Bill S2100-2011

Establishes procedures for abstract and form of ballot proposals

Requires concurrent resolutions or laws containing statewide ballot proposals to include the form of submission on the ballot to a vote of the people, which form to be limited to a short title of the subject matter in plain language, an abstract concisely stating the purpose and effect of the proposal and amortization period and total debt service where appropriate and the complete text abstract and text to be available for public inspection at the polling place; makes related provisions for non-statewide ballot proposals, with form and abstract to be prepared by the office of the counsel of the county, city, town or village.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 18, 2011: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2100

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law and the legislative law, in relation to abstract and form of ballot proposals

SUMMARY: This bill would amend § 4-108 and 4-116 of the Election Law and § 54-a of the Legislative Law to require that the State Legislature draft the form and abstract of a ballot proposal to be put to a statewide vote. The language, to be put to these voters, would be contained in a concurrent resolution or bill passed by the State Legislature. Ballot proposals to be submitted to a local vote would be prepared by local counsel. Currently, the State Board of Elections has sole authority over the form and abstract, with the Attorney General providing advice. This bill would also make certain technical amendments to section 4-108 of the Election Law.

JUSTIFICATION: It is in the interest of democracy and good government to ensure that the public fully understands the content of amendments, propositions and authorization creating a State debt prior to voting upon them. At present, the Election Law requires the form of any such ballot proposal be stated in "plain English". Voters who feel that these abstracts are not in "plain English" may challenge the wording by bringing a civil suit in Supreme Court. Such a challenge, however, must be instituted two and one-half months prior to the election. Since a majority of the voters do not see the actual form until Election Day, this enforcement tool does them little good. By providing the plain language form and abstract in the bill or concurrent resolution passed by the Legislature, the drafters of the proposal would have direct input into the explanation. The Attorney General would serve in an advisory capacity.

FISCAL IMPLICATION: Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2100 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 18, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. KRUGER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections AN ACT to amend the election law and the legislative law, in relation to abstract and form of ballot proposals THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 4-108 of the election law, paragraph b of subdivi- sion 1 as amended by chapter 117 of the laws of 1985, paragraph d of subdivision 1 and subdivision 2 as amended by chapter 136 of the laws of 1978 and subdivision 3 as added by chapter 234 of the laws of 1976, is amended to read as follows: S 4-108. Certification of [proposed constitutional amendments and questions] BALLOT PROPOSALS. 1. a. Whenever any [proposed amendment to the constitution or other question] BALLOT PROPOSAL provided by law to be submitted to a statewide vote shall be submitted to the people for their approval, the state board of elections at least three months prior to the general election at which such [amendment, proposition or ques- tion] BALLOT PROPOSAL is to be submitted, shall transmit to each county board of elections a certified copy of the text of each [amendment, proposition or question and a statement of] BALLOT PROPOSAL TOGETHER WITH THE ABSTRACT OF SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL AND the form in which it is to be submitted AS PROVIDED IN THE LAW OR CONCURRENT RESOLUTION SUBMITTING SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL, PURSUANT TO SECTION FIFTY-FOUR-B OF THE LEGISLA- TIVE LAW. WHERE THE BALLOT PROPOSAL AUTHORIZES CREATION OF A STATE DEBT, THE ABSTRACT SHALL CONTAIN AN ESTIMATE OF THE ANTICIPATED NUMBER OF YEARS OVER WHICH SUCH DEBT SHALL BE AMORTIZED AND THE TOTAL EXPECTED DEBT SERVICE PAYABLE ON THE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT OF SUCH BONDS UNTIL THEIR RETIREMENT. SUCH INFORMATION SHALL BE PROVIDED TO THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS BY THE STATE COMPTROLLER NOT LATER THAN SEVEN DAYS AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL. COPIES OF SUCH TEXT AND ABSTRACT SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EXAMINATION BY VOTERS AT THE POLLING
PLACE ON THE DAY OF SUCH ELECTION AND ON ANY REGISTRATION OR OTHER ELECTION DAY OCCURRING AFTER RECEIPT OF SUCH TRANSMISSION BY THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND BEFORE THE DAY OF SUCH ELECTION. b. Whenever any [proposal, proposition or referendum] BALLOT PROPOSAL as provided by law is to be submitted to a vote of the people of a coun- ty, city, town, village or special district, at an election conducted by the board of elections, the clerk of such political subdivision, at least thirty-six days prior to the election at which such [proposal, proposition or referendum] BALLOT PROPOSAL is to be submitted, shall transmit to each board of elections a certified copy of the text of such [proposal, proposition or referendum and a statement of] BALLOT PROPOSAL TOGETHER WITH AN ABSTRACT OF SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL AND the form in which it is to be submitted. THE FORM SHALL CONSIST ONLY OF A SHORT TITLE INDICATING GENERALLY AND BRIEFLY AND IN A CLEAR AND COHERENT MANNER USING WORDS WITH COMMON AND EVERYDAY MEANINGS, THE SUBJECT MATTER OF SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL. THE ABSTRACT OF SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL SHALL STATE CONCISELY THE PURPORT AND EFFECT THEREOF IN A CLEAR AND COHERENT MANNER USING WORDS OF COMMON AND EVERYDAY MEANING. WHERE THAT BALLOT PROPOSAL AUTHORIZES CREATION OF A STATE DEBT, THE ABSTRACT SHALL CONTAIN AN ESTI- MATE OF THE ANTICIPATED NUMBER OF YEARS OVER WHICH SUCH DEBT SHALL BE AMORTIZED AND THE TOTAL EXPECTED DEBT SERVICE PAYABLE ON THE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT OF SUCH BONDS UNTIL THEIR RETIREMENT. SUCH FORM OF SUBMISSION AND ABSTRACT SHALL BE PREPARED BY THE ATTORNEY OF SUCH COUNTY, CITY, TOWN, VILLAGE OR SPECIAL DISTRICT FOR TRANSMITTAL TO THE APPROPRIATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS NOT LATER THAN THE THIRTY-SIXTH DAY BEFORE SUCH ELECTION. COPIES OF SUCH TEXT AND ABSTRACT SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EXAMINATION BY VOTERS AT THE POLLING PLACE ON THE DAY OF SUCH ELECTION. If a special election is to be held, such transmittal shall also give the date of such election. c. Such certified copy OF THE TEXT shall set out all new matter in italics and enclose in brackets, [], all matter to be eliminated from existing law, and at the bottom of each page shall be appended the words: Explanation: Matter in italics is new, to be added; matter in brack- ets [] is old law, to be omitted. d. [In addition to the text, such transmittal shall contain an abstract of such proposed amendment, proposition or question, prepared by the state board of elections concisely stating the purpose and effect thereof in a clear and coherent manner using words with common and everyday meanings] THE EFFECT OF AN APPROVAL OF A BALLOT PROPOSAL BY VOTE OF THE PEOPLE SHALL BE DEEMED TO INCORPORATE THE COMPLETE WORDING CONTAINED IN THE TEXT OF SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL, A CERTIFIED COPY OF WHICH WAS TRANSMITTED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION. 2. [The form in which the proposed amendment, proposition or question is to be submitted shall consist of only an abbreviated title indicating generally and briefly, and in a clear and coherent manner using words with common and every-day meanings, the subject matter of the amendment, proposition or question.] If more than one such [amendment, proposition or question] BALLOT PROPOSAL is to be voted upon at such election, each such [amendment, proposition or question] BALLOT PROPOSAL respectively shall be separately and consecutively numbered. 3. The attorney general shall advise in the preparation of such abstract and such form of submission. S 2. Subdivision 2 of section 4-116 of the election law, as amended by chapter 60 of the laws of 1993, is amended to read as follows:
2. The state board of elections shall publish once in the week preceding any election at which [proposed constitutional amendments or other propositions or questions] BALLOT PROPOSALS are to be submitted to the voters of the state an abstract of such [amendment or question] BALLOT PROPOSAL INCLUDING AN ESTIMATE OF THE AMORTIZATION PERIOD AND THE TOTAL ANTICIPATED DEBT SERVICE WHERE THE BALLOT PROPOSAL AUTHORIZES CREATION OF A STATE DEBT, a brief statement of the law or proceedings authorizing such [submission] BALLOT PROPOSAL, a statement that such [submission] BALLOT PROPOSAL will be made and the form in which it is to be submitted. S 3. The legislative law is amended by adding a new section 54-b to read as follows: S 54-B. FORM AND ABSTRACT OF STATEWIDE BALLOT PROPOSALS IN CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS OR LAWS. 1. A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OR A LAW, WHICH INCLUDES A BALLOT PROPOSAL FOR SUBMISSION TO A STATEWIDE VOTE, SHALL CONTAIN THE COMPLETE TEXT OF THE AMENDMENT, PROPOSITION OR QUESTION. 2. A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OR A LAW WHICH CONTAINS A BALLOT PROPOSAL TO BE SUBMITTED TO A STATEWIDE VOTE ALSO SHALL CONTAIN AN ABSTRACT OF SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL CONCISELY STATING THE PURPORT AND EFFECT THEREOF IN A CLEAR AND COHERENT MANNER USING WORDS OF COMMON AND EVERYDAY MEANING. 3. SUCH CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OR LAW ALSO SHALL CONTAIN THE FORM IN WHICH SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL IS TO BE SUBMITTED TO A STATEWIDE VOTE. SUCH FORM SHALL CONSIST OF ONLY A SHORT TITLE INDICATING GENERALLY AND BRIEF- LY, AND IN A CLEAR AND COHERENT MANNER USING WORDS WITH COMMON EVERYDAY MEANINGS, THE SUBJECT MATTER OF SUCH BALLOT PROPOSAL. S 4. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.

Discuss!

blog comments powered by Disqus