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A05389 Summary:

Add §8-501, El L
Establishes a nonpartisan poll monitoring program.
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A05389 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 16, 2021
        Introduced by M. of A. PAULIN -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Election Law
        AN  ACT to amend the election law, in relation to establishing nonparti-
          san poll monitors
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section  1.  The election law is amended by adding a new section 8-501
     2  to read as follows:
     3    § 8-501. Nonpartisan  poll  monitor.  1.  For  the  purposes  of  this
     4  section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
     5    (a)  "Civic  organization"  shall mean any corporation, unincorporated
     6  association, or organization that:
     7    (i) consists of citizens interested in providing voter information and
     8  education,  the  protection  of  individual  voters'  rights,  and   the
     9  promotion of free and equal election;
    10    (ii)  as  part  of  its  written articles of incorporation, bylaws, or
    11  charter or  by  separate  written  declaration,  has  among  its  stated
    12  purposes   the   provision  of  voter  information  and  education,  the
    13  protection of individual voters' rights,  and  the  promotion  of  free,
    14  fair, accessible and secure elections;
    15    (iii)  is  organized  or  primarily conducts its activities within the
    16  state of New York; and
    17    (iv) continuously maintains an office or business location within  the
    18  state  of  New York, together with a current listed telephone number for
    19  no less than one year prior to filing the statement specified in  subdi-
    20  vision four of this section.
    21    (b)  "Ballot  issue committee" shall mean a political committee formed
    22  to promote the success or defeat of any ballot proposal.
    23    2. In addition to the watchers appointed pursuant to section 8-500  of
    24  this  title,  nonpartisan  poll  monitors  may  be appointed by a civics
    25  organization or a ballot issue committee.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 5389                             2
     1    3. Each civic organization and each ballot issue  committee  shall  be
     2  entitled to appoint no more than two nonpartisan poll monitors per poll-
     3  ing place.
     4    4.  Not less than thirty days and not more than forty-five days before
     5  an election, a civic organization or ballot issue committee, desiring to
     6  appoint nonpartisan poll monitors shall file with  the  state  board  of
     7  elections a statement setting forth the intention of the organization or
     8  committee to appoint nonpartisan poll monitors.
     9    (a)  The statement shall be signed and sworn to by the chief presiding
    10  officer, the secretary, or some other officer  of  the  organization  or
    11  committee and shall set forth:
    12    (i)  the  reason why the organization or committee claims the right to
    13  appoint nonpartisan poll monitors;
    14    (ii) provide the names and addresses of its principal officers;
    15    (iii) a statement specifying the civic organization  or  ballot  issue
    16  committee's office address and phone number; and
    17    (iv)  verification  of  length of time it has maintained an office and
    18  phone in New York, if a civic organization or, if a ballot issue commit-
    19  tee, verifying that  it  has  satisfied  its  filing  obligations  under
    20  section 14-118 of this chapter.
    21    (b)  The  board of elections may deny an organization or committee the
    22  authorization to appoint nonpartisan poll monitors if that  organization
    23  or  committee  fails  to  furnish  evidence satisfactory to the board of
    24  elections that the organization or committee is devoted to the  purposes
    25  enumerated  or has maintained an office and a publicized phone number in
    26  New York state for no less than one year.
    27    5. Not later than two business days after receipt of  a  statement  of
    28  intent  to  appoint  nonpartisan poll monitors under subdivision four of
    29  this section, the executive directors of the state  board  of  elections
    30  shall approve or deny the organization's or committee's authorization to
    31  appoint nonpartisan poll monitors and notify the organization or commit-
    32  tee  of  that approval or denial.  Authorization shall only be denied on
    33  the basis that the applying organization or committee fails  to  satisfy
    34  the  requirements  of paragraph (a) of subdivision four of this section.
    35  If authorization is denied under this subdivision,  an  organization  or
    36  committee  may  appeal  the  denial  with the commissioners of the state
    37  board of elections not later than two business days after receipt of the
    38  denial. Not later than two business days after receipt of an appeal of a
    39  denial under this subdivision, the commissioners shall review the execu-
    40  tive directors denial and approve or deny the organization's or  commit-
    41  tee's  authorization  to appoint monitors and notify the organization or
    42  committee and the executive directors of that decision.
    43    6. No later than fifteen days before an election, the state  board  of
    44  elections shall send a list of all organizations or committees that have
    45  been  approved to appoint nonpartisan poll monitors to all county boards
    46  of elections.
    47    7. All nonpartisan poll monitors shall be required  to  wear  a  badge
    48  with  their name and the name of the civic organization or committee the
    49  individual is representing, and to have proper credentials. Such creden-
    50  tials shall be issued by and under the facsimile signatures of the rele-
    51  vant board of elections and shall be available for distribution  by  the
    52  relevant  board  of  elections  at least ten days prior to the election.
    53  Such credentials shall be authorized by the real or facsimile  signature
    54  of  the  presiding officer of the civic organization or the chair of the
    55  ballot issue committee, as the case may be. The presiding officer of the
    56  civic organization or the chair of the ballot issue committee shall  not

        A. 5389                             3
     1  be  required to submit the names or other information concerning nonpar-
     2  tisan poll monitors before making credentials available to such  persons
     3  or organizations.
     4    8.  For all elections, appointed nonpartisan poll monitors pursuant to
     5  this section shall be registered to vote in the county or city in  which
     6  the polling place to which they are assigned as a nonpartisan poll moni-
     7  tor  is  located.    No  person  shall be qualified for appointment as a
     8  nonpartisan poll monitor:
     9    (a) who is not a registered voter in the county in which the poll site
    10  they will monitor is located;
    11    (b) who is a candidate for any office to be voted for at the election;
    12    (c) who is a spouse, parent, child, brother or sister of any candidate
    13  to be voted for at the election;
    14    (d) who is married to a parent, child, brother or sister of any candi-
    15  date to be voted for at the election or who is the parent of the  spouse
    16  of any candidate to be voted for at the election; or
    17    (e) who is a sheriff, deputy sheriff, marshal, deputy marshal or state
    18  or municipal police officer.
    19    9.  A  nonpartisan poll monitor appointed pursuant to this section may
    20  do one or more of the following:
    21    (a) observe the manner in which the duties of the election  inspectors
    22  are being performed.
    23    (b) bring to an election inspector's attention any of the following:
    24    (i) improper handling of a ballot by an elector or election inspector.
    25    (ii)  campaigning  or  electioneering  being  performed by an election
    26  inspector or other person in violation of this chapter.
    27    (iii) an election procedure that is not being properly performed.
    28    (iv) a violation of election law or other prescribed  election  proce-
    29  dure.
    30    (c)  remain  during  the  canvass  of votes and until the statement of
    31  returns is duly signed and made.
    32    (d) assist any voter upon request.
    33    (e) keep records of votes cast and other election  procedures  as  the
    34  nonpartisan poll monitor desires.
    35    10.  Nonpartisan  poll  monitors shall present their credentials to an
    36  election inspector upon entering any polling place to which they may  be
    37  assigned,  which  credentials  shall  be  in substantially the following
    38  form:
    39                          POLL MONITOR CREDENTIALS
    40  In accordance with the provisions of the Election Law,  the  undersigned
    41  is  authorized  to appoint __________ (name of poll monitor) who resides
    42  at ___________ (address) in the county of ___________, __________ (town-
    43  ship or municipality) of ______________ (name), State of  New  York  and
    44  who is duly registered to vote from this address, to act as a poll moni-
    45  tor in election district # ___ of Assembly District # ____ {or, alterna-
    46  tively, at the polling place located at ______} of the _______ (township
    47  or  municipality)  of ___________ at the ___________(special, primary or
    48  general) election to be held on (insert date).
    49  ___________________________________(Signature of  Appointing  Authority)
    50  ___________________________________TITLE ( civic organization president,
    51                                     Ballot issue committee chair)
    52  Under penalty of perjury, the undersigned poll monitor certifies that he
    53  or  she  resides  at _______________(address) in the county of _________

        A. 5389                             4
     1  (township or municipality) of __________ (name), State of New York,  and
     2  is duly registered to vote in New York.
     3  __________________________         ___________________________
     4  (Election District & Assembly      (Signature of Poll Monitor)
     5  District in
     6  Which Poll Monitor Resides)
     7    11.  Nonpartisan poll monitor credentials properly executed and signed
     8  shall be proof of the qualifications of  the  nonpartisan  poll  monitor
     9  authorized  thereby.  After  presenting  such credentials to an election
    10  inspector, the credentials are retained by the monitor but turned in  to
    11  an  election  inspector  at  the  final polling location which a monitor
    12  visits and returned to the relevant board of elections at the end of the
    13  day of election with the other election materials.  A  nonpartisan  poll
    14  monitor  may  leave  and  reenter  the  polling place provided that such
    15  continuing action does not disrupt the conduct of the election.  Nonpar-
    16  tisan poll monitors may be substituted during the course of the day, but
    17  qualified civic organizations can have only  as  many  nonpartisan  poll
    18  monitors  at any given time as are authorized in this section. A substi-
    19  tute shall present his or her signed credential  to  the  inspectors  of
    20  election  upon  entering  the  polling place and shall wear the required
    21  badge.
    22    12. There shall be no more than two nonpartisan poll monitors from any
    23  organization or committee at any polling place at the same time. If more
    24  than one organization or committee assigns nonpartisan poll monitors  to
    25  the same polling place, then election inspectors may limit the number of
    26  nonpartisan  poll monitors, with only one monitor from each organization
    27  or committee within the polling place at the same time, up to a limit of
    28  four separate organizations or committees.
    29    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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