BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                      



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  AB 2080|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 2080
          Author:   Gordon (D)
          Amended:  6/26/12 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE ELECTIONS & CONST. AMEND. COMMITTEE  :  3-2, 7/3/12
          AYES:  Correa, Lieu, Yee
          NOES:  La Malfa, Gaines

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not relevant


           SUBJECT  :    Vote-by-mail ballots

           SOURCE  :     Secretary of State


           DIGEST  :    This bill deletes the requirement that a voter 
          must be ill or physically disabled to have his/her 
          vote-by-mail (VBM) ballot returned by designated 
          individuals as specified in existing law.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law requires that an application for 
          a 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/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 
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          is authorized by the VBM voter to receive the ballot.

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

           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 percent 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 percent.

          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 seven days before 
          the election).  However, if a request is made before the 
          VBM application deadline (more than seven 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.

           Previous Legislation

           AB 867 (Swanson, 2011) includes a provision that will have 
          allowed a voter to designate an authorized representative 
          to return vote-by-mail ballots.  The bill was amended to 
          address a different issue.

          AB 1271 (Krekorian, 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/her behalf. 







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           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, 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.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  7/5/12)

          Secretary of State

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office, 
          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 
          percent of voters used vote-by-mail.  A decade ago, in the 
          November 2000 primary election, 24.53 percent of voters 
          availed themselves of this option.  In the November 2010 
          election, the most recent election for which there is data, 
          48.44 percent 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 percent.

          Existing law permits a voter to designate his/her spouse, 
          child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, or 
          a person residing in the same household as the voter to 
          return an absentee ballot for the voter if the voter is 







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          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/her ballot 
          returned by someone else.


          DLW:d  7/6/12   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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