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A05451 Summary:

BILL NOA05451
 
SAME ASSAME AS S00744
 
SPONSORWalker
 
COSPNSR
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd §8-600, El L
 
Provides that certain cities and towns shall have early voting poll sites within their boundaries and, where practicable, that such sites shall be situated along public transportation routes.
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A05451 Actions:

BILL NOA05451
 
02/16/2021referred to election law
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A05451 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A5451
 
SPONSOR: Walker
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to the location of polling sites for early voting in certain cities and towns   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill amends previously enacted early voting provisions to provide that all medium-sized towns and cities in New York State must have at least one early voting polling location.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section I: Amends § 8-600 of the Election Law to provide that, in cities and towns with a population of more than fifty thousand but less than one hundred thousand based on the latest federal decennial census, each such city and town must have at least one early voting polling location. If such cities and towns contain public transportation routes, such polling places must be situated along such transportation routes to the extent practicable. Section 2: Effective date.   EXISTING LAW: Currently, the board of elections in each county must designate early voting locations. There must be at least one early voting location for every full increment of 50,000 voters in each county, with a maximum required number of locations in each county set at seven. Polling plac- es for early voting should be located so that voters in the county have adequate and equitable access, taking into consideration population density, travel time to the polling place, proximity to other early voting poll sites, public transportation routes, commuter traffic patterns, and other such factors the board of elections deems appropri- ate.   JUSTIFICATION: In 2019, New York state lawmakers took historic steps in approving a series of reforms intended to make New York's voting process easier, more efficient, more transparent, and more accountable to its citizens. Among these reforms were the scheduling of state and federal primaries on the same day, automatic updating of voters' registrations when they move, preregistration of those ages 16 and 17 prior to an election in which they will be eligible to vote, and requirements that established 10 days of early voting which includes two full weekends prior to elections. With regard to early voting, the intent of the legislature was to provide a flexible timeline within which voters can cast their ballots, taking into account the reality that voters often have busy schedules, vacations, and family obligations that can get in the way of voting on election day. Early voting provides flexibility and a longer voting process that encourages civic involvement by New York's citizens. Key components of ensuring the success and accessibility of early voting are the location and number of polling sites. The original legislation set a minimum threshold for the number of polling locations, with one polling location for each 50,000 voters. The legislature was also care- ful to include provisions stating that when siting polling locations, population density, travel time, and public transportation routes should be key considerations. These provisions recognize that inaccessibility to early voting polling locations will undermine the utility of the early voting program. Following analysis of early voting polling site locations following the 2019 election cycle, the State Legislature discovered that while almost all medium-sized cities and towns in New York had at least one early voting polling location, not all did. Because voters in medium to large- sized municipalities tend to rely on public transportation (many do not have personal automobiles) and because high population density can make travel more time-consuming in these areas, not having a polling location in these cities and towns can create significant barriers to access to the voting system. The sponsor concludes that New York should protect voter access by guaranteeing that all medium-sized cities and towns in New York State must have at least one early voting polling location now and in the future.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: To be determined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
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