Bill Text: NY A06727 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Enacts the "Voter Enfranchisement Modernization Act"; relates to establishing the electronic personal voter registration process; provides for online voter registration.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 19-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-09 - enacting clause stricken [A06727 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A06727-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     March 15, 2019
        Introduced  by M. of A. CUSICK, LIFTON, CARROLL, GALEF, ORTIZ, ABINANTI,
          L. ROSENTHAL,  JAFFEE, ENGLEBRIGHT, PAULIN -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M.
          of A. BRONSON -- read once and referred to the Committee  on  Election
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the  election law, in relation to enacting the Voter
          Enfranchisement Modernization Act of 2019; in relation to establishing
          the electronic personal voter registration process
          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 as and may be cited as
     2  the "Voter Enfranchisement Modernization Act of 2019 (VEMA)".
     3    §  2. Declaration of Legislative Intent. The right to vote is a funda-
     4  mental right, the well-spring of all others, secured by the federal  and
     5  state constitutions. On-line forms of communication and conducting tran-
     6  sactions  did  not exist at the time New York's paper-based voter regis-
     7  tration system was enacted. In the last twenty years,  many  paper-based
     8  processes  have  migrated  to  on-line  processes,  including filing tax
     9  returns, applying for social security benefits, routine  banking  trans-
    10  actions, official communications and purchase transactions of all types.
    11  This  on-line migration has improved cost efficiency, increased accessi-
    12  bility and provided greater convenience to the public in many  contexts.
    13  The  predominantly paper-based voter registration application process in
    14  New York is antiquated and  must  be  supplemented  with  on-line  voter
    15  registration.  To remove unnecessary burdens to the fundamental right of
    16  the  people  to  vote,  the State Board of Elections shall establish the
    17  Voter Enfranchisement Modernization Program for the purpose of  increas-
    18  ing  opportunities for voter registration by any person who is qualified
    19  to be a voter under Article II of the New York State Constitution.  This
    20  effort  modernizes  voter  registration  and  supplements the methods of
    21  voter registration provided under current law.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 6727                             2
     1    § 3. Article 5 of the election law is amended by adding a new title  8
     2  to read as follows:
     3                                 TITLE VIII
     5  Section 5-800. Electronic voter registration transmittal system.
     6          5-802. Online voter registration application.
     7          5-804. Failure  to  provide  exemplar  signature  not to prevent
     8                   registration.
     9    § 5-800. Electronic voter registration transmittal system. In addition
    10  to any other means of voter registration provided for by  this  chapter,
    11  the  state board of elections shall establish and maintain an electronic
    12  voter registration transmittal system through which applicants may apply
    13  to register to vote online.  The state board of  elections  shall  elec-
    14  tronically  transmit  such  applications  to  the  applicable  board  of
    15  elections of each county or the city of New York for filing,  processing
    16  and  verification consistent with this chapter. In accordance with tech-
    17  nical specifications provided by the  state  board  of  elections,  each
    18  board of elections shall maintain a voter registration system capable of
    19  receiving  and  processing  voter  registration application information,
    20  including electronic signatures, from the electronic voter  registration
    21  transmittal system established by the state board of elections. Notwith-
    22  standing  any other inconsistent provision of this chapter, applications
    23  filed using such system shall be considered filed  with  the  applicable
    24  board  of  elections  on  the calendar date the application is initially
    25  transmitted by the voter through the electronic voter registration tran-
    26  smittal system.
    27    § 5-802. Online voter registration application. 1. A  voter  shall  be
    28  able  to  apply to register to vote using a personal online voter regis-
    29  tration application submitted through the electronic voter  registration
    30  transmittal system when the voter:
    31    (a) completes an electronic voter registration application promulgated
    32  by  the  state  board  of elections which shall include all of the voter
    33  registration information required by section 5-210 of this article; and
    34    (b) affirms, subject to penalty of perjury, by means of electronic  or
    35  manual  signature, that the information contained in the voter registra-
    36  tion application is true and that the applicant meets all of the  quali-
    37  fications to become a registered voter; and
    38    (c)  consents  to  the  use  of an electronic copy of the individual's
    39  manual signature that is in the custody of the department of motor vehi-
    40  cles, the state board  of  elections,  or  other  agency  designated  by
    41  sections  5-211  or  5-212  of  this  article, as the individual's voter
    42  registration exemplar signature, or provides such a signature by  direct
    43  upload  in  a  manner  that  complies with the New York state electronic
    44  signature and records act and the rules and regulations  promulgated  by
    45  the state board of elections.
    46    2.  The  board  of  elections  shall provide the personal online voter
    47  registration application in any language required by the federal  Voting
    48  Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 10503) in any county in the state.
    49    3.  The  online  voter  registration application process shall provide
    50  reasonable accommodations to  improve  accessibility  for  persons  with
    51  disabilities,  and  shall  be  compatible  for  use with standard online
    52  accessibility assistance tools for  persons  with  visual,  physical  or
    53  perceptive disabilities.
    54    4. The state board of elections shall promulgate rules and regulations
    55  for  the  creation  and  administration  of an online voter registration
    56  system pursuant to this section.

        A. 6727                             3
     1    § 5-804. Failure to provide exemplar signature not to  prevent  regis-
     2  tration.  If  a voter registration exemplar signature is not provided by
     3  an applicant who submits a voter registration  application  pursuant  to
     4  this  title  and such signature exemplar is not otherwise available from
     5  the  statewide  voter  registration database or a state or local agency,
     6  the local board of elections shall, absent another reason to reject  the
     7  application,  proceed  to register and, as applicable, enroll the appli-
     8  cant. Within ten days of such action, the board of elections shall  send
     9  a standard form promulgated by the state board of elections to the voter
    10  whose record lacks an exemplar signature, requiring such voter to submit
    11  a  signature  for identification purposes. The voter shall submit to the
    12  board of elections a voter registration exemplar signature by any one of
    13  the following methods: in person,  by  mail  with  return  postage  paid
    14  provided by the board of elections, by electronic mail, or by electronic
    15  upload  to the board of elections through the electronic voter registra-
    16  tion transmittal system. If such voter does  not  provide  the  required
    17  exemplar  signature,  when  the voter appears to vote the voter shall be
    18  entitled to vote in the same manner as a voter with a notation  indicat-
    19  ing  the  voter's  identity  has  not  yet  been  verified in the manner
    20  provided by section 8-302 of this chapter.
    21    § 4.  This act shall take effect on the earlier occurrence  of:    (i)
    22  two years after it shall have become a law; provided, however, the state
    23  board  of elections shall be authorized to implement necessary rules and
    24  regulations and to take steps required to implement this act  immediate-
    25  ly; or (ii) five days after the date of certification by the state board
    26  of  elections that the information technology infrastructure to substan-
    27  tially implement this act is functional.   Provided,  further  that  the
    28  state  board  of  elections  shall  notify the legislative bill drafting
    29  commission upon the occurrence  of  the  enactment  of  the  legislation
    30  provided  for  in  this act in order that the commission may maintain an
    31  accurate and timely effective data base of the official text of the laws
    32  of the state of New York in furtherance of effectuating  the  provisions
    33  of  section  44  of  the  legislative law and section 70-b of the public
    34  officers law.