Bill Text: NY A02209 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Provides for automatic voter registration; and establishes a task force to study and make recommendations on the implementation of such automatic voter registration.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-01-22 - referred to election law [A02209 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A02209-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          2209
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 22, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced by M. of A. HUNTER -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Election Law
        AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to providing for automatic
          voter  registration;  establishing  a  task  force  on automatic voter
          registration; and providing for the repeal of certain provisions  upon
          expiration thereof
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Title 2 of article 5 of the  election  law  is  amended  by
     2  adding a new section 5-200 to read as follows:
     3    §  5-200.  Automatic  voter registration. 1. Notwithstanding any other
     4  manner of registration required by this  article,  each  person  in  the
     5  state qualified to vote pursuant to section 5-102 of this article, shall
     6  be  automatically  registered  to  vote  as  provided  in  this section,
     7  provided that the person does not elect to decline registration to  vote
     8  at the point of service.
     9    2.  The  state  board  of elections or county board of elections shall
    10  register to vote or update the registration record of any person in  the
    11  state  qualified  to  vote pursuant to section 5-102 of this article who
    12  does not elect to decline registration to vote or update  the  registra-
    13  tion record at the point of service and does any of the following:
    14    (a)  completes  an  application for a new or renewed driver's license,
    15  non-driver  identification  card,  pre-licensing   course   certificate,
    16  learner's permit or certification of supervised driving with the depart-
    17  ment  of  motor  vehicles,  or  notifies such department in writing of a
    18  change of his or her name or address;
    19    (b) completes an application for services, renewal or  recertification
    20  for  services, or change of address relating to such services from agen-
    21  cies designated in section 5-211 of this title;
    22    (c) completes an application for services, renewal or  recertification
    23  for  services,  or  change of address relating to such services from any
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD00581-01-9

        A. 2209                             2
     1  municipal housing authority as set forth  in  article  thirteen  of  the
     2  public housing law;
     3    (d)  registers  for classes at institutions of the state university of
     4  New York and the city university of New York;
     5    (e) completes a maximum sentence of imprisonment or is discharged from
     6  parole;
     7    (f) completes an application for unemployment insurance;
     8    (g) becomes a member or employee of the New York division of  military
     9  and naval affairs; or
    10    (h)  completes  an  application with any other state or federal agency
    11  designated as a source agency pursuant to paragraph (b)  of  subdivision
    12  three of this section.
    13    3. (a) The term "source agency" includes the department of motor vehi-
    14  cles, any government agency designated pursuant to section 5-211 of this
    15  title,  the  state university of New York and the city university of New
    16  York, all public housing authorities listed in article thirteen  of  the
    17  public  housing  law, the department of corrections and community super-
    18  vision, the department of labor, the New York division of  military  and
    19  naval  affairs and any agency designated by the state board of elections
    20  pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subdivision.
    21    (b) The state board of elections may designate additional state  agen-
    22  cies to serve as sources for voter registration. In designating an agen-
    23  cy under this paragraph, the state board of elections shall consider:
    24    (i)  the  likelihood  that  source  records  reflect a large number of
    25  eligible citizens;
    26    (ii) the extent to which source records reflect eligible citizens  who
    27  would  not  otherwise  be  registered  under  the act to modernize voter
    28  registration;
    29    (iii) the accuracy of personal identification data in source  records;
    30  and
    31    (iv)  any additional factors designated by the chief election official
    32  as reasonably related to  accomplishing  the  purposes  of  the  act  to
    33  modernize voter registration.
    34    4.  The  state  board of elections and the source agencies shall enter
    35  into agreements to ensure that for each person described in  subdivision
    36  two  of this section, each source agency electronically transmits to the
    37  state or local boards of elections the following information in a format
    38  that can be read by the computerized statewide voter registration list:
    39    (a) given name or names and surname or surnames;
    40    (b) mailing address and residential address;
    41    (c) date of birth;
    42    (d) citizenship;
    43    (e) driver's license or non-driver identification  card  number,  last
    44  four  digits  of the person's social security number, or a space for the
    45  person to indicate that he or she does not have any such number;
    46    (f) political party enrollment, if any;
    47    (g) an indication that the person intends to  apply  for  an  absentee
    48  ballot, if any; and
    49    (h) an image of the person's signature.
    50    In  the  event  that any transmission of data pursuant to this section
    51  fails to include an image of an individual's signature, the absence of a
    52  signature shall not preclude the registration of  an  eligible  citizen.
    53  The  board  of  elections shall develop procedures to enable an eligible
    54  citizen, whose information is transmitted pursuant to this  section  and
    55  whose  information lacks an electronic signature, to provide a signature
    56  at the polling place or with  an  application  for  an  absentee  ballot

        A. 2209                             3
     1  before  voting.  The board may require an elector who has not provided a
     2  signature before arriving at the polling place or submitting an absentee
     3  ballot to present a current and valid photo identification or a copy  of
     4  a  current  utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or
     5  other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
     6    5. If an agency does not routinely request information concerning  the
     7  citizenship  status of individuals, it shall maintain records sufficient
     8  to transmit to the board of elections indications of United States citi-
     9  zenship for each person described in subdivision two  of  this  section,
    10  but  shall not retain, use, or share any such information relating to an
    11  individual's citizenship for any other purpose.
    12    6. Each source agency shall  include  for  each  person  described  in
    13  subdivision  two  of  this  section  a statement that he or she shall be
    14  registered to vote, if he or she is not already so registered, provided,
    15  however, that each source agency shall provide each person described  in
    16  subdivision  two  of  this  section  the opportunity to elect to decline
    17  registration to vote at the point of service, and upon such election, he
    18  or she shall not be registered to vote pursuant  to  the  procedures  in
    19  this section at that time.
    20    7.  The  state  board  of  elections  shall  prepare and distribute to
    21  participating agencies written instructions as to the implementation  of
    22  the  program and shall be responsible for establishing training programs
    23  for employees of source agencies listed in this section. Training  shall
    24  include  requirements that employees of any source agency communicate to
    25  each individual identified in subdivision two of this section  that  the
    26  source  agency  maintains  strict  neutrality with respect to a person's
    27  party enrollment and all persons seeking voter  registration  forms  and
    28  information  shall  be  advised  that government services are not condi-
    29  tioned on being registered to vote, or eligibility to register to  vote.
    30  No statement shall be made nor any action taken to discourage the appli-
    31  cant from registering to vote.
    32    8.  The agreements between the state board of elections and the source
    33  agencies shall include the format in which information will be transmit-
    34  ted, whether and how each entity will collect, in addition to the manda-
    35  tory information listed in subdivision four of this section,  additional
    36  information on a voluntary basis from persons for the purpose of facili-
    37  tating  voter  registration,  the  frequency  of data transmissions, the
    38  procedures, and other measures that will be used to ensure the  security
    39  and  privacy of the information transmitted, and any other matter neces-
    40  sary or helpful to implement the requirements of this section.
    41    9. Each  source  agency  shall  cooperate  with  the  state  board  of
    42  elections  and  county board of elections to facilitate the voter regis-
    43  tration of each person described in subdivision two of this section, and
    44  to electronically transmit the information needed to register each  such
    45  person  to  vote  or  to  update  each  such person's voter registration
    46  record.
    47    10. Each source agency shall enter into an agreement  with  the  state
    48  board of elections finalizing the format and content of electronic tran-
    49  smissions  required  by  this section no later than September first, two
    50  thousand twenty; provided, that each source  agency  shall  be  able  to
    51  comply  fully  with  all  requirements  of  this  section, including the
    52  collection and transmission of all data required to register individuals
    53  to vote, by January first, two thousand twenty-one.
    54    § 2. Subdivision 5 of section 5-210 of the election law is amended  by
    55  adding a new paragraph (n) to read as follows:

        A. 2209                             4
     1    (n) Agreements adopted pursuant to section 5-200 of this title between
     2  source  agencies  and  the  state  or county boards of elections are not
     3  required to include the collection or transmission  of  the  information
     4  requested  in paragraph (j) or subparagraph (i), (viii), (x) or (xii) of
     5  paragraph (k) of this subdivision, and no board of election shall refuse
     6  to  register  to vote or update the registration record of any person in
     7  the state whose information is  transmitted pursuant to section 5-200 of
     8  this title for the reason that such information  does  not  include  the
     9  information  requested by paragraph (j) or subparagraph (i), (viii), (x)
    10  or (xii) of paragraph (k) of this subdivision.
    11    § 3. The opening paragraph and subdivisions 11 and 12 of section 5-211
    12  of the election law, the opening paragraph as amended by chapter 265  of
    13  the  laws  of 2013, subdivision 11 as amended by chapter 200 of the laws
    14  of 1996 and subdivision 12 as added by chapter 659 of the laws of  1994,
    15  are amended to read as follows:
    16    Each  agency designated as a participating agency under the provisions
    17  of this section shall implement and administer a program of distribution
    18  of voter registration forms pursuant to the provisions of this  section.
    19  The  following  offices  which  provide public assistance and/or provide
    20  state funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons
    21  with disabilities are hereby designated as voter registration  agencies:
    22  designated as the state agencies which provide public assistance are the
    23  office  of  children  and  family  services, the office of temporary and
    24  disability assistance and the department of health. Also  designated  as
    25  public  assistance  agencies  are  all agencies of local government that
    26  provide such assistance.  Designated  as  state  agencies  that  provide
    27  programs primarily engaged in providing services to people with disabil-
    28  ities  are  the  department  of labor, office for the aging, division of
    29  veterans' affairs, office of mental health,  office  of  vocational  and
    30  educational  services  for  individuals with disabilities, commission on
    31  quality of care for the mentally disabled, office [of mental retardation
    32  and] for people with  developmental  disabilities,  commission  for  the
    33  blind,  office of alcoholism and substance abuse services, the office of
    34  the advocate for the disabled and all offices which administer  programs
    35  established  or  funded  by  such  agencies. Additional [state] agencies
    36  designated as voter registration offices are  the  department  of  state
    37  [and],  the  division  of workers' compensation, the state university of
    38  New York, the city university of New York, all public  housing  authori-
    39  ties  listed  in article thirteen of the public housing law, the depart-
    40  ment of corrections and community supervision and the New York  division
    41  of  military and naval affairs. Such agencies shall be required to offer
    42  voter registration forms to and provide for  automatic  voter  registra-
    43  tion,  pursuant to section 5-200 of this title, for persons upon initial
    44  application for services, renewal or recertification  for  services  and
    45  change of address relating to such services. Such agencies shall also be
    46  responsible  for  providing assistance to applicants in completing voter
    47  registration forms, receiving and transmitting the completed application
    48  form from all applicants who wish to have such form transmitted  to  the
    49  appropriate  board  of  elections.  The  state board of elections shall,
    50  together with representatives of the department of defense, develop  and
    51  implement  procedures  for  including  recruitment  offices of the armed
    52  forces of the United States as  voter  registration  offices  when  such
    53  offices  are  so  designated  by federal law. The state board shall also
    54  make request of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
    55  to include applications for registration  by  mail  with  any  materials
    56  which  are given to new citizens. [All institutions of the state univer-

        A. 2209                             5

     1  sity of New York and the city university of  New  York,  shall,  at  the
     2  beginning  of  the  school year, and again in January of a year in which
     3  the president of the United States is to be elected, provide an applica-
     4  tion  for  registration  to  each student in each such institution.] The
     5  state board of elections may, by regulation, grant a waiver from any  or
     6  all  of  the requirements of this section to any office or program of an
     7  agency, if it determines that it is not  feasible  for  such  office  or
     8  program to administer such requirement.
     9    11.  The  participating  agency shall transmit [the completed applica-
    10  tions for registration and change  of  address  forms]  all  information
    11  collected  pursuant  to  section  5-200 of this title to the appropriate
    12  board of elections not later than ten days after receipt except that all
    13  such completed applications and forms received by the agency between the
    14  thirtieth and twenty-fifth day before an election shall  be  transmitted
    15  in such manner and at such time as to assure their receipt by such board
    16  of elections not later than the twentieth day before such election.
    17    12.  [Completed  application  forms,  when  received]  All information
    18  collected pursuant to section 5-200 of this  title  by  a  participating
    19  agency  not  later  than  the  twenty-fifth  day before the next ensuing
    20  primary, general or special election and transmitted by such  agency  to
    21  the  appropriate  board  of  elections so that they are received by such
    22  board not later than the twentieth day before such election shall  enti-
    23  tle the applicant to vote in such election provided the board determines
    24  that the applicant is otherwise qualified.
    25    §  4.  Subdivision 14 of section 5-211 of the election law, as amended
    26  by chapter 200 of the laws of 1996, is amended and two new  subdivisions
    27  18 and 19 are added to read as follows:
    28    14.  Applications  shall be processed by the board of elections in the
    29  manner prescribed by [section] sections 5-200 and 5-210  of  this  title
    30  or,  if the applicant is already registered to vote from another address
    31  in the county or city, in the manner prescribed by section 5-208 of this
    32  title.   The board shall send the  appropriate  notice  of  approval  or
    33  rejection  as  required by either subdivision nine of such section 5-210
    34  or subdivision five of such section 5-208.
    35    18. All colleges and universities located in  this  state  shall  make
    36  voter  registration forms available to any students eligible to register
    37  to vote under paragraph (g) of subdivision five of section 5-210 of this
    38  title in the same manner and subject to the same  provisions  and  rules
    39  and  regulations  as  all  other designated agencies under this section;
    40  except that a college or university that is not otherwise designated  as
    41  a  source  agency  pursuant  to section 5-200 of this title shall not be
    42  required to collect or maintain forms containing a person's  declination
    43  to  register  to vote as required by subdivision ten of this section, or
    44  to conduct a study and report thereon as required by subdivision  seven-
    45  teen of this section.
    46    19.  The state board of elections or, in the city of New York, the New
    47  York city board of elections,  shall  provide  to  public  colleges  and
    48  universities  a sufficient quantity of coded voter registration applica-
    49  tions that identify each such application as originating from  either  a
    50  public college or university. The state board of elections shall provide
    51  for  the  delivery of such coded applications by the first day of August
    52  of each year to each college or  university  covered  by  this  chapter,
    53  except  that  the  New  York  city  board of elections shall provide and
    54  deliver such forms to each participating public  university  or  college
    55  located in the city of New York. Every board of elections scanning voter
    56  registration forms shall capture any designated agency codes thereon and

        A. 2209                             6
     1  report  them  on  a  monthly basis to the state board of elections which
     2  shall make such detailed information available to the public.
     3    § 5. Subdivisions 6 and 7 of section 5-212 of the election law, subdi-
     4  vision 6 as amended by chapter 200 of the laws of 1996 and subdivision 7
     5  as  added  by  chapter  659  of the laws of 1994, are amended to read as
     6  follows:
     7    6. The department of motor vehicles shall transmit  [that  portion  of
     8  the form which constitutes the completed application for registration or
     9  change  of  address  form] all information collected pursuant to section
    10  5-200 of this title to the appropriate board of elections not later than
    11  ten days after receipt except that all such completed  applications  and
    12  forms  received by the department between the thirtieth and twenty-fifth
    13  day before an election shall be transmitted in such manner and  at  such
    14  time  as  to  assure  their receipt by such board of elections not later
    15  than the twentieth day before such election.    All  transmittals  shall
    16  include  original  signatures or an electronic image thereof as required
    17  by subdivision four of section 5-200 of this title.
    18    7. [Completed application forms received]  All  information  collected
    19  pursuant to section 5-200 of this title by the department of motor vehi-
    20  cles  not later than the twenty-fifth day before the next ensuing prima-
    21  ry, general or special election and transmitted by  such  department  to
    22  the  appropriate  board of elections so that they are received not later
    23  than the twentieth day before such election shall entitle the  applicant
    24  to  vote  in such election provided the board determines that the appli-
    25  cant is otherwise qualified.
    26    § 6. Section 8-302 of the election law is  amended  by  adding  a  new
    27  subdivision 3-d to read as follows:
    28    3-d.  A person appearing on election day whose name cannot be found or
    29  whose information is incomplete or  incorrect  on  the  statewide  voter
    30  registration  list and who affirms that that he or she interacted with a
    31  source agency listed in subdivision three of section 5-200 of this chap-
    32  ter and consented to voter registration shall be permitted  to  cast  an
    33  affidavit ballot. Such affidavit ballot shall be counted if at the poll-
    34  ing  place, the person presents proof of identity and evidence of regis-
    35  tering to vote or performing any of the activities specified in subdivi-
    36  sion two of section 5-200 of this chapter, and there is  no  affirmative
    37  proof  that  the  person  is  ineligible to register to vote or that the
    38  person did not register or perform any of the  activities  specified  in
    39  subdivision two of section 5-200 of this chapter.
    40    (a)  A  person may swear to and subscribe to an affidavit stating that
    41  the person has registered to vote or performed any of the activities  in
    42  subdivision  two  of  section 5-200 of this chapter and consented to use
    43  agency information for  voter  registration.  That  affidavit  shall  be
    44  sufficient  evidence  of  registering  to  vote or performing any of the
    45  activities specified in subdivision two of section 5-200 of this chapter
    46  for the purposes of this section.
    47    (b) A person without identification may swear to and subscribe  to  an
    48  affidavit  stating  that the person did not present documentary proof of
    49  identity, but that all of the identifying information on  the  affidavit
    50  ballot envelope is complete and accurate. That affidavit shall be suffi-
    51  cient evidence of identity for the purposes of this section.  Nothing in
    52  this  subdivision shall be deemed to override the provisions of subdivi-
    53  sion two-a of this section governing the requirements for a person whose
    54  name appears in the computer generated registration list with a notation
    55  indicating that the voter's identity was not yet verified as required by
    56  the federal Help America Vote Act.

        A. 2209                             7
     1    § 7. Subdivision 1 of section 3-220 of the election law, as amended by
     2  chapter 104 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:
     3    1.  All  registration  records,  certificates,  lists, and inventories
     4  referred to in, or required by, this chapter shall be public records and
     5  open to public inspection under the immediate supervision of  the  board
     6  of elections or its employees and subject to such reasonable regulations
     7  as  such  board  may impose, provided, however, that no data transmitted
     8  pursuant to section 5-200 of this chapter shall be considered  a  public
     9  record  open  to  public inspection solely by reason of its transmission
    10  and that the following information shall  not  be  released  for  public
    11  inspection:
    12    (a) any voter's signature;
    13    (b)  the  personal  residence and contact information of any voter for
    14  whom any provision of law requires confidentiality;
    15    (c) any portion of a voter's driver's license number,  [department  of
    16  motor  vehicle] non-driver [photo ID] identification card number, social
    17  security number and facsimile number [shall not be released  for  public
    18  inspection];
    19    (d) any voter's telephone number; and
    20    (e)  any  voter's email address.   No such records shall be handled at
    21  any time by any person other than a member of a  registration  board  or
    22  board  of  inspectors  of  elections  or  board  of  elections except as
    23  provided by rules imposed by the board of elections.
    24    § 8.  (a) A task force on automatic voter registration shall be estab-
    25  lished by the state board of elections to  examine,  evaluate  and  make
    26  recommendations   concerning  the  implementation  and  affects  of  the
    27  provisions of this act.
    28    (b) The task force shall consist of two  commissioners  of  the  state
    29  board  of  elections  appointed  by  majority vote of the state board of
    30  elections, the commissioner of motor vehicles, and members appointed  by
    31  the  state board of elections who shall represent such interests as such
    32  board shall deem to be relevant to the provisions of this  act,  includ-
    33  ing:
    34    (1) the state university of New York;
    35    (2) the city university of New York;
    36    (3) the board of elections of the city of New York;
    37    (4) county boards of elections throughout the state;
    38    (5) state agencies affected by the provisions of this act;
    39    (6) the department of corrections and community supervision;
    40    (7) the department of labor;
    41    (8) the division of military and naval affairs; and
    42    (9) municipal housing authorities.
    43    (c)  The  members  of the task force shall receive no compensation for
    44  their services, but shall be allowed their actual and necessary expenses
    45  incurred in the performance of their duties pursuant to this section.
    46    (d) Within one year of the effective date of this section, and annual-
    47  ly thereafter, the task force shall report its findings, conclusions and
    48  recommendations to the governor and the legislature.
    49    § 9.  This act shall take effect one year after it shall have become a
    50  law; provided that section eight of this act shall expire and be  deemed
    51  repealed five years after such effective date.
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