Amended in Senate August 17, 2015

Amended in Assembly May 19, 2015

Amended in Assembly May 6, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 363


Introduced by Assembly Member Steinorth

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Brown, Mayes, and Obernolte)

February 17, 2015


An act to amend Sections 14405, 14420, and 14421 of, and to add Section 14422 to, the Elections Code, relating to elections.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 363, as amended, Steinorth. Closing of the polls.

Existing law requires a precinct board to account for ballots at the closing of the polls.

This bill would authorize a county elections official to account for ballots at the central counting place.

Existing law prescribes the procedures for a precinct board to follow as soon as the polls close, including removing the voted ballots from the ballot container, sealing the ballots, and delivering the ballots to the receiving centers or central counting places.

This bill would authorize a county elections official to direct the precinct board to seal the ballots and to record certain information prior to the closing of the polls. The bill would also authorize the county elections official to direct other elections officials to remove the sealed ballots prior to the closing of the polls and to deliver them to a receiving center or central counting place. The bill would require the county elections official, at least 48 hours before an election, to notify the public of the dates, times, and places to which ballot containers will be delivered. The bill would also require the Secretary of State to adopt regulations addressing the secure delivery and transfer of ballots to a receiving center or central counting place.

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

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

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 14405 of the Elections Code is amended
2to read:

3

14405.  

(a) The members of the precinct board shall account
4for the ballots delivered to them by returning a sufficient number
5of unused ballots to make up, when added to the number of official
6ballots cast and the number of spoiled and canceled ballots
7returned, the number of ballots given to them. The accounting of
8ballots may either:

9(1) Take place at the polling place.

10(2) Be performed by the elections official at the central counting
11place.

12(b) The precinct board shall complete the roster as required in
13Section 14107, and shall also complete and sign the certificate of
14performance prescribed in Section 15280, if that section applies.

15

SEC. 2.  

Section 14420 of the Elections Code is amended to
16read:

17

14420.  

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), before or as
18soon as the polls are closed, the precinct board shall remove the
19voted ballots from the ballot container and take them out of the
20secrecy envelopes or detach them from the secrecy stubs. Where
21the envelope or stub is also the write-in ballot, and a write-in vote
22has been registered thereon, the ballot card shall not be separated
23from the envelope or stub. If two or more separate ballot cards
24have been used in the election, the precinct board shall sort them
25into groups, each of which shall contain the same series of ballot
26cards.

27(b) After completing the action described in subdivision (a), the
28precinct board shall count the number of ballot cards in each group,
29and certify the number of ballots cast on the voting roster as
30provided by Section 14107. If there is any discrepancy between
31the number of voters listed in the roster and the number of ballots
P3    1voted, this fact shall be noted with an explanation of the difference
2and signed by all the members of the precinct board.

3(c) Before or at the close of the polls, the county elections
4official may direct the precinct board to seal the ballot container
5and record on forms provided by the elections official the
6information needed for the reconciliation of ballots required by
7Section 14405.

8

SEC. 3.  

Section 14421 of the Elections Code is amended to
9read:

10

14421.  

Unless the county elections official has directed the
11precinct board to seal the ballot container and record information
12pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 14420, the precinct board
13shall group voted ballot cards and voted separate write-in ballots,
14as directed by the elections official, and place them in containers.
15The board shall also place spoiled and void ballots, if any, in
16containers as directed by the elections official. All of these ballots,
17along with the containers for voted ballot cards, shall be placed in
18one or more boxes, which shall then be sealed and delivered as
19soon as possible to the receiving centers or central counting places
20with the unused ballots, supplies, and other materials as directed
21by the elections official.

22

SEC. 4.  

Section 14422 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

23

14422.  

(a) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law,
24the county elections official may direct a precinct board to seal
25the ballot container prior to the closing of the polls, in accordance
26with the procedures set forth in Sections 14420 and 14421.

27 (2) begin deleteAs end deletebegin insertNotwithstanding Section 14215, as end insertsoon as the container
28is sealed, the county elections official may direct at least two
29elections officials to remove the sealed ballot container of voted
30untallied ballots from the polling place and the presence of any
31bystanders and to deliver the container to a receiving center or
32central counting place as directed.

33(3) At least 48 hours in advance of an election, the elections
34official shall notify the public of the dates, times, and places at
35which ballot containers will be delivered pursuant to this
36subdivision.

37(b) Upon receipt of a container at a receiving center or central
38counting place pursuant to subdivision (a), the county elections
39official may process the voted untallied ballots, but shall not tally
40the ballots or release any results prior to the closing of the polls.

P4    1(c) The Secretary of State shall adopt regulations addressing
2the secure delivery and transfer of ballots to a receiving center or
3central counting place pursuant to this section.

4(d) This section shall not be construed as relieving a precinct
5board of its responsibility to account for ballots pursuant to Section
614405.



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