Amended in Assembly August 12, 2013

Amended in Assembly June 4, 2013

Amended in Senate April 1, 2013

Senate BillNo. 589


Introduced by Senator Hill

(Coauthor: Assembly Member Mullin)

February 22, 2013


An act tobegin delete amend Section 3019 of, and toend delete addbegin delete Sectionend deletebegin insert Sections 3019.5 andend insert 13305begin delete to,end deletebegin insert toend insert the Elections Code, relating to elections.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 589, as amended, Hill. Vote by mail ballots: sample ballots.

Existing law sets forth procedures for voting by mail and requires the local elections official to compare the signature on the identification envelope of a vote by mail ballot with the voter’s signature that appears on his or her affidavit of registration. 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. Existing law also 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 county elections official to establish a free access system by which a vote by mail voter may learn whether his or her ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not counted. This bill would require the elections official to make the free access system available to a vote by mail voter upon completion of the official canvass and for 30 days thereafter.begin insert This bill would permit the county elections official to use the county’s free access system for provisional ballots to establish the free access system for vote by mail ballots.end insert

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

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.

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.

begin insert

If a county elections official elects not to mail a sample ballot to a voter, this bill would require the elections official to use any savings achieved to offset the costs associated with establishing a free access system for vote by mail ballots before the savings may be used for any other purpose.

end insert

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 no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

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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P2    1

SECTION 1.  

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

3

3019.  

(a) Upon receipt of the vote by mail ballot, 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
P3    1by the substitution of initials for the first or middle name, or both,
2shall not invalidate the ballot. If the ballot is rejected because the
3 signatures do not compare, the envelope shall not be opened and
4the ballot shall not be counted. The cause of the rejection shall be
5written on the face of the identification envelope.

6(b) If the elections official has compared the signature of the
7voter’s application with the affidavit pursuant to Section 3009, the
8application may be used rather than the affidavit to make the
9signature check required by this section.

10(c) A ballot shall not be removed from its identification envelope
11until the time for processing. A ballot shall not be rejected for
12cause after the envelope has been opened.

13(d) In determining from the records of registration if the
14signature and residence address on the identification envelope
15appear to be the same as those on the affidavit of registration, the
16elections official or registrar of voters may use the duplicate file
17of affidavits of registered voters or the facsimiles of voters’
18signatures, provided that the method of preparing and displaying
19the facsimiles complies with the law.

20(e) The

end delete
21begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 3019.5 is added to the end insertbegin insertElections Codeend insertbegin insert,
22to read:end insert

23begin insert

begin insert3019.5.end insert  

end insert

begin insert(a)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertAend insert county elections official shall establish a free
24access system that allows a vote by mail voter to learn whether
25his or her vote by mail ballot was counted and, if not, the reason
26why the ballot was not counted. For each election, the elections
27official shall make the free access system available to a vote by
28mail voter upon completion of the official canvass and for 30 days
29thereafter.

begin insert

30(b) For purposes of establishing the free access system for vote
31by mail ballots required by subdivision (a), a county elections
32official may use the free access system for provisional ballots
33established by the county pursuant to Section 302 of the federal
34Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 15482).

end insert
begin insert

35 (c) If a county elections official elects not to mail a sample
36ballot to a voter pursuant to Section 13305, the elections official
37shall use any savings achieved to offset the costs associated with
38establishing the free access system for vote by mail ballots required
39by subdivision (a).

end insert
40

SEC. 2.  

Section 13305 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

P4    1

13305.  

(a) Notwithstanding Sections 13300 and 13303, a
2county elections official may elect not to mail a sample ballot to
3a voter if all of the following are satisfied:

4(1) The voter is one of the following:

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

7(B) A voter in a mail ballot election conducted pursuant to
8Division 4 (commencing with Section 4000).

9(C) A voter in a precinct in which an election is conducted
10pursuant to Section 3005.

11(2) The county elections official prepares and mails to each
12voter a voter information guide. The voter information guide shall
13include all of the information required to be included in, and shall
14be accompanied by all the election materials required to
15accompany, the sample ballot, except for both of the following:

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

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

18(3) The voter is furnished with an official ballot pursuant to
19Section 3005 or 3010.

20(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 13303, for each
21voter to whom the elections official elects not to mail a sample
22ballot pursuant to subdivision (a), the elections official may cause
23to be printed one less copy of the sample ballot.

begin insert

24(c) If a county elections official elects not to mail a sample ballot
25to a voter pursuant to this section, the elections official shall use
26any savings achieved to offset the costs associated with establishing
27a free access system for vote by mail ballots pursuant to Section
283019.5 before the savings may be used for any other purpose.

end insert
29

SEC. 3.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
30Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
31this act provides for offsetting savings to local agencies or school
32districts that result in no net costs to the local agencies or school
33districts, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government
34Code.


CORRECTIONS:

Text--Page 3.




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Corrected 8-22-13—See last page.     96