Eliminates the reference to "inmate" when referring to residents of veteran's administration hospitals for purposes of absentee voting.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to eliminating the reference to "inmate" when referring to residents of veteran's administration hospitals for purposes of absentee voting
PURPOSE: Modifies the Election law to correct the designation of veterans in absentee voting procedures to read as a "resident or patient of a veteran's administration hospital", which more aptly describes the situation of these individuals upon requesting and submitting an absentee ballot.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Sections 5-215, section 8-400, and section 8-404 of The Election law are amended in order to eliminate all references to a resident of veteran's administration hospitals as an "inmate" for the purposes of absentee voting to appropriately categorize veterans as either a resident or a patient of a veteran's administration hospital.
JUSTIFICATION: At present, pursuant to New York State Election Law, voters who in good faith expect to be absent on election day must request an application to qualify for an absentee ballot. Of the varying reasons permitted, a veteran who is an "inmate or patient of a veteran's administration hospital" or VA hospital may receive a ballot. At issue here is not the execution of this process, rather the improper and erroneous implication associated with this distinction in the law. Men and women who have fulfilled the strenuous duty of defending this great nation that now take residence in New York's veteran's administration hospitals are by no means inmates. Although "inmate" was originally intended for its institutional usage, updating the language to "resident" will be better suited to current standards of voter registration. Basing the absentee process on residence in this manner certifies that a veteran's vote is respectfully counted without any unwanted connotation. We must protect the dignity of those who have served honorably by ensuring that our most precious democratic institution of voting to choose who governs does not mar the service of our heroes.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4911 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 29, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, CARLUCCI, SAVINO -- 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 eliminating the refer- ence to "inmate" when referring to residents of veteran's adminis- tration hospitals for purposes of absentee voting THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivisions 1, 5 and 8 of section 5-215 of the election law, subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 90 of the laws of 1991, subdi- vision 8 as added by chapter 347 of the laws of 1982, and such section as renumbered by chapter 659 of the laws of 1994, are amended to read as follows: 1. The board of elections in the county in which a veterans' hospital is located shall appoint a board of registration which shall attend each veterans' hospital between the hours of nine o'clock in the morning and five o'clock in the evening on the seventh Thursday before each general election and, in the event that it be necessary for the completion of its duties, on the seventh Friday before such election except that if any of the religious holidays of Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Simchas Torah, Shmini Atzereth or Succoth shall fall on such days, such regis- tration shall be held on the next regular business day which does not fall on any of such religious holidays, and shall receive from
[inmates]RESIDENTS or patients therein, or their spouses, parents and children, the applications of such of them as desire and are qualified to be registered by absentee registration. 5. If a Veterans' Administration Hospital in which any veteran enti- tled to vote in this state is [an inmate]A RESIDENT or patient, is located outside the State of New York, an application for an absentee ballot signed by such veteran or his OR HER spouse, parent or child accompanying or being with him OR HER, if a qualified voter and a resi-EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD11060-02-1 S. 4911 2
dent of the same election district, shall constitute permanent personal registration. 8. The board of elections shall not be required to send a board of central registration to each veterans' hospital in such county, pursuant to the provisions of this section, if, in lieu thereof, it shall provide such hospital with mail registration application forms in sufficient quantity so that each
[inmate]RESIDENT or patient of such hospital who wishes to register will be able to do so. A complete application received from [an inmate]A RESIDENT or patient whose residence is in a county other than the county in which the hospital is located shall be immediately transmitted to the appropriate board of elections. S 2. Paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of section 8-400 of the election law, as amended by chapter 63 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: (c) [an inmate]A RESIDENT or patient of a veteran's administration hospital; or S 3. Subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (c) of subdivision 3 of section 8-400 of the election law, as amended by chapter 63 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: (iii) [an inmate]A RESIDENT or patient of a veteran's administration hospital; or S 4. Subdivision 1 of section 8-404 of the election law, the opening paragraph as amended by chapter 359 of the laws of 1989, paragraph (b) as amended by chapter 373 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows: 1. After entering upon the registration records, the application for registration of [an inmate]A RESIDENT or patient of a veterans' admin- istration hospital as to whom the medical superintendent or medical head of such hospital has attested that he OR SHE expects that he OR SHE will not be discharged prior to the day following the next general or special village, primary, special, general or New York city community school board district or city of Buffalo school district election, and the application for registration by the spouse, parent or child of such [inmate]RESIDENT or patient, accompanying or being with him or her, if a qualified voter and a resident of the same election district, the board of elections, without further investigation and without further application by the applicant, shall send to him OR HER at such hospital an absentee ballot and shall record in the signature column on the back of his OR HER permanent personal registration poll record that such ballot has been sent. (a) Any voter who is duly registered and whose registration records are marked "Hospitalized Veteran" or "Hospitalized Veteran's Relative" need not thereafter make application for an absentee ballot. Sixty days before each election, the board of elections shall compile and send a list to each veterans' administration hospital of all [inmates]RESI- DENTS and patients of veterans' administration hospitals who appear by the records of such board to be "hospitalized veterans" entitled to receive absentee ballots at each such hospital pursuant to the provisions of this section. Each veterans' administration hospital shall no later than fifteen days following the receipt of such list, return it with notations made thereon showing whether the [inmate]RESIDENT or patient continues to be confined therein or has been discharged there- from. Upon the receipt of such returned list from each veterans' admin- istration hospital with the proper notations showing that a "hospital- ized veteran" continues to be confined in such hospital, the board of elections, by mail addressed to such "hospitalized veteran" at his ORS. 4911 3
HER last known hospital address and by mail addressed to such "hospital- ized veteran's relative" at his OR HER last known address shall send an absentee ballot for the ensuing election to such "hospitalized veteran" and such "hospitalized veteran's relative" an absentee ballot in the same manner as provided
[herein]IN THIS SECTION for a qualified voter entitled to an absentee ballot because of permanent disability. The board shall record on the back of his OR HER registration poll record in the space reserved for his OR HER signature at such election, the fact that such ballot has been sent. (b) If the returned list from a veterans' administration hospital contains a notation showing that a "hospitalized veteran" is no longer [an inmate]A RESIDENT or patient at the veterans' administration hospi- tal where he OR SHE is recorded as staying, or if such letter containing an absentee voter's ballot for a "hospitalized veteran" or a "hospital- ized veterans' relative" is returned by the post office as undelivera- ble, the board of elections shall ascertain whether the "hospitalized veteran" or "hospitalized veteran's relative" is residing at the address given on his OR HER registration records as his OR HER permanent address. If he OR SHE is residing there, the board shall not send him OR HER any further absentee ballots unless he OR SHE applies therefor in the regular way. If he OR SHE is not residing at the place of residence given on his OR HER registration records but the board ascertains that he OR SHE has been transferred to another veterans' administration hospital, the board shall cause a central board of registration to make the necessary changes of temporary address on his OR HER registration records and shall continue sending him OR HER absentee ballots at the veterans' administration hospital where he OR SHE is staying. If he OR SHE is not residing at the place of residence given on his OR HER regis- tration records and the board cannot ascertain that he OR SHE has been transferred to another veterans' administration hospital, the board shall cancel his OR HER registration. Whenever a registration is cancelled pursuant [hereto]TO THIS PARAGRAPH notice shall be mailed to the veteran or his OR HER relative at his OR HER permanent residence address and last temporary address. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.