BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

                                           2369 (Block)
          
          Hearing Date:  08/02/2010           Amended: As Introduced
          Consultant:  Maureen Ortiz      Policy Vote: ER&CA 4-0
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____
          BILL SUMMARY:   AB 2369 eliminates a sunset on a provision of  
          law that authorizes a special absentee voter to transmit his or  
          her ballot via facsimile transmission to the county elections  
          official.
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____
                            Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions         2010-11      2011-12       2012-13     Fund
                                                                  
          Admin expenses                     ------------unknown, not  
          significant---------          General*

          *Reimbursable local mandate
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____

          STAFF COMMENTS: 
          
          Since the authorization to allow special absentee voters to fax  
          their ballots to their county elections officials began in 2005,  
          counties have not expressed any significant fiscal impact for  
          processing these ballots, and are in support of this measure.  

          Current law allows a voter who is temporarily living outside the  
          United States or is called to military service to return his or  
          her vote by mail ballot by fax.  The ballot must be received by  
          the county elections official by the close of polls on elections  
          day and must be accompanied by both an identification envelope  
          and an oath of voter declaration.  This authorization was first  
          established pursuant to AB 2941 (Bates, Chapter 821, Statutes of  
          2004), was extended by AB 2786 (Salas, Chapter 252 of 2008) and  
          is currently scheduled to sunset on January 1, 2011.

          The original legislation required the Secretary of State (SOS)  
          to report by December 31, 2008 on the benefits and problems of  
          allowing voters to return ballots by fax.  The SOS reported that  










          11,997 ballots were returned by fax for the November 2008  
          General Election, and of those, 875 were rejected and not  
          counted.  The most common reasons for rejection included the  
          voters' failure to forward or sign the oath, and poor facsimile  
          quality.

          In order for a faxed ballot to be counted, the voter must sign  
          an oath declaring under penalty of perjury that the information  
          they have provided in the fax is true and correct, waiving their  
          right to have the ballot kept secret, and proclaiming that they  
          have not voted more than once.  Upon receipt of the ballot by  
          the elections official, the signature on the ballot is compared  
          to the signature on the voter's affidavit of registration to  
          verify the voter's eligibility to vote.