Bill S4748-2011

Makes technical corrections with regards to political subdivisions and election districts

Makes technical corrections with regard to political subdivisions and election districts; removes counties and replaces with political subdivisions for purposes of determining an individual's election district.

Details

Actions

  • Jun 7, 2011: SUBSTITUTED BY A263
  • May 4, 2011: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • May 3, 2011: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • May 2, 2011: 1ST REPORT CAL.402
  • Apr 18, 2011: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Meetings

Calendars

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Elections - May 2, 2011
Ayes (8): O'Mara, Ball, Gallivan, Nozzolio, Ranzenhofer, Addabbo, Dilan, Carlucci

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4748

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to making technical corrections with regards to political subdivisions and election districts

PURPOSE: To amend Chapter 489 of the laws of 2009 by requiring that poll-workers are provided with maps, street finders, or other descriptions of all of the polling places and election districts within the political subdivision in which the polling place is located, rather than of those within the entire county. This change will make the law easier and less expensive to implement.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one amends subdivision 1 of section 4-128 of the election law, as amended by chapter 489 of the laws of 2009, by changing the word "county" to "political subdivision."

Section two amends subdivision d of section 4-132 of the election law, as added by chapter 489 of the laws of 2009, and changes the word "county" to "political subdivision."

Section three amends the opening paragraph of paragraph (e) of subdivision 3 of section 8-302 of the election law, as amended by chapter 489 of the laws of 2009, by changing the word "county" to "political Subdivision." Section three also provides that in the event that a voter attempts to cast a ballot, claiming to live in the election district in which he or she seeks to vote, and such voter's name does not appear on any of the specified registration records or lists, a poll clerk or election inspector is to, if necessary, contact the board of elections to obtain the relevant information in order advise such voter of his or her correct voting place.

Section four defines the effective date as immediately,

JUSTIFICATION: Chapter 489 of the laws of 2009 requires polling places to be equipped with a sufficient number of maps, street finders and other descriptions of polling places and election districts within the county in which the polling place is located and requires a poll clerk or election inspector to consult a map, street finder or other description of all of the polling places and election district s within the county in which such election district is located in order to ensure that a voter votes in the correct election district and polling place so that his or her vote will be counted. This bill would amend the Chapter by changing he word "county" to "political subdivision."

The 2009 legislation that this bill seeks to amend arose out of the 2004 election for the 35th State Senatorial District that was ultimately decided by 18 votes. After months of litigation, the race came down to the validity of certain affidavit ballots from duly registered voters. In Matter of Panio v. Sunderland, 4 N.Y.3d 123, 791 N.Y.S.2d 57 (2005), the Court of Appeals held that the 163

affidavit ballots cast by voters at the correct polling site but wrong election district should be counted but the 457 affidavit ballots cast by voters who had gone to the wrong polling site (and wrong election district) should be rejected.

The Court reasoned that casting an affidavit ballot at the correct polling site but wrong election district was the result of ministerial error on the part of a poll worker in failing to direct the voter to the correct table and that therefore those 163 affidavit ballots should be counted. In rejecting 457 ballots cast at wrong polling sites, the Court found that the voters' error of going to the wrong polling sites cannot be attributed to the ministered error of election workers. Thus, 457 voters were disenfranchised and the outcome of a very close election was affected because poll workers did not direct them to the proper polling site.

Thus, the purpose and goal of the 2009 legislation was to ensure that voters who vote by affidavit ballot have a realistic chance to exercise the franchise and have their votes counted. The legislation required that each polling site be supplied with countywide maps or street finders and required that election inspectors and poll clerks consult the countrywide maps or street finders to determine and advise the voter of his or her correct election district and polling place. Although the intent and goal of the original legislation remain intact, i.e., that voters cast their ballots in the proper election district and polling place so that their votes are counted, it has become clear that requiring maps or street finders for the entire county at every polling site is expensive and unnecessary. Although voters sometimes need help locating the correct election district or polling place for their address, they know the political subdivision, i.e., the city, town or village, where they reside and vote. The voter may go to the wrong polling place within his or her town or city but is unlikely to go to a polling place in the wrong town or wrong city. Likewise, in a village election, a voter may go to the wrong polling place within his or her village but is unlikely to go to a polling place outside the village. As long as poll workers have maps and street finders for the city, town or village where the voter resides, the voter will be directed to their proper election district and polling place.

By changing the law to require that poll workers be provided with maps and street finders that cover the political subdivision in which the polling place is located, rather than the entire county, the law will be equally effective but far less expensive to implement.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.7884 (Stewart-Cousins)

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4748 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 18, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sens. O'MARA, LARKIN, RANZENHOFER -- 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 making technical corrections with regards to political subdivisions and election districts THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 4-128 of the election law, as amended by chapter 489 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows: 1. The board of elections of each county shall provide the requisite number of official and facsimile ballots, two cards of instruction to voters in the form prescribed by the state board of elections, at least one copy of the instruction booklet for inspectors, a sufficient number of maps, street finders or other descriptions of all of the polling places and election districts within the [county] POLITICAL SUBDIVISION in which the polling place is located to enable the election inspectors and poll clerks to determine the correct election district and polling place for each street address within the [county] POLITICAL SUBDIVISION in which the polling place is located, distance markers, tally sheets and return blanks, pens, black ink, or ball point pens with black ink, pencils having black lead, envelopes for the ballots of voters whose registration poll records are not in the ledger or whose names are not on the computer generated registration list, envelopes for returns, identification buttons, badges or emblems for the inspectors and clerks in the form prescribed by the state board of elections and such other articles of stationery as may be necessary for the proper conduct of elections, except that when a town, city or village holds an election not conducted by the board of elections, the clerk of such town, city or
village, shall provide such official and facsimile ballots and the necessary blanks, supplies and stationery for such election. S 2. Subdivision d of section 4-132 of the election law, as added by chapter 489 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows: d. A sufficient number of maps, street finders or other descriptions of all of the polling places and election districts within the [county] POLITICAL SUBDIVISION in which the polling place is located to enable the election inspectors and poll clerks to determine the correct election district and polling place for each street address within the [county] POLITICAL SUBDIVISION in which the polling place is located. S 3. The opening paragraph of paragraph (e) of subdivision 3 of section 8-302 of the election law, as amended by chapter 489 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows: Whenever a voter presents himself or herself and offers to cast a ballot, and he or she claims to live in the election district in which he or she seeks to vote but no registration poll record can be found for him or her in the poll ledger or his or her name does not appear on the computer generated registration list or his or her signature does not appear next to his or her name on such computer generated registration list or his or her registration poll record or the computer generated registration list does not show him or her to be enrolled in the party in which he or she claims to be enrolled, a poll clerk or election inspector shall consult a map, street finder or other description of all of the polling places and election districts within the [county] POLI- TICAL SUBDIVISION in which said election district is located AND IF NECESSARY, CONTACT THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO OBTAIN THE RELEVANT INFOR- MATION and advise the voter of the correct polling place and election district [within the county] for the residence address provided by the voter to such poll clerk or election inspector. Thereafter, such voter shall be permitted to vote in said election district only as hereinafter provided: S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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