Bill S4671-2013

Removes certain requirement that notice of party caucus be filed and posted with the local board of elections in village elections

Removes certain requirement that notice of party caucus be filed and posted with the local board of elections in village elections.

Details

Actions

  • Feb 26, 2014: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • Feb 11, 2014: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Feb 10, 2014: 1ST REPORT CAL.155
  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • Jun 21, 2013: COMMITTED TO RULES
  • Apr 24, 2013: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • Apr 23, 2013: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Apr 22, 2013: 1ST REPORT CAL.373
  • Apr 17, 2013: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Meetings

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Elections - Apr 22, 2013
Ayes (9): O'Mara, Ball, Gallivan, Marchione, Nozzolio, Savino, Tkaczyk, Dilan, Krueger
VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Elections - Feb 10, 2014
Ayes (9): O'Mara, Ball, Gallivan, Marchione, Nozzolio, Savino, Tkaczyk, Dilan, Krueger

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4671

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to filing and posting notice of party caucus at the local board of elections in village elections

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

To simplify the notice requirements for party nominating caucuses for village elections while ensuring sufficient notice to village residents.

THE CURRENT LAW

Current law requires that notice of a party caucus held for making party nominations for village offices for village elections be made by posting and filing such notice at the offices of the village clerk and the board of elections and either by newspaper publication within the village or posting the notice in six public places in the village.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section one amends paragraph c of subdivision 2 of section 15-108 of the election law, as amended by chapter 160 of the laws of 1996, by deleting the requirements of posting and filing notice of party nominating caucus at the office of the board of elections.

Section two provides the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

Prior to December 1, 1996, Election Law only required that notice of a party caucus held for making party nominations for village offices for village elections be made either by newspaper publication within the village or by posting the notice in six public places in the village. As a result of an alleged abuse in which potential adversaries were unaware of the date of the caucus despite the claim by caucus Chairs that notices were posted as required, the statutory requirements were amended effective December 1, 1996, to impose the additional requirements of posting and filing such notice at the offices of the village clerk and the board of elections.

Village elections are conducted by the village clerk unless the village adopts a resolution providing that the village election shall be conducted by the board of elections. Chapter 160, effective December 1, 1996, amended several sections of the Election Law including section 6-202.3., which applies to village elections conducted by the board of elections, and section 15-1 08.2.c., which applies to village elections conducted by the village clerk. The goal of these amendments was to ensure that the voting public had sufficient notification of a nominating caucus meeting.

Unfortunately, the result of these amendments in many cases has been to void the nomination of candidates despite ample notification to the voting public. The requirement of posting and filing notice of the caucus at the county board of elections serves no practical purpose in a village election that is conducted by the village clerk. Village

residents have ample opportunity to determine the date, time, and location of the caucus from either the local newspaper or the six public places and importantly, from the posting and filing at the offices of the village clerk. Village residents would not, and do not, visit or call their county board of elections to get information about their village election when it is conducted by the village clerk.

Chairs of village political parties are generally not experts in election law and are frequently unaware that their caucus notice must be posted and filed at the county board of elections for a village election solely conducted by the village clerk. In fact, there is no other involvement of the board of elections during the entire village election process. In this regard, while section 6-202.5., which applies to village elections conducted by the board of elections, requires the filing of the certificate of nomination and list of caucus participants with the board of elections, section 15-1 08.2.e, which applies to village elections conducted by the village clerk, requires the filing of said certificate and list only with the village clerk. The board of elections is in no way involved in a village election that is conducted by the village clerk.

The requirement that notice of a party caucus be posted and filed with the village clerk both for elections conducted by the village and those conducted by the board of elections makes practical sense. The village clerk's office is easily accessible for members of the voting public to get information about the caucus either by a convenient visit or telephone call. For village elections conducted by the board of elections, it makes sense for the notice of caucus to also be posted and filed with the board of elections, and caucus chairs are well aware of the involvement of the board of elections in all facets of the village election.

Significantly, since the amendment took effect in December 1996, caucus nominations have been invalidated, and candidates have been knocked off their party's ballot, due to challenges by the opposing political party, not members of the same party whose protection the amendment was designed to serve. The notice requirement has become a tool for the opposing party to void a caucus nomination for a harmless error by the caucus chair whose own party members are not challenging the sufficiency of the notice. The intent of the 1996 amendment was to ensure sufficient notice to party members of their own party's caucus, not to provide a tool for the opposing party to invalidate caucus nominations as part of their election strategy. Unfortunately, this has been the unintended effect. See Matter of Fitzpatrick v. Ciamarra, 27 A.D.3d 594, 811 N.Y.S.2d 767 (2d Dept. 2006); Matter of Chevere v. Sunderland, 303 A.D.2d 428, 755 N.Y.S.2d 885 (2d Dept. 2003); Komiczky v. Sunderland, 175 Misc.2d 912, 670 N.Y.S.2d 726 (Sup. Ct., Westchester County 1998).

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

A.2369, 2011 and 2012 referred to Elections. A.851, 2009 and 2010 referred to Elections. A.7443, 2007 and 2008 referred to Elections. Same as S.5232, 2007 and 2008 referred to Rules.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect on the first of December next succeeding the date on which it shall become law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4671 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 17, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. O'MARA -- 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 filing and posting notice of party caucus at the local board of elections in village elections THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph c of subdivision 2 of section 15-108 of the election law, as amended by chapter 160 of the laws of 1996, is amended to read as follows: c. A notice of any party caucus held for making party nominations for village offices for village elections shall be given by the proper party authorities by posting such notice in the public areas at the offices of the village clerk [and the board of elections] and by filing such notice with such clerk [and such board] at least ten days preceding the day of the caucus and, either by newspaper publication thereof once within the village at least one week and not more than two weeks preceding the caucus, or by posting such notice in six public places in the village at least ten days preceding the day of the caucus. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of December next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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