Paulin's Street Finders Bill to Amend Election Law Signed

Just in time for Election Day tomorrow, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin’s bill (A.1002C) to require election sites in New York to provide maps and information on the location of voting places has been signed into law by Governor Paterson.

The bill requires that a sufficient number of maps, street finders or other descriptions of all of the polling places and election districts within the county be provided to poll workers to determine the correct election district and polling place for each voter.

Currently, if a voter shows up at the incorrect polling place, the voter may or may not be informed of their proper voting location. This bill will help a voter who is in a mistaken polling place find their correct location, ensuring that their vote will be counted.

In New York, if a voter shows up at the wrong polling place, the voter may be provided a provisional ballot – and it will not count if submitted in the voter’s incorrect polling location.

“No one should miss out on voting because they show up at the wrong place, and are unaware of the correct location,” said Assemblywoman Paulin. “A large voter turnout is vital to strengthening our democratic process. We need to make it as easy as possible for people to vote.”

Assemblywoman Paulin got the idea for the bill from a local Scarsdale resident. In 2004, lawyer Deborah Porder of Scarsdale was doing volunteer election protection work for the Westchester branch of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council when she found that many local polling places were not helping lost voters find the correct locations. She came to Assemblywoman Paulin and asked her to draft legislation that would fix this problem for the state.

“People have been deprived of their right to vote because the poll workers were unable to direct them,” said Deborah Porder. "I'm so happy this has been signed by the governor. It’s basic fairness to voters to be able to vote in the place where their vote can be counted."

This law will take effect immediately.