BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1461


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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS


          AB  
          1461 (Gonzalez, et al.)


          As Amended  September 4, 2015


          Majority vote


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          |ASSEMBLY:  |52-26 |(June 2, 2015) |SENATE: |25-15 |(September 10,   |
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          Original Committee Reference:  E. & R.


          SUMMARY:  Provides for every person who has a driver's license  
          or state identification card and who is eligible to register to  
          vote to be registered to vote, unless that person opts out, as  
          specified.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), in  
            consultation with the Secretary of State (SOS), to establish a  
            schedule and method for the DMV to electronically provide to  
            the SOS the records of each person who submits an application  
            for a driver's license or state identification card, or  
            provides the DMV with a change of address, as specified.  


             a)   Requires the records to include the person's name; date  
               of birth; residence address and/or mailing address;  
               digitized signature; telephone number, if available; email  
               address, if available; language preference; political party  








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               preference; whether the person chooses to become a  
               permanent vote by mail voter; whether the person  
               affirmatively declined to register to vote during a  
               transaction with the DMV; a notation that the applicant has  
               attested that he or she meets all voter eligibility  
               requirements; and other information specified in  
               regulations adopted pursuant to this bill.  


             b)   Prohibits the DMV from electronically providing the  
               records of a person who is issued a driver's license  
               pursuant to specified provisions of law because that person  
               is unable to establish satisfactory proof that his or her  
               presence in the United States is authorized under federal  
               law.


          2)Provides that this bill shall not affect the confidentiality  
            of a person's voter registration information.


          3)Requires the SOS to adopt regulations to implement this bill.


          The Senate amendments:


          1)Delete provisions of the bill that would have required the DMV  
            to electronically transfer records to the SOS of all persons  
            who currently have a driver's license or state identification  
            card and who submitted documentation that established that  
            they were citizens of the United States when applying for the  
            license or identification card.  Delete provisions that would  
            have required the SOS to notify each person whose records were  
            received from the DMV that the person would be registered to  
            vote unless he or she declined to be registered within 21 days  
            after the date the SOS issued the notification.
          2)Require the DMV to transfer records of each person who submits  
            an application for a driver's license or state identification  
            card, or provides the DMV with a change of address, and who  
            attests that he or she meets all voter eligibility  
            requirements.  Provide that the records of a person that are  








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            transmitted from the DMV to the SOS pursuant to this provision  
            shall constitute a completed affidavit of voter registration  
            for that person unless a) the person affirmatively declines to  
            register to vote at the DMV, b) the person does not attest  
            that he or she meets all voter eligibility requirements while  
            at the DMV, or c) the SOS determines that the person is not  
            eligible to register to vote.  


          3)Require the DMV to commence implementation of this records  
            transfer no later than one year after the SOS certifies all of  
            the following: 


             a)   The state has a statewide voter registration database  
               that complies with the requirements of the federal Help  
               America Vote Act;


             b)   The Legislature has appropriated the funds necessary for  
               the SOS and the DMV to implement this bill; and,


             c)   Regulations required by this bill have been adopted.


          4)Permit the DMV to transfer information to the SOS pursuant to  
            this bill prior to the SOS certifying that the conditions  
            outlined above have been met provided that the information is  
            used solely by the SOS for the purposes of outreach and  
            education to eligible voters.
          5)Prohibit the DMV from transferring records to the SOS pursuant  
            to this bill if those records contain a home address that is  
            designated as confidential pursuant to specified provisions of  
            existing law.


          6)Prohibit the SOS from selling, transferring, or otherwise  
            allowing third parties to have access to the information  
            transmitted by the DMV pursuant to this bill, except as  
            authorized by the DMV or pursuant to existing law governing  
            access to information about registered voters.








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          7)Provide that if a person who is registered to vote pursuant to  
            this bill does not provide a party preference, that person's  
            party preference shall be designated as "Unknown."  Provide  
            that a person whose party preference is designated as  
            "Unknown" shall be treated as a "No Party Preference" voter,  
            except that a person who is designated as "Unknown" shall not  
            be counted when determining the percentage of registered  
            voters that are registered as preferring a specific political  
            party, for the purposes of determining whether that political  
            party is qualified to participate in a primary election. 


          8)Provide that if a person who is ineligible to vote becomes  
            registered pursuant to this bill in the absence of a violation  
            by that person of provisions of state law that prohibit  
            registrations of persons who are not entitled to register to  
            vote, that person's registration shall be presumed to have  
            been effected with official authorization and not the fault of  
            that person.


          9)Provide that if a person who is ineligible to vote becomes  
            registered pursuant to this bill and that person votes or  
            attempts to vote in an election held after the effective date  
            of the person's registration, that person is presumed to have  
            acted with official authorization and shall not be guilty of  
            fraudulently voting or attempting to vote unless the person  
            willfully votes or attempts to vote knowing that he or she is  
            not entitled to vote. 


          10)Require regulations adopted by the SOS to implement this bill  
            to address both of the following:


             a)   A process for canceling the registration of a person who  
               is ineligible to vote, but became registered pursuant to  
               this bill in the absence of any violation by that person of  
               provisions of state law that prohibit registrations of  
               persons who are not entitled to register to vote; and,








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             b)   An education and outreach campaign informing voters  
               about the program that the SOS will conduct to implement  
               this bill.  Permit the SOS to use any public and private  
               funds available for this purpose.


          11)Require any voter education and outreach conducted by the SOS  
            pursuant to this bill to be conducted in languages other than  
            English, as required by the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.
          12)Provide that the willful, unauthorized disclosure of  
            information obtained from the DMV pursuant to this bill, the  
            use of any false representation to obtain that information, or  
            the use of any such information for a purpose other than  
            permitted by this bill is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine  
            of up to $5,000, imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding  
            one year, or both the fine and imprisonment.  Require the SOS  
            to establish procedures to protect the confidentiality of  
            information acquired from the DMV pursuant to this bill, as  
            specified.


          13)Specify that this bill shall not be construed as requiring  
            the DMV to determine eligibility for voter registration and  
            voting, and provide that the SOS is solely responsible for  
            determining such eligibility.


          14)Add double-joining language to avoid chaptering conflicts  
            with SB 589 (Block) of the current legislative session.


          15)Add co-authors.


          16)Make corresponding, conforming, and technical changes.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, this bill would have the following fiscal impacts:


          1)The DMV estimates costs of approximately $640,000 in 2015-16  








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            and $730,000 annually thereafter related to programming,  
            driver's license form modifications, and increased talk-time  
            in field offices.


          2)The SOS estimates that up to 1.95 million State Voter  
            Information Guides would be mailed to newly registered voters,  
            at a cost of $891,000 per election. 


          3)Voter notification cards would be sent to additional new or  
            re-registered voters by the counties subject to state  
            reimbursement, at a cost in the hundreds of thousands of  
            dollars. 


          4)A reduction in the 9.2 million DMV-printed registration forms,  
            resulting in a potential annual savings of up to $368,000.


          5)A reduction in DMV's mailing 1.7 million of completed  
            registration forms to counties, resulting in a potential  
            savings of up to $816,000.


          COMMENTS:  According to the author, "Congress enacted the  
          federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993, commonly known  
          as the 'Motor Voter Law,' to increase the number of eligible  
          citizens who register to vote.  However, more than 20 years  
          after the passage of the Act, voter registration still stands as  
          one of the biggest barriers to participation in our nation's  
          democracy? AB 1461 will enact the California New Motor Voter Act  
          to make voter registration easier when citizens get or renew a  
          driver's license, thereby increasing opportunities for eligible  
          citizens to participate in democracy by voting."


          No state currently takes the responsibility for proactively  
          registering eligible individuals to vote - instead, almost every  
          state puts the impetus on individuals to register themselves to  
          vote (North Dakota, which is the only state without voter  
          registration, is the exception).  The idea of making the  








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          government responsible for proactively registering voters when  
          the government has information to verify individuals'  
          eligibility to vote - sometimes referred to as "automatic voter  
          registration" - received renewed attention earlier this year  
          when the Oregon Legislature passed and the Governor signed House  
          Bill 2177, which will require Oregon elections officials to  
          automatically register people to vote if the state Department of  
          Transportation has information indicating that those people are  
          eligible to register to vote.


          As approved by the Assembly, this bill would have required the  
          DMV to transfer information to the SOS about individuals who  
          currently held driver's licenses and identification cards and  
          who submitted documentation that established that they were  
          citizens of the United States when applying for the license or  
          identification card.  Those individuals then would have been  
          registered to vote unless they opted-out in response to a  
          subsequent notification sent to them by the SOS.


          The Senate amendments instead require individuals, when they  
          apply for a driver's license or identification card at the DMV,  
          or update their address with the DMV, to attest whether or not  
          they meet the eligibility requirements to register to vote.  For  
          those who attest that they meet those requirements, additional  
          voting-related information will be collected from those  
          individuals at the DMV, and they will be registered to vote  
          unless they opt-out.  Unlike the Assembly-version of the bill,  
          which would have allowed for the automatic registration of  
          individuals who had applied for driver's licenses and  
          identification cards before the effective date of this bill, the  
          Senate-version of the bill provides for automatic voter  
          registration only for those persons who interact with the DMV  
          after the effective date of the bill.  For individuals who have  
          not interacted with the DMV after the effective date of this  
          bill, the Senate-version of the bill allows DMV records to be  
          used by the SOS solely for the purposes of outreach and  
          education to eligible voters.


          Please see the policy committee analysis for a full discussion  








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          of this bill.


          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Ethan Jones / E. & R. / (916) 319-2094  FN:  
          0002259