Bill S5266-2015

Relates to prohibiting election commissioners from being chairs of political parties

Relates to prohibiting election commissioners from being chairs of political parties.

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  • May 12, 2015: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

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BILL NUMBER:S5266

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to prohibiting election commissioners from being chairs of political parties

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

The purpose of this legislation is to prohibit election commissioners from being chairs of political parties.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1. Subdivision 4 of section 3-200 of the of the Election Law is amended as follows: 4. No person shall be appointed as election commissioner or continue to hold office who is not a registered voter in the county and not an enrolled member of the party recommending his or her appointment, or who is the chair of a political organization in such county or who holds any other public office, except that of commissioner of deeds, notary public, village officer, city or town justice, member of a community board within the city of New York or trustee or officer of a school district outside of a city.

Section 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION:

Political organization chairs and election commissioners wield power and influence over political candidates and elected officials since they are indispensable to them in every stage of the electoral process. The extent and depth of the interrelationships amongst all are substantial, having implications for the integrity, transparency and accountability of our election system.

The state election system is set up in which the county boards of elections administer the balloting and voting process, an intricate and complicated one. They are responsible for the minutia which can cost a candidate a party line on the ballot or a close election.

County boards are relatively free to operate with minimal interference from other governmental entities. County boards of elections are accountable to the: county political parties to whom they report (who nominate the commissioners); county legislature who ratifies the commissioners, sets commissioner salaries and establishes the board of elections budget; and the state board of elections in matters where the state board has jurisdiction.

Many election commissioners occupy simultaneous positions as chairs of political parties and organizations. In having both positions, then, they are instrumental in the recruitment of candidates, putting those candidates on the ballot and certifying election results. These circumstances can give rise to conflicts of interest, or the appearance of them, exacerbating the public distrust of government and elections.

This legislation would ensure that such conflicts of interest would not arise, safeguarding the foundation of our democracy, our electoral system.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

This is new legislation.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

There are no fiscal implications associated with this legislation.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5266 2015-2016 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 12, 2015 ___________
Introduced by Sen. CARLUCCI -- 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 prohibiting election commissioners from being chairs of political parties THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 4 of section 3-200 of the election law, as amended by chapter 195 of the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows: 4. No person shall be appointed as election commissioner or continue to hold office who is not a registered voter in the county and not an enrolled member of the party recommending his OR HER appointment, OR WHO IS THE CHAIR OF A POLITICAL ORGANIZATION IN SUCH COUNTY or who holds any other public office, except that of commissioner of deeds, notary public, village officer, city or town justice, member of a community board within the city of New York or trustee or officer of a school district outside of a city. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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