Allows absentee voting for persons unable to vote due to duties, occupation, business, personal matters or studies; no agent may collect more than 15 ballots except with approval of two inspectors representing different political parties.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to absentee voting qualifications
PURPOSE: Allows absentee voting for persons unable to vote due to duties, occupation, business, personal matters or studies.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Extend absentee voting rights to any individual who for any reason is unable to vote in person; includes the category of "matters" in the list of acceptable reasons for absentee voting; eliminates the requirement that an individual applying for an absentee ballot be required to file a statement regarding the nature and reasons of their absence from the county of his or her residence; provides that no single agent may collect more than fifteen absentee ballots, except upon application and approval of both commissioners.
JUSTIFICATION: By extending absentee voting rights to all individuals who are unable to vote in person on election day, we are enabling more eligible voters to vote in New York State and have that vote counted. This bill helps to ensure that as many eligible voters as possible exercise their right to vote on election day.
There are many instances where an individual voter may not be able to vote, for any number of personal reasons, but may not fall within one of the categories which exists in current law. This amendment would eliminate this problem. The existing application process is also amended, as it would no longer require an individual voter to provide a specific reason as to why they will be unable to vote in person on election day.
This bill helps codify the main focus of HAVA to ensure that as many people as possible are able to exercise their right to vote and do so in an appropriate manner. By eliminating the requirement that an individual provide an acceptable reason for their absence, the bill also eliminates a pitfall as to why an otherwise eligible voter may be deemed ineligible.
Additionally, this bill would limit the number of absentee ballots one agent may collect to fifteen, unless otherwise approved by both commissioners. This change eliminates the unseemly practice whereby one individual is able to collect an unlimited number of absentee ballots and turn them in. The potential for fraud in instances like that is too great to risk for such an important matter as the right to have your vote count.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2006 - S.2776 Referred to Elections 2008 S.2253 Referred to Elections; Notice of Petition Filed 2009 - S.1835 Referred to Elections 2011 - S.544 Referred to Elections 2013 - S.2252 Referred to Elections
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Negligible.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law; provided that, effective immediately, any rule and regulations necessary to implement the provision of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be completed.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6534 IN SENATE February 4, 2014 ___________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 absentee voting quali- fications THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 8-400 of the election law, as amended by chapter 63 of the laws of 2010, is amended and a new subdivi- sion 11 is added to read as follows: 1. A qualified voter may vote as an absentee voter under this chapter if, on the occurrence of any village election conducted by the board of elections, primary election, special election, general election or New York city community school board district or city of Buffalo school district election, he or she expects to be
[: (a) absent from the county of his or her residence, or, if a resident of the city of New York absent from said city; or (b) unable to appear personally at the polling place of the election district in which he or she is a qualified voter because of illness or physical disability or duties related to the primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled, or because he or she will be or is a patient in a hospital; or (c) an inmate or patient of a veteran's administration hospital; or (d) absent from his or her voting residence because he or she is detained in jail awaiting action by a grand jury or awaiting trial, or confined in jail or prison after a conviction for an offense other than a felony, provided that he or she is qualified to vote in the election district of his or her residence]UNABLE TO VOTE IN PERSON DUE TO DUTIES, OCCUPATION, BUSINESS, PERSONAL MATTERS OR STUDIES. 11. NO SINGLE AGENT SHALL COLLECT MORE THAN FIFTEEN ABSENTEE BALLOTS, EXCEPT UPON APPLICATION AND APPROVAL OF TWO INSPECTORS REPRESENTING DIFFERENT POLITICAL PARTIES. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, any rules and regu- lations necessary to implement the provisions of this act on its effec- tive date are authorized to be made before such effective date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD02192-01-3