Amd §§3-400, 4-117, 8-100, 8-102, 8-104 & 8-508, add Art 8 Title 6 §§8-600 - 8-602, El L
Relates to early voting; provides that beginning the eighth day prior to any election and ending on and including the second day prior to the election a person duly registered and eligible to vote shall be permitted to vote.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A2064
SPONSOR: Kavanagh (MS)
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the election law, in relation to early voting
This bill establishes a system to permit eligible voters throughout the
State to vote in person during a designated period prior to any primary,
special, or general election day.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill amends Section 3-400 of the election law by
adding a new subdivision 9 to clarify the manner in which election
inspectors and poll clerks are to be appointed for polling places for
early voting, and setting a standard for wait times for early voting not
to exceed thirty minutes.
Section two of the bill amends section 4-117 of the election law by
adding a new subdivision 1-a to require the board of elections to notify
voters annually of the days, hours, and locations of polling places for
early voting. The board of elections may satisfy this requirement by
providing instructions in the notice regarding how to get the informa-
tion via the internet or by phone.
Section three of the bill amends subdivision 2 of section 8-100 of the
election law to require that polls open at seven o'clock in the morning,
rather than six o'clock, for primary elections in the city of New York
and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie
counties, and for all special elections and every other election
throughout the State, except general elections for which polls shall
continue to open at six o'clock in the morning, and to state that early
voting hours shall be as set forth in section 8-600.
Section four of the bill amends subdivision 1 of section 8-102 of the
election law by adding a new paragraph (k) to apply the provisions of
article 8 of the election law to early voting, except for certain
provisions related to tabulation and proclamation of results.
Section five of the bill amends section 8-104 of the election law by
adding a new subdivision 7 to note that section 8-104 applies on early
Section six of the bill amends paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section
8-508 of the election law to provide that challenges of voters on early
voting days should be included on the same type of report that records
challenges on election day.
Section seven of the bill amends article 8 of the election law by adding
a new title 6, with new sections 8-600 and 8-602, setting out the proc-
ess for early voting.
Subdivision one of section 8-600 of the new title specifies that early
voting begins on the eighth day prior to any general, primary, or
special election and ends on and includes the second day prior (i.e., on
the Sunday before a Tuesday election day). The subdivision also requires
boards of elections to establish procedures to ensure that persons who
vote during the early voting period aren't permitted to vote subsequent-
ly in the same election.
Subdivision two of section 8-600 of the new title specifies in para-
graphs (a), (b), and (c) the number of required polling places for early
voting. The required number depends on the number of registered voters
in each county, with one polling place for each full increment of 50,000
registered voters, but no fewer than one and no more than seven sites
required in each county. Counties would be able to add more sites at
their discretion or, in certain circumstances, reduce the number below
that otherwise required.
Paragraph (d) of the subdivision requires locations to be chosen to give
all eligible voters adequate, equitable access to early voting, to the
extent practicable, and specifies certain factors to be considered in
location decisions. Paragraph (d) also applies the provisions of section
4-104 of the election law to the designation of polling places for early
voting; these are the existing requirements for siting polling places
for election day voting.
Subdivision three of section 8-600 of the new title requires that all
voters should generally be able to vote at any polling place for early
voting in their county, but allows for an exception if this would be
Subdivision four of section 8-600 of the new title sets requirements for
hours early voting must be available in each county, with substantial
flexibility for the counties. Polls would be open for early voting for
at least 8 hours between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, provided
that one site at which all eligible voters may vote shall remain open
until at least 8:00 p.m. on two weekdays in each calendar week of the
early voting period, and for at least 5 hours between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00
p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. Counties would have the
option of providing additional hours as well. They would be required to
designate the standard hours of operation for early voting by May 1st
each year; this is the day boards of elections must designate polling
places for the coming year under existing law.
Subdivision five of section 8-600 of the new title requires each board
of elections to create a communication plan to inform eligible voters of
the opportunity to vote early.
Subdivision six of section 8-600 of the new title applies existing
requirements for paper ballots to those to be used for early voting.
Subdivision seven of section 8-600 of the new title applies existing
requirements related to voter challenges to early voting.
Subdivisions eight, nine, ten, and eleven of section 8-600 of the new
title set out provisions for handling ballots and scanners at the end of
each day of early voting and after the polls close on election day.
Generally, the new subdivisions apply the same process for canvassing,
tabulating, and announcing results that already apply on election day,
with some minor adjustments to reflect that fact that early voting
occurs over multiple days. No results for early voting would be tabu-
lated before the polls close on election day.
Section 8-602 of the new title sets forth certain powers and duties of
the state board of elections to make rules regarding early voting.
Section eight of the bill sets forth the effective date.
Given the vital role that voting plays in a participatory democracy, New
York should ensure that our elections are run in ways that meet contem-
porary standards for accessibility, equity, and efficiency. Providing
eligible voters the opportunity to vote in person during a designated
period before election day would be a major step towards achieving this
Early voting would make it less burdensome for New Yorkers to access the
polls and exercise their civic obligation to vote. Early voting would
reduce inequity, because some voters have greater difficulty than others
arranging to vote on a single designated day. And early voting would
improve the efficiency of elections from the perspective of election
administrators, as well as voters, by spreading the work of managing
elections over a longer period of time, alleviating some of the problems
that are created by the current system of having all in-person voting
take place in a single day, such as long lines at the polls and
exhausted poll workers.
Establishing an 7-day early voting period running until the Sunday
before election day would give busy New Yorkers, who often must juggle
many personal, family, and work obligations, more flexibility in finding
a time to vote. Those who are unable to vote on election day should not
be excluded from participating in the democratic process merely because
they are unavailable on a single day.
Of particular importance in establishing an early voting period is the
addition of weekend hours for in-person voting. Due to their own work
schedules or those of partners with whom they share responsibilities as
caregivers, many people have time to vote on the weekend that they do
not have on weekdays.
In order to ensure that early voting is instituted in a practical, effi-
cient, and cost effective manner, this bill takes into account the wide
variation in characteristics of different counties throughout the state,
by providing county boards of elections with flexibility to establish
locations and hours for early voting that are tailored to the unique
circumstances of their respective counties. This flexibility is balanced
by minimum standards that would ensure that all voters have a meaningful
opportunity to vote early.
The most significant way the bill allows for variations among counties
relates to the number of polling places each county would be required to
provide for early voting. New York's least populous county has fewer
than 5,000 residents whereas its most populous has more than 2.5
million. To account for this wide variation, the minimum number of poll-
ing places for early voting required in each county would be based on a
tiered system, with one site per 50,000 registered voters, up to a maxi-
mum of 7 required sites. The mandated number for each county would
represent a minimum requirement; county boards of elections would be
permitted to establish additional polling places at their discretion.
The bill also contains several additional guidelines for the establish-
ment of polling places for early voting to enhance the effectiveness of
early voting and ensure that localities have the discretion to implement
First, to the extent practicable, county boards of elections would be
required to designate polling places in locations that maximize accessi-
bility for eligible voters. The bill incorporates various guidelines
that already apply to siting of election day polling places.
Second, while the general rule established in the bill is that every
eligible voter would be permitted to vote at any polling place in the
county where he or she is registered, the bill recognizes that this may
not always be practical because of the number of distinct ballot types
that might be required at each polling place, and other factors. There-
fore, the board of elections in each county would have the discretion to
choose to make certain polling places serve only a portion of the coun-
ty, provided that every voter has at least one polling place to vote
Another way the bill allows for variations among counties relates to the
hours for early voting. The bill establishes guidelines for the minimum
number of hours that polling places for early voting would be required
to be open, ensuring that all voters would have meaningful opportunities
to avail themselves of the option to vote early. On the other hand,
county boards of elections would have the discretion to set the specific
hours for each polling place, to reflect the distinct needs and prefer-
ences of New Yorkers in different parts of the state. These provisions
would require that all early voting sites are open for at least eight
hours on weekdays, including two days a week with evening hours, and for
at least five hours on weekends and holidays. The requirement of evening
hours two days a week overlaps somewhat with the existing requirement in
election law section 3214 requiring that board of elections offices
maintain extended hours on two weekdays in the two weeks prior to any
Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have already instituted
in-person early voting in one form or another. For all the foregoing
reason, New York should do the same, and support the right of all New
Yorkers to meet their civic obligations and participate in our democracy
in a reasonable, accessible manner.
FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE:
FISCAL IMPACT ON LOCALITIES:
There will be some costs associated with early voting related to staff-
ing polling places, providing outreach materials to educate the public
about the new procedures, and other aspects of administering the system.
IMPACT ON REGULATION OF BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS:
IMPACT ON FINES, IMPRISONMENT, FORFEITURE OF RIGHTS, OR OTHER PENAL
2016: A08582B (Kavanagh) - Passed Assembly
2015: A08582 (Kavanagh) - Elections
This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeeding the
date on which it shall have become a law and shall apply to any election
held one hundred twenty days or more after it shall have taken effect.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2017-2018 Regular Sessions
January 17, 2017
Introduced by M. of A. KAVANAGH, CUSICK, BLAKE, SIMON, BENEDETTO,
SEPULVEDA, DINOWITZ, ROSENTHAL, GOTTFRIED, QUART, McDONALD, FAHY,
OTIS, LUPARDO, PERRY, ABINANTI, ROZIC, GALEF, JAFFEE, LIFTON, BRAUN-
STEIN, PAULIN, COLTON, CAHILL, HEVESI, SOLAGES, COOK, RAMOS, SKOUFIS,
CYMBROWITZ -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. BUCHWALD, LENTOL, MAGEE,
THIELE -- read once and referred to the Committee on Election Law
AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to early voting
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Section 3-400 of the election law is amended by adding a
2 new subdivision 9 to read as follows:
3 9. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of this article,
4 election inspectors or poll clerks, if any, at polling places for early
5 voting, shall consist of either board of elections employees who shall
6 be appointed by the commissioners of such board or duly qualified indi-
7 viduals, appointed in the manner set forth in this section. Appointments
8 to the offices of election inspector or poll clerk in each polling place
9 for early voting shall be equally divided between the major political
10 parties. The board of elections shall assign staff and provide the
11 resources they require to ensure wait times at early voting sites do not
12 exceed thirty minutes.
13 § 2. Section 4-117 of the election law is amended by adding a new
14 subdivision 1-a to read as follows:
15 1-a. The notice required by subdivision one of this section shall
16 include the dates, hours and locations of early voting for the general
17 and primary election. The board of elections may satisfy the notice
18 requirement of this subdivision by providing in the notice instructions
19 to obtain the required early voting information from a website of the
20 board of elections and providing a phone number to call for such infor-
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 2064 2
1 § 3. Subdivision 2 of section 8-100 of the election law, as amended by
2 chapter 335 of the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows:
3 2. Polls shall be open for voting during the following hours: a prima-
4 ry election from twelve o'clock noon until nine o'clock in the evening,
5 except in the city of New York and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk,
6 Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie, and in such city or
7 county from [six] seven o'clock in the morning until nine o'clock in the
8 evening; the general election from six o'clock in the morning until nine
9 o'clock in the evening; a special election called by the governor pursu-
10 ant to the public officers law, and, except as otherwise provided by
11 law, every other election, from [six] seven o'clock in the morning until
12 nine o'clock in the evening; early voting hours shall be as provided in
13 section 8-600 of this article.
14 § 4. Subdivision 1 of section 8-102 of the election law is amended by
15 adding a new paragraph (k) to read as follows:
16 (k) Voting at each polling place for early voting shall be conducted
17 in a manner consistent with the provisions of this article, with the
18 exception of the tabulation and proclamation of election results which
19 shall be completed according to subdivisions eight and nine of section
20 8-600 of this article.
21 § 5. Section 8-104 of the election law is amended by adding a new
22 subdivision 7 to read as follows:
23 7. This section shall apply on all early voting days as provided for
24 in section 8-600 of this article.
25 § 6. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 8-508 of the election
26 law, as amended by chapter 200 of the laws of 1996, is amended to read
27 as follows:
28 (b) The second section of such report shall be reserved for the board
29 of inspectors to enter the name, address and registration serial number
30 of each person who is challenged on the day of election or on any day in
31 which there is early voting pursuant to section 8-600 of this article,
32 together with the reason for the challenge. If no voters are chal-
33 lenged, the board of inspectors shall enter the words "No Challenges"
34 across the space reserved for such names. In lieu of preparing section
35 two of the challenge report, the board of elections may provide, next to
36 the name of each voter on the computer generated registration list, a
37 place for the inspectors of election to record the information required
38 to be entered in such section two, or provide at the end of such comput-
39 er generated registration list, a place for the inspectors of election
40 to enter such information.
41 § 7. Article 8 of the election law is amended by adding a new title 6
42 to read as follows:
43 TITLE VI
44 EARLY VOTING
45 Section 8-600. Early voting.
46 8-602. State board of elections; powers and duties for early
48 § 8-600. Early voting. 1. Beginning the eighth day prior to any gener-
49 al, primary or special election for any public or party office, and
50 ending on and including the second day prior to such general, primary or
51 special election for such public or party office, persons duly regis-
52 tered and eligible to vote at such election shall be permitted to vote
53 as provided in this title. The board of elections of each county and
54 the city of New York shall establish procedures, subject to approval of
55 the state board of elections, to ensure that persons who vote during the
A. 2064 3
1 early voting period shall not be permitted to vote subsequently in the
2 same election.
3 2. (a) The board of elections of each county or the city of New York
4 shall designate polling places for early voting in each county, which
5 may include the offices of the board of elections, for persons to vote
6 early pursuant to this section. There shall be so designated at least
7 one early voting polling place for every full increment of fifty thou-
8 sand registered voters in each county; provided, however, the number of
9 early voting polling places in a county shall not be required to be
10 greater than seven, and a county with fewer than fifty thousand voters
11 shall have at least one early voting polling place.
12 (b) The board of elections of each county or the city of New York may
13 establish additional polling places for early voting in excess of the
14 minimum number required by this subdivision for the convenience of
15 eligible voters wishing to vote during the early voting period.
16 (c) Notwithstanding the minimum number of early voting poll sites
17 otherwise required by this subdivision, for any primary or special
18 election, upon majority vote of the board of elections, the number of
19 early voting sites may be reduced if the board of elections reasonably
20 determines a lesser number of sites is sufficient to meet the needs of
21 early voters.
22 (d) Polling places for early voting shall be located to ensure, to the
23 extent practicable, that eligible voters have adequate equitable access,
24 taking into consideration population density, travel time to the polling
25 place, proximity to other locations or commonly used transportation
26 routes and such other factors the board of elections of the county or
27 the city of New York deems appropriate. The provisions of section 4-104
28 of this chapter, except subdivisions four and five of such section,
29 shall apply to the designation of polling places for early voting except
30 to the extent such provisions are inconsistent with this section.
31 3. Any person permitted to vote early may do so at any polling place
32 for early voting established pursuant to subdivision two of this section
33 in the county where such voter is registered to vote. Provided, however,
34 (a) if it is impractical to provide each polling place for early voting
35 all appropriate ballots for each election to be voted on in the county,
36 or (b) if permitting such persons to vote early at any polling place
37 established for early voting would make it impractical to ensure that
38 such voter has not previously voted early during such election, the
39 board of elections may designate each polling place for early voting
40 only for those voters registered to vote in a portion of the county to
41 be served by such polling place for early voting, provided that all
42 voters in each county shall have one or more polling places at which
43 they are eligible to vote throughout the early voting period on a
44 substantially equal basis.
45 4. (a) Polls shall be open for early voting for at least eight hours
46 between seven o'clock in the morning and eight o'clock in the evening
47 each week day during the early voting period.
48 (b) At least one polling place for early voting shall remain open
49 until eight o'clock in the evening on at least two week days in each
50 calendar week during the early voting period. If polling places for
51 early voting are limited to voters from certain areas pursuant to subdi-
52 vision three of this section, polling places that remain open until
53 eight o'clock shall be designated such that any person entitled to vote
54 early may vote until eight o'clock in the evening on at least two week
55 days during the early voting period.
A. 2064 4
1 (c) Polls shall be open for early voting for at least five hours
2 between nine o'clock in the morning and six o'clock in the evening on
3 each Saturday, Sunday and legal holiday during the early voting period.
4 (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any board
5 of elections from establishing a greater number of hours for voting
6 during the early voting period beyond the number of hours required in
7 this subdivision.
8 (e) Early voting polling places and their hours of operation for early
9 voting at a general election shall be designated by May first of each
10 year pursuant to subdivision one of section 4-104 of this chapter.
11 Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of section 4-104 of
12 this chapter requiring poll site designation by May first, early voting
13 polling places and their hours of operation for early voting for a
14 primary or special election shall be made not later than forty-five days
15 before such primary or special election.
16 5. Each board of elections shall create a communication plan to inform
17 eligible voters of the opportunity to vote early. Such plan may utilize
18 any and all media outlets, including social media, and shall publicize:
19 the location and dates and hours of operation of all polling places for
20 early voting; an indication of whether each polling place is accessible
21 to voters with physical disabilities; a clear and unambiguous notice to
22 voters that if they cast a ballot during the early voting period they
23 will not be allowed to vote election day; and if polling places for
24 early voting are limited to voters from certain areas pursuant to subdi-
25 vision three of this section, the location of the polling places for
26 early voting serving the voters of each particular city, town or other
27 political subdivision.
28 6. The form of paper ballots used in early voting shall comply with
29 the provisions of article seven of this chapter that are applicable to
30 voting by paper ballot on election day and such ballot shall be cast in
31 the same manner as provided for in section 8-312 of this article,
32 provided, however, that ballots cast during the early voting period
33 shall be secured in the manner of voted ballots cast on election day and
34 such ballots shall not be canvassed or examined until after the close of
35 the polls on election day, and no unofficial tabulations of election
36 results shall be printed or viewed in any manner until after the close
37 of polls on election day.
38 7. Voters casting ballots pursuant to this title shall be subject to
39 challenge as provided in sections 8-500, 8-502 and 8-504 of this arti-
41 8. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, at the end of
42 each day of early voting, any early voting ballots that have not been
43 scanned because a ballot scanner was not available or because the ballot
44 has been abandoned by the voter at the ballot scanner shall be cast in a
45 manner consistent with section 9-110 of this chapter, except that such
46 ballots which cannot then be cast on a ballot scanner shall be held
47 inviolate and unexamined and shall be duly secured until after the close
48 of polls on election day when such ballots shall be examined and
49 canvassed in a manner consistent with subdivision two of section 9-110
50 of this chapter.
51 9. The board of elections shall secure all ballots and scanners used
52 for early voting from the beginning of the early voting period through
53 the close of the polls on election day; provided, however, the state
54 board of elections may by regulation duly adopted by a majority of such
55 board establish a procedure whereby ballot scanners used for early
56 voting may also be used on election day if the portable memory devices
A. 2064 5
1 used during early voting containing the early voting election informa-
2 tion and vote tabulations are properly secured apart from the scanners,
3 and the results therefrom shall be duly canvassed after the close of
4 polls on election day.
5 10. After the close of polls on election day, inspectors or board of
6 elections employees appointed to canvass ballots cast during early
7 voting shall follow all relevant provisions of article nine of this
8 chapter that are not inconsistent with this section, for canvassing,
9 processing, recording, and announcing results of voting at polling plac-
10 es for early voting, and securing ballots, scanners, and other election
11 materials. Such canvass may occur at the offices of the board of
12 elections, at the early voting polling place or such other location
13 designated by the board of elections.
14 11. Notwithstanding the requirements of this title requiring the
15 canvass of ballots cast during early voting after the close of polls on
16 election day, such canvass may begin one hour before the scheduled close
17 of polls on election day provided the board of elections adopts proce-
18 dures to prevent the public release of election results prior to the
19 close of polls on election day and such procedures shall be consistent
20 with the regulations of the state board of elections and shall be filed
21 with the state board of elections at least thirty days before they shall
22 be effective.
23 § 8-602. State board of elections; powers and duties for early voting.
24 Any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of the
25 provisions of this title shall be promulgated by the state board of
26 elections provided that such rules and regulations shall include
27 provisions to ensure that ballots cast early, by any method allowed
28 under law, are counted and canvassed as if cast on election day. The
29 state board of elections shall promulgate any other rules and regu-
30 lations necessary to ensure an efficient and fair early voting process
31 that respects the privacy of the voter. Provided, further, that such
32 rules and regulations shall require that the voting history record for
33 each voter be continually updated to reflect each instance of early
34 voting by such voter.
35 § 8. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed-
36 ing the date on which it shall have become a law and shall apply to any
37 election held 120 days or more after it shall have taken effect.