|SAME AS||No same as|
|COSPNSR||Cymbrowitz, Reilly, Rosenthal, Colton, Millman, Clark, Hooper|
|MLTSPNSR||Boyland, Brennan, Brook-Krasny, Kellner, Lancman, Lifton, Lopez V, McEneny, Perry, 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.|
|09/21/2011||referred to election law|
|01/04/2012||referred to election law|
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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A8636 SPONSOR: Kavanagh (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: To provide the public with information on statewide ballot proposals and candidates for elected office.   SUMMARY OF 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 7-312 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: 2011: A01226 (Bing) - Election Law 2010: A01641 (Bing) - Election Law 2009: A01641 (Bing) - Election Law 2008: A08286 (Bing) - Election Law 2007: A08286 (Bing) - Election Law   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal to State Board of Elections.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect April 1, 2013 and shall expire May 1, 2017, when upon such date the provisions of this act shall be deemed repealed.
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STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 8636 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN ASSEMBLY September 21, 2011 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. KAVANAGH, CYMBROWITZ, REILLY, ROSENTHAL, COLTON, MILLMAN, CLARK, HOOPER -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. BOYLAND, BRENNAN, BROOK-KRASNY, KELLNER, LANCMAN, LIFTON, V. LOPEZ, McENENY, PERRY, 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 questions16 are to be submitted to the voters of the state, the notice shall state17 that fact and that a copy of each such amendment or question may be18 obtained at the board of elections, by any voter.] Such publication EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00666-02-1A. 8636 2 1 shall be in two newspapers published within the county. If the county 2 contains a city or cities, at least one of such newspapers shall be 3 published in the city, or the largest city, if there be more than one. 4 § 4. Subdivision 1 of section 4-128 of the election law, as amended by 5 chapter 125 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows: 6 1. The board of elections of each county shall provide the requisite 7 number of official and facsimile ballots, two cards of instruction to 8 voters in the form prescribed by the state board of elections, five 9 copies of each ballot pamphlet, at least one copy of the instruction 10 booklet for inspectors, a sufficient number of maps, street finders or 11 other descriptions of all of the polling places and election districts 12 within the political subdivision in which the polling place is located 13 to enable the election inspectors and poll clerks to determine the 14 correct election district and polling place for each street address 15 within the political subdivision in which the polling place is located, 16 distance markers, tally sheets and return blanks, pens, black ink, or 17 ball point pens with black ink, pencils having black lead, envelopes for 18 the ballots of voters whose registration poll records are not in the 19 ledger or whose names are not on the computer generated registration 20 list, envelopes for returns, identification buttons, badges or emblems 21 for the inspectors and clerks in the form prescribed by the state board 22 of elections and such other articles of stationery as may be necessary 23 for the proper conduct of elections, except that when a town, city or 24 village holds an election not conducted by the board of elections, the 25 clerk of such town, city or village, shall provide such official and 26 facsimile ballots and the necessary blanks, supplies and stationery for 27 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 assemblyA. 8636 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 suchA. 8636 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 ofA. 8636 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, as amended 37 by section 4 of part E of chapter 399 of the laws of 2011, is amended to 38 read as follows: 39 2. The county court is vested with jurisdiction to summarily determine 40 any question of law or fact except proceedings as to a nomination or 41 election at a primary election or a nomination at a judicial convention, 42 proceedings as to the casting and canvass of ballots, proceedings for 43 examination or preservation of ballots and proceedings to enforce the 44 provisions of article fourteen of this chapter and proceedings as to the 45 contents of statements on constitutional amendments, questions and 46 propositions. 47 § 9. On or before March 1, 2017 the board of elections shall submit a 48 report to the governor and the legislature evaluating the effectiveness 49 of ballot pamphlets as a tool to increase voter awareness, registration 50 and participation. Such report shall include statistics on voter partic- 51 ipation both before and after ballot pamphlets were distributed and 52 findings and recommendations on continuing and improving title 3 of 53 article 7 of the election law. 54 § 10. This act shall take effect April 1, 2013 and shall expire May 1, 55 2017, when upon such date the provisions of this act shall be deemed 56 repealed.A. 8636 6 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.