Senate BillNo. 589


Introduced by Senator Hill

(Coauthor: Assembly Member Mullin)

February 22, 2013


An act to amend Section 3019 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 589, as introduced, Hill. Vote by mail ballots.

Existing law sets forth procedures for voting by mail and requires the local elections official to compare the signature on a vote by mail ballot with the voter’s signature that appears on the affidavit of registration. Existing law requires the elections official to establish procedures to track and confirm the receipt of vote by mail ballots that are voted and to make that information available by means of online access using the county’s elections division Internet Web site, or, if it has no Internet Web site by a toll-free telephone number that may be used to confirm the date the ballot was received.

This bill would require the local elections official to establish a free access system by which a vote by mail voter may find out whether his or her ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not counted, thereby imposing a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

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

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

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SECTION 1.  

Section 3019 of the Elections Code is amended
2to read:

3

3019.  

Upon receipt of the vote by mail ballotbegin insert,end insert the elections
4official shall compare the signature on the envelope with that
5appearing on the affidavit of registration and, if they compare,
6deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot
7container in his or her office. A variation of the signature caused
8by the substitution of initials for the first or middle name, or both,
9shall not invalidate the ballot. If the ballot is rejected because the
10signatures do not compare, the envelope shall not be opened and
11the ballot shall not be counted. The cause of the rejection shall be
12written on the face of the identification envelope.

13If the elections official has compared the signature of the voter’s
14application with the affidavit pursuant to Section 3009, the
15application may be used rather than the affidavit to make the
16signature check required by this section.

17No ballot shall be removed from its identification envelope until
18the time for processing. No ballot shall be rejected for cause after
19the envelope has been opened.

20In determining from the records of registration if the signature
21and residence address on the identification envelope appear to be
22the same asbegin delete thatend deletebegin insert thoseend insert on the affidavit of registration, the elections
23official or registrar of voters may use the duplicate file of affidavits
24of registered voters or the facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided
25that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies
26with the law.

begin insert

27The elections official shall establish a free access system that
28allows a vote by mail voter to find out whether his or her vote by
29mail ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why the ballot was
30not counted.

end insert
31

SEC. 2.  

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
32this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
33local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
P3    1pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
24 of Title 2 of the Government Code.



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