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S08806 Summary:

BILL NOS08806
 
SAME ASSAME AS A08280-C
 
SPONSORGIANARIS
 
COSPNSRBIAGGI, CARLUCCI, HOYLMAN, KAPLAN, LIU, MAY
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add Art 5 Title 9 5-900 - 5-906, 5-308, amd 9-209, El L
 
Establishes an electronic personal voter registration process integrated within designated agency applications; requires the state board of elections to promulgate necessary rules and regulations; makes related provisions.
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S08806 Actions:

BILL NOS08806
 
07/18/2020REFERRED TO RULES
07/18/2020COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO ELECTIONS
07/21/2020REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
07/22/2020ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.970
07/22/2020PASSED SENATE
07/22/2020DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
07/22/2020referred to ways and means
07/23/2020substituted for a8280c
07/23/2020ordered to third reading cal.322
07/23/2020passed assembly
07/23/2020returned to senate
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S08806 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          8806
 
                    IN SENATE
 
                                      July 18, 2020
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by Sen. GIANARIS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules
 
        AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to establishing  an  auto-
          matic  voter  registration process integrated within designated agency
          applications
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
     2  the "New York automatic voter registration act of 2020".
     3    § 2. Article 5 of the election law is amended by adding a new title  9
     4  to read as follows:
     5                                  TITLE IX
     6                        AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION
     7  Section 5-900. Integrated   personal   voter   registration  application
     8                    required.
     9          5-902. Failure to receive  exemplar  signature  not  to  prevent
    10                   registration.
    11          5-904. Presumption of innocent authorized error.
    12          5-906. Forms.
    13    §  5-900. Integrated personal voter registration application required.
    14  1. In addition to any other method of voter registration provided for by
    15  this chapter, state and local agencies designated in subdivisions  thir-
    16  teen  and  fourteen  of this section shall provide to the state board of
    17  elections voter registration qualification information  associated  with
    18  each  person  who  submits  an application for services or assistance at
    19  such agency, including  a  renewal,  recertification,  or  reexamination
    20  transaction at such agency, and each person who notifies the agency of a
    21  change  of  address or name. For the purposes of the department of motor
    22  vehicles, "application for services or assistance at such agency" refers
    23  only to an application for a motor vehicle driver's license, a  driver's
    24  license  renewal or an identification card if such card is issued by the
    25  department of motor vehicles in its normal  course  of  business.    For
    26  purposes  of  the  New  York  city  housing  authority  "application for
    27  services or assistance at such agency" refers only to applications  that
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05948-26-0

        S. 8806                             2
 
     1  reach  an  eligibility  interview  and  reexamination transactions. Such
     2  designated  agencies  shall  ensure  agency  applications  substantially
     3  include  all  of the elements required by section 5-210 of this article,
     4  including  the  appropriate attestation, so that persons completing such
     5  applications shall be able to also submit an application to register  to
     6  vote  through  the electronic voter registration transmittal system. For
     7  purposes of this section, "agency" shall mean any state or local agency,
     8  department, division, office, institution or other entity designated  in
     9  subdivision  thirteen  of  this  section  or  designated by the governor
    10  pursuant to subdivision fourteen of this section. For purposes  of  this
    11  section,  registration  shall  also include pre-registration pursuant to
    12  section 5-507 of this article.
    13    2. For each application submitted to  the  agency,  whether  electron-
    14  ically  or  on  paper,  the  agency shall transmit to the state board of
    15  elections through an interface with the  electronic  voter  registration
    16  transmittal  system  established  and  maintained  by the state board of
    17  elections that portion of the application that includes voter  registra-
    18  tion  information.  The  state  board  of elections shall electronically
    19  forward such application to the applicable board of  elections  of  each
    20  county  or  the city of New York for filing, processing and verification
    21  consistent with this chapter.
    22    3. An integrated voter registration form submitted  to  an  agency  in
    23  paper  format  shall  be  transmitted  to  the  state board of elections
    24  through an electronic voter registration transmittal system by  convert-
    25  ing  the  paper form to an image file or a portable document format file
    26  which shall thereafter be deemed the original form for  voter  registra-
    27  tion  and  enrollment  purposes.  The  agency  shall retain the complete
    28  original paper application for no less than two years.  The  transmittal
    29  of the converted paper application may include or be accompanied by data
    30  elements  and transmittal information as required by the rules and regu-
    31  lations of the state board of elections.
    32    4. An integrated voter registration application submitted to an agency
    33  in an electronic format shall be  transmitted  to  the  state  board  of
    34  elections  through  the electronic voter registration transmittal system
    35  and shall include all of the voter registration data elements, including
    36  electronic signature, as applicable, and record of  attestation  of  the
    37  accuracy of the voter registration information and any relevant document
    38  images.
    39    5. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no agency designated
    40  under  this  section  shall transmit to the state board of elections any
    41  application for registration for a person that indicates  on  the  inte-
    42  grated personal voter registration application that they do not meet one
    43  of the eligibility requirements.
    44    6.  The voter registration related portion of each agency's integrated
    45  application for services or assistance shall:
    46    (a) include a statement of  the  eligibility  requirements  for  voter
    47  registration  and  shall  require  the applicant to attest by his or her
    48  signature that he or she  meets  those  requirements  under  penalty  of
    49  perjury unless such applicant declines such registration;
    50    (b)  inform  the  applicant,  in  print  identical to that used in the
    51  attestation section of the following:
    52    (i) voter eligibility requirements;
    53    (ii) penalties for submission of a false registration application;
    54    (iii) that the office where the  applicant  applies  for  registration
    55  shall  remain  confidential and the voter registration information shall
    56  be used only for voter registration purposes;

        S. 8806                             3
 
     1    (iv) that if the applicant applies to register to vote electronically,
     2  such applicant thereby consents to the use of an electronic copy of  the
     3  individual's  manual  signature that is in the custody of the department
     4  of motor vehicles, the state board of elections, or other agency  desig-
     5  nated  by  this section, as the individual's voter registration exemplar
     6  signature if the individual voter's exemplar signature is  not  provided
     7  with the voter registration application;
     8    (v)  if  the applicant declines to register, such applicant's declina-
     9  tion shall remain confidential and be used only for  voter  registration
    10  purposes; and
    11    (vi)  that  applying to register or declining to register to vote will
    12  not affect the amount of assistance that the applicant will be  provided
    13  by this agency;
    14    (c)  include  a box for the applicant to check to indicate whether the
    15  applicant would like to decline to  register  to  vote  along  with  the
    16  following  statement  in  prominent type, "IF YOU DO NOT CHECK THIS BOX,
    17  AND YOU PROVIDE YOUR  SIGNATURE  ON  THE  SPACE  BELOW,  YOU  WILL  HAVE
    18  ATTESTED TO YOUR ELIGIBILITY TO REGISTER OR PRE-REGISTER TO VOTE AND YOU
    19  WILL HAVE APPLIED TO REGISTER OR PRE-REGISTER TO VOTE.";
    20    (d) include the following warning statement in prominent type, "IF YOU
    21  ARE  NOT  A  CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES, YOU MUST CHECK THE BOX BELOW.
    22  NON-CITIZENS WHO REGISTER OR PRE-REGISTER TO  VOTE  MAY  BE  SUBJECT  TO
    23  CRIMINAL  PENALTIES  AND SUCH VOTER REGISTRATION OR PRE-REGISTRATION MAY
    24  RESULT IN DEPORTATION OR REMOVAL, EXCLUSION FROM ADMISSION TO THE UNITED
    25  STATES, OR DENIAL OF NATURALIZATION.";
    26    (e) include a space for the applicant to indicate his or her choice of
    27  party enrollment, with a clear alternative provided for the applicant to
    28  decline to affiliate with any party and the following statement in prom-
    29  inent type "IF YOU DO NOT CHOOSE A PARTY YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PARTIC-
    30  IPATE IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS FOR THAT PARTY".
    31    (f) include a statement that if an applicant is a victim  of  domestic
    32  violence or stalking, he or she may contact the state board of elections
    33  in  order  to  receive information regarding the address confidentiality
    34  program for victims of domestic violence under  section  5-508  of  this
    35  article.
    36    7.  Information from the voter relevant to both voter registration and
    37  the agency application shall be entered by the voter only once  upon  an
    38  application.
    39    8.  The  agency  shall  redact or remove from the completed integrated
    40  application to be transmitted to the state board of elections any infor-
    41  mation solely applicable to the agency application.
    42    9. Information concerning the citizenship status of individuals,  when
    43  collected  and  transmitted pursuant to subdivision one of this section,
    44  shall not be retained, used or shared for any other  purpose  except  as
    45  may be required by law.
    46    10.  A  voter  shall  be  able to decline to register to vote using an
    47  integrated application by selecting a single check box,  or  equivalent,
    48  which shall include the following statement: "I DECLINE USE OF THIS FORM
    49  FOR  VOTER REGISTRATION AND PRE-REGISTRATION PURPOSES. DO NOT FORWARD MY
    50  INFORMATION TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS."
    51    11. The voter shall be able to sign the voter registration application
    52  and the agency application by means of a  single  manual  or  electronic
    53  signature  unless  the agency requires more than one signature for other
    54  agency purposes.

        S. 8806                             4
 
     1    12. No application for voter registration shall be  submitted  if  the
     2  applicant declines registration or fails to sign the integrated applica-
     3  tion, whether on paper or online.
     4    13. Designated agencies for purposes of this section shall include the
     5  department  of  motor  vehicles, the department of health, the office of
     6  temporary and disability assistance, the department of labor, the office
     7  of vocational and educational services for  individuals  with  disabili-
     8  ties,  county  and city departments of social services, and the New York
     9  city housing authority, as well as any other agency  designated  by  the
    10  governor.  Each designated agency shall enter into an agreement with the
    11  state board of elections finalizing the format and content of electronic
    12  transmissions required by this section.   The state board  of  elections
    13  shall prepare and distribute to designated agencies written instructions
    14  as  to  the  implementation  of the program and shall be responsible for
    15  establishing training programs  for  employees  of  designated  agencies
    16  listed  in  this  section.    Such  instructions and such training shall
    17  ensure usability of the integrated application for  low  English  profi-
    18  ciency  voters.   Any such designated agency shall take all actions that
    19  are necessary and proper for the implementation of this section, includ-
    20  ing facilitating technological capabilities  to  allow  transmission  of
    21  data  through an interface with the electronic voter registration trans-
    22  mittal system in a secure manner.
    23    14. Each year, the governor shall conduct a review of each participat-
    24  ing agency under section 5-211 of this article not already designated as
    25  an automatic voter registration agency pursuant to this  subdivision  in
    26  order  to  determine  whether  designation  is appropriate. The governor
    27  shall designate each participating agency that collects  information  or
    28  documents  that  would  provide  proof of eligibility to vote unless the
    29  governor determines that there  are  compelling  reasons  why  automatic
    30  voter registration is not feasible at the agency. If the governor should
    31  determine  that  there are compelling reasons why automatic voter regis-
    32  tration is not feasible at an  agency,  the  governor  shall  prepare  a
    33  report  explaining  those  reasons  to the legislature by the end of the
    34  calendar year in which that determination is made. Any agency designated
    35  by the governor pursuant to this  subdivision  shall  provide  automatic
    36  voter  registration  upon the earlier occurrence of: (a) two years after
    37  designation by the governor, or (b) five days after the date of  certif-
    38  ication  by the state board of elections that the information technology
    39  infrastructure to substantially implement the provisions of this section
    40  at the agency is functional.
    41    15. The state board of elections  shall  promulgate  rules  and  regu-
    42  lations  for the creation and administration of an integrated electronic
    43  voter registration process as provided for by this section.
    44    16. Each participating agency shall  provide  an  opportunity  through
    45  rulemaking  for public notice and comment regarding the plans for imple-
    46  mentation in the agency. Such opportunity must be provided  sufficiently
    47  in  advance of implementation to allow for adjustment of agency plans to
    48  take public comment into account. Agency plans for implementation  shall
    49  provide  for  sufficient  testing  of the process in the agency prior to
    50  implementation in order to ensure the technology is functioning  proper-
    51  ly,  the  process is usable and understandable for applicants and agency
    52  employees, and reasonable precautions have been put in place to minimize
    53  error or the possibility  of  discouraging  applications  for  services,
    54  assistance, or registration.
    55    §  5-902.  Failure to receive exemplar signature not to prevent regis-
    56  tration. If a voter registration exemplar signature is not received from

        S. 8806                             5
 
     1  an applicant who submits a voter registration or pre-registration appli-
     2  cation pursuant to this title and such signature exemplar is not  other-
     3  wise available from the statewide voter registration database or a state
     4  or  local  agency,  the  local  board of elections shall, absent another
     5  reason to reject the application, proceed to  register  or  pre-register
     6  and,  as  applicable,  enroll  the  applicant.  Within  ten days of such
     7  action, the board of elections shall send a standard form promulgated by
     8  the state board of elections to the voter whose record lacks an exemplar
     9  signature, requiring such voter to submit a signature for identification
    10  purposes. The voter shall submit to  the  board  of  elections  a  voter
    11  registration  exemplar signature by any one of the following methods: in
    12  person, by mail with return  postage  paid  provided  by  the  board  of
    13  elections,  by  electronic mail, or by electronic upload to the board of
    14  elections through the electronic voter registration transmittal  system.
    15  If such voter does not provide the required exemplar signature, when the
    16  voter  appears  to vote the voter shall be entitled to vote by affidavit
    17  ballot.
    18    § 5-904. Presumption of innocent authorized error.  1. Notwithstanding
    19  subdivision six of section 5-210 of this article or any other law to the
    20  contrary, a person who is ineligible to vote who  fails  to  decline  to
    21  register  or  pre-register  to vote in accordance with the provisions of
    22  this section and did not willfully and knowingly  seek  to  register  or
    23  pre-register to vote knowing that he or she is not eligible to do so:
    24    (a)  shall not be guilty of any crime as the result of the applicant's
    25  failure to make such declination;
    26    (b) shall be deemed to have been  registered  or  pre-registered  with
    27  official authorization; and
    28    (c)  such act may not be considered as evidence of a claim to citizen-
    29  ship.
    30    2. Notwithstanding subdivision six of section 5-210 of this article or
    31  any other law to the contrary, a person who is ineligible  to  vote  who
    32  fails  to decline to register or pre-register to vote in accordance with
    33  the provisions of this section, who then either  votes  or  attempts  to
    34  vote  in  an  election  held  after  the effective date of that person's
    35  registration, and who did not willfully and knowingly seek  to  register
    36  or pre-register to vote knowing that he or she is not eligible to do so,
    37  and  did not subsequently vote or attempt to vote knowing that he or she
    38  is not eligible to do so:
    39    (a) shall not be guilty of any crime as the result of the  applicant's
    40  failure to make such declination and subsequent vote or attempt to vote;
    41    (b)  shall  be  deemed  to have been registered or pre-registered with
    42  official authorization; and
    43    (c) such act may not be considered as evidence of a claim to  citizen-
    44  ship.
    45    §  5-906.  Forms.  The state board of elections shall promulgate rules
    46  and regulations to implement this title. All agency  forms  and  notices
    47  required  by  this  title  shall  be  approved  by  the  state  board of
    48  elections. All applications and notices for use by a board of  elections
    49  pursuant  to  this  title  shall  be  promulgated  by the state board of
    50  elections, and no addition or alteration to such forms  by  a  board  of
    51  elections  shall  be  made  without  approval  of  the  state  board  of
    52  elections.
    53    § 3. The election law is amended by adding a new section 5-308 to read
    54  as follows:
    55    § 5-308. Enrollment; automatic voter registration.  1.  The  board  of
    56  elections  shall,  promptly  and  not  later  than twenty-one days after

        S. 8806                             6
 
     1  receipt of a voter registration or pre-registration application  submit-
     2  ted  pursuant  to  title  nine of this article by a voter registering or
     3  pre-registering for the first time, send any  such  voter  who  did  not
     4  enroll in a party a notice and a form to indicate party enrollment, with
     5  return  postage paid by the board of elections.  Such notice shall offer
     6  the voter the opportunity to enroll with a party or to decline to enroll
     7  with a party and contain the following statement in prominent  type  "IF
     8  YOU DO NOT CHOOSE A PARTY YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN PRIMARY
     9  ELECTIONS  FOR  THAT PARTY." Such form shall provide a clear alternative
    10  for the applicant to decline to affiliate with any party. If  the  board
    11  of  elections has not received a response to the party enrollment notice
    12  and form within forty-five days of the application, the board shall mail
    13  a second similar notice and form to the voter.
    14    2. Notwithstanding subdivision two of section 5-304 of this title,  if
    15  a  voter  who  registered to vote for the first time (or pre-registered)
    16  pursuant to title nine of this article responds to the  notice  required
    17  by subdivision one of this section and elects to enroll in a party, such
    18  enrollment  shall take effect immediately. However, any pre-registrant's
    19  registration shall remain  classified  as  "pending"  until  he  or  she
    20  reaches the age of eligibility.
    21    3.  If  a  voter  appears at a primary election and votes by affidavit
    22  ballot indicating the intent to enroll in  such  party,  such  affidavit
    23  ballot shall cause the voter to be enrolled immediately in that party if
    24  the  board of elections determines that the voter registered (or pre-re-
    25  gistered) to vote for the first time pursuant  to  title  nine  of  this
    26  article.
    27    4.  If  a  voter  appears at a primary election and votes by affidavit
    28  ballot indicating the intent to enroll in  such  party,  such  affidavit
    29  ballot  shall  be  cast and counted if the board of elections determines
    30  that the voter registered (or pre-registered) to vote at  least  twenty-
    31  five days before that primary pursuant to title nine of this article and
    32  such voter is otherwise qualified to vote in such election.
    33    §  4.  Paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 9-209 of the election
    34  law is amended by adding a new subparagraph (vii) to read as follows:
    35    (vii) If the board of elections finds that the  voter  registered  (or
    36  pre-registered)  to  vote  for  the first time pursuant to title nine of
    37  article five of this chapter at least twenty-five days before a primary,
    38  appeared at such primary election, and indicated on the affidavit ballot
    39  envelope the intent to enroll in such party, the affidavit ballot  shall
    40  be  cast and counted if the voter is otherwise qualified to vote in such
    41  election.
    42    § 5. This act shall take effect January 1,  2023;  provided,  however,
    43  the  state  board  of  elections  and  any participating agency shall be
    44  authorized to implement necessary rules  and  regulations  and  to  take
    45  steps required to implement this act immediately.
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