Bill Text: NY A03288 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Amended


Bill Title: Provides for automatic voter registration when registering a motor vehicle as well as when applying for services or assistance through a state agency, and allows for later implementation of automatic voter registration at other state agencies in the future.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 16-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-08 - print number 3288a [A03288 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A03288-Amended.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                         3288--A
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 29, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  CARROLL,  GALEF,  COLTON, BENEDETTO, MOSLEY,
          D'URSO, BLAKE, NIOU, BICHOTTE,  RICHARDSON,  PHEFFER AMATO,  JONES  --
          Multi-Sponsored  by -- M.  of A. ENGLEBRIGHT, HYNDMAN -- read once and
          referred to the Committee on Election  Law  --  committee  discharged,
          bill  amended,  ordered  reprinted  as amended and recommitted to said
          committee
        AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to providing for automatic
          voter registration at the department of  motor  vehicles  and  certain
          other  state  agencies,  and  allowing for the later implementation of
          automatic voter registration at other state agencies in the future
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1. Section 5-212 of the election law, as added by chapter 659
     2  of the laws of 1994 and subdivisions 6 and 9 as amended by  chapter  200
     3  of the laws of 1996, is amended to read as follows:
     4    § 5-212. Motor vehicle registration. 1. In addition to any other meth-
     5  od  of  voter  registration  provided for in this article, any qualified
     6  person [may apply for registration and enrollment  by  application  made
     7  simultaneously  and  integrated with] who completes an application for a
     8  motor vehicle driver's license, a driver's license renewal or  an  iden-
     9  tification  card  if  such  a  card is issued by the department of motor
    10  vehicles in its normal course of business, shall automatically be regis-
    11  tered to vote unless the person declines.  Every  qualified  person  who
    12  completes  such  an  application  shall  be  provided the opportunity to
    13  decline registration during the application process.
    14    2. The department of motor vehicles, with the approval  of  the  state
    15  board  of  elections, shall design [a] an electronic form or forms which
    16  shall, in addition to eliciting such information as may be  required  by
    17  the  department  of  motor  vehicles  for a driver's license, a driver's
    18  license renewal, a change of address notification or  an  identification
    19  card,  serve  as  an  application  for registration and enrollment, or a
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD02053-04-9

        A. 3288--A                          2
     1  registration necessitated by a change of residence.  The  cost  of  such
     2  forms shall be borne by the department of motor vehicles.
     3    3. The voter registration portion of such forms:
     4    (a)  shall not require any information that duplicates the information
     5  required on the application for the driver  license  portion  and  shall
     6  require  only  such  additional  information,  including the applicant's
     7  signature, as will enable election officials to assess  the  applicant's
     8  eligibility  to  register to vote, prevent duplicate registration and to
     9  administer voter registration and other parts of the election process.
    10    (b) shall include a statement  of  the  eligibility  requirements  for
    11  voter  registration  and  shall  require  the applicant to attest by his
    12  signature that he meets those requirements under penalty of perjury.
    13    (c) shall inform the applicant, in print identical to that used in the
    14  attestation section of the following:
    15    (i) voter eligibility requirements;
    16    (ii) penalties for submission of false registration application;
    17    (iii) that the office where applicant registers shall remain confiden-
    18  tial and the information be used only for voter registration purposes;
    19    (iv) if the applicant declines  to  register,  his  declination  shall
    20  remain confidential and be used only for voter registration purposes;
    21    4. Included on the form [or on a separate form] shall be:
    22    (a)  [the  question, "If you are not registered to vote where you live
    23  now, would you like to apply to register here today?"] a notice that  if
    24  the  applicant is eligible to register to vote, the information provided
    25  on the application will be used to register the applicant to vote, or to
    26  update the applicant's registration, unless the applicant declines.
    27    (b) [boxes] a box for the applicant to check to indicate [whether]  if
    28  the applicant would like to [register or] decline to register to vote.
    29    (c) [the statement in prominent type, "IF YOU DO NOT CHECK EITHER BOX,
    30  YOU  WILL  BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO REGISTER TO VOTE AT THIS
    31  TIME."
    32    (d)] the statement, "If you would like help in filling out the  [voter
    33  registration]  application  form, we will help you. The decision whether
    34  to seek or accept help is yours.  You may fill out the application  form
    35  in private."
    36    [(e)]  (d)  the statement, "If you believe that someone has interfered
    37  with your right to register or decline to register to vote,  your  right
    38  to privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying to register to
    39  vote,  or  your  right to choose your own political party or other poli-
    40  tical preference, you may file a  complaint  with  the  state  board  of
    41  elections (address and toll free telephone number)."
    42    [(f)]  (e) a toll free number at the state board of elections that can
    43  be called for answers to registration questions.
    44    (f) a notice that an applicant who is a victim of domestic violence or
    45  stalking may decline the automatic voter registration  and  contact  the
    46  state  board  of  elections  for assistance in voting without disclosing
    47  their address.
    48    5. The form containing the declination to register to  vote  shall  be
    49  retained by the department of motor vehicles for the same period of time
    50  as  such department retains the accompanying application for services or
    51  for such shorter period of time as may be approved by the state board of
    52  elections.
    53    6. The department of motor vehicles shall promptly transmit  electron-
    54  ically that portion of the form which constitutes the completed applica-
    55  tion  for  registration  or  change of address form to the [appropriate]
    56  state board of elections [not later than ten days after  receipt  except

        A. 3288--A                          3

     1  that  all  such completed applications and forms received by the depart-
     2  ment between the thirtieth and twenty-fifth day before an election shall
     3  be transmitted in such manner and  at  such  time  as  to  assure  their
     4  receipt  by  such  board  of  elections not later than the twentieth day
     5  before such election].  All transmittals shall include [original  signa-
     6  tures] an image of the applicant's signature.
     7    7.  Completed  application  forms  received by the department of motor
     8  vehicles not later than the twenty-fifth day  before  the  next  ensuing
     9  primary, general or special election [and transmitted by such department
    10  to  the  appropriate  board  of  elections so that they are received not
    11  later than the twentieth day before such  election]  shall  entitle  the
    12  applicant  to  vote  in such election provided the board determines that
    13  the applicant is otherwise qualified.
    14    8. Disclosure of voter registration information, including a  declina-
    15  tion  to  register,  by  the department of motor vehicles, its agents or
    16  employees, for other than voter registration purposes, shall  be  deemed
    17  an  unwarranted  invasion of personal privacy pursuant to the provisions
    18  of subdivision two of section eighty-nine of the public officers law and
    19  shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
    20    9. Application forms shall be processed by the board of  elections  in
    21  the  manner  prescribed by section 5-210 of this title or, if the appli-
    22  cant is already registered to vote from another address in  such  county
    23  or  city,  in the manner prescribed by section 5-208 of this title.  The
    24  board shall send the appropriate notice  of  approval  or  rejection  as
    25  required by either subdivision nine of such section 5-210 or subdivision
    26  five of such section 5-208.
    27    10.  Strict  neutrality  with  respect  to a person's party enrollment
    28  shall be maintained and all persons seeking voter registration forms and
    29  information shall be advised that government  services  are  not  condi-
    30  tioned on being registered to vote.
    31    11.  No statement shall be made nor any action taken to discourage the
    32  applicant from registering to vote.
    33    12. The department of motor vehicles shall provide to each person  who
    34  chooses  to  register  to  vote the same level of assistance provided to
    35  persons in connection with the completion of  the  agency's  own  forms,
    36  unless such person refuses such assistance.
    37    13.  The  state board shall adopt such rules and regulations as may be
    38  necessary to carry out the requirements of this section. The board shall
    39  also adopt such rules and regulations as may  be  necessary  to  require
    40  county  boards and the department of motor vehicles to provide the state
    41  board with such information and data as the  board  deems  necessary  to
    42  assess  compliance  with  this section and to compile such statistics as
    43  may be required by the federal elections commission.
    44    14. The state board shall develop and  distribute  public  information
    45  and promotional materials relating to the purposes and implementation of
    46  this program.
    47    15.  The state board shall prepare and distribute to the department of
    48  motor vehicles written instructions as  to  the  implementation  of  the
    49  program  and shall be responsible for establishing training programs for
    50  employees of the department of motor vehicles involved in such program.
    51    16. The commissioner of motor vehicles shall take  all  actions  which
    52  are  necessary  and  proper  for the implementation of this section. The
    53  commissioner of motor vehicles shall designate  one  person  within  the
    54  agency  as the agency voter registration coordinator who will, under the
    55  direction of the state board of elections, be responsible for the  voter
    56  registration program in such agency.

        A. 3288--A                          4
     1    17. If a person who is not entitled to vote becomes registered to vote
     2  pursuant  to  this section, that person shall be presumed to have regis-
     3  tered with official authorization, the registration shall not be consid-
     4  ered as evidence of a claim to citizenship, and the person shall not  be
     5  deemed to have committed a crime under section 5-210 of this title. This
     6  subdivision  shall  not  apply  to  a person who knowingly and willfully
     7  makes a false statement to effectuate voter registration.
     8    § 2. The election law is amended by adding a new section 5-209 to read
     9  as follows:
    10    § 5-209. Automatic voter registration. 1. In  addition  to  any  other
    11  method of voter registration provided for in this article, any qualified
    12  person  who  completes  an  application for services or assistance at an
    13  automatic voter registration agency shall automatically be registered to
    14  vote unless the person declines. Every qualified  person  who  completes
    15  such  an application shall be provided the opportunity to decline regis-
    16  tration during the application process.
    17    2. For purposes of this section, an automatic voter registration agen-
    18  cy shall mean:
    19    (a) the department of health; and
    20    (b) any other state agency that the governor designates, provided that
    21  the governor may only designate an agency as an automatic  voter  regis-
    22  tration  agency  after verifying that the agency collects information or
    23  documents that would provide proof of eligibility to vote.
    24    3. For any automatic voter registration agency that is a participating
    25  agency under section 5-211 of this title, the procedures  set  forth  in
    26  this section shall replace the procedures for registration at that agen-
    27  cy  set forth in such section. The voter registration coordinator desig-
    28  nated by each agency shall remain responsible for voter registration  in
    29  such agency.
    30    4.  Each year, the governor shall conduct a review of each participat-
    31  ing agency under section 5-211 of this title not already  designated  as
    32  an  automatic  voter  registration  agency in order to determine whether
    33  such designation is  appropriate.  The  governor  shall  designate  each
    34  participating  agency  that collects information or documents that would
    35  provide proof of eligibility to vote unless the  board  determines  that
    36  there  are  compelling  reasons  why automatic voter registration is not
    37  feasible at the agency. If the governor should determine that there  are
    38  compelling  reasons  why automatic voter registration is not feasible at
    39  an agency, the governor shall prepare a report explaining those  reasons
    40  to  the legislature by the end of the calendar year in which that deter-
    41  mination is made.
    42    5. Automatic voter registration agencies, with  the  approval  of  the
    43  state  board of elections, shall each design an electronic form or forms
    44  which shall, in  addition  to  eliciting  such  information  as  may  be
    45  required  by  each department for an application for services or assist-
    46  ance, serve as an application for  registration  and  enrollment,  or  a
    47  registration  necessitated  by  a change or residence. Each agency shall
    48  bear the cost of its own forms.
    49    6. The voter registration portion of such forms:
    50    (a) shall not require any information that duplicates the  information
    51  required  on  the application for services or assistance from the agency
    52  and shall require  only  such  additional  information  as  will  enable
    53  election  officials to assess the applicant's eligibility to register to
    54  vote, prevent duplicate registration and to administer  voter  registra-
    55  tion and other parts of the election process;

        A. 3288--A                          5
     1    (b)  shall  include  a  statement  of the eligibility requirements for
     2  voter registration and shall require the  applicant  to  attest  by  his
     3  signature that he meets those requirements under penalty of perjury; and
     4    (c) shall inform the applicant, in print identical to that used in the
     5  attestation section of the following:
     6    (i) voter eligibility requirements;
     7    (ii) penalties for submission of false registration application;
     8    (iii) that the office where applicant registers shall remain confiden-
     9  tial  and  the information be used only for voter registration purposes;
    10  and
    11    (iv) if the applicant declines  to  register,  the  declination  shall
    12  remain confidential and be used only for voter registration purposes.
    13    7. Included on the form shall be:
    14    (a)  a  notice  that if the applicant is eligible to register to vote,
    15  the information provided on the application will be used to register the
    16  applicant to vote, or to update the applicant's registration, unless the
    17  applicant declines;
    18    (b) a box for the applicant to check to indicate  that  the  applicant
    19  would like to decline to register to vote;
    20    (c) the statement, "If you would like help in filling out the applica-
    21  tion  form,  we  will help you.   The decision whether to seek or accept
    22  help is yours. You may fill out the application form in private.";
    23    (d) the statement, "applying to register or declining to  register  to
    24  vote  will not affect the amount of assistance that you will be provided
    25  by this agency.";
    26    (e) the statement, "If you believe that someone  has  interfered  with
    27  your  right  to  register  or decline to register to vote, your right to
    28  privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying  to  register  to
    29  vote,  or  your  right to choose your own political party or other poli-
    30  tical preference, you may file a  complaint  with  the  state  board  of
    31  elections (address and toll free telephone number).";
    32    (f)  a  toll  free  number at the state board of elections that can be
    33  called for answers to registration questions; and
    34    (g) a notice that an applicant who is a victim of domestic violence or
    35  stalking may decline the automatic voter registration  and  contact  the
    36  state  board  of  elections  for assistance in voting without disclosing
    37  their address.
    38    8. The form containing the declination to register to  vote  shall  be
    39  retained  by  the  agency for the same period of time as such department
    40  retains the accompanying application for services or assistance  or  for
    41  such  shorter  period  of  time as may be approved by the state board of
    42  elections.
    43    9. Automatic voter registration agencies shall each promptly  transmit
    44  electronically  that portion of the form which constitutes the completed
    45  application for registration or change of  address  form  to  the  state
    46  board  of  elections.  All  transmittals  shall  include an image of the
    47  applicant's signature.
    48    10. Completed application forms received by an automatic voter  regis-
    49  tration agency not later than the twenty-fifth day before the next ensu-
    50  ing  primary, general or special election shall entitle the applicant to
    51  vote in such election provided the board determines that  the  applicant
    52  is otherwise qualified.
    53    11. Disclosure of voter registration information, including a declina-
    54  tion  to register, by an automatic voter registration agency, its agents
    55  or employees, for other  than  voter  registration  purposes,  shall  be
    56  deemed  an  unwarranted  invasion  of  personal  privacy pursuant to the

        A. 3288--A                          6
     1  provisions of subdivision two of section eighty-nine of the public offi-
     2  cers law and shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
     3    12.  Application forms shall be processed by the board of elections in
     4  the manner prescribed by section 5-210 of this title or, if  the  appli-
     5  cant  is  already registered to vote from another address in such county
     6  or city, in the manner prescribed by section 5-208 of this title.    The
     7  board  shall  send  the  appropriate  notice of approval or rejection as
     8  required by either subdivision nine of such section 5-210 or subdivision
     9  five of such section 5-208.
    10    13. Strict neutrality with respect  to  a  person's  party  enrollment
    11  shall  be maintained and all applicants for services or assistance shall
    12  be advised that government services are not conditioned on being  regis-
    13  tered to vote.
    14    14.  No statement shall be made nor any action taken to discourage the
    15  applicant from registering to vote.
    16    15. Automatic voter registration agencies shall provide to each person
    17  who chooses to register to vote the same level of assistance provided to
    18  persons in connection with the completion of  the  agency's  own  forms,
    19  unless such person refuses such assistance.
    20    16.  The  state board shall adopt such rules and regulations as may be
    21  necessary to carry out the requirements of this section. The board shall
    22  also adopt such rules and regulations as may  be  necessary  to  require
    23  county  boards  and automatic voter registration agencies to provide the
    24  state board with such information and data as the board deems  necessary
    25  to assess compliance with this section and to compile such statistics as
    26  may be required by the federal elections commission.
    27    17.  The  state  board shall develop and distribute public information
    28  and promotional materials relating to the purposes and implementation of
    29  this program.
    30    18. The state board shall prepare  and  distribute  to  the  automatic
    31  voter  registration  agencies written instructions as to the implementa-
    32  tion of the program and shall be responsible for  establishing  training
    33  programs  for  employees  of  the  automatic voter registration agencies
    34  involved in such program.
    35    19. If a person who is not entitled to vote becomes registered to vote
    36  pursuant to this section, that person shall be presumed to  have  regis-
    37  tered with official authorization, the registration shall not be consid-
    38  ered  as evidence of a claim to citizenship, and the person shall not be
    39  deemed to have committed a crime under section 5-210 of this title. This
    40  subdivision shall not apply to a  person  who  knowingly  and  willfully
    41  makes a false statement to effectuate voter registration.
    42    §  3. This act shall take effect one year after it shall have become a
    43  law.
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