Bill S4135B-2013

Provides that absentee ballots for all elections shall be made available in Braille, upon request of a blind or visually impaired voter

Provides that absentee ballots for all elections shall be made available in Braille and large print, upon request of a blind or visually impaired voter no less than 30 days prior to each election day.

Details

Actions

  • May 8, 2014: PRINT NUMBER 4135B
  • May 8, 2014: AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO ELECTIONS
  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • Apr 29, 2013: PRINT NUMBER 4135A
  • Apr 29, 2013: AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO ELECTIONS
  • Mar 12, 2013: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4135B

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law and the education law, in relation to making absentee ballots available in Braille and large-print

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

To allow blind or visually impaired individuals access to absentee ballots printed in Braille and large-print.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 adds a new section 7-107 to the election law requiring that absentee ballots printed in Braille and large-print be made available upon the request of any registered voter who is blind or visually impaired and that persons wishing to receive such ballots must give notice to the board of elections no less than 30 days prior to each election day. This section also gives the state board of elections(SBOE) the task of promulgating rules for the preparation, distribution, casting and canvassing of such ballots; directs that such rules be developed in consultation with state disability advocacy groups; defines Braille and large-print for the purposes of this section; and provides proof reading standards for the ballots.

Section 2 adds a new section 2022-a to the education law that states absentee ballots printed in Braille and large-print shall be made available upon request of any registered voter who is blind or visually impaired. It further states that such ballots may be cast in parson on Election Day. Those wishing to receive such ballots must give notice no less than thirty days prior to each Election Day. The commissioner in consultation with the SBOE are to promulgate rules for the preparation, distribution, casting and canvass of these ballots; directs that such rules be developed in consultation with state disability advocacy groups; defines Braille and large-print for the purposes of this section; and provides proof reading standards for the ballots.

Section 3 adds a new section 2022-a to the election law to take effect when lever machines are no longer able to be used in elections pursuant to the education law and there will be no need for such Braille and large-print ballots for in person voting use.

Section 4 is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

This act will enable blind and visually impaired persons to request and receive Braille or large-print absentee ballots. While the adoption and implementation of technologically advanced ballot marking devices with optical scanners has marked a new milestone for accessibility of in-person voting for individuals with disabilities, currently, blind or visually impaired people must have someone assist them in filling out absentee ballots because such ballots are not produced in accessible formats. The present situation interferes with the rights of blind or visually impaired people to vote independently.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2013: S.4135 - Referred to Elections.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

There will be costs associated with the production of the Braille and large print ballots.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect on the first of December next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law; provided, however that effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before such effective date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4135--B 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 12, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. LANZA -- 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 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit- tee AN ACT to amend the election law and the education law, in relation to making absentee ballots available in Braille and large-print 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 7-107 to read as follows: S 7-107. ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT TO BE MADE AVAIL- ABLE. 1. ABSENTEE BALLOTS PRINTED IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE UPON THE REQUEST OF ANY REGISTERED VOTER WHO IS BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED. PERSONS WISHING TO RECEIVE BRAILLE OR LARGE-PRINT ABSENTEE BALLOTS MUST GIVE NOTICE THEREOF TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS NO LESS THAN THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO EACH ELECTION DAY TO ENABLE THE BOARD TO PREPARE AND DISTRIBUTE SUCH BALLOTS. 2. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL PROMULGATE RULES FOR THE PREPA- RATION, DISTRIBUTION, CASTING, AND CANVASS OF BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT ABSENTEE BALLOTS. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL DEVELOP THE INITIAL FORMAT FOR BOTH BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT BALLOTS IN CONSULTATION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGANIZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPROPRI- ATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL DETERMINE. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION, "BRAILLE" REFERS TO GRADE TWO BRAILLE AND "LARGE-PRINT" REFERS TO A FONT OF EIGH- TEEN POINT OR LARGER. UPON THE PRINTING OF A BRAILLE BALLOT, THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL REQUIRE SUCH BRAILLE BALLOT TO BE PROOFREAD BY A
QUALIFIED BRAILLE READER. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL ESTABLISH THE MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR A BRAILLE BALLOT PROOFREADER IN CONSULTA- TION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGANIZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPRO- PRIATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS SUCH BOARD SHALL DETERMINE. S 2. The education law is amended by adding a new section 2022-a to read as follows: S 2022-A. BALLOTS IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT TO BE MADE AVAILABLE. 1. ABSENTEE BALLOTS PRINTED IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT SHALL BE MADE AVAIL- ABLE UPON THE REQUEST OF ANY REGISTERED VOTER WHO IS BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED. PERSONS WISHING TO RECEIVE BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT ABSENTEE BALLOTS MUST GIVE NOTICE THEREOF NO LESS THAN THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO EACH ELECTION DAY TO ENABLE PREPARATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH BALLOTS. 2. THE COMMISSIONER, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, SHALL PROMULGATE RULES FOR THE PREPARATION, DISTRIBUTION, CASTING, AND CANVASS OF BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT ABSENTEE BALLOTS. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL DEVELOP THE INITIAL FORMAT FOR BOTH BRAILLE AND LARGE- PRINT BALLOTS IN CONSULTATION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGAN- IZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISA- BILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPROPRIATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS SUCH BOARD SHALL DETERMINE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "BRAILLE" REFERS TO GRADE TWO BRAILLE AND "LARGE-PRINT" REFERS TO A FONT OF EIGHTEEN POINT OR LARGER. UPON THE PRINTING OF A BRAILLE BALLOT, SUCH BRAILLE BALLOT SHALL BE PROOFREAD BY A QUALIFIED BRAILLE READER. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL ESTABLISH THE MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR A BRAILLE BALLOT PROOFREADER IN CONSULTATION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGANIZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPROPRIATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS SUCH DEPARTMENT SHALL DETERMINE. S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of December next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law; provided that effec- tive immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before such effective date.

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