BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 362
          Author:   Padilla (D)
          Amended:  4/8/13
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE ELECTIONS & CONSTITUTIONAL AMEND. COMM.  :  4-1, 4/30/13
          AYES:  Correa, Hancock, Padilla, Yee
          NOES:  Anderson

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 5/13/13
          AYES:  De León, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Walters, Gaines


           SUBJECT  :    Voting procedures:  natural disasters

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill requires a county elections official to  
          issue a vote-by-mail (VBM) ballot to emergency workers when that  
          individual is assisting with the recovery efforts during an  
          out-of-state emergency as called by the Governor.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1. Provides, upon the declaration of a state of emergency by the  
             Governor and the issuance of an executive order authorizing  
             an emergency worker to cast a ballot outside of his/her home  
             precinct, elections officials in the counties included in the  
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             executive order shall, upon demand, issue to an emergency  
             worker a provisional ballot that may be identical to the  
             provisional ballot offered to other voters in the county,  
             using a process to be determined by the elections official.

          2. Requires an elections official to transmit for processing any  
             ballot cast, including any materials necessary to process the  
             ballot, to the elections official in the county where the  
             voter is registered to vote.

          This bill:

          1. Requires a county elections official to issue a VBM 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. 

          2. Defines "emergency worker" as a person who is officially  
             engaged in responding to the proclamation of an out-of-state  
             emergency and whose vocation has been identified in an  
             executive order relating to the state of emergency.

          3. Provides that upon the declaration of an out-of-state  
             emergency by the Governor and the issuance of an executive  
             order authorizing an emergency worker to cast a ballot  
             outside of his/her home precinct, a county elections official  
             shall, upon request, issue a VBM ballot to an emergency  
             worker using a process to be determined by that elections  
             official.

          4. Requires that in order to be counted, a VBM ballot cast by a  
             voter be received by the elections official no later than  
             three days after Election Day and postmarked on or before  
             Election Day or time-stamped or date-stamped by a private  
             mail delivery company on or before Election Day.

          5. Requires that upon receipt of the returned ballot, an  
             elections official process the ballot.

          6. Provides that a VBM ballot may be sent to the emergency  

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             worker via electronic mail or facsimile.

           


          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/her vote in a timely manner.  

          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 VBM  
          voter had already passed.

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

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, unknown but  
          likely less than $25,000 (General).

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/14/13)

          Secretary of State, Debra Bowen
          American Red Cross 
          Common Cause

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          Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)
          PowerPAC.org
          Rock the Vote
          SEIU


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
          California residents volunteer to assist in natural disaster  
          relief efforts across the U.S. and the world.  They travel to  
          areas affected by disasters for extended periods of time to help  
          with recovery.  These efforts can occur close to an election and  
          affect a volunteer's ability to vote, such as Hurricane Sandy  
          which occurred a week before the 2012 Presidential Election.

          In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy the Los Angeles Department  
          of Water & Power, SoCal Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric,  
          Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Red Cross, the California  
          National Guard, and the California Emergency Management Urban  
          Search and Rescue Team, and many other California residents went  
          to New York and New Jersey to volunteer.

          The California volunteers had little time to prepare special  
          arrangements to vote and the deadline to apply for an absentee  
          ballot had already passed.  The deadline is seven days before an  
          election.  Neither the Governor nor Secretary of State nor  
          County Election Officials had the authority to allow the  
          volunteers to vote under special circumstances.


          RM:d  5/15/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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