BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Kevin de León, Chair SB 362 (Padilla) - Voting: Natural Disasters Amended: April 8, 2013 Policy Vote: E&CA 4-1 Urgency: No Mandate: Yes Hearing Date: May 13, 2013 Consultant: Maureen Ortiz This bill does not meet the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. Bill Summary: SB 362 requires a county elections official to issue a vote by mail ballot to emergency workers when that individual is assisting with the recovery efforts during an out-of-state emergency as called by the Governor. Fiscal Impact: Unknown but likely less than $25,000 (General) Actual costs are unknown and will depend on the extent and frequency of the disaster, whether the disaster occurs during an election period, and the number of personnel who are not already registered as vote-by-mail voters. Background: Existing law, pursuant to AB 1440 (Swanson), Chapter 395, Statutes of 2009, allows emergency personnel who are officially engaged in responding to a state of emergency after a disaster such as fire or earthquake to vote in an election by casting a provisional ballot within any county in California and further requires that county elections official to forward that ballot to the appropriate county where the voter resides. California residents often volunteer to assist in the recovery of natural disasters that occur outside of this state. Family members and professionals such as firefighters, police officers, National Guardsmen, utility workers, and other California residents travel to areas affected by disasters for extended periods of time to help with recovery efforts. Sometimes these efforts are close to election times and affect the individual's ability to cast his or her vote in a timely manner. SB 362 (Padilla) Page 1 For instance, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the L. A. Department of Water & Power, SoCal Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Red Cross, National Guard, and the California Emergency Management Urban Search and Rescue Team were among many organizations that left California right before the election. Many of these individuals were unable to vote because the deadline to register as a vote-by-mail voter had already passed. Proposed Law: SB 362 requires a county elections official to issue a vote by mail ballot to an emergency workers when that individual is assisting with the recovery efforts during an out-of-state emergency as called by the Governor. The ballot will be counted as long as it is received by the elections official no later than three days after election day and postmarked on or before election day or time-stamped of date-stamped by a private mail delivery company on or before election day. The bill authorizes the vote by mail ballot to be sent to the emergency worker via electronic mail or facsimile. Staff Comments: This bill could result in reimbursable state mandated costs, however it is not likely that costs would exceed $50,000 in any year. Counties would only incur costs to the extent that the emergency worker was out-of-state during the weeks directly preceding an election AND only if the worker was not already a vote-by-mail voter.