|SAME AS||SAME AS S02950|
|COSPNSR||Cusick, 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|
|MLTSPNSR||Barnwell, 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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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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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. LBD02758-01-7A. 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 theA. 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 devicesA. 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.