Election legislation roundup: New York State Legislature

As of Sept. 24, members of the New York State Legislature, which includes the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate, have passed 19 bills related to election administration since the beginning of the year. Of those 19 bills, legislators passed 10 during the week of Sept. 18-24. Democrats sponsored the 10 bills. Five of the 10 bills are:   

  • NY S00350: Provides that for any legal challenge to the constitutionality of a provision of the election law, venue shall be brought in the following designated court in the judicial department within which at least one plaintiff is located: first judicial department: New York county; second judicial department: Westchester county; third judicial department: Albany county; and fourth judicial department: Erie county, Sen. Robert Jackson (D).
    • As introduced, this bill:
      • Requires that a challenge regarding the constitutionality of an election law be heard in certain courts where at least one plaintiff is located.
      • Specifies that, for a challenge in any form, such as a cross claim, a defense, a claim, and the like, raised by any party, court proceedings will be held in the judicial department within which at least one plaintiff is located.
  • NY S00438: Requires electors to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidate who were nominated by the political party that nominated the presidential elector, Sen. James Skoufis (D).
    • Requires each elector of the Electoral College in the state to cast their vote for the party nominee, with administration guidelines and penalties and procedures if they do not do so.
  • NY S00587: Relates to mandatory training curriculum for poll workers; requires the state board of elections to develop and provide to each county materials for a model poll worker training program which the counties may use to train individuals to serve as poll workers in state and county elections, Sens. Joseph Addabbo (D), Leroy Comrie (D), Andrew Gounardes (D), John Mannion (D), Rachel May (D), Roxanne Persaud (D), J. Gustavo Rivera (D), and Lea Webb (D).
    • Requires training be offered for election inspectors on at least a quarterly basis.
    • Directs the state board of elections to establish, develop, and host a statewide training program to certify poll worker trainers, and includes specific requirements for the program.
    • Directs county boards to send certain minimum numbers of people to the training.
  • NY A01177: Relates to ballots submitted in envelopes that are sealed with tape, paste or any other binding agent or device and have no indication of tampering, Assembly Members Jonathan Jacobson (D), Grace Lee (D), Amy Paulin (D), and Karines Reyes (D).
    • This bill will include sealed ballots (like with tape or paste) with no indication of tampering as part of the list of ballot envelopes that are valid.
  • NY S05984: Provides for conditional registration of voters during early voting, Sens. Samra Brouk (D), Brian Kavanagh (D), and Rachel May (D).
    • As introduced, this bill:
      • Requires the election inspector or poll clerk to ensure an affidavit voter seals the envelope, and seals voters’ envelopes for them if they do not seal it themselves.
      • Provides that an affidavit ballot must be counted if a valid voter registration was received at least 10 days before the election.
      • Allows residents to complete a “conditional registration” to vote at early voting sites up to ten days before election day.
      • Defines “conditional registration.”
      • Outlines procedures for the board of elections related to the conditional registration.
      • Click the hyperlinked bill number above for more information.

Of the 19 bills passed this year, 16 have been enacted. Democrats sponsored 15 bills, while a bipartisan group of legislators sponsored one.  Five of the 16 bills are: 

  • NY S06519: Establishes a deadline for changing the location of a polling place for early voting by requiring that no location change may occur within forty-eight hours of the commencement of an early voting period unless there is a disaster or a declared state of emergency, Sen. Brian Kavanagh (D).
    • As introduced, this bill requires notice to be provided to voters no later than five days before the start of early voting if the early voting polling place changes. If there are fewer than five days before early voting starts, notice must go out as soon as practical. No location changes may occur within 48 hours before the start of early voting. 
  • NY S07394: Establishes early mail voting; authorizes registered voters to obtain early mail voting ballots through application to the board of elections; requires the state board of elections to establish and maintain an electronic early mail ballot application transmittal system through which voters may apply for an early mail ballot online, Sen. Michael Gianaris (D).
    • As amended, this bill:
      • Establishes an early mail voting program and outlines related procedures and timelines, including allowing an applicant to request to receive early mail ballots for remaining elections in that calendar year.
      • Reduces the number of days before an election when an absentee ballot application must be received from 15 days before an election to 10 days before the election.
      • Establishes that a voter who submits an application for an absentee ballot, but does not qualify for an absentee ballot, but does qualify for an early mail ballot, should be processed as an early mail voter.
  • NY S01733: Requires local boards of education, BOCES, charter schools and non public schools to adopt policies to promote student voter registration and pre-registration, including procedures for providing access to voter registration and pre-registration applications during the school year and assistance with filing such applications and informing students of the state requirements for voter registration and pre-registration, Sens. Joseph Addabbo (D), Samra Brouk (D), and Shelley Mayer (D).
    • As amended, this bill requires local boards of cooperative education services, charter schools, and non-public schools to provide information promoting student voter registration and preregistration as well as access to applications.
  • NY A07690: Relates to the presidential primary, to provide for the election of delegates to a national party convention or a national party conference in 2024, Assembly Member Carl Heastie (D).
    • As introduced, this bill:
      • Selects the date for the presidential primary as April 2, 2024, to elect delegates and alternate delegates.
      • Adds that early voting for the presidential primary will be March 23 until March 30 for nine hours a day. 
      • Allows write-in votes to count unless it creates an over vote on the ballot. 
      • Provides instruction that an absentee ballot returned two-seven days after an election without a postmark is a curable defect if the voter provides a response stating it was mailed before the election. 
      • Establishes that delegates for the national convention may be selected by primary election with names on the ballot, by congressional district, or at a state committee convention. 
      • Click the hyperlinked bill number above for more information.
  • NY A05057: Relates to the dates to file a designating petition; provides for the repeal of such provisions, Assembly Members Stacey Pheffer Amato (D), Alex Bores (D), Edward Braunstein (D), Kenneth Burgos (D), Monique Chandler-Waterman (D), Jeffrey Dinowitz (D), Simcha Eichenstein (D), Edward Gibbs (D), Deborah Glick (D), Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas (D), Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (D), Andrew Hevesi (D), Jonathan Jacobson (D), Anna Kelles (D), Charles Lavine (D), Grace Lee (D), Dana Levenberg (D), Steven Otis (D), Amy Paulin (D), Steven Raga (D), David Rosenthal (D), Nily Rozic (D), Manny De Los Santos (D), Rebecca Seawright (D), Amanda Septimo (D), Gina Sillitti (D), Jo Anne Simon (D), Tony Simone (D), Steve Stern (D), Latrice Walker (D), David Weprin (D), John Zaccaro (D), Karl Brabenec (R), Michael Novakhov (R), and Edward Ra (R).
    • As amended, this bill requires a designating petition be filed no earlier than the 13th Monday before and no later than the 12th Monday before the primary election. A signature made earlier than 41 days before the last day to file designating petitions for the primary election or a signature made later than the 12th Thursday before the primary election will not be counted.

From Sept. 18-24, legislators passed 16 bills related to election administration nationally. As of Sept. 24, Texas legislators have passed the most bills this year with 35, while Alaska, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania legislators have passed the fewest bills with zero. The state with the most enacted bills is Texas with 33, while four states have enacted none.

The New York State Legislature was scheduled to be in regular session from Jan. 4 to June 8 this year. In 2022, New York legislators passed 19 election-related bills, 10 in the state Senate and nine in the state House. All 19 bills were enacted into law. New York is a Democratic trifecta, meaning Democrats control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.

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