Under Section 3-209 of the City’s Administrative Code, high schools must make voter registration materials available to students during the year and must provide postage-paid voter registration materials to graduating seniors. This bill would require the city Department of Education to ask for, and the city Board of Elections to provide, registration materials in any available language (as determined by state or federal requirements) that makes sense for a particular school’s student population. The city Board of Elections also must code its registration forms so that it can track which forms come back from each school district. The bill also would require both the city Department of Education and the city Board of Elections to help track and report on whether these student voter registration efforts are effective in getting young adults to register to vote.
Int. No. 733
By Council Members Kallos, Rosenthal, Treyger, Ampry-Samuel, Reynoso, Lander and Cornegy
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to improving young adults’ access to voter registration materials by requiring the department of education of the city of New York and the board of elections of the city of New York to provide students with registration materials in appropriate languages and to track and report on the efficacy of distributing registration materials to students
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. Section 3-209 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended to read as follows:
§ 3-209 Young Adult Voter Registration.
a. Short title. This section shall be known and may be cited as the “Young Adult Voter Registration Act.”
b. Coded voter registration forms. The board of elections of the city of New York shall assign a code to each geographic school district and create voter registration materials that include these codes. Upon request by the department of education of the city of New York, the city board of elections shall provide voter registration forms, either in printed form or in a format suitable for printing, to each public or private high school within the city that are coded for the geographic school district in which that high school is physically located.
c. Provision of voter registration materials to students and graduates.[Registration of voters.]
1. Each public or private high school within the city shall distribute[make available] during the school year to seniors such materials as may be published by the board of elections relating to voter registration and, where appropriate, shall provide [applications for registration and enrollment, ]students with voter registration forms that contain the appropriate code assigned by the city board of elections, and may assist in the execution of such applications.
[c.]2. [Registration of graduating seniors.] The department of education of the city of New York shall provide a postage paid [board of elections of the city of New York] voter registration form containing the appropriate code assigned by the city board of elections to each graduating student who receives a high school diploma, including but not limited to a Regents, local, general equivalency or Individualized Education Program diploma. The department shall deliver such voter registration form to each graduating student at the same time and in the same manner as it delivers diplomas to each such student.
[d]3. [Forms to be available at school.] The city department of education [of the city of New York] shall ensure that postage paid [board of elections] voter registration forms containing the appropriate code assigned by the city board of elections are available in the main or central office of each high school under the jurisdiction of the department for students who wish to obtain one. The department shall also ensure that each such high school provides adequate notice to its students of the availability of such forms in its main or central office.
[e.]4. [Sufficient quantity of forms.] The city department of education shall request from the city board of elections or otherwise obtain[of the city of New York] a sufficient quantity of voter registration forms to meet the requirements of this subdivision, including forms in any language authorized by the state or city board of elections that the city department of education deems appropriate for the students at each school.
d. Annual Reporting.
1. The city department of education shall report on what steps it has taken to comply with this section and to promote student voter registration as part of its annual report to the New York city council pursuant to subsection (b) of section 522 of the New York city charter. That report shall include, by borough and school, the number of students who were seventeen or eighteen years old during the relevant school year and the manner in which registration materials were distributed or made available to students.
2. Consistent with subsection four of section 3-212 of the New York state election law, which requires the city board of elections to include in its annual report to the local legislature a detailed description of existing programs to enhance voter registration, the city board of elections shall specify, by geographic school district: (a) in what form the registration forms were distributed, and if in printed form, how many such forms were distributed, (b) in which language(s) they were distributed, and (c) how many forms were completed and returned to the board.
§ 2. This local law takes effect 120 after it becomes law.
LS 1977/Int. 628-2015