BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 800


                                                                    Page  1





          Date of Hearing:  May 13, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          800 (Gomez) - As Amended March 23, 2015


           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Policy       |Rules                          |Vote:|11 - 0       |
          |Committee:   |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |-------------+-------------------------------+-----+-------------|
          |             |Elections and Redistricting    |     |4 - 3        |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |-------------+-------------------------------+-----+-------------|
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 


          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          Yes


          SUMMARY:


          This bill requires elections officials, when delivering  
          vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots, to include a return envelope with  
          postage paid if the ballot is mailed within the United States.








                                                                     AB 800


                                                                    Page  2







          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)Assuming 4.5 million VBM ballots are delivered, as an average  
            of primary and general elections and Presidential and  
            non-Presidential election cycles, annual costs for state  
            elections would be $2.2 million. Cost could be up to $6  
            million for a large ballot, requiring greater postage, in a  
            Presidential election. (Although some counties already provide  
            postage paid return envelopes for VBM ballots, these costs  
            will now be borne by the General Fund through imposition of  
            this state mandate.)


          2)Additional VBM postage in non-state elections could cost up to  
            several million dollars annually.


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose. According to the author, "Increasing voter turnout is  
            crucial to the future of California. AB 800 will provide paid  
            postage envelopes for registered voters who elect to  
            vote-by-mail and removes one obstacle for voters."


          2)Postal Service Practice. In order to protect against the  
            inadvertent disenfranchisement of voters, it is the policy of  
            the United States Postal Service that VBM ballots with  
            insufficient postage "must not be detained or treated as  
            unpaid mail."  Instead, under Postal Service policy, postal  
            workers are supposed to deliver the ballot to the appropriate  
            elections official, and to seek to recover the postage due  
            from the elections official.  Notwithstanding this policy,  
            ballots are nonetheless occasionally returned to voters for  
            insufficient postage.








                                                                     AB 800


                                                                    Page  3







          3)Opposition. The California Association of Clerks and Elections  
            Officials is concerned about the unfunded mandate in this  
            bill.


          4)Prior Legislation. This bill is similar to SB 1062 (Block) of  
            2014, which was held on Suspense in Senate Appropriations, and  
            to AB 1519 (De La Torre) of 2009 and SB 117 (Murray) of 2005,  
            both of which were held on this committee's Suspense file.


          Analysis Prepared by:Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081