This bill has been amended

Bill S5517-2011

Provides that absentee ballots for all elections shall be made available in Braille, upon request of a blind or visually impaired voter

Provides that absentee ballots for all elections shall be made available in Braille and large print, upon request of a blind or visually impaired voter no less than 30 days prior to each election day.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • May 27, 2011: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5517

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law and the education law, in relation to making absentee ballots available in Braille and large-print; and providing for the repeal of certain provisions upon expiration thereof

PURPOSE: To allow blind and visually impaired individuals access to absentee ballots printed in Braille and large-print.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 adds a new section 7-107 to the election law to state that absentee ballots printed in Braille and large-print for every election shall be made available upon the request of any registered voter who is blind or visually impaired; that these ballots shall be made available upon the request of any registered voter who is blind or visually impaired; and that persons wishing to use these ballots must give notice to the board of elections no less than 30 days prior to each election day. This section also gives the state board of elections the task of promulgating rules for the preparation, distribution, casting and canvass of these ballots; directs that the rules be developed in consultation with state disability advocacy groups; defines Braille and large-print for the purposes of this section; and provides proof reading standards for the ballots.

Section 2 adds a new section 2022-a to the education law that states ballots printed in Braille and large-print for every election shall be made available upon the request of any registered voter who is blind or visually impaired; that these ballots shall be made available at polling places upon request, and may be used by a voter in lieu of the voting machine; and that persons wishing to use these ballots must give notice to the board of elections no less than 30 days prior to each election day. This section also gives the commissioner, in consultation with the state board of elections, the task of promulgating rules for the preparation, distribution, casting and canvass of these ballots; directs that the rules be developed in consultation with state disability advocacy groups; defines Braille and large-print for the purposes of this section; and provides proofreading standards for the ballots.

Section 3 adds a new section 2022-a to the education law that states absentee ballots printed in Braille and large-print shall be made available upon request of any registered voter who is visually impaired. Those wishing to receive such ballots must give notice no less than thirty days prior to each election day. The commissioner in consultation with the state board of elections, the task of promulgating rules for the preparation, distribution, casting and canvass of these ballots; directs that the rules be developed in consultation with state disability advocacy groups; defines Braille and large-print for the purposes of this section; and provides proofreading standards for the ballots.

Section 4 is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: It is important that people who are blind or visually impaired have equal access to ballots in the voting process. While it is not the intent of this measure to replace the critical need for fully accessible voting machines for all people with disabilities, there are some individuals who either need or wish to vote by absentee ballot.

This act will enable blind and visually impaired persons to request Braille or large-print absentee ballots be made available to them. Currently, blind or visually impaired people must have someone assist them when filling out absentee ballots because they are simply not produced in accessible formats. This present situation interferes with the rights of blind or visually impaired people to vote independently, and it forces such individuals to trust that the person assisting them will vote according to their wishes.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2001-2002: A.6321 - Referred to Election Law 2003-2004: A.3726 - Passed Assembly 2005-2606: A.1852 - Passed Assembly 2007-2008: A.7196 - Passed Assembly 2009-2010: A.3738 - Passed Assembly

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: There will be some cost associated with the production of the Braille & large print ballots.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The first day of December next succeeding the date on which it shall have become law; provided, however, that section two of this act shall expire and be deemed repealed December 31, 2012 when upon such date section three of this act shall take effect. Effective immediately the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5517 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 27, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. LANZA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections AN ACT to amend the election law and the education law, in relation to making absentee ballots available in Braille and large-print; and providing for the repeal of certain provisions upon expiration thereof THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The election law is amended by adding a new section 7-107 to read as follows: S 7-107. ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT TO BE MADE AVAIL- ABLE. 1. ABSENTEE BALLOTS PRINTED IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE UPON THE REQUEST OF ANY REGISTERED VOTER WHO IS BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED. PERSONS WISHING TO RECEIVE BRAILLE OR LARGE-PRINT BALLOTS MUST GIVE NOTICE THEREOF TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS NO LESS THAN THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO EACH ELECTION DAY TO ENABLE THE BOARD TO PREPARE AND DISTRIBUTE SUCH BALLOTS. 2. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL PROMULGATE RULES FOR THE PREPA- RATION, DISTRIBUTION, CASTING, AND CANVASS OF BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT ABSENTEE BALLOTS. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL DEVELOP THE INITIAL FORMAT FOR BOTH BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT BALLOTS IN CONSULTATION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGANIZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPROPRI- ATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL DETERMINE. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION, "BRAILLE" REFERS TO GRADE TWO BRAILLE AND "LARGE-PRINT" REFERS TO A FONT OF EIGH- TEEN POINT OR LARGER. UPON THE PRINTING OF A BRAILLE BALLOT, THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL REQUIRE SUCH BRAILLE BALLOT TO BE PROOFREAD BY A QUALIFIED BRAILLE READER. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL ESTABLISH THE MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR A BRAILLE BALLOT PROOFREADER IN CONSULTA- TION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGANIZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPRO-
PRIATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS SUCH BOARD SHALL DETERMINE. S 2. The education law is amended by adding a new section 2022-a to read as follows: S 2022-A. BALLOTS IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT TO BE MADE AVAILABLE. 1. BALLOTS PRINTED IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT FOR EVERY ELECTION SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE UPON THE REQUEST OF ANY REGISTERED VOTER WHO IS BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED. SUCH BALLOTS SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE AT POLLING PLAC- ES UPON REQUEST, AND MAY BE USED BY A VOTER IN LIEU OF THE VOTING MACHINE. ABSENTEE BALLOTS PRINTED IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. PERSONS WISHING TO RECEIVE BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT BALLOTS MUST GIVE NOTICE THEREOF NO LESS THAN THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO EACH ELECTION DAY TO ENABLE PREPARATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH BALLOTS. 2. THE COMMISSIONER, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, SHALL PROMULGATE RULES FOR THE PREPARATION, DISTRIBUTION, CASTING, AND CANVASS OF BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT ABSENTEE BALLOTS. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL DEVELOP THE INITIAL FORMAT FOR BOTH BRAILLE AND LARGE- PRINT BALLOTS IN CONSULTATION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGAN- IZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISA- BILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPROPRIATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS SUCH BOARD SHALL DETERMINE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "BRAILLE" REFERS TO GRADE TWO BRAILLE AND "LARGE-PRINT" REFERS TO A FONT OF EIGHTEEN POINT OR LARGER. UPON THE PRINTING OF A BRAILLE BALLOT, SUCH BRAILLE BALLOT SHALL BE PROOFREAD BY A QUALIFIED BRAILLE READER. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL ESTABLISH THE MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR A BRAILLE BALLOT PROOFREADER IN CONSULTATION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGANIZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPROPRIATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS SUCH DEPARTMENT SHALL DETERMINE. S 3. The education law is amended by adding a new section 2022-a to read as follows: S 2022-A. BALLOTS IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT TO BE MADE AVAILABLE. 1. ABSENTEE BALLOTS PRINTED IN BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT SHALL BE MADE AVAIL- ABLE UPON REQUEST. PERSONS WISHING TO RECEIVE BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT BALLOTS MUST GIVE NOTICE THEREOF NO LESS THAN THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO EACH ELECTION DAY TO ENABLE PREPARATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH BALLOTS. 2. THE COMMISSIONER, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, SHALL PROMULGATE RULES FOR THE PREPARATION, DISTRIBUTION, CASTING, AND CANVASS OF BRAILLE AND LARGE-PRINT ABSENTEE BALLOTS. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL DEVELOP THE INITIAL FORMAT FOR BOTH BRAILLE AND LARGE- PRINT BALLOTS IN CONSULTATION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGAN- IZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISA- BILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPROPRIATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS SUCH BOARD SHALL DETERMINE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "BRAILLE" REFERS TO GRADE TWO BRAILLE AND "LARGE-PRINT" REFERS TO A FONT OF EIGHTEEN POINT OR LARGER. UPON THE PRINTING OF A BRAILLE BALLOT, SUCH BRAILLE BALLOT SHALL BE PROOFREAD BY A QUALIFIED BRAILLE READER. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL ESTABLISH THE MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR A BRAILLE BALLOT PROOFREADER IN CONSULTATION WITH AT LEAST THREE NEW YORK STATE ORGANIZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND SUCH OTHER APPROPRIATE PERSONS, GROUPS, ENTITIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS SUCH DEPARTMENT SHALL DETERMINE. S 4. Sections 1 and 2 of this act shall take effect on the first of December next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law; provided, however that section two of this act shall expire and be
deemed repealed December 31, 2012 when upon such date section three of this act shall take effect. Effective immediately, the addition, amend- ment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implemen- tation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.

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