Amended in Senate April 1, 2013

Senate BillNo. 589


Introduced by Senator Hill

(Coauthor: Assembly Member Mullin)

February 22, 2013


An act tobegin delete amendend deletebegin insert add Section 13305 to, and to repeal and addend insert Section 3019 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 589, as amended, Hill. Vote by mail ballotsbegin insert: sample ballotsend insert.

Existing law sets forth procedures for voting by mail and requires the local elections official to compare the signature onbegin insert the identification envelope ofend insert a vote by mail ballot with the voter’s signature that appears onbegin delete theend deletebegin insert his or herend insert affidavit of registration.begin insert If the signatures compare, existing law requires the elections official to deposit the ballot in a ballot container. If the ballot is rejected because the signatures do not compare, existing law requires that the ballot not be counted and that the cause of the rejection be written on the face of the identification envelope.end insert Existing law begin insertalso end insertrequires 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 sitebegin insert,end insert by a toll-free telephone number that may be used to confirm the date the ballot was received.

begin insertThis bill would permit the county elections official to compare the signature on the identification envelope of a vote by mail ballot with the signature that appears on the voter’s current or previous affidavit of registration on file with the elections official. end insertThis bill would require thebegin delete localend delete elections official to establish a free access system by which a vote by mail voter maybegin delete find outend deletebegin insert learnend insert whether his or her ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not countedbegin delete, thereby imposing a state-mandated local programend delete.begin insert This bill would require the elections official to make the free access system available to a vote by mail voter for at least 30 days immediately following the completion of the official canvass.end insert

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By requiring elections officials to provide a higher level of service, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

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Existing law requires the appropriate elections official to prepare sample ballots for each election and to cause to be printed at least as many copies of the sample ballot as there are voters in each voting precinct. Existing law requires the elections official to mail a sample ballot to each voter who registered at least 29 days prior to the election.

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This bill would permit the elections official to elect not to mail a sample ballot to a voter if specified conditions are satisfied. For each voter to whom the elections official elects not to mail a sample ballot, this bill would permit the elections official to cause to be printed one less copy of the sample ballot.

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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.

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This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

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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.

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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.

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

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

P2    1begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 3019 of the end insertbegin insertElections Codeend insertbegin insert is repealed.end insert

begin delete
2

3019.  

Upon receipt of the vote by mail ballot the elections
3official shall compare the signature on the envelope with that
4appearing on the affidavit of registration and, if they compare,
P3    1deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot
2container in his or her office. A variation of the signature caused
3by the substitution of initials for the first or middle name, or both,
4shall not invalidate the ballot. If the ballot is rejected because the
5signatures do not compare, the envelope shall not be opened and
6the ballot shall not be counted. The cause of the rejection shall be
7written on the face of the identification envelope.

8If the elections official has compared the signature of the voter’s
9application with the affidavit pursuant to Section 3009, the
10application may be used rather than the affidavit to make the
11signature check required by this section.

12No ballot shall be removed from its identification envelope until
13the time for processing. No ballot shall be rejected for cause after
14the envelope has been opened.

15In determining from the records of registration if the signature
16and residence address on the identification envelope appear to be
17the same as that on the affidavit of registration, the elections official
18or registrar of voters may use the duplicate file of affidavits of
19registered voters or the facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided
20that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies
21with the law.

end delete
22begin insert

begin insertSEC. 2.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 3019 is added to the end insertbegin insertElections Codeend insertbegin insert, to read:end insert

begin insert
23

begin insert3019.end insert  

(a) Upon receipt of a vote by mail ballot, the county
24elections official shall compare the signature on the identification
25envelope with any of the following to determine whether the
26signatures compare:

27(1) The signature appearing on the voter’s current or previous
28affidavit of registration on file with the elections official.

29(2) The signature appearing on the voter’s vote by mail ballot
30application, provided the elections official has compared the
31signature on the voter’s vote by mail ballot application with the
32signature on the voter’s affidavit of registration pursuant to Section
333009.

34(b) In comparing signatures pursuant to subdivision (a), the
35elections official may use the duplicate file of affidavits of
36registered voters or facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided that
37the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies
38with the law.

39(c) The variation of a signature caused by the substitution of
40initials for the first or middle name, or both, shall not be grounds
P4    1for the elections official to determine that the signatures do not
2compare.

3(d) A ballot shall not be removed from its identification envelope
4until the time for processing ballots. A ballot shall not be rejected
5for cause after the identification envelope has been opened.

6(e) (1) If, upon conducting the comparison of signatures
7pursuant to subdivision (a), the elections official determines that
8the signatures compare, he or she shall deposit the ballot, still in
9the identification envelope, in a ballot container in his or her office.

10(2) If, upon conducting the comparison of signatures pursuant
11to subdivision (a), the elections official determines that the
12signatures do not compare, the identification envelope shall not
13be opened and the ballot shall not be counted. The cause of the
14rejection shall be written on the face of the identification envelope.

15(f) The county elections official shall establish a free access
16system that allows a vote by mail voter to learn whether his or her
17vote by mail ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why the
18ballot was not counted. For each election, the elections official
19shall make the free access system available to a vote by mail voter
20for at least 30 days immediately following the completion of the
21official canvass.

end insert
22begin insert

begin insertSEC. 3.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 13305 is added to the end insertbegin insertElections Codeend insertbegin insert, to read:end insert

begin insert
23

begin insert13305.end insert  

(a) Notwithstanding Sections 13300 and 13303, a
24county elections official may elect not to mail a sample ballot to
25a voter if all of the following are satisfied:

26(1) The voter is one of the following:

27(A) A permanent vote by mail voter pursuant to Chapter 3
28(commencing with Section 3200) of Division 3.

29(B) A voter in a mail ballot election conducted pursuant to
30Division 4 (commencing with Section 4000).

31(C) A voter in a precinct in which an election is conducted
32pursuant to Section 3005.

33(2) The county elections official prepares and mails to each
34voter a voter information guide. The voter information guide shall
35include all of the information required to be included in, and shall
36be accompanied by all the election materials required to
37accompany, the sample ballot, except for both of the following:

38(A) An application for a vote by mail ballot.

39(B) A notice that a vote by mail ballot application is enclosed.

P5    1(3) The voter is furnished with an official ballot pursuant to
2Section 3005 or 3010.

3(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 13303, for each
4voter to whom the elections official elects not to mail a sample
5ballot pursuant to subdivision (a), the elections official may cause
6to be printed one less copy of the sample ballot.

end insert
7begin insert

begin insertSEC. 4.end insert  

end insert
begin insert

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
8Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
9this act provides for offsetting savings to local agencies or school
10districts that result in no net costs to the local agencies or school
11districts, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government
12Code.

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13

SECTION 1.  

Section 3019 of the Elections Code is amended
14to read:

15

3019.  

Upon receipt of the vote by mail ballot, the elections
16official shall compare the signature on the envelope with that
17appearing on the affidavit of registration and, if they compare,
18deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot
19container in his or her office. A variation of the signature caused
20by the substitution of initials for the first or middle name, or both,
21shall not invalidate the ballot. If the ballot is rejected because the
22signatures do not compare, the envelope shall not be opened and
23the ballot shall not be counted. The cause of the rejection shall be
24written on the face of the identification envelope.

25If the elections official has compared the signature of the voter’s
26application with the affidavit pursuant to Section 3009, the
27application may be used rather than the affidavit to make the
28signature check required by this section.

29No ballot shall be removed from its identification envelope until
30the time for processing. No ballot shall be rejected for cause after
31the envelope has been opened.

32In determining from the records of registration if the signature
33and residence address on the identification envelope appear to be
34the same as those on the affidavit of registration, the elections
35official or registrar of voters may use the duplicate file of affidavits
36of registered voters or the facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided
37that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies
38with the law.

39The elections official shall establish a free access system that
40allows a vote by mail voter to find out whether his or her vote by
P6    1mail ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why the ballot was
2not counted.

3

SEC. 2.  

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
4this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
5local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
6pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
74 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

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