BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

                                           787 (Hill)
          Hearing Date:  8/17/2009        Amended: 6/1/2009
          Consultant:  Maureen Ortiz      Policy Vote: ER&CA 5-0
          BILL SUMMARY:   AB 787 requires local county elections officials  
          to notify voters when excess postage is necessary to mail a  
                            Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions         2009-10      2010-11       2011-12     Fund
          Notification costs               -----potentially $100 per  
          statewide election-----      General*

          *Reimbursable state-mandated local program

          STAFF COMMENTS: This bill meets the criteria for referral to the  
          Suspense file.

          Counties will most likely provide the postage requirement  
          through an insert accompanying the vote by mail ballot  
          materials.  Approximately 5.7 million vote by mail ballots were  
          sent out for the February 2008 primary election.  If insert  
          costs were $0.065 per ballot, total reimbursable annual costs  
          would be as high as $370,500.  However, it is likely that not  
          all counties would experience ballots that necessitate extra  
          postage at the same time, therefore, reimbursable costs would  
          probably be closer to $100,000 per statewide election.

          AB 787 provides that when elections officials determine that  
          more than one first-class stamp is required to return a vote by  
          mail ballot, notification will be provided to the voter of how  
          many first-class stamps or the equivalent postage is required.   
          The bill provides that the elections official shall use the most  
          cost-effective means available to notify the voter of the need  
          for additional postage.


          In responding to a similar bill last year (AB 984, Price, which  
          was held on this committee's Suspense File last year) the County  
          Association of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO) indicated  
          that printing the required postage on the identification  
          envelope is not a viable option since the envelopes are printed  
          in bulk for cost savings purposes, and the final size of the  
          ballot is not determined until after the printing deadline for  
          the envelopes.  Therefore, a separate insert will likely be  

          In the 2006 Gubernatorial General election, 25 counties required  
          more than one stamp to return an absentee ballot.  Some counties  
          have individually worked with the USPS to ensure that any vote  
          by mail ballot with at least one stamp be delivered and the  
          county reimburses the USPS for the shortfall in postage.  To the  
          extent that voters place sufficient postage on each ballot in  
          future elections, counties would incur savings from no longer  
          reimbursing the USPS for shortfalls.