appointments
     8  to the offices of election inspector or poll clerk in each polling place
     9  for early voting shall be equally divided between  the  major  political
    10  parties.  The  board  of  elections  shall  assign staff and provide the
    11  resources they require to ensure wait times at early voting sites do not
    12  exceed thirty minutes.
    13    § 2. Section 4-117 of the election law is  amended  by  adding  a  new
    14  subdivision 1-a to read as follows:
    15    1-a.  The  notice  required  by  subdivision one of this section shall
    16  include the dates, hours and locations of early voting for  the  general
    17  and  primary  election.  The  board  of elections may satisfy the notice
    18  requirement of this subdivision by providing in the notice  instructions
    19  to  obtain  the  required early voting information from a website of the
    20  board of elections and providing a phone number to call for such  infor-
    21  mation.
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD02758-01-7

        A. 2064                             2
 
     1    § 3. Subdivision 2 of section 8-100 of the election law, as amended by
     2  chapter 335 of the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows:
     3    2. Polls shall be open for voting during the following hours: a prima-
     4  ry  election from twelve o'clock noon until nine o'clock in the evening,
     5  except in the city of New York and  the  counties  of  Nassau,  Suffolk,
     6  Westchester,  Rockland,  Orange,  Putnam  and  Erie, and in such city or
     7  county from [six] seven o'clock in the morning until nine o'clock in the
     8  evening; the general election from six o'clock in the morning until nine
     9  o'clock in the evening; a special election called by the governor pursu-
    10  ant to the public officers law, and, except  as  otherwise  provided  by
    11  law, every other election, from [six] seven o'clock in the morning until
    12  nine  o'clock in the evening; early voting hours shall be as provided in
    13  section 8-600 of this article.
    14    § 4. Subdivision 1 of section 8-102 of the election law is amended  by
    15  adding a new paragraph (k) to read as follows:
    16    (k)  Voting  at each polling place for early voting shall be conducted
    17  in a manner consistent with the provisions of  this  article,  with  the
    18  exception  of  the tabulation and proclamation of election results which
    19  shall be completed according to subdivisions eight and nine  of  section
    20  8-600 of this article.
    21    §  5.  Section  8-104  of  the election law is amended by adding a new
    22  subdivision 7 to read as follows:
    23    7. This section shall apply on all early voting days as  provided  for
    24  in section 8-600 of this article.
    25    §  6.  Paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 8-508 of the election
    26  law, as amended by chapter 200 of the laws of 1996, is amended  to  read
    27  as follows:
    28    (b)  The second section of such report shall be reserved for the board
    29  of inspectors to enter the name, address and registration serial  number
    30  of each person who is challenged on the day of election or on any day in
    31  which  there  is early voting pursuant to section 8-600 of this article,
    32  together with the reason for the challenge.   If  no  voters  are  chal-
    33  lenged,  the  board  of inspectors shall enter the words "No Challenges"
    34  across the space reserved for such names. In lieu of  preparing  section
    35  two of the challenge report, the board of elections may provide, next to
    36  the  name  of  each voter on the computer generated registration list, a
    37  place for the inspectors of election to record the information  required
    38  to be entered in such section two, or provide at the end of such comput-
    39  er  generated  registration list, a place for the inspectors of election
    40  to enter such information.
    41    § 7. Article 8 of the election law is amended by adding a new title  6
    42  to read as follows:
    43                                  TITLE VI
    44                                EARLY VOTING
    45  Section 8-600. Early voting.
    46          8-602. State  board  of  elections;  powers and duties for early
    47                   voting.
    48    § 8-600. Early voting. 1. Beginning the eighth day prior to any gener-
    49  al, primary or special election for any  public  or  party  office,  and
    50  ending on and including the second day prior to such general, primary or
    51  special  election  for  such public or party office, persons duly regis-
    52  tered and eligible to vote at such election shall be permitted  to  vote
    53  as  provided  in this title.   The board of elections of each county and
    54  the city of New York shall establish procedures, subject to approval  of
    55  the state board of elections, to ensure that persons who vote during the

        A. 2064                             3
 
     1  early  voting  period shall not be permitted to vote subsequently in the
     2  same election.
     3    2.  (a)  The board of elections of each county or the city of New York
     4  shall designate polling places for early voting in  each  county,  which
     5  may  include  the offices of the board of elections, for persons to vote
     6  early pursuant to this section. There shall be so  designated  at  least
     7  one  early  voting polling place for every full increment of fifty thou-
     8  sand registered voters in each county; provided, however, the number  of
     9  early  voting  polling  places  in  a county shall not be required to be
    10  greater than seven, and a county with fewer than fifty  thousand  voters
    11  shall have at least one early voting polling place.
    12    (b)  The board of elections of each county or the city of New York may
    13  establish additional polling places for early voting in  excess  of  the
    14  minimum  number  required  by  this  subdivision  for the convenience of
    15  eligible voters wishing to vote during the early voting period.
    16    (c) Notwithstanding the minimum number  of  early  voting  poll  sites
    17  otherwise  required  by  this  subdivision,  for  any primary or special
    18  election, upon majority vote of the board of elections,  the  number  of
    19  early  voting  sites may be reduced if the board of elections reasonably
    20  determines a lesser number of sites is sufficient to meet the  needs  of
    21  early voters.
    22    (d) Polling places for early voting shall be located to ensure, to the
    23  extent practicable, that eligible voters have adequate equitable access,
    24  taking into consideration population density, travel time to the polling
    25  place,  proximity  to  other  locations  or commonly used transportation
    26  routes and such other factors the board of elections of  the  county  or
    27  the  city of New York deems appropriate. The provisions of section 4-104
    28  of this chapter, except subdivisions four  and  five  of  such  section,
    29  shall apply to the designation of polling places for early voting except
    30  to the extent such provisions are inconsistent with this section.
    31    3.  Any  person permitted to vote early may do so at any polling place
    32  for early voting established pursuant to subdivision two of this section
    33  in the county where such voter is registered to vote. Provided, however,
    34  (a) if it is impractical to provide each polling place for early  voting
    35  all  appropriate ballots for each election to be voted on in the county,
    36  or (b) if permitting such persons to vote early  at  any  polling  place
    37  established  for  early  voting would make it impractical to ensure that
    38  such voter has not previously voted  early  during  such  election,  the
    39  board  of  elections  may  designate each polling place for early voting
    40  only for those voters registered to vote in a portion of the  county  to
    41  be  served  by  such  polling  place for early voting, provided that all
    42  voters in each county shall have one or more  polling  places  at  which
    43  they  are  eligible  to  vote  throughout  the  early voting period on a
    44  substantially equal basis.
    45    4. (a) Polls shall be open for early voting for at least  eight  hours
    46  between  seven  o'clock  in the morning and eight o'clock in the evening
    47  each week day during the early voting period.
    48    (b) At least one polling place for  early  voting  shall  remain  open
    49  until  eight  o'clock  in  the evening on at least two week days in each
    50  calendar week during the early voting period.   If  polling  places  for
    51  early voting are limited to voters from certain areas pursuant to subdi-
    52  vision  three  of  this  section,  polling places that remain open until
    53  eight o'clock shall be designated such that any person entitled to  vote
    54  early  may  vote until eight o'clock in the evening on at least two week
    55  days during the early voting period.

        A. 2064                             4
 
     1    (c) Polls shall be open for early  voting  for  at  least  five  hours
     2  between  nine  o'clock  in the morning and six o'clock in the evening on
     3  each Saturday, Sunday and legal holiday during the early voting period.
     4    (d)  Nothing  in this section shall be construed to prohibit any board
     5  of elections from establishing a greater  number  of  hours  for  voting
     6  during  the  early  voting period beyond the number of hours required in
     7  this subdivision.
     8    (e) Early voting polling places and their hours of operation for early
     9  voting at a general election shall be designated by May  first  of  each
    10  year  pursuant  to  subdivision  one  of  section 4-104 of this chapter.
    11  Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of  section  4-104  of
    12  this  chapter requiring poll site designation by May first, early voting
    13  polling places and their hours of  operation  for  early  voting  for  a
    14  primary or special election shall be made not later than forty-five days
    15  before such primary or special election.
    16    5. Each board of elections shall create a communication plan to inform
    17  eligible voters of the opportunity to vote early.  Such plan may utilize
    18  any  and all media outlets, including social media, and shall publicize:
    19  the location and dates and hours of operation of all polling places  for
    20  early  voting; an indication of whether each polling place is accessible
    21  to voters with physical disabilities; a clear and unambiguous notice  to
    22  voters  that  if  they cast a ballot during the early voting period they
    23  will not be allowed to vote election day;  and  if  polling  places  for
    24  early voting are limited to voters from certain areas pursuant to subdi-
    25  vision  three  of  this  section, the location of the polling places for
    26  early voting serving the voters of each particular city, town  or  other
    27  political subdivision.
    28    6.  The  form  of paper ballots used in early voting shall comply with
    29  the provisions of article seven of this chapter that are  applicable  to
    30  voting  by paper ballot on election day and such ballot shall be cast in
    31  the same manner as provided  for  in  section  8-312  of  this  article,
    32  provided,  however,  that  ballots  cast  during the early voting period
    33  shall be secured in the manner of voted ballots cast on election day and
    34  such ballots shall not be canvassed or examined until after the close of
    35  the polls on election day, and no  unofficial  tabulations  of  election
    36  results  shall  be printed or viewed in any manner until after the close
    37  of polls on election day.
    38    7. Voters casting ballots pursuant to this title shall be  subject  to
    39  challenge  as  provided in sections 8-500, 8-502 and 8-504 of this arti-
    40  cle.
    41    8. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, at the end of
    42  each day of early voting, any early voting ballots that  have  not  been
    43  scanned because a ballot scanner was not available or because the ballot
    44  has been abandoned by the voter at the ballot scanner shall be cast in a
    45  manner  consistent  with section 9-110 of this chapter, except that such
    46  ballots which cannot then be cast on a  ballot  scanner  shall  be  held
    47  inviolate and unexamined and shall be duly secured until after the close
    48  of  polls  on  election  day  when  such  ballots  shall be examined and
    49  canvassed in a manner consistent with subdivision two of  section  9-110
    50  of this chapter.
    51    9.  The  board of elections shall secure all ballots and scanners used
    52  for early voting from the beginning of the early voting  period  through
    53  the  close  of  the  polls on election day; provided, however, the state
    54  board of elections may by regulation duly adopted by a majority of  such
    55  board  establish  a  procedure  whereby  ballot  scanners used for early
    56  voting may also be used on election day if the portable  memory  devices

        A. 2064                             5
 
     1  used  during  early voting containing the early voting election informa-
     2  tion and vote tabulations are properly secured apart from the  scanners,
     3  and  the  results  therefrom  shall be duly canvassed after the close of
     4  polls on election day.
     5    10.  After  the close of polls on election day, inspectors or board of
     6  elections employees appointed  to  canvass  ballots  cast  during  early
     7  voting  shall  follow  all  relevant  provisions of article nine of this
     8  chapter that are not inconsistent with  this  section,  for  canvassing,
     9  processing, recording, and announcing results of voting at polling plac-
    10  es  for early voting, and securing ballots, scanners, and other election
    11  materials. Such canvass may  occur  at  the  offices  of  the  board  of
    12  elections,  at  the  early  voting  polling place or such other location
    13  designated by the board of elections.
    14    11. Notwithstanding the  requirements  of  this  title  requiring  the
    15  canvass  of ballots cast during early voting after the close of polls on
    16  election day, such canvass may begin one hour before the scheduled close
    17  of polls on election day provided the board of elections  adopts  proce-
    18  dures  to  prevent  the  public release of election results prior to the
    19  close of polls on election day and such procedures shall  be  consistent
    20  with  the regulations of the state board of elections and shall be filed
    21  with the state board of elections at least thirty days before they shall
    22  be effective.
    23    § 8-602. State board of elections; powers and duties for early voting.
    24  Any  rule  or  regulation  necessary  for  the  implementation  of   the
    25  provisions  of  this  title  shall  be promulgated by the state board of
    26  elections  provided  that  such  rules  and  regulations  shall  include
    27  provisions  to  ensure  that  ballots  cast early, by any method allowed
    28  under law, are counted and canvassed as if cast  on  election  day.  The
    29  state  board  of  elections  shall  promulgate any other rules and regu-
    30  lations necessary to ensure an efficient and fair early  voting  process
    31  that  respects  the  privacy  of the voter. Provided, further, that such
    32  rules and regulations shall require that the voting history  record  for
    33  each  voter  be  continually  updated  to reflect each instance of early
    34  voting by such voter.
    35    § 8. This act shall take effect on the first of January next  succeed-
    36  ing  the date on which it shall have become a law and shall apply to any
    37  election held 120 days or more after it shall have taken effect.
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