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Chapter 46, §1054: Voter assistance advisory committee

a. There shall be a voter assistance advisory committee consisting of nine members, which shall assist the board with its duties and responsibilities under this chapter, including but not limited to overseeing the voter assistance program established by this chapter. Two members shall be appointed by the mayor, provided that not more than one such member shall be enrolled in any one political party; two members shall be appointed by the speaker of the city council, provided that not more than one such member shall be enrolled in any one political party; one member shall be appointed by the comptroller; one member shall be appointed by the borough presidents acting together; and one member shall be appointed by the mayor in consultation with the speaker and shall serve as chair. In addition, the committee shall include the public advocate, or in his or her absence, a representative, and the executive director of the board of elections (or, in his or her absence, the deputy executive director of the board of elections). In appointing members to the committee, the mayor, speaker, comptroller and borough presidents shall consider experience with groups or categories of residents that are underrepresented among those who vote or among those who are registered to vote and community, voter registration, civil rights, and disabled groups. The appointed members shall first be appointed to serve as follows:

  1. one member appointed by the speaker for a term of one year;
  2. one member appointed by the mayor for a term of two years;
  3. one member appointed by the speaker for a term of three years;
  4. one member appointed by the mayor for a term of four years;
  5. one member appointed by the comptroller for a term of four years;
  6. one member appointed by the borough presidents for a term of five years; and
  7. the chair, appointed by the mayor in consultation with the speaker for a term of five years.

Each term shall commence on January first, two thousand eleven. Thereafter, each member shall be appointed for a term of five years according to the original manner of appointment. Upon expiration of the term of a member, if the appointing official or officials shall fail to appoint a member within one hundred twenty days of the expiration of such term, the member whose term has expired shall be deemed appointed for an additional term of five years. In case of a vacancy in the office of an appointed member, a member shall be appointed to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term according to the original manner of appointment. For appointees of the mayor or speaker, such member shall not be enrolled in the same political party as the other member appointed by the official making the appointment to fill the vacancy. Each member shall be a resident of the city, registered to vote therein. No member other than the public advocate shall serve as an officer of a political party, or be a candidate, or participate in any capacity in a campaign by a candidate, for nomination for election or election to the office of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president or member of the city council. The members of the committee shall serve without compensation.

b. The board, with the advice and assistance of the committee and the coordinator of voter assistance, shall:

  1. encourage and facilitate voter registration and voting by all residents of New York City who are eligible to vote, and recommend methods to increase the rate of registration and voting by such residents;
  2. identify groups or categories of such residents who are underrepresented among those registered and those voting and recommend methods to increase the rate of voter registration and voting among such groups and categories;
  3. consistent with all state and local laws, coordinate the activities of all city agencies in general and specialized efforts to increase registration and voting including, but not limited to, the distribution of forms for citizens who use or come in contact with the services of city agencies and institutions; mailings by city agencies to reach citizens; cooperative efforts with non-partisan voter registration groups, community boards, agencies of city, state, and federal governments, and entities doing business in the city; publicity and other efforts to educate youth about the importance of voting and to encourage eligible youth to register to vote; and other outreach programs;
  4. make such recommendations as it deems appropriate to the mayor, the council, the borough presidents, and the board of elections for steps that should be taken by such officials or bodies or by city agencies to encourage and facilitate voter registration and voting by all residents of New York City who are eligible to vote;
  5. undertake, by itself or in cooperation with other public or private entities, activities intended to encourage and facilitate voter registration and voting by all residents of New York City who are eligible or may become eligible to vote, including eligible voters who are limited in English proficiency;
  6. prepare and publish reports, including, at the minimum, an annual report to be published no later than April thirtieth in each year, regarding voter registration and voter participation in New York City, and forward copies of such reports to the mayor, the council, the borough presidents, and all other public officials with responsibilities for policies, programs and appropriations related to voter registration and voter participation in New York City and to private entities that are currently or potentially involved in activities intended to increase voter registration and voting. Such annual report shall include, but not be limited to (a) a description of voter assistance activities and the effectiveness of those activities in increasing voter registration and voter participation; (b) the number of voter registration forms distributed by the programs related to voter assistance and voter participation, the manner in which those forms were distributed and the estimated number of persons registered through the activities of the programs; (c) the number and characteristics of citizens registered and unregistered to vote during the previous primary, general and special elections and for the most recent time period for which such information is available; (d) the number and characteristics of citizens who voted during the previous primary, general and special elections; (e) a review and analysis of voter registration and voter participation processes in New York City during the previous year; (f) recommendations for increasing voter registration and voter participation; and (g) any other information or analysis the board deems necessary and appropriate; and
  7. monitor voter registration and voting in New York City, and receive citizen complaints regarding such processes.

c. The committee shall meet at least every other month. The committee shall hold at least two public hearings each year, one following the issuance of the annual report, and the second between the day following the general election and December twenty-first, regarding voter registration and voter participation in New York City. Any member of the board may attend and participate in committee meetings and hearings.