BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 787
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 13, 2009

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                Kevin De Leon, Chair

                     AB 787 (Hill) - As Amended:  April 15, 2009 

          Policy Committee:                              ElectionsVote:7-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              Yes

           SUMMARY  

          This bill requires elections officials to notify vote-by-mail  
          (VBM) voters when additional postage is required to return their  
          VBM ballots by mail.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Assuming that the notification would be made through an insert  
          accompanying the VBM ballot materials, and based on a cost of  
          $0.065 per ballot and applying the 5.7 million VBM ballots sent  
          out for the February 2008 primary, annual reimbursable costs  
          would be $370,000 if every county required additional postage.   
          These costs would be offset somewhat for counties that did not  
          have to reimburse the United States Postal Service (USPS) for  
          postage-due ballots.

          County elections officials also note that, due to a varying  
          number of local contests, only a portion of a counties' ballots  
          might require additional postage, thus this bill would require  
          additional segregation of county ballots in order to only  
          include the notifications where applicable.

           COMMENTS  

           1)Purpose  .  Due to changing voting technology, absentee ballots  
            increasingly require more than one stamp to return.  In the  
            2006 Gubernatorial General election, for example, 25 counties  
            required more than one stamp to return an absentee ballot.   
            Counties have responded to this postage increase by  
            individually negotiating with the USPS to ensure that any  
            absentee ballot with at least one stamp be delivered even if  
            postage is insufficient. The counties then agreed to pay the  








                                                                  AB 787
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            USPS for the cost of the insufficient postage.  In addition,  
            many of the 25 counties included a notification to the voters  
            of the amount of postage that would be required to return the  
            ballot.  The author wishes to ensure that all VBM voters are  
            made aware when additional postage is required to return their  
            ballots.

           2)Prior Legislation  .  AB 984 (Price) 2008, which was  
            substantially similar to this bill, was held on Suspense in  
            Senate Appropriations.

          3)AB 1167 (Nava), which included the provisions of AB 984, was  
            vetoed due to the governor's opposition to other provisions of  
            that bill. In his veto message, the governor stated, in part,  
            that the requirement for election officials to notify  
            vote-by-mail voters if a ballot will require more than one  
            stamp to return in the mail was "a common sense proposal that  
            appropriately places shared responsibility on all parties."
           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081