The New York Democratic Lawyers Council (NYDLC) strongly supports the enactment of legislation to further modernize our voter registration system and improve voter access. The Brennan Center for Justice has categorized New York as a state with restrictive voting laws. New York can do better! Click Here for Our 2023 Priority Bill List
Legislation that Ensures that Voters have Reasonable Opportunities to Exercise their Fundamental Right to Vote
Voting Integrity and Verification Act of New York (VIVA NY) A5934 (Cunningham) / S6169 (Cleare) Boards of election must provide paper ballots in polling places that all voters have the option to mark by hand or with a nontabulating ballot marking device.
Require Notice to Voter when Removed from Voter Rolls S6168 (Comrie) / A6764 (Cunningham) Ensures that boards of elections provide adequate notice to each voter before and after a board cancels the voter's registration or places a voter in inactive status.
Permit Registration at any Residence to Which the Voter Maintains a Continuous Connection with an Intent to Remain S2349 (Myrie) / NSA. (Passed Senate 5/8/23) Codifies that voters may register to vote at any residence to which the voter maintains a continuous connection with an intent to remain, including a home where a student lives while attending a college or university.
Constitutional Amendments and Ballot Proposals Written in Plain Language A1722 (Zinerman) / S1381 (Comrie) (Passed Senate 5/18/2023) Constitutional amendments and statewide ballot proposals must be submitted to voters for public comment and be written in plain language.
“Portable” Early Voting Locations S242 (May) / A6971 (Sillitti) - (Passed Senate 1/9/23) Allows counties to have temporary poll sites for a few days during early voting. This would assist rural voters who have to travel long distances to reach an early voting site. Under current law, many rural counties are required to have only one site for early voting.
Legislation to Improve Absentee Voting
Allow Counting of Absentee Ballots without Postmarks Marked Received and Requires Envelopes with Tracking Barcodes S2888 (Myrie) / NSA
Constitutional Amendment for No Excuse Absentee Voting S360 (Comrie) /A4431 (Vanel)
Legislation to Improve Election Security and Ensure Public Confidence in Election Results
The NYDLC strongly opposes the following bill:
Opposition to Repeal of Procedures for Recounts in Close Elections A1259 (Lunsford) / S1014 (Cooney) This bill would take away the requirement that boards of elections must recount the ballots by hand in close elections, and it would require a closer election to trigger an automatic recount (lowering the vote differential from .5% to .25%).
The NYDLC Strongly Supports Passage of the Following Bills:
Secure Voting Machines and Reliable Paper Ballots for Audits S2385 (Myrie) / A3992 (Carroll) (Passed Senate in 2021 & 2022 Session) Bans risky hybrid voting machines; votes encoded with bar codes that voters cannot verify; and direct recording electronic voting machines that do not accept paper ballots. Bans “universal use” machines that would cause long lines at the polls. Requires paper ballots for all voters. Gives boards of election the flexibility to use more than two types of voting machines per election. - NYDLC Memorandum of Support
Making Ballot Images Available S2333 (Myrie) / A7147 (Levenberg) (Passed Senate 2022) Require that Boards of Election make copies of all ballots cast in an election available to the public upon request.
Give the State Board of Elections Discretion over Voting Machine Certification A3993 (Carroll) / S6708 (Comrie) - Passed Senate in 2022 Gives the State Board of Elections discretion to reject a machine that meets the statutory eligibility requirements, but otherwise appears unsafe, improper or insecure. Currently, the Board must certify any machine that meets the statutory requirements. - NYDLC Memorandum of Support
Requires hand recount of automatic 3% audit of voting machines following an election S7480 - 2021-22 bill (Reichlin-Melnick) / A929 - 2021-22 bill number (Paulin) - needs new Senate and Assembly sponsors for 2023-2024 Session
Overcomes technical objections to candidate nominating petitions S6740 (May) / NSA
Prohibits foreign-Influenced entities from contributing to election campaigns S371 (Gianaris) / A2633 (Walker) - Passed the Senate 5/15/2023 Enacts the democracy preservation act; prohibits contributions by foreign-influenced business entities; requires certification.
Overcomes technical objections to candidate nominating petitions S8444 (Reichlin-Melnick) /
(needs 2023 Assembly and Senate sponsors)
Legislation to Reform the Board of Elections
Legislation to Prevent Voter Suppression and Ensure Due Process
Protect voters, poll watchers, election officials and polling places from intimidation, interference and damage A4759 (Lavine) / NSA. Makes it a criminal offense to intimidate or interfere with voters, poll watchers and election officials, and to cause physical damage to polling places and locations and property used by boards of elections.
Deceptive Practices and Voter Suppression Act S263 (Stewart-Cousins) /NSA (Passed Senate 1/9/23) Defines and penalizes deceptive election practices as well as voter suppression and intimidation, which undermines our democracy.
Restore Voting Rights for Convicted Felons S316 (Salazar) / A412 (Epstein) Authorizes convicted felons who are incarcerated in state or local facilities to vote in elections based on the inmates’ residence prior to incarceration.
Universal Attorney Poll Watchers A530 (Weprin) / S6130 (Parker) Permits attorneys licensed and residing in New York, who are already subject to statewide ethics oversight, to act as poll watchers in any New York locality in order to monitor for misconduct.
FOLLOWING ARE PROPOSED BILLS THAT NEED TO BE AMENDED OR DRAFTED
Require Basic Security Measures for E-Poll Books: A new bill should be drafted to ensure that certain minimum security requirements for e-poll books are implemented during early voting and on election day in each polling site across the state in order to reduce the likelihood of hacking and to provide a backup of the records stored on the e-poll books in the event that the devices fail.