Bill Text: NY S06457 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Amended


Bill Title: 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.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 24-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2020-01-09 - referred to election law [S06457 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S06457-Amended.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                         6457--B

                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions

                    IN SENATE

                                      June 11, 2019
                                       ___________

        Introduced  by  Sens.  GIANARIS,  BAILEY,  CARLUCCI, GOUNARDES, HOYLMAN,
          JACKSON, KAMINSKY, KAPLAN, KRUEGER, LIU, MAY, METZGER, MYRIE,  PARKER,
          SALAZAR, SEPULVEDA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed
          to  be  committed  to  the Committee on Rules -- committee discharged,
          bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended  and  recommitted  to  said
          committee  -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as
          amended and recommitted to said committee

        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  subdivision  four-
    16  teen of this section shall provide to the state board of elections voter
    17  registration  qualification  information associated with each person who
    18  submits an application for services at such agency, or who notifies  the
    19  agency  of  a change of address or name. For the purposes of the depart-

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05948-13-0

        S. 6457--B                          2

     1  ment of motor vehicles, "application for services at such agency" refers
     2  only to an application for a motor vehicle driver's license, a  driver's
     3  license  renewal or an identification card if such card is issued by the
     4  department  of  motor  vehicles  in  its normal course of business. Such
     5  designated  agencies  shall  ensure  agency  applications  substantially
     6  include  all  of the elements required by section 5-210 of this article,
     7  including the appropriate attestation, so that persons  completing  such
     8  applications  shall be able to also submit an application to register to
     9  vote through the electronic voter registration transmittal  system.  For
    10  purposes of this section, "agency" shall mean any state or local agency,
    11  department,  division, office, institution or other entity designated by
    12  the governor pursuant to  subdivision  fourteen  of  this  section.  For
    13  purposes  of this section, registration shall also include pre-registra-
    14  tion pursuant to section 5-507 of this article.
    15    2. For each application submitted to  the  agency,  whether  electron-
    16  ically  or  on  paper,  the  agency shall transmit to the state board of
    17  elections through an interface with the  electronic  voter  registration
    18  transmittal  system  established  and  maintained  by the state board of
    19  elections that portion of the application that includes voter  registra-
    20  tion  information.  The  state  board  of elections shall electronically
    21  forward such application to the applicable board of  elections  of  each
    22  county  or  the city of New York for filing, processing and verification
    23  consistent with this chapter.
    24    3. An integrated voter registration form submitted  to  an  agency  in
    25  paper  format  shall  be  transmitted  to  the  state board of elections
    26  through an electronic voter registration transmittal system by  convert-
    27  ing  the  paper form to an image file or a portable document format file
    28  which shall thereafter be deemed the original form for  voter  registra-
    29  tion  and  enrollment  purposes.  The  agency  shall retain the complete
    30  original paper application for no less than two years.  The  transmittal
    31  of the converted paper application may include or be accompanied by data
    32  elements  and transmittal information as required by the rules and regu-
    33  lations of the state board of elections.
    34    4. An integrated voter registration application submitted to an agency
    35  in an electronic format shall be  transmitted  to  the  state  board  of
    36  elections  through  the electronic voter registration transmittal system
    37  and shall include all of the voter registration data elements, including
    38  electronic signature, as applicable, and record of  attestation  of  the
    39  accuracy of the voter registration information and any relevant document
    40  images.
    41    5. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no agency designated
    42  under  this  section  shall transmit to the state board of elections any
    43  application for registration for a person that is,  by  virtue  of  data
    44  collected  by  the  agency  during  the same application for services or
    45  change of address or name transaction, demonstrably ineligible to regis-
    46  ter or pre-register to vote by reason of age or not being a  citizen  of
    47  the United States.
    48    6.  The voter registration related portion of each agency's integrated
    49  application for services or assistance shall:
    50    (a) include a statement of  the  eligibility  requirements  for  voter
    51  registration  and  shall  require  the applicant to attest by his or her
    52  signature that he or she  meets  those  requirements  under  penalty  of
    53  perjury unless such applicant declines such registration;
    54    (b)  inform  the  applicant,  in  print  identical to that used in the
    55  attestation section of the following:
    56    (i) voter eligibility requirements;

        S. 6457--B                          3

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

        S. 6457--B                          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 and the department of health, as well as
     6  any other agency designated by  the  governor.  Each  designated  agency
     7  shall enter into an agreement with the state board of elections finaliz-
     8  ing  the format and content of electronic transmissions required by this
     9  section.  The state board of elections shall prepare and  distribute  to
    10  designated agencies written instructions as to the implementation of the
    11  program  and shall be responsible for establishing training programs for
    12  employees  of  designated  agencies  listed  in  this  section.     Such
    13  instructions  and such training shall ensure usability of the integrated
    14  application for low English proficiency voters.    Any  such  designated
    15  agency  shall  take  all  actions  that are necessary and proper for the
    16  implementation of this  section,  including  facilitating  technological
    17  capabilities to allow transmission of data through an interface with the
    18  electronic voter registration transmittal system in a secure manner.
    19    14. Each year, the governor shall conduct a review of each participat-
    20  ing agency under section 5-211 of this article not already designated as
    21  an  automatic  voter registration agency pursuant to this subdivision in
    22  order to determine whether  designation  is  appropriate.  The  governor
    23  shall  designate  each participating agency that collects information or
    24  documents that would provide proof of eligibility  to  vote  unless  the
    25  governor  determines  that  there  are  compelling reasons why automatic
    26  voter registration is not feasible at the agency. If the governor should
    27  determine that there are compelling reasons why automatic  voter  regis-
    28  tration  is  not  feasible  at  an  agency, the governor shall prepare a
    29  report explaining those reasons to the legislature by  the  end  of  the
    30  calendar year in which that determination is made. Any agency designated
    31  by  the  governor  pursuant  to this subdivision shall provide automatic
    32  voter registration upon the earlier occurrence of: (a) two  years  after
    33  designation  by the governor, or (b) five days after the date of certif-
    34  ication by the state board of elections that the information  technology
    35  infrastructure to substantially implement the provisions of this section
    36  at the agency is functional.
    37    15.  The  state  board  of  elections shall promulgate rules and regu-
    38  lations for the creation and administration of an integrated  electronic
    39  voter registration process as provided for by this section.
    40    §  5-902.  Failure to receive exemplar signature not to prevent regis-
    41  tration. If a voter registration exemplar signature is not received from
    42  an applicant who submits a voter registration or pre-registration appli-
    43  cation pursuant to this title and such signature exemplar is not  other-
    44  wise available from the statewide voter registration database or a state
    45  or  local  agency,  the  local  board of elections shall, absent another
    46  reason to reject the application, proceed to  register  or  pre-register
    47  and,  as  applicable,  enroll  the  applicant.  Within  ten days of such
    48  action, the board of elections shall send a standard form promulgated by
    49  the state board of elections to the voter whose record lacks an exemplar
    50  signature, requiring such voter to submit a signature for identification
    51  purposes. The voter shall submit to  the  board  of  elections  a  voter
    52  registration  exemplar signature by any one of the following methods: in
    53  person, by mail with return  postage  paid  provided  by  the  board  of
    54  elections,  by  electronic mail, or by electronic upload to the board of
    55  elections through the electronic voter registration transmittal  system.
    56  If such voter does not provide the required exemplar signature, when the

        S. 6457--B                          5

     1  voter  appears  to vote the voter shall be entitled to vote by affidavit
     2  ballot.
     3    § 5-904. Presumption of innocent authorized error.  1. Notwithstanding
     4  subdivision six of section 5-210 of this article or any other law to the
     5  contrary,  a  person  who  is ineligible to vote who fails to decline to
     6  register or pre-register to vote in accordance with  the  provisions  of
     7  this  section  and  did  not willfully and knowingly seek to register or
     8  pre-register to vote knowing that he or she is not eligible to do so:
     9    (a) shall not be guilty of any crime as the result of the  applicant's
    10  failure to make such declination;
    11    (b)  shall  be  deemed  to have been registered or pre-registered with
    12  official authorization; and
    13    (c) such act may not be considered as evidence of a claim to  citizen-
    14  ship.
    15    2. Notwithstanding subdivision six of section 5-210 of this article or
    16  any  other  law  to the contrary, a person who is ineligible to vote who
    17  fails to decline to register or pre-register to vote in accordance  with
    18  the  provisions  of  this  section, who then either votes or attempts to
    19  vote in an election held after  the  effective  date  of  that  person's
    20  registration,  and  who did not willfully and knowingly seek to register
    21  or pre-register to vote knowing that he or she is not eligible to do so,
    22  and did not subsequently vote or attempt to vote knowing that he or  she
    23  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 and subsequent vote or attempt to vote;
    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    § 5-906. Forms. The state board of elections  shall  promulgate  rules
    31  and  regulations  to  implement this title. All agency forms and notices
    32  required by  this  title  shall  be  approved  by  the  state  board  of
    33  elections.  All applications and notices for use by a board of elections
    34  pursuant to this title shall  be  promulgated  by  the  state  board  of
    35  elections,  and  no  addition or alternation to such forms by a board of
    36  elections  shall  be  made  without  approval  of  the  state  board  of
    37  elections.
    38    § 3. The election law is amended by adding a new section 5-308 to read
    39  as follows:
    40    §  5-308.  Enrollment;  automatic  voter registration. 1. The board of
    41  elections shall, promptly and  not  later  than  twenty-one  days  after
    42  receipt  of a voter registration or pre-registration application submit-
    43  ted pursuant to title nine of this article by  a  voter  registering  or
    44  pre-registering  for  the  first  time,  send any such voter who did not
    45  enroll in a party a notice and a form to indicate party enrollment, with
    46  return postage paid by the board of elections.  Such notice shall  offer
    47  the voter the opportunity to enroll with a party or to decline to enroll
    48  with  a  party  and contain a statement in prominent type "IF YOU DO NOT
    49  CHOOSE A PARTY YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN PRIMARY  ELECTIONS
    50  FOR  THAT  PARTY."  Such  form shall provide a clear alternative for the
    51  applicant to decline to affiliate  with  any  party.  If  the  board  of
    52  elections has not received a response to the party enrollment notice and
    53  form  within  forty-five days of the application, the board shall mail a
    54  second similar notice and form to the voter.
    55    2. Notwithstanding subdivision two of section 5-304 of this title,  if
    56  a  voter  who  registered to vote for the first time (or pre-registered)

        S. 6457--B                          6

     1  pursuant to title nine of this article responds to the  notice  required
     2  by subdivision one of this section and elects to enroll in a party, such
     3  enrollment  shall take effect immediately. However, any pre-registrant's
     4  registration  shall  remain  classified  as  "pending"  until  he or she
     5  reaches the age of eligibility.
     6    3. If a voter appears at a primary election  and  votes  by  affidavit
     7  ballot  indicating  the  intent  to enroll in such party, such affidavit
     8  ballot shall cause the voter to be enrolled immediately in that party if
     9  the board of elections determines that the voter registered (or  pre-re-
    10  gistered)  to  vote  for  the  first time pursuant to title nine of this
    11  article.
    12    4. If a voter appears at a primary election  and  votes  by  affidavit
    13  ballot  indicating  the  intent  to enroll in such party, such affidavit
    14  ballot shall be cast and counted if the board  of  elections  determines
    15  that  the  voter registered (or pre-registered) to vote at least twenty-
    16  five days before that primary pursuant to title nine of this article and
    17  such voter is otherwise qualified to vote in such election.
    18    § 4. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 9-209 of  the  election
    19  law is amended by adding a new subparagraph (vii) to read as follows:
    20    (vii)  If  the  board of elections finds that the voter registered (or
    21  pre-registered) to vote for the first time pursuant  to  title  nine  of
    22  article five of this chapter at least twenty-five days before a primary,
    23  appeared at such primary election, and indicated on the affidavit ballot
    24  envelope  the intent to enroll in such party, the affidavit ballot shall
    25  be cast and counted if the voter is otherwise qualified to vote in  such
    26  election.
    27    § 5. This act shall take effect on the earlier occurrence of:  (i) two
    28  years  after  it  shall  have become a law; provided, however, the state
    29  board of elections shall be authorized to implement necessary rules  and
    30  regulations  and to take steps required to implement this act immediate-
    31  ly; or (ii) five days after the date of certification by the state board
    32  of elections that the information technology infrastructure to  substan-
    33  tially  implement  this  act is functional.   Provided, further that the
    34  state board of elections shall  notify  the  legislative  bill  drafting
    35  commission  upon  the  occurrence  of  the  enactment of the legislation
    36  provided for in this act in order that the commission  may  maintain  an
    37  accurate and timely effective data base of the official text of the laws
    38  of  the  state of New York in furtherance of effectuating the provisions
    39  of section 44 of the legislative law and  section  70-b  of  the  public
    40  officers law.
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