Simplifies the absentee ballot process to make it easier to vote in such manner by removing requirement for certain information on circumstances for the voter's absence.
BILL NUMBER: S2868B
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the election law, in relation to absentee ballots
The bill removes the requirement that applicants for an absentee ballot disclose those personal details of their need for it, which invade their privacy and compromise their safety and security.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
Section 1: Amends Election Law section 8-400(c)(i) to remove the requirement that an absentee ballot applicant, who will be absent from his county of residence for business reasons on election day, must disclose the special circumstances requiring his absence and his dates of absence. Similarly, it amends Election Law section 8-400(ii) to remove the requirement that applicants who will be absent due to vacation disclose where they will be and the dates they will be there. It also amends Election Law section 8-400(iii) to eliminate the requirement that a person who cannot go to the polls because of illness or physical disability not only disclose the name and address of the medical or christian science practitioner who advised him that he could not go, but also whether the illness or disability is temporary or permanent, and, if he expects to be in the hospital, the name and address of that hospital.
Section 2: Provides for the Act to take effect immediately.
EXISTING LAW :
Although the New York State constitution, Art. II, Sec. 2 sets forth preconditions for a voter to vote by absentee ballot, the current Election Law requires that an applicant go beyond meeting those conditions to disclosing how they have met them and the surrounding personal and private details.
The disclosure of the reasons why a voter will be out of the county and the time period of such absence, and the medical information as to a voter's inability to go to the polls, is an unnecessary intrusion into the voter's privacy and poses a danger to the safety of the voter and the security of his property.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2868--B 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 4, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sens. ADDABBO, THOMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- recommitted to the Committee on Elections in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- reported favora- bly from said committee and committed to the Committee on Codes -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to absentee ballots THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivisions 1, 3 and 4 of section 8-400 of the election law, the opening paragraph of subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 359 of the laws of 1989, paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 426 of the laws of 2009, subparagraph (i) of paragraph (c) of subdivi- sion 3 as amended by chapter 234 of the laws of 1976, subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (c) of subdivision 3 as amended by chapter 426 of the laws of 2009, paragraph (d) of subdivision 3 as added by chapter 373 of the laws of 1986, subdivision 4 as amended by chapter 163 of the laws of 1985, are amended to read as follows: 1. A qualified voter may vote as an absentee voter under this chapter if, on the occurrence of any village election conducted by the board of elections, primary election, special election, general election or New York city community school board district or city of Buffalo school district election, he
[will]OR SHE EXPECTS TO be: (a) [unavoidably]absent from the county of his OR HER residence, or, if a resident of the city of New York absent from said city [, because his duties, occupation, business, or studies require him to be elsewhere on the day of election]; or (b) [absent from such county or city because he is on vacation else- where on the day of election; orunable to appear personally at the polling place of the election district in which he or she is a qualified voter because of illness or physical disabilityEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08957-03-0 S. 2868--B 2
[, whether permanent or temporary,]or duties related to the primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled, or because he or she will be or is a patient in a hospital; or [(d) he is a person entitled to a ballot because he is a qualified voter registered as](C) an inmate or patient of a veteran's adminis- tration hospital; or [(e) absent from the county of his residence, or if a resident of the city of New York, absent from said city, because of his accompanying a spouse, parent or child who would be entitled to apply for the right to vote by absentee ballot if a qualified voter; or (f)](D) absent from his OR HER voting residence because he OR SHE is detained in jail awaiting action by a grand jury or awaiting trial, or confined in JAIL OR prison after a conviction for an offense other than a felony, provided that he OR SHE is qualified to vote in the election district of his OR HER residence. 3. The application for an absentee ballot when filed must contain in each instance the following information: (a) Applicant's full name, DATE OF BIRTH, and residence address, including the street and number, if any, rural delivery route, if any, mailing address if different from the residence address and his OR HER town or city and an address to which the ballot shall be mailed. (b) A statement that the applicant is a qualified and registered voter [, and that he does not know of any reason why he is no longer qualified to vote]. (c) A statement, as appropriate, that on the day of such election the applicant expects in good faith to be in one of the following catego- ries: (i) [unavoidably]absent from the county of his OR HER residence, or if a resident of the city of New York absent from said city [, because his duties, occupation, business or studies require him to be elsewhere on such day, and where such duties, occupation, business or studies are not of such a nature as ordinarily to require such absence, a statement briefly describing the special circumstances requiring such absence and]; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, IF THE APPLICANT EXPECTS TO BE ABSENT FROM SUCH COUNTY OR CITY FOR A DURATION COVERING MORE THAN ONE ELECTION AND SEEKS AN ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR EACH ELECTION, HE OR SHE SHALL STATE the dates when he OR SHE expects to begin and end such absence; or (ii) [absent from the county of his residence, or if a resident of the city of New York absent from said city, because he will be on vacation elsewhere on such day, the dates upon which he expects to begin and end such vacation, the place or places where he expects to be on such vaca- tion, the name and address of his employer, if any, or if self-employed or retired a statement to such effect; or (iii)]unable to appear at a polling place because of illness or phys- ical disability or duties related to the primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled; or [(iv) entitled to a ballot because he is a qualified voter registered as](III) an inmate or patient of a veteran's [administraion]ADMINIS- TRATION hospital; or [(v)](IV) detained in jail awaiting action by a grand jury or await- ing trial or confined in JAIL OR prison after a conviction for an offense other than a felony and stating the place where he OR SHE is so detained or confined [; or. (d) Such application shall permit the applicant to apply for an absen- tee ballot for either a primary election or the general election in any year and for those persons who will be continuously absent from their county of residence during the period between the fall primary election and the general election in any year to apply for ballots for both such elections in such year. A VOTER WHO APPLIES FOR AN ABSENTEE BALLOT SHALL BE SENT AN ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR ANY SPECIAL ELECTION OR WINTER PRIMARY THAT OCCURS DURING THE PERIOD OF ABSENCE SPECIFIED IN THE APPLI- CATION. 4. A voter who claims permanent illness or physical disability may make application for an absentee ballot and the right to receive an absentee ballot for each election thereafter as provided herein without further application, by filing with the board of elections an applica- tion which shall contain a statement to be executed by the voterS. 2868--B 3
(vi) absent from the county of his residence, or if a resident of the city of New York absent from said city, because of his accompanying his spouse, parent or child who falls within one of the foregoing catego- ries; a statement that the applicant resides in the same election district as such spouse, parent or child, the name and address of such spouse, parent or child, and, unless the application accompanies the application of such spouse, parent or child, the information as to the status of such spouse, parent or child required by the applicable cate- gory]
[show- ing the particulars of his illness or disability]. Upon filing of such application the board of elections shall [investigate the facts stated therein and if satisfied as to the truth thereof, shall]cause the registration records of the voter to be marked "Permanently Disabled" and thereafter shall send an absentee ballot for each succeeding prima- ry, special or general election to such voter at his OR HER last known address by first class mail with a request to the postal authorities not to forward such ballot but to return it in five days in the event that it cannot be delivered to the addressee. The mailing of such ballot for each election shall continue until such voter's registration is cancelled. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.