BILL NUMBER: AB 503	CHAPTERED
	BILL TEXT

	CHAPTER  190
	FILED WITH SECRETARY OF STATE  AUGUST 8, 2011
	APPROVED BY GOVERNOR  AUGUST 8, 2011
	PASSED THE SENATE  JULY 14, 2011
	PASSED THE ASSEMBLY  JUNE 1, 2011
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  MAY 27, 2011
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  APRIL 4, 2011

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Block
   (Principal coauthor: Senator Vargas)

                        FEBRUARY 15, 2011

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



	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 503, 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 authorize
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 for an examination of undervotes that is
received within 5 days of completion of the semi-official canvass,
to hand tally the remaining undervotes if specified conditions are
applicable. If an elections official conducts a hand tally pursuant
to this authority, the bill would require the elections official to
include the results in the official canvass of the election.


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 for an examination of
undervotes that is received within five days of completion of the
semiofficial canvass, may hand tally the remaining undervotes if any
of the following is applicable:
   (A) In the case of a primary election or a special election, the
sum of the total number of votes cast for the write-in candidate and
the total number of undervotes cast for the office but not examined
pursuant to a hand tally is equal to or greater than the total number
of votes cast for the candidate receiving the second highest number
of votes for that office.
   (B) In the case of a general election or a special runoff
election, the sum of the total number of votes cast for the write-in
candidate and the total number of undervotes cast for the office but
not examined pursuant to a hand tally is equal to or greater than the
total number of votes cast for the candidate receiving the highest
number of votes for that office.
   (C) In the case of an office for which a voter may vote for more
than one candidate, the sum of the total number of votes cast for the
write-in candidate and the total number of undervotes cast for the
office but not examined pursuant to a hand tally 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.
   (2) The elections official may stop a hand tally conducted
pursuant to this subdivision when the official determines that the
applicable condition in any of subparagraphs (A) to (C), inclusive,
of paragraph (1) is no longer applicable, or when all of the
undervotes for the office have been examined.
   (3) In conducting a hand tally pursuant to this subdivision, the
elections official shall count a vote for the office if the intent of
the voter can be determined, regardless of whether the voter has
complied with the voting instructions. 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.
   (5) Notwithstanding Section 15624, a qualified write-in candidate
is not responsible for the costs of a hand tally requested pursuant
to this subdivision.
   (g) This section does not prohibit a request for a recount.