BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 787
                                                                  Page  1


          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 787 (Hill)
          As Amended  June 1, 2009
          Majority vote 

           ELECTIONS           7-0         APPROPRIATIONS      13-4        
           
           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
          |Ayes:|Fong, Adams, Bill         |Ayes:|De Leon, Ammiano, Charles  |
          |     |Berryhill, Coto, Mendoza, |     |Calderon, Davis, Fuentes,  |
          |     |Saldana, Swanson          |     |Hall, John A. Perez, Price |
          |     |                          |     |Skinner, Solorio,          |
          |     |                          |     |Audra Strickland,          |
          |     |                          |     |Torlakson, Krekorian       |
          |     |                          |     |                           |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+---------------------------|
          |     |                          |Nays:|Nielsen, Duvall, Harkey,   |
          |     |                          |     |Miller                     |
           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 

           SUMMARY  :  Requires elections officials to notify voters of the  
          amount of postage that is necessary to return a vote by mail  
          (VBM) ballot if more than one first-class stamp is required.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Requires the elections official, if he or she determines that  
            more than one first-class stamp or equivalent postage is  
            required to return a VBM ballot, to provide a notification to  
            the voter of how many first-class stamps or equivalent postage  
            is required.

          2)Requires the elections official to use the most cost-effective  
            means available to notify the voter of the need for additional  
            postage. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, 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.  To the extent, counties use less costly  
          means to notify voters, these costs would be significantly less.  
           In addition, costs would be offset somewhat for counties that  








                                                                  AB 787
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          did not have to reimburse the United States Postal Service  
          (USPS) for postage-due ballots. Finally, it is unlikely that  
          additional postage would be required in every county.

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, "The number of Californians  
          who vote by mail has swelled in recent years. In the November  
          2000 General Election, approximately 24% of the 11.1 million  
          ballots were cast by mail rather than at polling places. During  
          the last presidential election four years ago, 32.6% of the 12.6  
          million Californian ballots came in by mail. In the primary  
          elections in February and June of [2008], 41.7% and 58.7% of  
          ballots were cast by mail, respectively.

          "As more voters cast their ballots by mail, stamps are becoming  
          an election issue. During the November race, election blogs  
          throughout California were busy with questions from voters who  
          were worried that their ballot was going to be returned due to  
          lack of proper postage.

          "However, while local elections officials don't advertise it,  
          some counties in the state have arrangements with the Postal  
          Service to deliver ballots and other election-related mail -  
          even if it is short on stamps.  Despite this agreement, the idea  
          is not to subsidize the cost of a ballot.  
          "AB 787 simply seeks to inform the voter of the postage  
          necessary for their ballot to be delivered to the registrar's  
          office and save local governments money."

          AB 1167 (Nava) of 2006, included the provisions of this bill,  
          but also included provisions that would have required each  
          county elections official to negotiate with the USPS to ensure  
          that all vote-by-mail ballots that were returned by voters were  
          delivered to the elections official, regardless of whether  
          sufficient postage was provided.  AB 1167 was vetoed by the  
          Governor.  In his veto message, the Governor indicated that he  
          was vetoing the bill because he "cannot support the provision of  
          this bill that requires local election officials to negotiate  
          with the United States Postal Service to ensure all  
          [vote-by-mail] ballots are delivered even if they have  
          insufficient postage."  The Governor expressed his concern that  
          such a provision was "unnecessary and fail[ed] to appropriately  
          recognize the responsibility of [vote-by-mail] voters to use  
          sufficient postage when returning their ballot."









                                                                  AB 787
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          However, the Governor also indicated in his veto message that he  
          thought 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  :    Lori Barber / E. & R. / (916) 319-2094



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