NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A6730
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to
establishing compulsory voting in this state
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To make voting compulsory for individuals who are eligible to vote.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends subsection 5-100 of theelection law which requires a
person to be registered to vote before the date of general elections.
Primary and school district elections will be exempted.
Section 2 will amend election law by adding a new section 8-310 to
require voting for all eligible voters either by absentee ballot or in
person. Those who fail to vote will be subject to a $10 fine unless they
have a proof of a valid excuse. Funds collected by will be used solely
for the purpose of improving the election process.
Section 3 authorizes the state board of elections to promulgate rules
and regulations it deems appropriate to carry out the purposes of this
Section 4 establishes the effective date.
The United States has some of the lowest voter turnout rates compared to
any other advanced democratic countries in the world. During presiden-
tial elections roughly 60% of eligible voters participate in the voting
process. New York ranks 46th in voter turnout at the national level.
After the 2014 midterm election, voter turnout was the lowest in 70
Since the early 1900s, Australia responded to lower voter turnout by
making voting compulsory. Since the law was passed, the country has seen
more than 90% of voting eligible Australians cast a ballot. Mandatory
voting would drastically increase civic participation and transform the
political arena by making politicians more reflective of the constitu-
ents that elected them.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This is a new bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
To be determined
STATE OF NEW YORK
2017-2018 Regular Sessions
March 16, 2017
Introduced by M. of A. GLICK, SIMON, SEPULVEDA -- read once and referred
to the Committee on Election Law
AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to establishing compulsory
voting in this state
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Section 5-100 of the election law, as amended by chapter
2 373 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows:
3 § 5-100. Registration; required. 1. A person shall not be entitled to
4 vote in any election held pursuant to this chapter unless he shall be
5 registered, and if required, enrolled pursuant to the provisions of this
6 article unless he shall present a court order directing that he be
7 permitted to vote at such election.
8 2. All persons eligible to vote or who will be eligible by the date of
9 a general election, not including a primary or school district
10 elections, shall register before the date specified under section 5-210
11 of this article.
12 3. Where a specific provision of law relating to the registration of
13 voters exists in any other statute, which is inconsistent with the
14 provisions of this article, such provision shall apply and the
15 provisions of this article not inconsistent therewith shall apply.
16 § 2. The election law is amended by adding a new section 8-310 to read
17 as follows:
18 § 8-310. Voting; required. 1. All eligible voters shall vote at each
19 election in person or by absentee ballot; provided however that the
20 requirement to vote shall not apply to a primary or school board
22 2. The sole duty imposed under this section shall be to return a
23 ballot. No person shall be compelled to cast a valid vote.
24 3. An eligible voter who fails to cast a ballot shall be subject to a
25 ten dollar fine. The state board of elections may waive the fine for any
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 6730 2
1 person who submits timely proof of a valid excuse. Any funds recovered
2 pursuant to this section shall be utilized for the improvement of the
3 election process.
4 § 3. The state board of elections shall promulgate such rules and
5 regulations as it deems appropriate to carry out the purposes of this
6 act. Such rules and regulations may include, but are not limited to, a
7 process for waiving the fine in the event of a valid excuse, and what
8 constitutes a valid excuse.
9 § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.