Provides that attorneys licensed to practice in the state may serve as a poll watcher in any city or county in the state.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to watchers
PURPOSE: The bill authorizes attorneys to be poll watchers anywhere in New York if they are state residents and licensed to practice law in the state.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Amends Election Law section 8-500(4) to allow attorneys who are state residents and licensed to practice law in the state to require be watchers anywhere in the State.
Section 2: Provides for the Act to take effect immediately.
EXISTING LAW: Under current law, a poll watcher must be registered to vote in the county in which he is to serve.
JUSTIFICATION: Attorneys licensed to practice law in New York are not restricted in their practices to any locality or court. They may practice before any court in the state, as well as before the boards of elections everywhere in the state. They are also trained as observers and to accurately report their observations. There should be no restriction on their ability to be in a polling place on election day, where their skills can be invaluable in both detecting improper conduct, such as voter intimidation and suppression, and electioneering, and in obtaining a quick resolution of such unlawful conduct by reporting it to the appropriate authorities, including election day judges. For example, in 2006 lawyers serving as poll watchers enabled Senator Andrea Steward-Cousins to win election by acting to stop disruptions and voter suppression and intimidation actions in the polls in Yonkers.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-2012: S.2348 Referred to Elections Committee
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3373 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 1, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. ADDABBO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to watchers THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 4 of section 8-500 of the election law, as amended by chapter 9 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows: 4. Each watcher must be a qualified voter of the city or county in which he OR SHE is to serve, OR AN ATTORNEY WHO IS A NEW YORK STATE RESIDENT AND IS LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW THEREIN. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08293-01-3