Provides for the state board of elections to undertake a study of the feasibility for voting by mail, telephone and/or the internet; authorizes a pilot program for such voting during the study; requires a report to the governor and legislature.
TITLE OF BILL: An act providing for the state board of elections to undertake a study on the feasibility of permitting voting by mail, telephone and/or the internet and to establish pilot projects relating thereto
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would require that the state board of elections do a study of the feasibility of voting by mail, telephone and/or over the internet. It would also empower it to establish pilot programs to evaluate the feasibility of any of these methods of voting.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:;
Section 1 mandates that the state board of elections undertake a study of the feasibility of voting by mail, telephone and/or over the internet, that such a study may include pilot programs of each method, and that it report to the legislature and the governor the results of the study along with recommendations.
JUSTIFICATION: One of the primary goals of any representative form of government should be to have every eligible voter participate. While attaining such a goal may be a practical impossibility, the legislature must find ways to increase voter turnout. That is especially true given the ominous decline in turnout Over the past four decades in New York State. Since the 1956 election, the percentage of registered voters who cast ballots has steadily fallen from over 93% to less than 64%.
In a recent nationwide study conducted for the League of Women Voters, a majority of non-voters supported proposals which make voting more convenient. Keeping the polls open longer and providing an opportunity to vote by mail were both considered very helpful in getting them to cast votes. This bill would require the board of elections to examine the possibility of using mail, telephone and internet voting. In almost all the tests of mail voting, it has significantly increased voter participation. Recent elections in Oregon have been conducted by mail with startlingly positive results and little or no fraud. According to election officials in various parts of the country, including New York State, the technology exists to use touch-tone phones to securely case your vote. Given the constant decline in voter participation in the electoral process, the state should examine these methods of increasing turnout. The results of this study, when presented to the legislature, will enable it to decide if this is a course that New York should follow.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010: S.3590/A.6716 2011-2012: S.424/A.5204
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3252 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 31, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. KRUEGER, HASSELL-THOMPSON, PERKINS, SERRANO, SQUA- DRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be commit- ted to the Committee on Elections AN ACT providing for the state board of elections to undertake a study on the feasibility of permitting voting by mail, telephone and/or the internet and to establish pilot projects relating thereto THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The state board of elections shall undertake a study on the feasibility of permitting voting by mail, telephone and/or the internet. Such study shall include but not be limited to evaluation of the ability of verifying votes by mail, telephone and/or the internet and the impact on the number of the electorate voting in primary and general elections. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, at any primary or general election during the undertaking of such study, the state board of elections may provide a pilot program permitting voting by mail, telephone and/or the internet. The state board of elections shall submit such study including recommendations to the governor and state legislature within twenty-four months of the effective date of this act. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD07423-01-3