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A01226 Summary:

BILL NO    A01226 

SAME AS    No same as 

SPONSOR    Bing (MS)

COSPNSR    Cymbrowitz, Reilly, Rosenthal, Colton, Millman, Clark, Hooper,
           Pheffer

MLTSPNSR   Boyland, Brennan, Brook-Krasny, Kellner, Lancman, Lifton, Lopez V,
           McEneny, Perry, Towns, Weisenberg

Rpld S4-116 subs 2 & 3, S4-108 sub 1 c & d, S5-204 sub 4 & S4-117 sub 2, amd
SS4-120, 4-128, 4-117 & 16-100, add Art 7 Title III SS7-300 - 7-316, El L

Provides for the state board of elections to prepare and distribute to each
voter a ballot pamphlet for every general election; provides for contents
thereof and makes numerous related provisions including the distribution of
information relating to each ballot proposal that is submitted to a statewide
vote at such general election; provides that candidates may submit a biography
to be included in the statewide election pamphlet; permits any person eligible
to vote on any ballot proposal to institute a proceeding as to the factual
accuracy of statements or constitutional amendments.
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A01226 Actions:

BILL NO    A01226 

01/05/2011 referred to election law
07/11/2011 enacting clause stricken
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A01226 Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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A01226 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A1226
 
SPONSOR: Bing (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to the preparation, contents and distribution of a paper pamphlet containing information relative to general elections, to repeal certain provisions of the election law, relating to distribution of copies of proposed amendments to the constitution or other propositions or questions; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To provide the public with informa- tion on statewide ballot proposals and candidates for elected office.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill amends Article 7 of the election law by adding a new title 3 which provides for the content, preparation, and distribution of a ballot pamphlet. Section 7-302 provides that it is the duty of the State Board of Elections to prepare and distribute ballot pamphlets, but it may dele- gate that responsibility to county boards. Section 7-304 provides for the contents of the pamphlet, including: the date and hours during which the polls will be open, voter qualification requirements, how one can register to vote, how to apply for an absentee ballot, instructions on usage of affidavit ballots, other information deemed necessary. This will include information on ballot initiatives and candidates for office. Section 7-306 requires the board to certify and make public the final contents of the guide no later than sixty days before the election. Section 7-310 allows for the state board to instruct county boards to print the ballot if it is deemed more efficient and economical. If this occurs, the county board shall be promptly reimbursed for the cost of production. Section 7312 provides that a copy of the pamphlet be distributed to at least one registered voter in each household. Section 7-316 provides for the timing of the submission of candidate information and its content. In addition, it provides for the placement of candidate information on the board of elections website.   JUSTIFICATION: Voters too often know little or nothing about ballot proposals and candidates when they step into the voting booth. This unfortunate and dangerous reality requires the legislature to work to ensure that this information is easily available to the electorate. This legislation will ensure that the voting public has the information at its disposal to make informed decisions on Election Day. In addition, the information in the pamphlet, including qualification requirements and the use of affidavit ballots, will serve to counteract forms of voter disenfranchisement.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10: A. 1641 Referred to Election Law; 2007-08: A.8286 Referred to Election Law   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal to State Board of Elections.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect April 1, 2011 and shall expire May 1, 2015, when upon such date the provision of this act shall be deemed repealed.
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A01226 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          1226
 
                               2011-2012 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                       (Prefiled)
 
                                     January 5, 2011
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  BING, CYMBROWITZ, REILLY, ROSENTHAL, COLTON,
          MILLMAN, CLARK, HOOPER, PHEFFER -- Multi-Sponsored  by  --  M.  of  A.
          BOYLAND,  BRENNAN,  BROOK-KRASNY,  KELLNER, LANCMAN, LIFTON, V. LOPEZ,
          McENENY, PERRY, TOWNS, WEISENBERG -- read once  and  referred  to  the

          Committee on Election Law
 
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the  election  law,  in relation to the preparation,
          contents and distribution of a paper pamphlet  containing  information
          relative  to  general  elections,  to repeal certain provisions of the
          election law, relating to distribution of copies  of  proposed  amend-
          ments  to  the  constitution  or  other propositions or questions; and
          providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  Subdivisions 2 and 3 of section 4-116 of the election law
     2  are REPEALED.
     3    § 2. Paragraphs c and d of subdivision  1  of  section  4-108  of  the
     4  election  law are REPEALED and subdivision 3, as added by chapter 234 of
     5  the laws of 1976, is amended to read as follows:

     6    3. The attorney general  shall  advise  in  the  preparation  of  such
     7  [abstract and such] form of submission.
     8    §  3.  The  opening paragraph of subdivision 1 of section 4-120 of the
     9  election law, as amended by chapter 359 of the laws of 1989, is  amended
    10  to read as follows:
    11    The  board  of  elections  shall publish once in each of the two weeks
    12  preceding a general election, or a special or village election conducted
    13  by the board of elections, a notice specifying the day of the  election,
    14  and  the public officers to be voted for within such county, or any part
    15  thereof at such election. [If constitutional  amendments,  or  questions
    16  are  to  be submitted to the voters of the state, the notice shall state
    17  that fact and that a copy of each such  amendment  or  question  may  be


         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD00666-01-1

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     1  obtained  at  the  board  of  elections, by any voter.] Such publication
     2  shall be in two newspapers published within the county.   If the  county
     3  contains  a  city  or  cities,  at least one of such newspapers shall be
     4  published in the city, or the largest city, if there be more than one.
     5    § 4. Subdivision 1 of section 4-128 of the election law, as amended by
     6  chapter 489 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows:
     7    1.  The  board of elections of each county shall provide the requisite

     8  number of official and facsimile ballots, two cards  of  instruction  to
     9  voters  in  the  form  prescribed  by the state board of elections, five
    10  copies of each ballot pamphlet, at least one  copy  of  the  instruction
    11  booklet  for  inspectors, a sufficient number of maps, street finders or
    12  other descriptions of all of the polling places and  election  districts
    13  within  the  county  in which the polling place is located to enable the
    14  election inspectors and poll clerks to determine  the  correct  election
    15  district  and polling place for each street address within the county in
    16  which the polling place is located, distance markers, tally  sheets  and
    17  return  blanks,  pens,  black  ink,  or  ball point pens with black ink,
    18  pencils having black lead, envelopes for the  ballots  of  voters  whose
    19  registration  poll  records are not in the ledger or whose names are not

    20  on the computer generated  registration  list,  envelopes  for  returns,
    21  identification  buttons, badges or emblems for the inspectors and clerks
    22  in the form prescribed by the state board of elections  and  such  other
    23  articles  of  stationery  as  may be necessary for the proper conduct of
    24  elections, except that when a town, city or village  holds  an  election
    25  not conducted by the board of elections, the clerk of such town, city or
    26  village,  shall  provide  such  official  and  facsimile ballots and the
    27  necessary blanks, supplies and stationery for such election.
    28    § 5. Subdivision 4 of section 5-204 of the election  law  is  REPEALED
    29  and  subdivisions 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are renumbered subdivisions 2,
    30  3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
    31    § 6. Subdivision 2 of section 4-117 of the election  law  is  REPEALED
    32  and subdivision 3 is renumbered subdivision 2.

    33    § 7. Article 7  of the election law is amended by adding a new title 3
    34  to read as follows:
    35                                  TITLE III
    36                               BALLOT PAMPHLET
    37  Section 7-300. Legislative findings.
    38          7-302. State board of elections to prepare ballot pamphlet.
    39          7-304. Contents of ballot pamphlet.
    40          7-306. Preparation of ballot proposal materials.
    41          7-308. State immunity.
    42          7-310. Printing.
    43          7-312. Distribution.
    44          7-314. Authorization to local communities.
    45          7-316. Candidate biographies.
    46    §  7-300.  Legislative  findings.  The  legislature  hereby  finds and

    47  declares that the purpose of this title and of the ballot pamphlet is to
    48  fully and fairly inform the electorate about the  candidates  and  about
    49  the  issues  appearing on the ballot. The state board of elections shall
    50  undertake its responsibilities in the manner best calculated to, and all
    51  the provisions herein shall be construed so as to accomplish that goal.
    52    § 7-302. State board of elections to prepare ballot pamphlet. It shall
    53  be the duty of the state board of elections, hereinafter referred to  as
    54  the  state  board,  to  prepare and distribute a ballot pamphlet, in the
    55  manner set out in this title, for every general  election  conducted  in
    56  the state in any year in which the majority of the seats in the assembly


        A. 1226                             3
 
     1  are open to election.  Not later than January thirty-first of each year,
     2  the  state  board  shall  fix  and  announce the dates for all deadlines
     3  provided for by this title.  The state board of elections  may  delegate
     4  this  duty  to county boards of elections to prepare pamphlets for their
     5  own county.
     6    § 7-304. Contents of  ballot  pamphlet.  Each  ballot  pamphlet  shall
     7  contain the following material and no other material. 1. An introductory
     8  statement shall be prepared by the state board explaining:
     9    (a)  The  date  and  hours during which the polls will be open for the
    10  general election;
    11    (b) Voter qualification requirements in New York state;

    12    (c) When, where, and how to register to vote;
    13    (d) When, where and how absentee ballots are obtained and used;
    14    (e) Instructions on how  to  vote,  including  the  use  of  affidavit
    15  ballots; and
    16    (f) Any other general information on voting deemed necessary or useful
    17  to the electorate or otherwise consistent with the goals of this article
    18  by the state board.
    19    2. The following statement, printed in boldface type, shall follow the
    20  introductory   statement   and   precede  materials  related  to  ballot
    21  proposals:
    22    IMPORTANT: This pamphlet contains information  on  candidates  running
    23  for  elected  office and on proposals which will be on the ballot state-

    24  wide. There may also be proposals of local interest  on  the  ballot  in
    25  your  community.  For information on these local proposals, contact your
    26  local board of elections and see your local newspaper.
    27    3. Materials shall be prepared for each ballot proposal to be  submit-
    28  ted to a statewide vote at the general election. Such materials shall be
    29  prepared as prescribed in section 7-306 of this title, and shall include
    30  the following:
    31    (a)  A true copy of the form of the ballot proposal, as it will appear
    32  on the ballot, set out in boldface or italic type  at  the  top  of  the
    33  page;
    34    (b)  A  concise,  impartial,  and  understandable  explanation, not to
    35  exceed five hundred words, stating the nature and effect of  the  ballot

    36  proposal;
    37    (c) The full text of the ballot proposal, which shall be printed so as
    38  to  indicate  by  the use of italic type the matter if any that would be
    39  added to the state constitution of law, and by the use of  brackets  the
    40  matter if any that would be deleted therefrom; and
    41    (d)  An  explanation  of  such  use  of  italic  type and brackets, as
    42  described in paragraph (c) of this subdivision.
    43    4. Candidate biography information obtained pursuant to section  7-316
    44  of this title.
    45    5.  A  clear and legible statement informing individuals that they may
    46  access candidate  biography  information  on  the  board's  website  and
    47  include the address of such website.

    48    §  7-306.  Preparation  of ballot proposal materials. 1. All materials
    49  required by subdivision three of section 7-304 of this  title  shall  be
    50  prepared by the state board of elections.
    51    2. The state board shall certify and make public the final contents of
    52  the  ballot  pamphlet  no  later  than sixty days before the election at
    53  which the measure is to appear on the ballot.
    54    § 7-308. State immunity. No cause of action shall  arise  against  the
    55  state of New York or any agency or employee thereof with respect to such

        A. 1226                             4
 
     1  ballot  pamphlet  except  as caused by the negligence or willful acts of
     2  the state or of its agents or employees.

     3    §  7-310. Printing. 1. The state board shall cause the ballot pamphlet
     4  to be printed in as legible a manner as  possible  consistent  with  the
     5  purpose of this title. In the event that the state board determines that
     6  the  printing of the ballot pamphlet would be more efficient and econom-
     7  ical if done by the local boards of elections, the state board is hereby
     8  authorized to instruct all boards  of  elections  to  print  the  ballot
     9  pamphlet. Should the state board so instruct the boards of elections, it
    10  shall  promptly  reimburse  each board for the actual cost of production
    11  incurred by said board.
    12    2. The state board or the local boards of elections as provided for in

    13  subdivision one of this section, shall also  prepare  and  cause  to  be
    14  printed, and distribute to such voters as it deems appropriate, a trans-
    15  lation  of  the  ballot  pamphlet  into  Spanish, Russian, and any other
    16  languages required to comply with the Voting  Rights  Act  of  1965,  as
    17  amended.
    18    §  7-312.  Distribution. 1. There shall be no charge for single copies
    19  of the ballot pamphlet.
    20    2. In addition to the requirements of section 7-300 of this title,  in
    21  every  general  election  in which a ballot proposal is on the statewide
    22  ballot, the state board shall cause a copy of the ballot pamphlet to  be
    23  distributed  to  at least one registered voter in each household. In the

    24  event the  state  board  determines  that  distribution  of  the  ballot
    25  pamphlet  would  be  more  efficient and economical if done by the local
    26  boards of elections, the state board is hereby  authorized  to  instruct
    27  all  boards  of  elections to distribute the ballot pamphlet to at least
    28  one registered voter in  each  household.  Should  the  state  board  so
    29  instruct  the  boards of elections, it shall provide a sufficient number
    30  of ballot pamphlets to each board of elections and shall promptly  reim-
    31  burse  each  board for the actual cost of postage incurred by said board
    32  in distributing the pamphlet provided that said board utilize the lowest
    33  feasible postage rate charged by the United States postal  service.  The

    34  distribution  of the ballot pamphlets to registered voters or households
    35  shall be made between twenty and forty days before the election to which
    36  they pertain.
    37    3. Sufficient copies shall also be provided to boards of elections  to
    38  permit each such board to supply five copies to each election district.
    39    4.  In  addition  to  providing  a  sufficient number of copies of the
    40  pamphlet to comply with subdivisions two and three of this section,  the
    41  state board shall cause to be printed at least fifty thousand additional
    42  copies  and provide them to those persons, organizations and other enti-
    43  ties that request them, at no charge, provided that the state board  may
    44  impose  a charge for bulk orders of greater than five copies and may set

    45  limits on the total number of copies that any single individual,  organ-
    46  ization or other entity may obtain upon request.
    47    5.  In  addition to all printed materials, the board shall have a copy
    48  of the pamphlet available on its website in a printer-friendly format.
    49    § 7-314. Authorization to local communities. The legislative bodies of
    50  all cities, towns and counties are hereby  authorized  to  enact  legis-
    51  lation  consistent  with the provisions of this title which would enable
    52  questions, propositions, and issues on the ballot in such cities,  towns
    53  and  counties  to  be presented to voters by means of a ballot pamphlet.
    54  Any such pamphlet may, with the approval of the state board,  be  mailed

    55  together  with  the statewide ballot pamphlet. The additional expense of

        A. 1226                             5
 
     1  preparing, printing and distributing such a pamphlet shall  be  paid  by
     2  such city, town or county.
     3    § 7-316. Candidate biographies. 1. Any candidate seeking nomination or
     4  election  at the next general election to any public office, or a desig-
     5  nated agent acting on behalf of such  candidate,  may,  at  least  eight
     6  weeks  prior  to  the general election, file with the board of elections
     7  with which nominating and designating  petitions  and  certificates  for
     8  such  office are filed pursuant to section 6-144 of this chapter a sworn
     9  statement setting forth  the  candidate's  occupation,  educational  and

    10  occupational  background,  prior  governmental experience, and any other
    11  personal background or experience that the candidate deems  relevant  to
    12  the election campaign.
    13    2.  The  state  board of elections shall, by regulation, establish the
    14  format and length of the statement authorized  under  this  section  and
    15  shall  provide  to  candidates  a  standardized  form for preparing such
    16  statement.
    17    3. Within five days after the last day  for  filing  statements  under
    18  this  section,  all  local  boards  of  elections shall forward all such
    19  candidate biographies to the state board of elections in electronic form
    20  in a manner to be prescribed by the state board of elections.

    21    4. Within five days of receipt of any candidate biographies  from  the
    22  local  boards of elections, the state board of elections shall cause all
    23  such information contained in said  candidate  biographies  to  be  made
    24  available at all times on the state board of elections website until one
    25  day after the election.
    26    5.  The state board of elections shall incorporate all the information
    27  it receives into the pamphlet as authorized pursuant to subdivision four
    28  of section 7-304 of this title.
    29    6. In the event that any candidate biographies received by  the  state
    30  board  of  elections, from any local board of elections, is not in elec-
    31  tronic form, the state board of elections shall, within ten  days  after

    32  receipt of such candidate biography, convert such candidate biography to
    33  electronic  form, and cause said candidate information to be made avail-
    34  able at all times on the state board of elections website until one  day
    35  after the election.
    36    § 8. Subdivision 2 of section 16-100 of the election law is amended to
    37  read as follows:
    38    2.    The county court is vested with jurisdiction to summarily deter-
    39  mine any question of law or fact except proceedings as to  a  nomination
    40  or  election at a primary election or a nomination at a judicial conven-
    41  tion, proceedings as to  the  casting  and  canvass  of  ballots  [and],
    42  proceedings  for  examination or preservation of ballots and proceedings
    43  as to the contents of statements on constitutional amendments, questions

    44  and propositions.
    45    § 9. On or before March 1, 2017 the board of elections shall submit  a
    46  report  to the governor and the legislature evaluating the effectiveness
    47  of ballot pamphlets as a tool to increase voter awareness,  registration
    48  and participation. Such report shall include statistics on voter partic-
    49  ipation  both  before  and  after  ballot pamphlets were distributed and
    50  findings and recommendations on continuing  and  improving  title  3  of
    51  article 7 of the election law.
    52    § 10. This act shall take effect April 1, 2013 and shall expire May 1,
    53  2017,  when  upon  such  date the provisions of this act shall be deemed
    54  repealed.

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          REPEAL NOTE.--Subdivisions 2 and 3  of  section  4-116  of  such  law,

        proposed  to  be  repealed  by  this  act,  provides  for publication of
        proposed constitutional amendments.
          Paragraphs  c  and  d  of  subdivision 1 of section 4-108 of such law,
        proposed to be repealed by this act, provide for a transmittal to county
        boards of an abstract of proposed constitutional amendments and for  the
        form of the proposed constitutional amendment.
          Subdivision  4  of  section  5-204 of the election law, proposed to be
        repealed by this act, provides for distribution of  copies  of  proposed
        constitutional amendments and questions at local registration.
          Subdivision 2 of section 4-117 of such law, proposed to be repealed by
        this  act, provides for mailing copies of proposed constitutional amend-
        ments and questions to registered voters.
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