Bill S6141-2013

Relates to voting rights

Relates to voting rights.

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  • Feb 10, 2014: OPINION REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • Jan 13, 2014: TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR OPINION
  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO JUDICIARY

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6141

TITLE OF BILL: CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY Proposing an amendment to article 2 of the constitution, in relation to voting rights

PURPOSE:

Provides for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit imposing voting qualifications that would result in a denial or abridgment of the right of a citizen to vote on account of race or color, religion, gender preference or disability.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Amends the constitution by adding a new section ten, prohibiting voting qualifications or prerequisites to voting that have the effect of denying or abridging the right of any citizen to vote on account of race or color, religion, gender preference, or disability. In order to assure the right of any citizen to vote is not denied or abridge, no citizen shall be denied the right to vote because of a failure to comply with any prerequisites requiring hint or her to: (1) demonstrate the ability to read, write, understand, or interpret anything, (2) demonstrate any education achievement or knowledge with any particular subject, (3) possess good moral character, (4) pay or demonstrate payment of any tax, (5) provide government issues photo identification at a polling site, (6) provide proof of American citizenship at a polling site, or (7) prove his or her qualifications by voucher of registered voters or members of any other class. Finally neither the state nor any political subdivisions may restrict third-party organizations or individuals from registering voters in good faith.

Section 2: Provides for the procedure, in compliance with section 1 of Article 19 of the New York State Constitution, for a constitutional amendment.

JUSTIFICATION:

In June 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated a key portion of the historic Voting Rights Acts of 1965 in Shelby County v. Holder. Section 5 of the Act prohibits certain municipalities from making changes to voting procedures without Federal clearance. Section 4 of the Act, contained the formula used to determine the states and municipalities with a history of voting discrimination that had to comply with Section 5. The Court held that Section 4 was unconstitutional and struck it down, effectively making Section 5 useless until Congress takes steps to create a new formula. As a result of the decision, the states and municipalities that had been identified as historically utilizing discriminatory practices at the ballot box are now free to require superfluous qualifications in an attempt to curtail the voting rights of minorities.

Despite the assertions made by the Court in the majority opinion, racial discrimination still exists. The right of access to voting is one of the most crucial rights guaranteed us in the New York and federal constitutions. Using pretexts that deny access to the ballot

substantially reduces minority participation in government, which undermines the electoral franchise.

This constitutional amendment will protect the rights of all voters, and minority, LGBT, elderly or disabled voters, by ensuring that the constitutional right to have one's vote counted is not undermined by legal strategies that would deny access on the basis of race, color, religion, gender preference or disability.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

None. This is new legislation

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This constitutional amendment would take effect immediately once it has successfully fulfilled the requirements set forth in Article XIX, Section 1 of New York's constitution.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6141 IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 8, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sen. PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY Proposing an amendment to article 2 of the constitution, in relation to voting rights Section 1. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That article 2 of the constitution be amended by adding a new section 10 to read as follows: S 10. VOTING RIGHTS. (A) NO VOTING QUALIFICATION OR PREREQUISITE TO VOTING OR STANDARD, PRACTICE, OR PROCEDURE SHALL BE IMPOSED OR APPLIED BY THE STATE OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION IN A MANNER WHICH RESULTS IN A DENIAL OR ABRIDGEMENT OF THE RIGHT OF ANY CITIZEN TO VOTE ON ACCOUNT OF RACE OR COLOR, RELIGION, GENDER PREFERENCE OR DISABILITY. (B) TO ASSURE THAT THE RIGHT OF CITIZENS TO VOTE IS NOT DENIED OR ABRIDGED ON ACCOUNT OF RACE OR COLOR, RELIGION, GENDER PREFERENCE OR DISABILITY, NO CITIZEN SHALL BE DENIED THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN ANY ELECTION BECAUSE OF HIS OR HER FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY PREREQUISITE FOR VOTING OR REGISTRATION FOR VOTING REQUIRING HIM OR HER TO: (1) DEMONSTRATE THE ABILITY TO READ, WRITE, UNDERSTAND, OR INTERPRET ANY MATTER; (2) DEMONSTRATE ANY EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT OR HIS OR HER KNOWLEDGE OF ANY PARTICULAR SUBJECT; (3) POSSESS GOOD MORAL CHARACTER; (4) PAY OR DEMONSTRATE PAYMENT OF ANY POLL TAX OR OTHER TAX; (5) PROVIDE GOVERNMENT ISSUED PHOTO IDENTIFICATION AT A POLLING SITE; (6) PROVIDE DOCUMENTARY PROOF OF AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP TO REGISTER TO VOTE; OR (7) PROVE HIS OR HER QUALIFICATIONS BY THE VOUCHER OF REGISTERED VOTERS OR MEMBERS OF ANY OTHER CLASS. (C) NEITHER THE STATE, NOR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, SHALL RESTRICT THIRD-PARTY ORGANIZATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS FROM REGISTERING VOTERS IN GOOD FAITH. S 2. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That the foregoing amendment be referred to the first regular legislative session convening after the next succeeding general election of members of the assembly, and, in conformity with section 1 of article 19 of such constitution, be published for 3 months previous to the time of such election. EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD89132-01-3

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