The public meeting took place in New York City on December 9, 2013 in the Assembly Hearing Room 1923, 19th floor, 250 Broadway, New York.
In preparing for the meeting, I collected Election Laws that were passed in 2013 by the State Assembly but most died in the Senate.
Greater Voter Participation institutes early voting by establishing a 15-day period for general elections and eight days for primaries and specials. Under the bill, each local Board of Elections (BOE) must designate at least four polling places for voters to cast an early ballot, in addition to a site at the local BOE, for a total of at least five polling places. During the early voting time frame, polls would be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each week day and at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday. Ballots cast during the early voting period will be counted at the close of the polls on Election Day and included in the election night tally. (A.689-A; Passed Assembly)
2013 Fair Elections Act establishes an optional public financing system for election campaigns for statewide offices, state legislative offices, and constitutional convention delegates. The legislation would create the position of an independent enforcement counsel, appointed by a five-member Fair Elections Board, who would be charged with enforcing all campaign finance laws, rules and regulations. The bill also would require expanded disclosure of political campaign expenditures and communications. (A.4980-C; Passed Assembly / S.4705; Elections)
Absentee Ballot Deadlines requires the Board of Elections to accept applications for absentee ballots up to the day before an election. (A.1880; Passed Assembly)
Pre-registration allows 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and allows 17-year olds to vote in a primary election if they will be 18 years of age on the day of the general election. (A.2042-A; Passed Assembly / S.1992-A; Elections)
National Popular Vote enacts the agreement among the states to elect the president of the United States by national popular vote. (A.4422; Passed Assembly / S.3149; Passed June 7, 2013)
Candidates as Poll Watchers prohibits a candidate from serving as a poll watcher in an election district in which they appear on the ballot. (A.5075; Passed Assembly)
Absentee Ballots for Blind or Visually Impaired requires absentee ballots be printed in Braille and large-print. (A.6195-A; Passed Assembly / S.4135-A; Elections)
Notice Requirement for Village Elections simplifies the notice requirements for party nominating caucuses in village elections while ensuring sufficient notice to village residents. (A.412; Passed Assembly / S.4671; Elections)
Absentee Ballots in Village Elections requires absentee ballot applications for village elections to conform to the absentee ballot requirements of the state Board of Elections. (A.5065; Passed Assembly / S.3553; Elections)
The public meeting official notice:
To examine solutions to make voting, in person and absentee, more accessible for all voters, and examine moving the state primary to June, beginning in 2014.
To examine ways to improve elections in New York State that will enhance accessibility (physical and logistical) to the polls. The committee will also hear testimony on moving the state primary to June, beginning in 2014.
The Committee took testimony relating to the range of issues associated with enhancing accessibility to the polls as well as increasing fairness to voters and the effects of such proposals on the state budget. The hearing also looked for ways to ensure that New York State's election law is consistent with the Federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) act.
The meeting was chaired by:
Michael J. Cusick
Member of Assembly
Chairman, Committee on Election Law
Member of Assembly
Chairman, Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement
1. Robert Brehm, Co-Executive Director, NYS Board of Elections
2. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, NYC Board of Elections and Dawn Sandow, Deputy Executive Director, NYC Board of Elections
3. Joseph Welch, Chairman, NYS Election Commissioners Association
4. Susan Lerner, Executive Director, Common Cause and Sally Robinson, State President, League of Women Voters and B. Kate Doran, Election Specialist, League of Women Voters and Ken Cohen, Regional Director, NYS-NAACP and Alex Camarda, Director of Public
Policy and Advocacy, Citizens Union and Rachel Fauss, Citizens Union
5. Lorraine Deller, Executive Director, Nassau-Suffolk School Board Association and Robert Lincoln, Jr., Commissioner, Great Neck Park District and Ralph Kreitzman, Mayor
Village of Great Neck and Mike Blau, Village Administrator, Westchester Municipal Officials Association
6. Monica Bartley, Voting Rights Coordinator, Center for Independence of the Disabled and Susan Cohen, Director, Voting Access Solutions and Larry Greenstein, Disability Advocate, Port Washington School Board and Kevin Greenstein, Disability Advocate, Port Washington School Board
7. Jarret Berg, NY Democratic Lawyers Council
The meeting lasted 6 hrs.
Some of the issues were:
1. The cost for early voting and what technology will be required to avoid multiple voting.
2. The cost for Instant Run-Off Voting for Primary Elections. The current State Assembly and New York City Council approved a selection of up to three candidates.
3. The cost and logistics of having to use optical scanners in local nonpartisan elections like school boards when there will be over 1,000 voters.
4. Ballot standardization in the state.
5. Moving state primaries to June.
6. New technologies like electronic poll books and ballot printing on-demand.
NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote!
Michael H. Drucker
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