Eliminates requirement that affidavits subscribed by voters contain the address where he or she was previously registered and substantially comply with a form prescribed by the state board of elections.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to voter affidavits
This bill eliminates the requirement for a voter utilizing an affidavit ballot to include their previous address in the affidavit mandated in support of their request for a ballot. In addition, the bill would add language recognizing substantial compliance with the requirements of these affidavits; pursuant to Election Law Section 8-302(3)(e)(ii).
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill eliminates the requirement to include previous registration address when applying for an affidavit ballot. The bill also adds language that requires a voter to substantially comply with the law regarding the form and filing of affidavits and affidavit ballots.
This bill removes the requirement in Election Law Section 8-302(3)(e)(ii) that a voter filing an affidavit ballot include in that document the address from which they were last registered to vote. In addition, the bill adds "substantial compliance" to the requirements for demonstrating completion of the affidavit and ballot.
Under current law, the requirement that this information be included by a voter needing to utilize an affidavit ballot is an unnecessary obstacle to a person's exercising their right to vote. The role of the affidavit ballot is to allow a person - swearing under penalty of perjury that they are registered to vote, they remain a duly qualified voter in the election district, and that their poll records, through no fault of their own, have been omitted or misplaced from the system utilized by the local board of elections - to cast their vote on a paper ballot.
The requirement that they include the address from which they previously registered, no matter how long ago that may have been, is unduly onerous, and serves no legitimate purpose in determining the validity of the instant application.
The bill also includes "substantial compliance" language for review of adherence to this section of law The provision redresses the on-going practice of utilizing hyper-technical legal challenges to affidavit ballots in an all-too-often successful effort to deny a person their constitutional right to vote.
This language will allow the validity of the ballot to be determined based upon compliance with the language of the statute and the actions and intentions of the voter, without limiting the state's ability to protect against voter fraud.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4426 2015-2016 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 20, 2015 ___________Introduced by Sen. COMRIE -- 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 voter affidavits THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (e) of subdivision 3 of section 8-302 of the election law, as amended by chapter 164 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: (ii) He or she may swear to and subscribe an affidavit stating that he or she has duly registered to vote, the address in such election district from which he or she registered, that he or she remains a duly qualified voter in such election district, that his or her registration poll record appears to be lost or misplaced or that his or her name and/or his or her signature was omitted from the computer generated registration list or that he or she has moved within the county or city since he or she last registered,
[the address from which he or she was previously registered and]the address at which he or she currently resides, and at a primary election, the party in which he or she is enrolled. The inspectors of election shall offer such an affidavit to each such voter whose residence address is in such election district. Each such affidavit shall SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLY WITH AND be in a form prescribed by the state board of elections, shall be printed on an envelope of the size and quality used for an absentee ballot envelope, and shall contain an acknowledgment that the affiant understands that any false statement made therein is perjury punishable according to law. Such form prescribed by the state board of elections shall request information required to register such voter should the county board determine that such voter is not registered and shall constitute an application to register to vote. The voter's name and the entries required shall then be entered without delay and without further inquiry in the fourth section of the challenge report or in the place providedEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD06321-01-5 S. 4426 2
at the end of the computer generated registration list, with the nota- tion that the voter has executed the affidavit hereinabove prescribed, or, if such person's name appears on the computer generated registration list, the board of elections may provide a place to make such entry next to his or her name on such list. The voter shall then, without further inquiry, be permitted to vote an affidavit ballot provided for by this chapter. Such ballot shall thereupon be placed in the envelope contain- ing his or her affidavit, and the envelope sealed and returned to the board of elections in the manner provided by this chapter for protested official ballots, including a statement of the number of such ballots. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.