Bill Text: NY A08280 | 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 33-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-06-20 - rules report cal.678 [A08280 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A08280-Amended.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                         8280--A

                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                      June 11, 2019
                                       ___________

        Introduced  by  M.  of  A. WALKER, CARROLL, ORTIZ, STIRPE, L. ROSENTHAL,
          JEAN-PIERRE, COLTON, PERRY, LIFTON, REYES -- Multi-Sponsored by --  M.
          of  A.    ENGLEBRIGHT  --  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 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 2019".
     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 twelve
    16  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. Such designated agencies shall
    20  ensure agency applications substantially include  all  of  the  elements
    21  required  by  section  5-210  of this article, including the appropriate
    22  attestation, so that persons completing such applications shall be  able
    23  to also submit an application to register to vote through the electronic
    24  voter  registration  transmittal  system.  For purposes of this section,

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05948-05-9

        A. 8280--A                          2

     1  "agency" shall mean any state or  local  agency,  department,  division,
     2  office,  institution  or  other  entity designated by the state board of
     3  elections pursuant to subdivision twelve of this section.
     4    2.  For  each  application  submitted to the agency, whether electron-
     5  ically or on paper, the agency shall transmit  to  the  state  board  of
     6  elections  through  an  interface with the electronic voter registration
     7  transmittal system established and maintained  by  the  state  board  of
     8  elections  that portion of the application that includes voter registra-
     9  tion information. The state  board  of  elections  shall  electronically
    10  forward  such  application  to the applicable board of elections of each
    11  county or the city of New York for filing, processing  and  verification
    12  consistent with this chapter.
    13    3.  An  integrated  voter  registration form submitted to an agency in
    14  paper format shall be  transmitted  to  the  state  board  of  elections
    15  through  an electronic voter registration transmittal system by convert-
    16  ing the paper form to an image file or a portable document  format  file
    17  which  shall  thereafter be deemed the original form for voter registra-
    18  tion and enrollment purposes.  The  agency  shall  retain  the  complete
    19  original  paper  application for no less than two years. The transmittal
    20  of the converted paper application may include or be accompanied by data
    21  elements and transmittal information as required by the rules and  regu-
    22  lations of the state board of elections.
    23    4. An integrated voter registration application submitted to an agency
    24  in  an  electronic  format  shall  be  transmitted to the state board of
    25  elections through the electronic voter registration  transmittal  system
    26  and shall include all of the voter registration data elements, including
    27  electronic  signature,  as  applicable, and record of attestation of the
    28  accuracy of the voter registration information and any relevant document
    29  images.
    30    5. The voter registration related portion of each agency's  integrated
    31  application for services or assistance shall:
    32    (a)  include  a  statement  of  the eligibility requirements for voter
    33  registration and shall require the applicant to attest  by  his  or  her
    34  signature  that  he  or  she  meets  those requirements under penalty of
    35  perjury unless such applicant declines such registration;
    36    (b) inform the applicant, in print  identical  to  that  used  in  the
    37  attestation section of the following:
    38    (i) voter eligibility requirements;
    39    (ii) penalties for submission of a false registration application;
    40    (iii)  that  the  office  where the applicant applies for registration
    41  shall remain confidential and the voter registration  information  shall
    42  be used only for voter registration purposes;
    43    (iv) that if the applicant applies to register to vote electronically,
    44  such  applicant thereby consents to the use of an electronic copy of the
    45  individual's manual signature that is in the custody of  the  department
    46  of  motor vehicles, the state board of elections, or other agency desig-
    47  nated by this section, as the individual's voter  registration  exemplar
    48  signature  if  the individual voter's exemplar signature is not provided
    49  with the voter registration application; and
    50    (v) if the applicant declines to register, such  applicant's  declina-
    51  tion  shall  remain confidential and be used only for voter registration
    52  purposes;
    53    (c) include a box for the applicant to check to indicate  whether  the
    54  applicant  would  like  to  decline  to  register to vote along with the
    55  statement in prominent type, "IF YOU DO NOT  CHECK  THIS  BOX,  AND  YOU
    56  PROVIDE  YOUR  SIGNATURE  ON  THE SPACE BELOW, YOU WILL HAVE ATTESTED TO

        A. 8280--A                          3

     1  YOUR ELIGIBILITY TO REGISTER TO VOTE AND YOU WILL HAVE APPLIED TO REGIS-
     2  TER TO VOTE.";
     3    (d)  include  a warning statement in prominent type, "IF YOU ARE NOT A
     4  CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES, DO NOT CHECK THE  VOTER  REGISTRATION  BOX
     5  BELOW.  NON-CITIZENS  WHO  REGISTER  TO  VOTE MAY BE SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL
     6  PENALTIES AND SUCH VOTER  REGISTRATION  MAY  RESULT  IN  DEPORTATION  OR
     7  REMOVAL,  EXCLUSION  FROM  ADMISSION  TO THE UNITED STATES, OR DENIAL OF
     8  NATURALIZATION.";
     9    (e) include a space for the applicant to indicate his or her choice of
    10  party enrollment, with a clear alternative provided for the applicant to
    11  decline to affiliate with any party and a statement  in  prominent  type
    12  "IF  YOU  DO  NOT  CHOOSE A PARTY YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN
    13  PRIMARY ELECTIONS FOR THAT PARTY".
    14    (f) include a statement that if an applicant is a victim  of  domestic
    15  violence or stalking, he or she may contact the state board of elections
    16  in  order  to  receive information regarding the address confidentiality
    17  program for victims of domestic violence under  section  5-508  of  this
    18  title.
    19    6.  Information from the voter relevant to both voter registration and
    20  the agency application shall be entered by the voter only once  upon  an
    21  application.
    22    7.  The  agency  shall  redact or remove from the completed integrated
    23  application to be transmitted to the state board of elections any infor-
    24  mation solely applicable to the agency application.
    25    8. Information concerning the citizenship status of individuals,  when
    26  collected  and  transmitted pursuant to subdivision one of this section,
    27  shall not be retained, used or shared for any other  purpose  except  as
    28  may be required by law.
    29    9. A voter shall be able to decline to register to vote using an inte-
    30  grated application by selecting a single check box, or equivalent, which
    31  shall  read "I DECLINE USE OF THIS FORM FOR VOTER REGISTRATION PURPOSES.
    32  DO NOT FORWARD MY INFORMATION TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS".
    33    10. The voter shall be able to sign the voter registration application
    34  and the agency application by means of a  single  manual  or  electronic
    35  signature  unless  the agency requires more than one signature for other
    36  agency purposes.
    37    11. No application for voter registration shall be  submitted  if  the
    38  applicant declines registration or fails to sign the integrated applica-
    39  tion, whether on paper or online.
    40    12. Designated agencies for purposes of this section shall include all
    41  agencies designated as voter registration agencies in sections 5-211 and
    42  5-212  of  this  article,  as well as any other agency designated by the
    43  state board of elections.   Each agency shall enter  into  an  agreement
    44  with  the  state board of elections finalizing the format and content of
    45  electronic transmissions required by this section.  The state  board  of
    46  elections  shall  prepare  and distribute to designated agencies written
    47  instructions as to the  implementation  of  the  program  and  shall  be
    48  responsible  for  establishing training programs for employees of desig-
    49  nated agencies listed in this  section.    Such  instructions  and  such
    50  training  shall  ensure  usability of the integrated application for low
    51  English proficiency voters.  Any such designated agency shall  take  all
    52  actions  that  are  necessary  and proper for the implementation of this
    53  section, including  facilitating  technological  capabilities  to  allow
    54  transmission  of  data  through  an  interface with the electronic voter
    55  registration transmittal system in a secure manner.

        A. 8280--A                          4

     1    13. The state board of elections  shall  promulgate  rules  and  regu-
     2  lations  for the creation and administration of an integrated electronic
     3  voter registration process as provided for by this section.
     4    §  5-902.  Failure to receive exemplar signature not to prevent regis-
     5  tration. If a voter registration exemplar signature is not received from
     6  an applicant who submits a voter registration  application  pursuant  to
     7  this  title  and such signature exemplar is not otherwise available from
     8  the statewide voter registration database or a state  or  local  agency,
     9  the  local board of elections shall, absent another reason to reject the
    10  application, proceed to register and, as applicable, enroll  the  appli-
    11  cant.  Within ten days of such action, the board of elections shall send
    12  a standard form promulgated by the state board of elections to the voter
    13  whose record lacks an exemplar signature, requiring such voter to submit
    14  a signature for identification purposes. The voter shall submit  to  the
    15  board of elections a voter registration exemplar signature by any one of
    16  the  following  methods:  in  person,  by  mail with return postage paid
    17  provided by the board of elections, by electronic mail, or by electronic
    18  upload to the board of elections through the electronic voter  registra-
    19  tion  transmittal  system.  If  such voter does not provide the required
    20  exemplar signature, when the voter appears to vote the  voter  shall  be
    21  entitled to vote by affidavit ballot.
    22    § 5-904. Presumption of innocent authorized error.  1. Notwithstanding
    23  subdivision six of section 5-210 of this article or any other law to the
    24  contrary,  a  person  who  is ineligible to vote who fails to decline to
    25  register to vote in accordance with the provisions of this  section  and
    26  did not willfully and knowingly seek to register to vote knowing that he
    27  or she is not eligible to do so:
    28    (a)  shall not be guilty of any crime as the result of the applicant's
    29  failure to make such declination;
    30    (b) shall be deemed to have been  registered  with  official  authori-
    31  zation; and
    32    (c)  such act may not be considered as evidence of a claim to citizen-
    33  ship.
    34    2. Notwithstanding subdivision six of section 5-210 of this article or
    35  any other law to the contrary, a person who is ineligible  to  vote  who
    36  fails  to  decline to register to vote in accordance with the provisions
    37  of this section, who then  either  votes  or  attempts  to  vote  in  an
    38  election  held  after  the effective date of that person's registration,
    39  and who did not willfully and knowingly seek to register to vote knowing
    40  that he or she is not eligible to do so, and did not  subsequently  vote
    41  or attempt to vote knowing that he or she is not eligible to do so:
    42    (a)  shall not be guilty of any crime as the result of the applicant's
    43  failure to make such declination and subsequent vote or attempt to vote;
    44    (b) shall be deemed to have been  registered  with  official  authori-
    45  zation; and
    46    (c)  such act may not be considered as evidence of a claim to citizen-
    47  ship.
    48    § 5-906. Forms. The state board of elections  shall  promulgate  rules
    49  and  regulations  to  implement this title. All agency forms and notices
    50  required by  this  title  shall  be  approved  by  the  state  board  of
    51  elections.  All applications and notices for use by a board of elections
    52  pursuant to this title shall  be  promulgated  by  the  state  board  of
    53  elections,  and  no  addition or alternation to such forms by a board of
    54  elections  shall  be  made  without  approval  of  the  state  board  of
    55  elections.

        A. 8280--A                          5

     1    § 3. The election law is amended by adding a new section 5-308 to read
     2  as follows:
     3    §  5-308.  Enrollment;  automatic  voter registration. 1. The board of
     4  elections shall, promptly and  not  later  than  twenty-one  days  after
     5  receipt  of a voter registration application submitted pursuant to title
     6  nine of this article by a voter registering for the first time, send any
     7  such voter who did not enroll in a party a notice and a form to indicate
     8  party enrollment, with return postage paid by the  board  of  elections.
     9  Such notice shall offer the voter the opportunity to enroll with a party
    10  or  to  decline to enroll with a party and contain a statement in promi-
    11  nent type "IF YOU DO NOT CHOOSE A PARTY YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO  PARTIC-
    12  IPATE  IN  PRIMARY  ELECTIONS FOR THAT PARTY." Such form shall provide a
    13  clear alternative for the applicant to decline  to  affiliate  with  any
    14  party.  If  the  board  of  elections has not received a response to the
    15  party enrollment notice and form within forty-five days of the  applica-
    16  tion,  the  board  shall  mail  a  second similar notice and form to the
    17  voter.
    18    2. Notwithstanding subdivision two of section 5-304 of this title,  if
    19  a voter who registered to vote for the first time pursuant to title nine
    20  of  this  article  responds to the notice required by subdivision one of
    21  this section and elects to enroll in a party, such enrollment shall take
    22  effect immediately.
    23    3. If a voter appears at a primary election  and  votes  by  affidavit
    24  ballot  indicating  the  intent  to enroll in such party, such affidavit
    25  ballot shall cause the voter to be enrolled immediately in that party if
    26  the board of elections determines that the voter registered to vote  for
    27  the first time pursuant to title nine of this article.
    28    4.  If  a  voter  appears at a primary election and votes by affidavit
    29  ballot indicating the intent to enroll in  such  party,  such  affidavit
    30  ballot  shall  be  cast and counted if the board of elections determines
    31  that the voter registered to vote at least twenty-five days before  that
    32  primary  pursuant to title nine of this article and such voter is other-
    33  wise qualified to vote in such election.
    34    § 4. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 9-209 of  the  election
    35  law is amended by adding a new subparagraph (v) to read as follows:
    36    (v)  If the board of elections finds that the voter registered to vote
    37  for the first time pursuant to title nine of article five of this  chap-
    38  ter at least twenty-five days before a primary, appeared at such primary
    39  election,  and  indicated on the affidavit ballot envelope the intent to
    40  enroll in such party, the affidavit ballot shall be cast and counted  if
    41  the voter is otherwise qualified to vote in such election.
    42    § 5. This act shall take effect on the earlier occurrence of:  (i) two
    43  years  after  it  shall  have become a law; provided, however, the state
    44  board of elections shall be authorized to implement necessary rules  and
    45  regulations  and to take steps required to implement this act immediate-
    46  ly; or (ii) five days after the date of certification by the state board
    47  of elections that the information technology infrastructure to  substan-
    48  tially  implement  this  act is functional.   Provided, further that the
    49  state board of elections shall  notify  the  legislative  bill  drafting
    50  commission  upon  the  occurrence  of  the  enactment of the legislation
    51  provided for in this act in order that the commission  may  maintain  an
    52  accurate and timely effective data base of the official text of the laws
    53  of  the  state of New York in furtherance of effectuating the provisions
    54  of section 44 of the legislative law and  section  70-b  of  the  public
    55  officers law.
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