Enacts the Disaster Voting Relief Act of 2013; provides for temporary voting procedures in a state of emergency.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to enacting the disaster voting relief act of 2013
PURPOSE OF BILL: This bill would ensure that registered voters are given an opportunity to cast their votes when a natural or manmade disaster has affected their polling sites.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS OF BILL:
Section one of this bill titles the bill the "Disaster Voting Relief Act of 2013."
Section two of the bill would add section 3-109 to the election law, authorizing the Governor to delay or suspend an election in an affected municipality upon declaration of a state of emergency or a federal disaster declaration. This section also provides for the resumption or rescheduling of an election delayed or suspended in accordance with this provision, pursuant. to rules and regulations promulgated by the State Board of Elections.
Section three of this bill would add section 8-414 to the election law, allowing residents to vote by absentee ballot if their polling place is located in an area affected by an executive order declaring a state of emergency or a federal disaster declaration. Such declaration must be made within 14 days of the election.
Section four of the bill would amend election law section 8-302 by adding a new subdivision six, waiving the requirement of an affidavit voter to affirm that he or she is registered to vote within the election district where the poll site is located, provided that the voter is registered to vote in the same county as the poll site upon declaration of a state of emergency or a federal disaster declaration.
Section five of the bill would amend paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 9-209 of the election law to make it clear that a voter displaced due to a disaster shall have his or her vote counted notwithstanding the fact that they did not appear at the correct polling location. Such affidavit ballots would only be cast for those contests for which the person was eligible to vote at the polling location where he or she appeared.
Section six of the bill amends election law section 9-209, requiring absentee ballots cast by voters pursuant to new section 8-414 to be transmitted to the board of elections in the voter's home county where they shall be canvassed.
JUSTIFICATION: This bill would help necessitate the franchise for New York citizens who have been displaced from their homes due to an emergency or disaster. Over the past several years we have seen firsthand how voters in our state have been disenfranchised due to natural disasters that have occurred near an election. This is unacceptable and as a state we must ensure this important right is maintained in the face of such horrific natural or manmade acts.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the 180th day after it shall have become a law. Effective immediately the board of elections is authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations necessary for the further implementation of this act on its effective date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5235 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 14, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. TKACZYK, STEWART-COUSINS, ADDABBO, SANDERS -- 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 enacting the disaster voting relief act of 2013 THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Short Title. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "disaster voting relief act of 2013". S 2. The election law is amended by adding a new section 3-109 to read as follows: S 3-109. DISASTER; GOVERNOR MAY SUSPEND OR DELAY VOTING. 1. THE GOVER- NOR MAY, UPON ISSUANCE OF AN EXECUTIVE ORDER DECLARING A STATE OF EMER- GENCY OR UPON THE ISSUANCE OF A FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION SUSPEND OR DELAY AN ELECTION IN SUCH MUNICIPALITY. 2. IF A DELAY OR SUSPENSION IS AUTHORIZED BY THE GOVERNOR, THE DELAYED VOTING SHALL RESUME OR BE RESCHEDULED AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE PURSUANT TO THE PROCEDURES OUTLINED IN SECTION 3-108 OF THIS TITLE. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL PROMULGATE SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS TO FURTHER EFFECTUATE THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. S 3. The election law is amended by adding a new section 8-414 to read as follows: S 8-414. PERSONS ENTITLED TO VOTE ABSENTEE WHEN AN EMERGENCY IS DECLARED. UPON ISSUANCE OF AN EXECUTIVE ORDER DECLARING A STATE OF EMER- GENCY OR UPON THE ISSUANCE OF A FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS OF AN ELECTION ANY QUALIFIED VOTER WHOSE POLLING LOCATION IS WITHIN THE AREA AFFECTED BY SUCH DECLARATION MAY VOTE AS AN ABSENTEE VOTER NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER. S 4. Section 8-302 of the election law is amended by adding a new subdivision 6 to read as follows:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10637-03-3 S. 5235 2
6. UPON THE GOVERNOR'S ISSUANCE OF AN EXECUTIVE ORDER DECLARING A STATE OF EMERGENCY PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW OR UPON THE ISSUANCE OF A FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION A VOTER SEEKING TO VOTE BY AFFIDAVIT NEED NOT AFFIRM THAT SUCH VOTER IS DULY REGISTERED IN THE ELECTION DISTRICT IN WHICH SUCH VOTER SEEKS TO CAST AN AFFIDAVIT BALLOT IF SUCH VOTER IS REGISTERED TO VOTE WITHIN THE COUNTY FOR WHICH SUCH DECLARATION HAS BEEN ISSUED. S 5. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 9-209 of the election law is amended by adding a new subparagraph (iv) to read as follows: (IV) NOTWITHSTANDING SUBPARAGRAPH (III) OF THIS PARAGRAPH, THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS FOR THE COUNTY IN WHICH SUCH VOTER RESIDES SHALL CAST AND CANVASS SUCH BALLOT, IF IT DETERMINES THAT SUCH VOTER WAS ENTITLED TO VOTE REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT THE VOTER MAY HAVE APPEARED IN THE INCORRECT POLLING LOCATION DUE TO THE DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGEN- CY. SUCH BALLOT SHALL NOT BE CAST AND CANVASSED FOR SUCH CONTEST FOR WHICH THE PERSON WAS NOT ENTITLED TO VOTE AT SUCH ELECTION. S 6. The opening paragraph of section 9-209 of the election law, as amended by chapter 163 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: Before completing the canvass of votes cast in any primary, general, special, or other election at which voters are required to sign their registration poll records before voting, the board of elections shall proceed in the manner hereinafter prescribed to cast and canvass any absentee, military, special presidential, special federal or other special ballots and any ballots voted by voters who moved within the county or city after registering, voters who are in inactive status, voters whose registration was incorrectly transferred to another address even though they did not move, voters whose registration poll records were missing on the day of such election, voters who have not had their identity previously verified and voters whose registration poll records did not show them to be enrolled in the party in which they claimed to be enrolled. Each such ballot shall be retained in the original envelope containing the voter's affidavit and signature, in which it is delivered to the board of elections until such time as it is to be cast and canvassed. ABSENTEE BALLOTS CAST BY VOTERS PURSUANT TO SECTION 8-414 OF THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE TRANSMITTED BY THE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS WHERE SUCH BALLOT WAS CAST TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS WHERE SUCH VOTER IS REGISTERED TO VOTE TO BE CANVASSED WITH OTHER AFFIDAVIT AND ABSENTEE BALLOTS FOR THE ELECTION DISTRICT WHEREIN THE VOTER RESIDES. S 7. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the board of elections is authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations neces- sary for the further implementation of this act on its effective date.