This memorandum outlines and analyzes proposals for implementing the provisional ballot and voter identification provisions of the Help America Vote Act (“HAVA”). For the reasons set forth below, the New York State Citizens’ Coalition on HAVA Implementation urges the Legislature to adopt the following two proposals with respect to affidavit ballots:
(1) The boards of elections should be expressly required to count affidavit ballots cast by first-time voters who registered by mail and who do not have identification without regard to whether or not those voters presented identification to election officials.
(2) The boards of elections should be expressly required to count the affidavit ballot votes cast by registered and eligible voters in the wrong election district or polling place for all offices for which the voters are eligible to vote. At the very least, an affidavit ballot cast by a voter in the wrong election district or polling place must be counted unless there is affirmative evidence that election officials informed the voter that he or she was in the wrong polling place, that election officials directed the voter to the correct polling place, and that the voter could have, without undue hardship, voted at that polling place.