2019 New York Laws
ELN - Election
Article 5 - Registration and Enrollment of Voters
Title 2 - Registration and Enrollment
5-211 - Agency Assisted Registration.

Universal Citation: NY Elec L § 5-211 (2019)
§  5-211.  Agency assisted registration.   Each agency designated as a
participating  agency  under  the  provisions  of  this  section   shall
implement and administer a program of distribution of voter registration
forms  pursuant to the provisions of this section. The following offices
which provide public assistance and/or  provide  state  funded  programs
primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities are
hereby  designated  as  voter registration agencies:   designated as the
state agencies  which  provide  public  assistance  are  the  office  of
children  and  family  services,  the office of temporary and disability
assistance and the department  of  health.  Also  designated  as  public
assistance  agencies  are  all agencies of local government that provide
such assistance. Designated as  state  agencies  that  provide  programs
primarily  engaged in providing services to people with disabilities are
the department of labor, office for the  aging,  division  of  veterans'
services,  office of mental health, office of vocational and educational
services for individuals with disabilities,  commission  on  quality  of
care  for  the  mentally  disabled,  office  of  mental  retardation and
developmental  disabilities,  commission  for  the  blind,   office   of
alcoholism  and substance abuse services, the office of the advocate for
the disabled and all offices which administer  programs  established  or
funded  by  such agencies. Additional state agencies designated as voter
registration offices are the department of state  and  the  division  of
workers'  compensation.  Such  agencies shall be required to offer voter
registration forms to persons upon  initial  application  for  services,
renewal  or  recertification for services and change of address relating
to such services. Such agencies shall also be responsible for  providing
assistance   to  applicants  in  completing  voter  registration  forms,
receiving and transmitting  the  completed  application  form  from  all
applicants  who  wish  to  have such form transmitted to the appropriate
board of elections. The state board of elections  shall,  together  with
representatives  of  the  department  of  defense, develop and implement
procedures for including recruitment offices of the armed forces of  the
United  States  as  voter  registration offices when such offices are so
designated by federal law. The state board shall also  make  request  of
the  United  States  Immigration  and  Naturalization Service to include
applications for registration by mail with any materials which are given
to new citizens. All institutions of the state university  of  New  York
and  the  city  university  of  New York, shall, at the beginning of the
school year, and again in January of a year in which  the  president  of
the  United  States  is  to  be  elected,  provide  an  application  for
registration to each student in each such institution. The  state  board
of  elections  may, by regulation, grant a waiver from any or all of the
requirements of this section to any office or program of an  agency,  if
it  determines  that  it  is  not feasible for such office or program to
administer such requirement.
  1. The state board of elections shall adopt such rules and regulations
as may be necessary to carry out the requirements of  this  section  and
shall   prepare   and   distribute  to  participating  agencies  written
instructions as to the  implementation  of  the  program  and  shall  be
responsible   for   establishing  training  programs  for  employees  of
participating agencies involved in such  program.  The  state  board  of
elections  shall  provide  a  toll free telephone to answer registration
questions.
  2. Strict neutrality with respect to a person's party enrollment shall
be maintained and all  persons  seeking  voter  registration  forms  and
information   shall   be   advised  that  government  services  are  not
conditioned on being registered to vote. No statement shall be made  nor
any action taken to discourage the applicant from registering to vote.

  3.  If  a  participating  agency  provides services to a person with a
disability at the person's place of residence, the  agency  shall  offer
the  opportunity  to complete a voter registration form at such place of
residence.
  4.  Each participating agency shall provide to each applicant who does
not decline to register to vote  the  same  degree  of  assistance  with
regard  to  the  completion  of  the registration application form as is
provided by the agency with regard to the completion  of  its  own  form
unless the applicant refuses such assistance.
  5.  Employees  of  a  voter  registration  agency  who  provide  voter
registration assistance shall not:

(a) seek to influence an applicant's political preference or party designation;

(b) display any political preference or party allegiance;

(c) make any statement to an applicant or take any action the purpose or effect of which is to discourage the applicant from registering to vote; or

(d) make any statement to an applicant or take any action the purpose or effect of which is to lead the applicant to believe that a decision to register or not to register has any bearing on the availability of services or benefits. 6. The state board of elections shall coordinate and monitor the distribution of voter registration forms by those state agencies, departments, divisions and offices selected to participate in the program to maximize the efficient and non partisan distribution of voter registration information and forms. The board shall also adopt such rules and regulations as may be necessary to require county boards and participating agencies to provide the state board with such information and data as the board deems necessary to assess compliance with this section and to compile such statistics as may be required by the federal elections commission. 7. Each participating agency, department, division and office that makes available voter registration forms shall prominently display promotional materials designed and approved by the state board of elections, informing the public of the existence of voter registration services. 8. Each participating agency, department, division or office that makes available voter registration forms pursuant to this section shall offer with each application for the services or assistance of such agency, department, division or office and with each recertification, renewal or change of address form relating to such service or assistance, a registration form together with instructions relating to eligibility to register and for completing the form except that forms used by the department of social services for the initial application for services, renewal or recertification for services and change of address relating to such services shall physically incorporate a voter registration application in a fashion that permits the voter registration portion of the agency form to be detached therefrom. Such voter registration application shall be designed so as to ensure the confidentiality of the source of the application. Included on each participating agency's application for services or assistance or on a separate form shall be:

(a) the question, "If you are not registered to vote where you live now, would you like to apply to register here today?"

(b) The statement, "applying to register or declining to register to vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will be provided by this agency."

(c) boxes for the applicant to check to indicate whether the applicant would like to register or decline to register to vote.

(d) the statement in prominent type, "IF YOU DO NOT CHECK EITHER BOX, YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO REGISTER TO VOTE AT THIS TIME."

(e) the statement, "If you would like help in filling out the voter registration application form, we will help you. The decision whether to seek or accept help is yours. You may fill out the application form in private."

(f) the statement, "If you believe that someone has interfered with your right to register or decline to register to vote, your right to privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying to register to vote, or your right to choose your own political party or other political preference, you may file a complaint with the state board of elections (address and toll free telephone number)."

(g) a toll free number at the state board of elections that can be called for answers to registration questions. 9. Disclosure of voter registration information, including a declination to register, by a participating agency, its agents or employees, for other than voter registration purposes, shall be deemed an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy pursuant to the provisions of subdivision two of section eighty-nine of the public officers law and shall constitute a violation of this chapter. 10. The form containing the declination to register to vote shall be retained by the recipient agency for the same period of time as such agency retains the accompanying application for services or for such shorter period of time as may be approved by the state board of elections. 11. The participating agency shall transmit the completed applications for registration and change of address forms to the appropriate board of elections not later than ten days after receipt except that all such completed applications and forms received by the agency between the thirtieth and twenty-fifth day before an election shall be transmitted in such manner and at such time as to assure their receipt by such board of elections not later than the twentieth day before such election. 12. Completed application forms, when received by a participating agency not later than the twenty-fifth day before the next ensuing primary, general or special election and transmitted by such agency to the appropriate board of elections so that they are received by such board not later than the twentieth day before such election shall entitle the applicant to vote in such election provided the board determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified. 13. The state board of elections shall provide application forms for use pursuant to this section except that any agency which uses a form other than such registration form shall be responsible for providing such form. Forms which vary in design and or content from the form approved by the state board of elections may only be used with the approval of such board. 14. Applications shall be processed by the board of elections in the manner prescribed by section 5-210 of this title or, if the applicant is already registered to vote from another address in the county or city, in the manner prescribed by section 5-208 of this title. The board shall send the appropriate notice of approval or rejection as required by either subdivision nine of such section 5-210 or subdivision five of such section 5-208. 15. The head of each participating agency shall take all actions which are necessary and proper for the implementation of this section. Each agency head shall designate one person within the agency as the agency voter registration coordinator who will, under the direction of the state board of elections, be responsible for the voter registration program in such agency. 16. The state board shall develop and distribute public information and promotional materials relating to the purposes and implementation of this program. 17. Each agency designated as a participating agency under this section shall conduct a study and prepare a report to determine the feasibility, practicality and cost-effectiveness of designing their agency intake forms to serve also as voter registration forms that comply with state and federal law. Such study and report shall be completed by December 1, 1996. Copies of such reports shall be provided to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly and the state board of elections. After submission of the report, participating agencies that determine that it is feasible, practical and cost-effective to have such forms also serve as voter registration forms shall do so upon the approval of the state board of elections. For each agency that determines it is feasible, practical and cost effective to use agency intake forms that serve also as voter registration forms, the state board of elections shall approve or disapprove such use within six months of the submission of the report by the agency.

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