|SAME AS||SAME AS S06532-A|
|COSPNSR||Burke, Griffin, Simon|
|Amd §§5-304 & 5-604, El L|
|Provides that any change of enrollment after February fourteenth shall take effect seven days after the succeeding June primary.|
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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: A8228B SPONSOR: Jacobson
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to change of enrollment by previously registered voters   PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to ensure that voters who wish to vote for a preferred presidential, state or local candidate in a political party's primary election, but who are not enrolled members of that party, may change their enrollment within a reasonable period before such primary.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends subdivision 3 of section 5-304 of the Election Law to provide that the deadline for a change in enrollment to allow a voter to vote in a preferred party's presidential or June prima- ry is February 14th in the same year as such primaries. Section 2 of the bill amends subdivision 1 of section 5-604 of the Election Law to provide that the board of elections shall publish a complete list of registered voters, including party enrollment, on February 21st of each year. Section 3 provides for the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: The election law provides that a voter may register and enroll in a political party. However, under current law, if a voter registers to vote without enrolling in a party or wishes to change party enrollment, the voter must do so at least 25 days before a general election in any year in order to have that change take effect one week after that gener- al election. This allows the voter to participate in the selected party's primary the following year. The reasons for this requirement are many. New York has eight state wide parties currently. The election law outlines how a candidate may access the ballot line of a party through the circulation of a designating petition signed by party members or the filing of a designating certificate issued by a party committee. A candidate not enrolled in a party has additional requirements in order to access that party's ballot line. To allow a candidate to change parties during the petition period, would undermine the process by which boards of elections and courts ensure that ballot access rules have been followed. Designating petitions for each party may only be signed by registered voters who are enrolled party members in that party. When a voter in a party participates in the petition process, a review of the petition requires that the enrollment list for that party be utilized to confirm enrollment of the signatory. Voters must remain in that party throughout the petition period so that review and validation of the designating petition may occur. To allow voters to change party during the petition period would undermine the review that designating petitions undergo by boards of elections and courts prior to the placement of the candidate's name on a primary ballot. The need for a uniform party change process that applies to all parties is essential because implementing different rules for different parties would create administrative impossibilities for boards of elections and would cause confusion for voters. Moreover, party changes will often impact more than one party - the party the voter purports to exit as well as the party the voter wishes to align with. The current law is intended to avoid "party raiding" where members of one party change party enrollment shortly before a primary to vote in another party's primary in order to either select the weakest candidate against the voter's preferred general election candidate, or, in the fusion voting context, provide the modicum of votes required in a small party's primary to strategically deliver the nomination to the preferred candidate. Notwithstanding all of the above, the recent significantly increased interest in participating in the political process, including the presi- dential primary election, justifies a change to the general party enrollment rule to allow a voter to change or enroll in a party closer in time to the presidential and state party primaries. In particular, the historic voter demand for party changes in the period before a pres- idential primary indicates this is a critical time for partisan realign- ment, as opposed to opportunistic party raiding. This bill changes the deadline for a voter to change his or her party enrollment from 25 days before a general election to February 14th in each calendar year. This date falls within the period between the filing of presidential petitions and the commencement of the petition period for state and local offices to allow the enrollment list used by candi- dates, boards of elections and courts to be up dated between the two petition periods. This change is intended to balance the state's strong interest in the integrity of the ballot, the integrity of the party system, and the rules governing voter participation in party processes, with the increased voter interest in participating in the political process. In sum, as a result of this change to the election law, a voter in New York may file a change of enrollment on or before February 14th and such change will take effect immediately, allowing the voter to participate in the chosen party's next primary. Any change in enrollment received by the board of elections after February 14th and before or on seven days after the June primary shall take effect on the seventh day after the June primary.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: This legislation is not expected to have any impact on state or local governments.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 8228--B 2019-2020 Regular Sessions IN ASSEMBLY June 7, 2019 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. JACOBSON -- read once and referred to the Commit- tee on Election Law -- reported and referred to the Committee on Rules -- Rules Committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to the Committee on Rules -- Rules Committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to change of enrollment by previously registered voters The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. Subdivision 3 of section 5-304 of the election law, as 2 amended by chapter 90 of the laws of 1991, is amended to read as 3 follows: 4 3. A change of enrollment received by the board of elections [ not5 later than the twenty-fifth day before the general election shall be6 deposited in a sealed enrollment box, which shall not be opened until7 the first Tuesday following such general election. Such change of8 enrollment shall be then removed and entered as provided in this arti-9 cle] will take effect immediately, provided however, any change of 10 enrollment received by the board of elections after February fourteenth 11 and before or on seven days after the June primary shall take effect on 12 the seventh day after the June primary. 13 § 2. Subdivision 1 of section 5-604 of the election law, as amended by 14 chapter 5 of the laws of 2019, is amended to read as follows: 15 1. The board of elections shall also cause to be published for each 16 election district a complete list of the registered voters of each 17 election district. Such list shall, in addition to the information 18 required for registration lists, include the party enrollment of each 19 voter. At least as many copies of such list shall be prepared as the 20 required minimum number of registration lists. EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13243-03-9A. 8228--B 2 1 Lists for all the election districts in a ward or assembly district 2 may be bound together in one volume. The board of elections shall also 3 cause to be published a complete list of names and residence addresses 4 of the registered voters, including the party enrollment of each voter, 5 for each town and city over which the board has jurisdiction. The names 6 for each town and city may be arranged according to street and number or 7 alphabetically. Such lists shall be published before the [ first] twen- 8 ty-first day of February. The board shall keep at least five copies for 9 public inspection at each main office or branch office of the board. 10 Surplus copies of the lists shall be sold at a charge not exceeding the 11 cost of publication. 12 § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.