Bill Text: NY A03339 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Amended

Bill Title: Lowers the voting age to 16 years and requires that students receive education in civics and be given the opportunity to register to vote in the classroom.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 32-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-02 - print number 3339a [A03339 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A03339-Amended.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 29, 2019
        Introduced   by   M.   of  A.  CARROLL,  NIOU,  D'URSO,  ORTIZ,  COLTON,
          PEOPLES-STOKES, TAYLOR, JAFFEE, EPSTEIN -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of
          A.  BUCHWALD,  LENTOL  --  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 the qualifications of
          voters; and to amend the education law, in relation to civic education
          and student voter registration
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  Subdivision  1  of  section  5-102 of the election law is
     2  amended to read as follows:
     3    1. No person shall be qualified  to  register  for  and  vote  at  any
     4  election  unless  [he] such person is a citizen of the United States and
     5  is or will be, on the day of such election, [eighteen] sixteen years  of
     6  age  or  over,  and  a resident of this state and of the county, city or
     7  village for a minimum of thirty days next preceding such election.
     8    § 2. Paragraph (g) of subdivision 5 of section 5-210 of  the  election
     9  law,  as  amended by chapter 179 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read
    10  as follows:
    11    (g) Notice that the applicant must be a citizen of the United  States,
    12  is  or  will  be  at  least  [eighteen] sixteen years old not later than
    13  December thirty-first of the calendar year in which he or she  registers
    14  and a resident of the county or city to which application is made.
    15    § 2-a. Paragraph (g) of subdivision 5 of section 5-210 of the election
    16  law,  as amended by chapter 2 of the laws of 2019, is amended to read as
    17  follows:
    18    (g) Notice that the applicant must be a citizen of the United  States,
    19  is  or  will  be  at  least sixteen years old [when he or she submits an
    20  application to register to vote which will be  effective  for  elections
    21  occurring  on  or  after  the applicant turns eighteen years of age] not
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 3339--A                          2
     1  later than December thirty-first of the calendar year in which he or she
     2  registers and a resident of the county or city to which  application  is
     3  made.
     4    § 3. Subdivision 3 of section 8-504 of the election law, as renumbered
     5  by chapter 373 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows:
     6    3.  After  receiving the answers as above specified, of any applicant,
     7  the board shall, if it believes the applicant to  be  qualified  or  the
     8  challenge  is withdrawn, permit him or her to vote. Otherwise, the board
     9  shall point out to him or her the qualifications, if any, in respect  of
    10  which he or she shall appear deficient. If, after such deficiencies have
    11  been  so  indicated,  the applicant shall persist in his or her claim to
    12  vote, an inspector shall administer to him or her  the  following  oath,
    13  which  shall  be  known  as  "The Qualification Oath": "You do swear (or
    14  affirm) that you are [eighteen] sixteen years of age,  that  you  are  a
    15  citizen  of  the United States and that you have been a resident of this
    16  state, and of this county (of the city of New York) (village) for thirty
    17  days next preceding this election, that you still  reside  at  the  same
    18  address  from  which  you  have  been  duly  registered in this election
    19  district, that you have not voted at this election, and that you do  not
    20  know  of  any reason why you are not qualified to vote at this election.
    21  You do further declare that you are aware that it is a crime to make any
    22  false statement. That all the statements you have made to the board have
    23  been true and that you understand that a false statement is perjury  and
    24  you will be guilty of a misdemeanor."
    25    §  4.  Subdivisions  1  and  3 of section 801 of the education law, as
    26  amended by chapter 574 of the laws of 1997, are amended and a new subdi-
    27  vision 6 is added to read as follows:
    28    1. In order to promote a spirit of patriotic  and  civic  service  and
    29  obligation  and  to foster in the children of the state moral and intel-
    30  lectual qualities which are essential in preparing  to  meet  the  obli-
    31  gations of citizenship in peace or in war, the regents of The University
    32  of  the  State  of  New  York  shall prescribe courses of instruction in
    33  patriotism, citizenship  and  civics,  and  human  rights  issues,  with
    34  particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery
    35  (including  the  freedom trail and underground railroad), the Holocaust,
    36  and the mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1850, to  be  maintained
    37  and  followed  in  all the schools of the state. The boards of education
    38  and trustees of the several cities and school  districts  of  the  state
    39  shall  require  instruction to be given in such courses, by the teachers
    40  employed in the schools therein. All pupils attending such schools, over
    41  the age of eight years, shall attend upon such instruction.  All  pupils
    42  in  the  ninth  and  higher  grades shall receive civic education for at
    43  least eight full class periods, in accordance with the department's 9-12
    44  social studies framework.
    45    Similar courses of instruction shall be prescribed and  maintained  in
    46  private  schools  in the state, and all pupils in such schools in grades
    47  or classes corresponding to the instruction in  the  eighth  and  higher
    48  grades  of  the  public  schools shall attend upon such courses. If such
    49  courses are not so established  and  maintained  in  a  private  school,
    50  attendance  upon instruction in such school shall not be deemed substan-
    51  tially equivalent to instruction given to pupils in the  public  schools
    52  of the city or district in which such pupils reside.
    53    3.  The  regents  shall  determine the subjects to be included in such
    54  courses of instruction in patriotism, citizenship and civics, and  human
    55  rights  issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity
    56  of genocide, slavery (including the freedom trail and underground  rail-

        A. 3339--A                          3
     1  road),  the  Holocaust,  and the mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to
     2  1850, and in the  history,  meaning,  significance  and  effect  of  the
     3  provisions  of  the  constitution  of  the United States, the amendments
     4  thereto,  the declaration of independence, the constitution of the state
     5  of New York and the amendments thereto, and the period of instruction in
     6  each of the grades in such subjects. They shall  adopt  rules  providing
     7  for  attendance  upon such instruction and for such other matters as are
     8  required for carrying into effect  the  objects  and  purposes  of  this
     9  section.  The  commissioner  shall be responsible for the enforcement of
    10  such section and shall cause to be inspected and supervise the  instruc-
    11  tion  to  be  given  in  such  subjects.  The  commissioner  may, in his
    12  discretion, cause all or a portion of the  public  school  money  to  be
    13  apportioned  to  a  district  or  city to be withheld for failure of the
    14  school authorities of such district or city to  provide  instruction  in
    15  such  courses  and to compel attendance upon such instruction, as herein
    16  prescribed, and for a non-compliance  with  the  rules  of  the  regents
    17  adopted as herein provided.
    18     6.  a.  The  regents,  in  collaboration  with  the  state  board  of
    19  elections, shall make available to each high  school  two  forms  to  be
    20  distributed to all pupils who shall be sixteen years of age on or before
    21  December  thirty-first  of each year. Such forms shall be distributed on
    22  one date between the second and fifth school day in the month of January
    23  of each year.
    24    b. The first form to be distributed pursuant to this subdivision shall
    25  be a standard voter registration form as prescribed by section 5-210  of
    26  the  election law. Such form shall be completed for each eligible pupil,
    27  by school administrators who shall complete each field of the  registra-
    28  tion  form  except  the  fields  pertaining to citizenship status, party
    29  affiliation, signature and date. The content of  the  registration  form
    30  shall  be  explained  to  all  pupils  to whom forms are distributed and
    31  pupils shall be directed to correct any incorrect information previously
    32  completed by school administrators.
    33    c. The second form to be  distributed  pursuant  to  this  subdivision
    34  shall  be  entitled  "Voter Registration Opt-Out Form" and shall contain
    35  the following statement: "I, the undersigned, decline to register  as  a
    36  voter  in  the  State  of  New York at this time, and defer my choice of
    37  registration in the State of New York to a future date of my  choosing."
    38  Such  form  shall  be  created  by the regents in collaboration with the
    39  state board of elections.
    40    d. Pupils shall be given classroom time to  have  the  opportunity  to
    41  complete either the standard voter registration form or the voter regis-
    42  tration opt-out form. After pupils have had time to complete both forms,
    43  school  administrators  shall collect both forms from all pupils to whom
    44  the forms were distributed.  School administrators shall be required  to
    45  dispose  of  all  voter  registration  forms for pupils who elect to not
    46  register to vote.
    47    § 5. This act shall take effect on  the  same  date  as  a  concurrent
    48  resolution amending the constitution, entitled "CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF
    49  THE  SENATE  AND ASSEMBLY proposing amendments to section 1 of article 2
    50  of the constitution, in relation to the voting age"; provided,  however,
    51  that  the  amendments  made to paragraph (g) of subdivision 5 of section
    52  5-210 of the election law made by section two-a of this act, shall  take
    53  effect on the same date and same manner as section 2 of chapter 2 of the
    54  laws of 2019 takes effect.