Senate BillNo. 362


Introduced by Senator Padilla

February 20, 2013


An act to add Section 19006 to, the Elections Code, relating to voting.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 362, as introduced, Padilla. Voting procedures: natural disasters.

Existing law designates the Secretary of State as the chief elections officer of the state and requires him or her to study and adopt regulations governing the use of voting machines, voting devices, vote tabulating devices, and ballot marking systems. Existing law also establishes procedures for the marking and counting of ballots in the case of electrical failure or other emergency.

This bill would make legislative findings relating to natural disasters and their effect on a state resident’s ability to vote. The bill would require the Governor and the Secretary of State to establish voting procedures and guidelines for voters affected by natural disasters.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P1    1

SECTION 1.  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the
2following:

3(a) Natural disasters within California, the United States, or
4other parts of the world can affect a state resident’s ability to vote.
5Earthquakes, hurricanes, and other disasters can destroy or damage
6election infrastructure, including the electrical and
7telecommunications grid and polling places, disrupt the delivery
P2    1of vote-by-mail ballots by the United States Postal Service, and
2displace election officials and interrupt their duties.

3(b) California residents volunteer to help victims of natural
4disasters, including their family members. California voters, such
5as firefighters, police officers, National Guardsmen, utility workers,
6and average citizens travel to areas affected by disasters for
7extended periods of time to help with recovery efforts that can
8include other states and countries. Disasters and volunteer efforts
9can occur close to an election and affect a volunteer’s ability to
10vote.

11(c) Currently, neither the Governor, the Secretary of State, nor
12county elections official has the authority to establish procedures
13and guidelines to specifically allow residents affected by a disaster
14to vote.

15

SEC. 2.  

Section 19006 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

16

19006.  

The Governor and the Secretary of State shall establish
17voting procedures and guidelines for voters affected by natural
18disasters.



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