Relates to the removal of a voter from voting rolls due to death.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to removal of a voter from voting rolls due to death
PURPOSE OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to ensure that the name of a deceased person is removed from the voting roll upon their death.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:; Section One amends article five of the election law as it pertains to the registration and enrollment of voters by adding a new section 5-714. The State Board of Elections would be required to annually review the social security administration death master file and notify the relevant local board of elections of any and all deceased voters on their registration roll. The local board of elections would then be required to remove the deceased voter from the roll. A safeguard exists to allow an individual to vote via affidavit ballot in the event that their name is erroneously removed from the voting roll.
Section Two contains the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: The Election Law currently provides that the name of a voter must be removed from the registration roll upon their death. The process requires that the New York City Department of Health and the New York State Department of Health transmit a list of deceased persons to the state board of elections. The State Board of Elections then distributes the names to the relevant local boards for removal. However, this list is not compiled in real time, nor does it consist of the names of individuals who have died out of the state; no mechanism currently exists to ensure that the name is in fact removed.
A 2012 report by the Pew Center on the States finds that more than 1.8 million dead people are registered to vote throughout the country. This raises the concern that our election system may be vulnerable to fraud. It is imperative that our voters have confidence in our election system.
A study conducted by the Poughkeepsie Journal in October 2006 of the New York State voting database found that the list contained the names of as many as 77,000 deceased individuals, and that as many as 2,600 of them had cast votes from the grave. The analysis consisted of the matching of names, dates of birth, and zip codes of registered voters against the same information in the Social Security Administration "Death Master File".
In October 2013, Newsday performed a computer analysis which showed roughly 6,100 deceased persons are still registered to vote in Nassau County, and 2,490 deceased persons are still registered to vote in Suffolk County. Of the 6,100 deceased persons in Nassau County, 270 of them actually cast a ballot in Nassau County after dying. Nassau County has more deceased voters on their registration roll than any other county in the state; a quarter of the 26,500 deceased voters still registered to vote in the state are enrolled in Nassau County. Furthermore, a New York City Board of Elections report released December 30, 2013 showed that investigators posing as deceased voters were allowed to cast 39 ballots during the November 2013 election. Inaccurate voter registration rolls not only enable fraudulent
activity, but may also result in inaccurate precinct boundaries. The loss of voter trust in the electoral system undermines our democratic process.
This bill protects any voter who may be erroneously removed from the registration roll by allowing them to vote via an affidavit ballot in the same manner that an inactive voter would be permitted to vote.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012 -- Rules
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1688--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. ZELDIN, MARCHIONE, MAZIARZ, SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections -- recommitted to the Committee on Elections in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to removal of a voter from voting rolls due to death THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The election law is amended by adding a new section 5-714 to read as follows: S 5-714. DEATH OF A REGISTERED VOTER. 1. PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (E) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION 5-400 OF THIS ARTICLE, DEATH SHALL RESULT IN THE CANCELLATION OF A VOTER'S REGISTRATION. IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT THE NAME OF A VOTER IS REMOVED FROM THE REGISTRATION ROLL UPON DEATH, THE NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL REVIEW THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEATH MASTER FILE ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, PRIOR TO JULY FIRST OF EACH CALENDAR YEAR. NOTIFICATION SHALL BE SENT TO THE APPROPRIATE LOCAL BOARD OF ELECTIONS BY JULY THIRTIETH OF EACH CALENDAR YEAR, AND THE LOCAL BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL IMMEDIATELY REMOVE THE NAMES OF ALL DECEASED VOTERS FROM THE REGISTRATION ROLL. 2. IN THE EVENT THAT AN INDIVIDUAL CLAIMS THAT THEIR NAME WAS ERRO- NEOUSLY REMOVED FROM THE ROLL, THEY SHALL BE ENTITLED TO CAST A VOTE THROUGH AN AFFIDAVIT BALLOT IN THE SAME MANNER AS A VOTER WHO IS DEEMED TO BE INACTIVE. UPON THIS EVENT, THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL COMMENCE AN INQUIRY TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE NAME OF THE VOTER HAS IN FACT BEEN REMOVED FROM THE REGISTRATION ROLL DUE TO AN ERROR. IN THE EVENT THAT AN ERROR IS FOUND, THE AFFIDAVIT BALLOT SHALL BE COUNTED AND THE INDIVID- UAL'S NAME SHALL BE REINSTATED ON THE REGISTRATION ROLL. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01053-02-3