Bill Text: NY S05217 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Prohibits the at large election of any member of the governing or legislative body of a town or village by electors of such town or village; requires the election of such members by wards; and repeals certain provisions related thereto.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-16 - REFERRED TO ELECTIONS [S05217 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S05217-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          5217
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                     April 16, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced  by  Sen. SALAZAR -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections
        AN ACT to amend the election law, the town law and the general municipal
          law, in relation to prohibiting the at large election  of  members  of
          the legislative or governing body of towns and villages, and providing
          for  and requiring the election of such members by wards; to amend the
          general municipal law, in relation  to  directing  the  department  of
          state and the legislative task force on demographic research and reap-
          portionment to assist boards of election to establish wards, authoriz-
          ing towns and villages to petition for a temporary exemption from such
          requirements,  and  directing  the  attorney-general to report on such
          exemptions; and to repeal certain provisions of the town law  relating
          to authorizing certain towns to establish ward systems of election
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Section 15-130 of the election law is amended  to  read  as
     2  follows:
     3    §  15-130.  Election  of  trustees  by wards. The board of trustees of
     4  [any] every village [may, by resolution,  and  subject  to  a  mandatory
     5  referendum,]  shall  provide  for  the election of trustees by wards, or
     6  alter [existing] ward boundaries [or abolish wards and the  election  of
     7  trustees  by  wards].  [If  a village elects trustees by wards separate]
     8  Separate ballot boxes or voting machines  shall  be  provided  for  each
     9  ward.
    10    §  2.  Paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 81 of the town law is
    11  REPEALED.
    12    § 3. Section 85 of the town law is amended to read as follows:
    13    § 85. Ward system for election of councilmen. [1. Whenever a  proposi-
    14  tion shall have been adopted in a town of the first class for the estab-
    15  lishment  of the ward system and the election thereafter of one council-
    16  man from each ward, the] The board of elections of the county  in  which
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD11212-02-9

        S. 5217                             2
     1  [such]  a  town is situate shall divide the town into four wards and fix
     2  the boundaries thereof, unless a proposition shall have been adopted  to
     3  increase  the  number of councilmen from four to six, in which instance,
     4  the  board of elections shall divide the town into six wards and fix the
     5  boundaries thereof. In so dividing the town into wards, no town election
     6  district shall be divided and no election  district  thereafter  created
     7  under  the election law shall contain parts of two or more wards. So far
     8  as possible the division shall be so made that the number of  voters  in
     9  each  ward  shall  be approximately equal.   When the board of elections
    10  shall have finally determined the boundaries of the  wards,  they  shall
    11  cause a map of the town to be prepared showing in detail the location of
    12  each  ward and the boundaries thereof. The original map so made shall be
    13  filed in the office of the town clerk and copies thereof shall be  filed
    14  in  the  offices  of  the county clerk and the board of elections of the
    15  county. The ward system shall be deemed established after such filing is
    16  complete. After a ward system shall have been so established,  the  term
    17  of  office  of every town councilman shall terminate on the thirty-first
    18  day of December next succeeding the first biennial  town  election  held
    19  not  less  than  one hundred twenty days after the establishment of such
    20  ward system, and at such biennial town election, and every biennial town
    21  election thereafter, one resident elector of each ward shall be  elected
    22  as  councilman  therefrom for a term of two years beginning on the first
    23  day of January next succeeding such election.
    24    [2. The ward system may be abolished upon the adoption of  a  proposi-
    25  tion  therefor  at  any  special or biennial town election. At the first
    26  biennial town election held at least one hundred twenty days  after  the
    27  adoption  of  a  proposition  to abolish the ward system for election of
    28  councilmen, the electors of the town shall elect one-half of  the  total
    29  number of town councilmen for the term of two years each and one-half of
    30  the  total number of town councilmen for the term of four years each. At
    31  each biennial town election held thereafter there shall be elected  one-
    32  half  of  the total number of town councilmen for the term of four years
    33  each. The terms of all such councilmen shall begin on the first  day  of
    34  January next succeeding the date of their election.]
    35    § 4. Section 87 of the town law, as amended by chapter 374 of the laws
    36  of 1940, is amended to read as follows:
    37    §  87. Increase [or decrease] of number of councilmen. [1.] Whenever a
    38  proposition shall have been adopted in a town [of the first class  which
    39  shall  not  have established the ward system,] to increase the number of
    40  councilmen from four to six, party nominations for town  councilmen  may
    41  be  made  and designating petitions filed and four town councilmen shall
    42  be elected at the first biennial town election held at least one hundred
    43  fifty days thereafter, three for a term of four years each and one for a
    44  term of two years and thereafter at each biennial town election in  such
    45  town  there  shall be elected three town councilmen for the term of four
    46  years each, in the same manner as other elective town officers  in  such
    47  town.  The  term  of  office  of each such councilman shall begin on the
    48  first day of January next  succeeding  the  election  at  which  he  was
    49  elected.
    50    [2.  Whenever  a  proposition shall have been adopted in a town of the
    51  first class which  shall  not  have  established  the  ward  system,  to
    52  increase  the  number  of councilmen from two to four, party nominations
    53  for town councilmen may be made  and  designating  petitions  filed  and
    54  three  town  councilmen  shall  be  elected  at  the first biennial town
    55  election held at least one hundred fifty days thereafter, two for  terms
    56  of  four  years  each and one for a term of two years, and thereafter at

        S. 5217                             3

     1  each biennial town election in such town, there  shall  be  elected  two
     2  town  councilmen  for  terms  of  four years each, in the same manner as
     3  other elective town officers in such town. The term of  office  of  each
     4  such  town  councilman  shall  begin  on  the  first day of January next
     5  succeeding the election at which he was elected.
     6    3. Whenever a proposition shall have been adopted in  a  town  of  the
     7  first class to reduce the number of councilmen from four to two, no town
     8  councilmen  shall be elected at the first biennial town election held at
     9  least one hundred fifty days after the  adoption  of  such  proposition.
    10  Party  nominations  for  town  councilmen  may  be  made and designating
    11  petitions filed and two town councilmen shall be elected at the biennial
    12  town election next succeeding the biennial town  election  at  which  no
    13  town  councilmen  are elected, one for a term of two years and one for a
    14  term of four years and thereafter at each biennial town election in such
    15  town there shall be elected one town  councilman  for  a  term  of  four
    16  years,  in the same manner as other elective town officers in such town.
    17  The term of office of each such councilman shall begin on the first  day
    18  of January next succeeding the election at which he was elected.]
    19    § 5. Subdivision 13 of section 341 of the town law is REPEALED.
    20    §  6. The general municipal law is amended by adding a new article 7-B
    21  to read as follows:
    22                                 ARTICLE 7-B
    23                            ELECTION BY WARDS IN
    24                             TOWNS AND VILLAGES
    25  Section 150. At large elections prohibited.
    26          151. Establishment of ward systems.
    27          152. Temporary exemption.
    28    § 150. At large elections prohibited. No member of  the  governing  or
    29  legislative  body  of a town or village shall be elected by the electors
    30  of such town or village at large.
    31    § 151. Establishment of ward systems. 1. The board of elections of the
    32  county shall divide each town and village into such number of  wards  as
    33  is  equal  to the number of members of the governing or legislative body
    34  of such town or village; and shall fix the boundaries thereof. The divi-
    35  sion thereof shall be so made that the number of eligible voters in each
    36  ward shall be approximately equal.
    37    2. The department of state and the legislative  task  force  on  demo-
    38  graphic   research  and  reapportionment  shall  provide  to  boards  of
    39  elections any and all assistance as may be necessary  to  implement  the
    40  provisions of this section.
    41    3.  Every  ward established pursuant to this section shall be reappor-
    42  tioned in the same year as congressional, assembly and senate  districts
    43  are reapportioned pursuant to section four of article three of the state
    44  constitution.
    45    §  152.  Temporary  exemption.  1.  In  the event a village or town is
    46  unable to comply with the provisions of sections one hundred  fifty  and
    47  one  hundred fifty-one of this article for the first general election or
    48  first general village election  occurring  after  September  first,  two
    49  thousand  twenty-one,  such  town  or  village  shall, not less than six
    50  months prior to such election, submit an application to  the  department
    51  of  state and the department of law for an exemption from the provisions
    52  of such sections which shall apply only to such first election. No  such
    53  exemption  shall  be granted unless the application therefor is approved
    54  jointly by the secretary of state and the attorney-general.
    55    2. Upon the joint approval of any application  submitted  pursuant  to
    56  subdivision  one  of this section, the secretary of state and the attor-

        S. 5217                             4
     1  ney-general shall provide the village or town and the appropriate  board
     2  of elections with a notice of such exemption. Such notice shall include:
     3    (a) the specific reasons for the granting of the exemption;
     4    (b) a timeline of actions that the town or village shall fulfill on or
     5  before the succeeding general election or general village election; and
     6    (c) a timeline of actions required to be completed for the election of
     7  all members of the governing or legislative body of such town or village
     8  during the succeeding calendar year.
     9    3.  Every  town  and  village,  granted  an exemption pursuant to this
    10  section, shall comply with all provisions of sections one hundred  fifty
    11  and  one  hundred  fifty-one  of  this  article for every election which
    12  follows such first election for which an exemption was granted.
    13    4. On or before the first of April in  two  thousand  twenty-two,  two
    14  thousand twenty-three and two thousand twenty-four, the attorney-general
    15  shall  submit  reports  to the governor and the legislature on the towns
    16  and villages granted exemptions pursuant  to  this  section.  Each  such
    17  report  shall  include the name of the town or village, a description of
    18  the problem in establishing wards, the population, the elected positions
    19  involved, and the outcomes of the relevant elections.
    20    § 7. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to general
    21  elections and general village elections occurring after January 1, 2020.
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