Bill Text: NY S01278 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Enacts the "New York automatic voter registration act of 2019" to streamline the process for registering to vote.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 31-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-01-11 - REFERRED TO ELECTIONS [S01278 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S01278-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          1278
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                    January 11, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced by Sens. GIANARIS, ADDABBO, BAILEY, BENJAMIN, BROOKS, CARLUC-
          CI,  COMRIE,  HOYLMAN,  KAMINSKY,  KAVANAGH,  KENNEDY, KRUEGER, MAYER,
          MONTGOMERY,   PARKER,   RIVERA,    SEPULVEDA,    SERRANO,    STAVISKY,
          STEWART-COUSINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to
          be committed to the Committee on Elections
        AN  ACT to amend the election law, in relation to enacting the "New York
          automatic voter registration act of 2019"
          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 2019".
     3    § 2. The election law is amended by adding a new section 5-200 to read
     4  as follows:
     5    § 5-200. Automated voter registration. 1.  Notwithstanding  any  other
     6  manner  of  registration  required  by  this article, each person in the
     7  state qualified to vote pursuant to section 5-102 of this article, shall
     8  be automatically  registered  to  vote  as  provided  in  this  section,
     9  provided that the person does not elect to decline to register to vote.
    10    2.  The  state  board  of elections or county board of elections shall
    11  register to vote or update the registration record of any person in  the
    12  state  qualified  to  vote pursuant to section 5-102 of this article who
    13  does not elect to decline to register to vote or to update  the  voter's
    14  registration and does any of the following:
    15    (a)  completes  an  application for a new or renewed driver's license,
    16  non-driver  identification  card,  pre-licensing   course   certificate,
    17  learner's permit or certification of supervised driving with the depart-
    18  ment  of  motor  vehicles,  or  notifies such department in writing of a
    19  change of his or her name or address;
    20    (b) completes an application for services, renewal or  recertification
    21  for  services, or change of address relating to such services from agen-
    22  cies designated in section 5-211 of this title;
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD07587-01-9

        S. 1278                             2
     1    (c) completes an application for services, renewal or  recertification
     2  for  services,  or  change of address relating to such services from any
     3  municipal housing authority as set forth  in  article  thirteen  of  the
     4  public housing law;
     5    (d)  registers  for classes at institutions of the state university of
     6  New York and the city university of New York;
     7    (e) completes a maximum sentence of imprisonment or is discharged from
     8  parole;
     9    (f) completes an application for unemployment insurance;
    10    (g) becomes a member or employee of the New York division of  military
    11  and naval affairs; or
    12    (h)  completes  an  application  with any state agency designated as a
    13  source agency pursuant to paragraph (b) of  subdivision  three  of  this
    14  section.
    15    3. (a) The term "source agency" includes the department of motor vehi-
    16  cles, any government agency designated pursuant to section 5-211 of this
    17  title,  the  state university of New York and the city university of New
    18  York, all public housing authorities listed in article thirteen  of  the
    19  public  housing  law, the department of corrections and community super-
    20  vision, the department of labor, the New York division of  military  and
    21  naval  affairs and any agency designated by the state board of elections
    22  pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subdivision.
    23    (b) The state board of elections may designate additional state  agen-
    24  cies to serve as sources for voter registration. In designating an agen-
    25  cy under this paragraph, the state board of elections shall consider:
    26    (i)  the  likelihood  that  source  records  reflect a large number of
    27  eligible citizens;
    28    (ii) the extent to which source records reflect eligible citizens  who
    29  would  not  otherwise  be  registered  under  the act to modernize voter
    30  registration;
    31    (iii) the accuracy of personal identification data in source  records;
    32  and
    33    (iv)  any additional factors designated by the chief election official
    34  as reasonably related to  accomplishing  the  purposes  of  the  act  to
    35  modernize voter registration.
    36    4.  The  state  board of elections and the source agencies shall enter
    37  into agreements to ensure that for each person described in  subdivision
    38  two  of this section, each source agency electronically transmits to the
    39  state or local boards of elections the  following  information,  to  the
    40  extent  it  has  such  information,  in a format that can be read by the
    41  computerized statewide voter registration list:
    42    (a) given name or names and surname or surnames;
    43    (b) mailing address and residential address;
    44    (c) date of birth;
    45    (d) citizenship or attestation of eligibility;
    46    (e) driver's license or non-driver identification  card  number,  last
    47  four  digits  of the person's social security number, or a space for the
    48  person to indicate that he or she does not have any such number;
    49    (f) political party enrollment, if any;
    50    (g) an indication that the person intends to  apply  for  an  absentee
    51  ballot, if any; and
    52    (h) an image of the person's signature.
    53    In  the  event  that any transmission of data pursuant to this section
    54  fails to include an image of an individual's signature, the absence of a
    55  signature shall not preclude the registration of  an  eligible  citizen.
    56  The  board  of  elections shall develop procedures to enable an eligible

        S. 1278                             3
     1  citizen, whose information is transmitted pursuant to this  section  and
     2  whose  information lacks an electronic signature, to provide a signature
     3  at the polling place or with  an  application  for  an  absentee  ballot
     4  before  voting.  The board may require an elector who has not provided a
     5  signature before arriving at the polling place or submitting an absentee
     6  ballot to present a current and valid photo identification or a copy  of
     7  a  current  utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or
     8  other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
     9    5. If a source agency does not routinely request information  from  an
    10  individual  that  would  demonstrate proof of eligibility to register to
    11  vote including age, citizenship and residency, the agency shall  provide
    12  a voter registration form on which such individual may either decline to
    13  register  to vote or consent to register to vote and inform the individ-
    14  ual:
    15    (a) that the individual shall be registered to vote unless  the  indi-
    16  vidual declines to register to vote or if the individual is not eligible
    17  to vote;
    18    (b) of the qualifications to register to vote;
    19    (c)  that the individual should not register to vote if the individual
    20  does not meet all the qualifications;
    21    (d) of the penalties for submission of a false application;
    22    (e) that voter registration is voluntary and that neither  registering
    23  nor declining to register to vote will in any way affect the availabili-
    24  ty of services or benefits; and
    25    (f)  that  by failing to affirmatively decline to register to vote the
    26  individual is attesting that they meet  all  of  the  qualifications  to
    27  register to vote.
    28    6. (a) The board of elections shall:
    29    (i)  identify  all  individuals  whose information is transmitted by a
    30  source agency pursuant to this section and who are eligible to  be,  but
    31  are not currently, registered to vote in the state;
    32    (ii) promptly send each such individual written notice which shall not
    33  identify  the  source  agency that transmitted the information but shall
    34  include:
    35    (1) an explanation that voter registration is voluntary,  but  if  the
    36  individual  does not decline registration, the individual will be regis-
    37  tered to vote;
    38    (2) a statement offering the opportunity to  decline  to  register  to
    39  vote;
    40    (3) a statement offering the individual the opportunity to enroll with
    41  a political party or to decline to enroll with a political party;
    42    (4)  the voter eligibility requirements and a statement that the indi-
    43  vidual must decline registration if they do not meet these requirements;
    44    (5) penalties for submission of false information for registration  to
    45  vote;
    46    (6)  a  statement  that  if  the individual declines to register, that
    47  declination shall remain confidential and shall be used only  for  voter
    48  registration purposes; and
    49    (7) instructions for correcting erroneous information.
    50    (b)  The notice required by subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (a) of this
    51  subdivision shall include a form that offers the individual the opportu-
    52  nity to elect to decline to register to vote and, in a separate section,
    53  the opportunity to enroll with a political party or to decline to enroll
    54  with a political party and a postage pre-paid  envelope  to  return  the
    55  form.

        S. 1278                             4
     1    (c)  If  a  person  notified under this section does not decline to be
     2  registered to vote within twenty-one days after the board  of  elections
     3  sends the notice, the individual shall be registered to vote.
     4    7.  The  state  board  of  elections  shall  prepare and distribute to
     5  participating agencies written instructions as to the implementation  of
     6  the  program and shall be responsible for establishing training programs
     7  for employees of source agencies listed in this section.
     8    8. The agreements between the state board of elections and the  source
     9  agencies shall include the format in which information will be transmit-
    10  ted, whether and how each entity will collect, in addition to the manda-
    11  tory  information listed in subdivision four of this section, additional
    12  information on a voluntary basis from persons for the purpose of facili-
    13  tating voter registration, the  frequency  of  data  transmissions,  the
    14  procedures,  and other measures that will be used to ensure the security
    15  and privacy of the information transmitted, and any other matter  neces-
    16  sary or helpful to implement the requirements of this section.
    17    9.  Each  source  agency  shall  cooperate  with  the  state  board of
    18  elections and county board of elections to facilitate the  voter  regis-
    19  tration of each person described in subdivision two of this section, and
    20  to  electronically transmit the information needed to register each such
    21  person to vote or  to  update  each  such  person's  voter  registration
    22  record.
    23    10.  Each  source  agency shall enter into an agreement with the state
    24  board of elections finalizing the format and content of electronic tran-
    25  smissions required by this section no later than  September  first,  two
    26  thousand  twenty;  provided,  that  each  source agency shall be able to
    27  comply fully with  all  requirements  of  this  section,  including  the
    28  collection and transmission of all data required to register individuals
    29  to vote, by January first, two thousand twenty-one.
    30    § 3. Subdivision 3 of section 5-304 of the election law, as amended by
    31  chapter 90 of the laws of 1991, is amended to read as follows:
    32    3.  A change of enrollment received by the board of elections, showing
    33  a dated cancellation  mark  of  the  United  States  Postal  Service  or
    34  contained  in an envelope showing such cancellation mark which is dated,
    35  not later than the twenty-fifth day before the [general  election  shall
    36  be deposited in a sealed enrollment box, which shall not be opened until
    37  the  first  Tuesday  following  such  general  election.  Such change of
    38  enrollment shall be then removed and entered as provided in  this  arti-
    39  cle]  next ensuing primary, general or special election, and received no
    40  later than the fifth day before such election or delivered in person  to
    41  such  county  board  of  elections not later than the tenth day before a
    42  primary, general or  special  election,  shall  be  effective  for  such
    43  election.  Enrollment changes shall be entered as provided in this arti-
    44  cle and shall be deemed to take effect  on  the  tenth  day  after  such
    45  change  of  enrollment  is  received by the board of elections or if the
    46  change of enrollment, or the  envelope  containing  it,  bears  a  dated
    47  cancellation mark of the United States Postal Service, such change shall
    48  be entered and shall be deemed to take effect on the tenth day after the
    49  date of such mark, whichever is earlier; except that no change will take
    50  effect  sooner  than  the  fifth day after the receipt of such change of
    51  enrollment by the board of elections.
    52    § 4. The election law is amended by adding a  new  section  17-138  to
    53  read as follows:
    54    §  17-138. Discrimination and harassment. No person acting under color
    55  of any provision of law may harass or  discriminate  against  or  assist
    56  others in harassing or discriminating against any person on the basis of

        S. 1278                             5
     1  the  information supplied by the person for voter registration purposes,
     2  a person's declination to register to vote or to supply information  for
     3  voter  registration  purposes,  or a person's absence from the statewide
     4  voter  registration  list  except as required to administer elections or
     5  enforce election laws.
     6    § 5. Subdivision 1 of section 3-220 of the election law, as amended by
     7  chapter 104 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:
     8    1. All registration  records,  certificates,  lists,  and  inventories
     9  referred to in, or required by, this chapter shall be public records and
    10  open  to  public inspection under the immediate supervision of the board
    11  of elections or its employees and subject to such reasonable regulations
    12  as such board may impose, provided, however, that  no  data  transmitted
    13  pursuant  to  section 5-200 of this chapter shall be considered a public
    14  record open to public inspection solely by reason  of  its  transmission
    15  and  that  the  following  information  shall not be released for public
    16  inspection:
    17    (a) any voter's signature;
    18    (b) the personal residence and contact information of  any  voter  for
    19  whom any provision of law requires confidentiality;
    20    (c)  any  portion of a voter's driver's license number, [department of
    21  motor vehicle] non-driver [photo ID] identification card number,  social
    22  security  number  and facsimile number [shall not be released for public
    23  inspection];
    24    (d) any voter's telephone number; and
    25    (e) any voter's email address.  No such records shall  be  handled  at
    26  any  time  by  any person other than a member of a registration board or
    27  board of inspectors  of  elections  or  board  of  elections  except  as
    28  provided by rules imposed by the board of elections.
    29    §  6. Subdivision 4 of section 3-212 of the election law is amended by
    30  adding two new paragraphs (c) and (d) to read as follows:
    31    (c) Said annual report, as required by paragraph (a) of this  subdivi-
    32  sion, shall also include:
    33    (1) the number of records that have been received, transmitted, trans-
    34  ferred, updated, or corrected pursuant to section 5-200 of this chapter,
    35  by source;
    36    (2)  the  number of records received under section 5-200 of this chap-
    37  ter, by source, that do not relate to persons identified as eligible  to
    38  vote;
    39    (3)  the  number of persons who have contacted the board to opt out of
    40  voter registration;
    41    (4) the number of voters who submit voter  registration  forms  and/or
    42  requests  to  update or correct voter registration information using the
    43  system described in section 5-614 of this chapter; and
    44    (5) the number of voters who correct  voter  registration  information
    45  using  the  election-day  procedure  described  in section 8-302 of this
    46  chapter.
    47    (d) Said annual report, as required by paragraph (a) of this  subdivi-
    48  sion,  shall  exclude  any  information  that  personally identifies any
    49  person other than an election official or other government official.
    50    § 7. Section 17-104 of the election law is amended to read as follows:
    51    § 17-104. False registration. 1. Any person who:
    52    [1.] (a) Registers or attempts to register as an elector in more  than
    53  one  election  district  for the same election, or more than once in the
    54  same election district; or,

        S. 1278                             6
     1    [2.] (b) Registers or attempts to register as an elector, knowing that
     2  he will not be a qualified voter in the district  at  the  election  for
     3  which such registration is made; or
     4    [3.]  (c)  Registers  or  attempts to register as an elector under any
     5  name but his or her own; or
     6    [4.] (d)  Knowingly  gives  a  false  residence  within  the  election
     7  district when registering as an elector; or
     8    [5.]  (e)  Knowingly permits, aids, assists, abets, procures, commands
     9  or advises another to commit any such act, is guilty of a felony.
    10    2. Notwithstanding any other provision  of  this  chapter,  no  person
    11  shall  be  liable  for an error in the statewide voter registration list
    12  unless such person knowingly and willfully makes a  false  statement  in
    13  order  to  effectuate  or perpetuate voter registration. An error in the
    14  statewide voter registration list shall not constitute a  fraudulent  or
    15  false claim to citizenship.
    16    §  8.  Subdivisions  16-a and 17 of section 3-102 of the election law,
    17  subdivision 16-a as amended by section 91 of subpart  B  of  part  C  of
    18  chapter  62 of the laws of 2011 is amended, subdivision 17 as renumbered
    19  by chapter 23 of the laws of 2005, is renumbered subdivision 21 and four
    20  new subdivisions 17, 18, 19 and 20 are added to read as follows:
    21    16-a. provide the department of corrections and community  supervision
    22  with  a  sufficient  number  of  voter  registration  forms to allow the
    23  department of corrections and community supervision to comply  with  the
    24  duty  to provide such voter registration forms to persons upon the expi-
    25  ration of their maximum sentence of imprisonment. Such  voter  registra-
    26  tion forms shall be addressed to the state board of elections[.];
    27    17.  ensure  that, upon receipt and verification of a person's express
    28  request to opt out of voter registration, the person's name  and  regis-
    29  tration record will not be added to the county or statewide voter regis-
    30  tration lists;
    31    18. ensure that election officials shall not provide the record of any
    32  person  who has opted out of voter registration, in whole or in part, to
    33  any third party for any purpose other than the  compilation  of  a  jury
    34  list;
    35    19.  publish and enforce a privacy and security policy specifying each
    36  class of users who shall have authorized access to the  statewide  voter
    37  registration list, preventing unauthorized access to the statewide voter
    38  registration  list  and  to any list provided by a source agency or list
    39  maintenance source, and setting forth other safeguards  to  protect  the
    40  privacy and security of the information on the statewide voter registra-
    41  tion list;
    42    20.  promulgate rules regarding the notification of voters of transfer
    43  of address by electronic mail; and
    44    § 9. This act shall take effect January 1, 2020.  Effective immediate-
    45  ly, the addition, amendment and/or repeal  of  any  rule  or  regulation
    46  necessary  for  the implementation of this act on its effective date are
    47  authorized to be made and completed on or before such effective date.
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