BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS 
                         AND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
                           Senator Lou Correa, Chair


          BILL NO:   AB 2080           HEARING DATE: 7/03/12
          AUTHOR:    GORDON            ANALYSIS BY:  Frances Tibon 
          Estoista
          AMENDED:   6/26/12
          FISCAL:    YES
          
                                     SUBJECT
           
          Elections: vote by mail ballots

                                   DESCRIPTION  
          
           Existing law  requires that an application for a vote by 
          mail vote by mail (VBM) ballot be made in writing to the 
          elections official having jurisdiction over the election 
          between the 29th and the 7th day prior to the election.

           Existing law  allows the elections official to issue a VBM 
          ballot to the applicant or his or her spouse, child, 
          parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or a person 
          residing in the same household, provided that the 
          individual to whom the ballot is being issued is 16 years 
          of age or older and is authorized by the VBM voter to 
          receive the ballot.

           Existing law  provides that if a VBM voter is unable to 
          return his or her VBM ballot due to illness or disability, 
          that the voter may designate his or her spouse, child, 
          parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or a person 
          residing in the same household as the VBM voter to return 
          the VBM ballot.

           This bill  deletes the requirement that a voter must be ill 
          or physically disabled to have his or her VBM ballot 
          returned by designated individuals as specified in existing 
          law.

                                    BACKGROUND  
          
          According to the Secretary of State, since 1995, voting by 
          mail has become extremely popular as a convenient method of 









          voting.  Statewide, nearly 50% of the 10.3 million people 
          who voted in the November 2010 General Elections did so by 
          mail, and in some special elections, the number has been as 
          high at 84%.

          Studies show people who vote by mail vote more regularly 
          than people who go to the polls.  Safeguards built into 
          this method of voting, including the signature verification 
          process, ensure the integrity of each VBM ballot.

           Restrictions on Delivery of Vote by Mail Ballots  :  Existing 
          law allows a voter's authorized designee to pick up and 
          drop off a VBM ballot for a voter any time after the VBM 
          application deadline has passed (up to 7 days before the 
          election).  However, if a request is made before the VBM 
          application deadline (more than 7 days before the 
          election), existing law only permits a relative or someone 
          living at the same address of the voter to pick up or 
          return the VBM ballot.

                                     COMMENTS  
          
            1. According to the author  :  Vote-by-mail voting used to 
             be limited to voters who were either traveling on 
             Election Day or home bound.  Voting by mail has become a 
             significant tool of convenience for busy voters and a 
             means to potentially increase participation.  In 
             recognition, California law has evolved to facilitate 
             rather than place barriers in the way of voting by mail.

           The public has responded and the percentage of voters 
             availing themselves of vote-by-mail has steadily grown.  
             Two decades ago, in the November 1990 election, 18.38% 
             of voters used vote-by-mail.  A decade ago, in the 
             November 2000 primary election, 24.53% of voters availed 
             themselves of this option.  In the November 2010 
             election, the most recent election for which there is 
             data, 48.44% of voters used vote-by-mail.  While we do 
             not yet have the final tally for the June 2012 primary, 
             the tally may well exceed 50%.

           Existing law permits a voter to designate his or her 
             spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, 
             sister, or a person residing in the same household as 
          AB 2080 (GORDON)                                       Page 
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             the voter to return an absentee ballot for the voter if 
             the voter is unable to return the ballot him or herself 
              due to illness or other physical disability  .  In an 
             effort to make participation easier without eliminating 
             existing safeguards, this bill simply deletes the 
             requirement that a voter be ill or disabled in order to 
             have his or her ballot returned by someone else.  

            2. Previous Legislation  :  AB 867 (Swanson) of 2011 
             includes a provision that would have allowed a voter to 
             designate an authorized representative to return 
             vote-by-mail ballots.  The bill was amended to address a 
             different issue and is also on today's hearing agenda.

           AB 1271 (Krekorian) of 2009, would have allowed a vote by 
             mail voter to designate any person who is 16 years of 
             age or older, other than candidates or campaign workers, 
             to deliver or receive a vote by mail ballot on his or 
             her behalf.  Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed that bill 
             arguing that:  "?while some vote by mail voters could 
             benefit from the added flexibility provided by the bill, 
             it would leave the door open for bad actors to abuse the 
             system."

           AB 1096 (Umberg) of 2005, included a provision that would 
             allow a voter to designate specified individuals to 
             return the vote-by-mail ballot regardless of the voter's 
             health or disability.  Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 
             1096.

           SB 462 (Karnette) of 2001, included a provision that would 
             allow a voter to designate specified individuals to 
             return the vote-by-mail ballot regardless of the voter's 
             health or disability.  Governor Davis vetoed SB 462.  
            
                                   PRIOR ACTION
           
            (Note: prior votes do not reflect the current version of 
                                  this bill.)

          Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee:  6-0
          Assembly Appropriations Committee:      17-0
          Assembly Floor:                         74-0

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                                    POSITIONS  

          Sponsor: Secretary of State

           Support: None received

           Oppose:  None received



































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