BILL NUMBER: AB 503	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Block

                        FEBRUARY 15, 2011

   An act to amend Section 15342 of the Elections Code, relating to
elections.



	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 503, as introduced, Block. Processing write-in votes.
   Existing law prescribes the procedure for conducting an official
canvass of election results, including the manner in which a name
written upon a ballot for a qualified write-in candidate is to be
counted for the office. Existing law, with regard to voting systems
in which write-in spaces appear directly below the list of candidates
for that office and provide a voting space, prohibits an elections
official from counting a write-in vote unless the voting space next
to the write-in space is marked or slotted as directed in the voting
instructions.
   This bill, as an exception to that prohibition, would require the
elections official, after tallying all eligible votes but prior to
completion of the official canvass and the issuance of the certified
statement of the results, and upon the request of a qualified
write-in candidate, including a write-in candidate for an office for
which a voter may vote for multiple candidates, to hand tally the
votes for the write-in candidate if the elections official makes a
specified determination. The bill would require the elections
official to include the results of a hand tally conducted pursuant to
these provisions in the official canvass of the election. By
requiring the elections official to perform additional duties, this
bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
   The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.
   This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates
determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state,
reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these
statutory provisions.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  Section 15342 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

   15342.  Any name written upon a ballot for a qualified write-in
candidate, including a reasonable facsimile of the spelling of a
name, shall be counted for the office, if it is written in the blank
space provided and voted as specified below:
   (a) For voting systems in which write-in spaces appear directly
below the list of candidates for that office and provide a voting
space, no write-in vote shall be counted unless the voting space next
to the write-in space is marked or slotted as directed in the voting
instructions  , except as provided in subdivision (f)  .
   (b) For voting systems in which write-in spaces appear separately
from the list of candidates for that office and do not provide a
voting space, the name of the write-in candidate, if otherwise
qualified, shall be counted if it is written in the manner described
in the voting instructions.
   (c) The use of pressure-sensitive stickers, glued stamps, or any
other device not provided for in the voting procedures for the voting
systems approved by the Secretary of State to indicate the name of
the write-in candidate are not valid, and a name indicated by these
methods shall not be counted.
   (d) Neither a vote cast for a candidate whose name appears on the
ballot nor a vote cast for a write-in candidate shall be counted if
the voter has indicated, by a combination of marking and writing, a
choice of more names than there are candidates to be nominated or
elected to the office.
   (e) All valid write-in votes shall be tabulated and certified to
the elections official on forms provided for this purpose, and the
write-in votes shall be added to the results of the count of the
ballots at the counting place and be included in the official returns
for the precinct. 
   (f) (1) In an election that uses a voting system described in
subdivision (a), after tallying all eligible votes but prior to
completion of the official canvass and the issuance of the certified
statement of the results pursuant to this chapter, the elections
official, upon the request of a qualified write-in candidate for an
office being voted on in that election, shall hand tally the votes
for the write-in candidate for that office if the elections official
determines that the total number of votes cast for the write-in
candidate combined with the total number of undervotes cast for the
office is equal to or greater than the total number of votes cast for
the candidate receiving the highest or second highest number of
votes for that office.  
   (2) In the case of an office for which a voter may vote for more
than one candidate, a qualified write-in candidate may request a hand
tally pursuant to this subdivision if the elections official
determines that the total number of votes cast for the write-in
candidate combined with the total number of undervotes cast for the
office is equal to or greater than the total number of votes cast for
the candidate receiving the least number of votes that would be
sufficient in order to be elected.  
   (3) In conducting a hand tally pursuant to this subdivision, the
elections official shall count each ballot if the intent of the voter
can be determined. The elections official shall include the results
of a hand tally conducted pursuant to this subdivision in the
official canvass of the election.  
   (4) For purposes of this subdivision, "undervote" means a ballot
on which a voter failed to cast any vote for a specific office or
failed to cast the maximum number of votes permitted, as detected by
an electronic, mechanical, or other vote-tabulating device.
Notwithstanding Section 15624, a qualified write-in candidate is not
responsible for the costs of a hand tally requested pursuant to this
subdivision. 
  SEC. 2.  If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this
act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local
agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant
to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of
the Government Code.