BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó






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                                   THIRD READING 


          Bill No:  AB 2071
          Author:   Harper (R), et al.
          Amended:  6/30/16 in Senate
          Vote:     21 

           SENATE ELECTIONS & C.A. COMMITTEE:  5-0, 6/21/16
           AYES:  Allen, Anderson, Hancock, Hertzberg, Liu

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  77-0, 4/28/16 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT:   Vote by mail ballots


          SOURCE:    Author


          DIGEST:  This bill defines the term "bona fide private mail  
          delivery company" for the purposes of a vote by mail (VBM)  
          ballot received after election day, as specified.  


          ANALYSIS:  


          Existing law:


          1)Provides that a VBM ballot is timely cast if it is received by  
            the voter's elections official via the United States Postal  
            Service (USPS) or a bona fide private mail delivery company no  
            later than three days after election day and either of the  
            following is satisfied: 









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             a)   The ballot is postmarked or is time stamped or date  
               stamped by a bona fide private mail delivery company on or  
               before election day; or, 


             b)   If the ballot has no postmark, a postmark with no date,  
               or an illegible postmark, the VBM ballot identification  
               envelope is date stamped by the elections official upon  
               receipt of the VBM ballot from the USPS or a bona fide  
               private mail delivery company, and is signed and dated by  
               the voter on or before election day. 


          2)Requires a VBM ballot identification envelope to include  
            specified information, including the following: 


             a)   A declaration, under penalty of perjury, stating that  
               the voter resides within the precinct in which he or she is  
               voting and is the person whose name appears on the  
               envelope; 


             b)   The signature of the voter; and, 


             c)   The date of signing. 


          3)Permits a VBM voter who is unable to return his or her ballot  
            to designate his or her spouse, child, parent, grandparent,  
            brother, sister, or a person residing in the same household as  
            the VBM voter to return the ballot to the elections official  
            from whom it came or to a precinct board before the close of  
            the polls on election day. 


          4)Prohibits a VBM ballot from being returned by a paid or  
            volunteer worker of a general purpose committee, controlled  
            committee, independent expenditure committee, political party,  
            candidate's campaign committee, or any other group or  
            organization at whose behest the individual designated to  
            return the ballot is performing a service.  Provides this  







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            prohibition does not apply to a candidate or a candidate's  
            spouse.  


          This bill defines a "bona fide private mail delivery company" as  
          a courier service that is in the regular business of accepting a  
          mail item, package, or parcel for the purpose of delivery to a  
          person or entity whose address is specified on the item.

          Background


          "Postmark Plus Three" and SB 29.  In 2014, the Legislature  
          approved and the Governor signed SB 29 (Correa, Chapter 618,  
          Statutes of 2014), which allowed VBM ballots to be counted if  
          they were cast by election day and received by the elections  
          official by mail no later than three days after the election.   
          Specifically, SB 29 provides that any VBM ballot is timely cast  
          if it is received by the voter's elections official via the USPS  
          or a bona fide delivery company no later than three days after  
          election day, as specified.  Prior to the enactment of SB 29,  
          VBM ballots in California could be counted only if they were  
          received by the elections official by election day. 


          SB 29 was introduced in response to the fact that an increasing  
          number of VBM ballots that were returned to elections officials  
          were arriving too late to be counted. Furthermore, given a  
          number of recently enacted and planned USPS facility closures,  
          there was a fear that the number of ballots arriving too late to  
          be counted would continue to rise.  According to a September  
          2014 report by the California Civic Engagement Project at the  
          University of California at Davis Center for Regional Change,  
          nearly 69,000 VBM ballots that were received by county election  
          offices in California for the November 2012 General Election  
          were rejected during ballot processing, with 47.8 percent of  
          uncounted ballots being rejected because they arrived too late.   
          Arriving late was the most common reason why a VBM ballot was  
          rejected. 

          Comments


          1)According to the author, AB 2071 will protect the integrity of  







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            California's election system by providing that only legitimate  
            courier services that are in regular business or delivering  
            parcels may handle and deliver VBM ballots on behalf of voters  
            after election day.  This includes well-known services such as  
            DHL, FedEx, and UPS.  As such, it will ensure that only  
            legitimate votes are counted, and that no California voter is  
            disenfranchised by the counting of ballots that have been  
            illegally harvested or tampered with in the days following an  
            election.  AB 2071 seeks to define a "bona fide private mail  
            delivery company."  This bill defines it as a courier service  
            that is in the regular business of accepting a mail item,  
            package, or parcel for the purpose of delivery to a person or  
            entity whose address is specified on the item.

          Related/Prior Legislation


          AB 1921 (Gonzalez, 2016) permits a VBM voter who is unable to  
          return his or her ballot to designate any person to return the  
          ballot, as specified.  
          
          AB 1271 (Grove of 2015) would have required the disqualification  
          of VBM ballots that are received after election day if those  
          ballots are delivered by a bona fide private mail delivery  
          company or if those ballots have no postmark, a postmark with no  
          date, or an illegible postmark.  AB 1271 failed passage in the  
          Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee.

          SB 29 (Correa, Chapter 618, Statutes of 2014) provided that a  
          VBM ballot is timely cast if it is received by the voter's  
          elections official via the USPS or a bona fide private mail  
          delivery company no later than three days after election day, as  
          specified.

          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:     No         Fiscal  
          Com.:NoLocal:    No


          SUPPORT:   (Verified7/18/16)




          Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association







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          OPPOSITION:   (Verified7/18/16)


          None received




          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  77-0, 4/28/16
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Travis Allen, Arambula, Atkins, Baker,  
            Bigelow, Bloom, Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke,  
            Calderon, Campos, Chang, Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley,  
            Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Beth Gaines,  
            Gallagher, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson,  
            Gomez, Gonzalez, Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Roger  
            Hernández, Holden, Irwin, Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey,  
            Levine, Linder, Lopez, Low, Maienschein, Mayes, McCarty,  
            Medina, Melendez, Mullin, Nazarian, Obernolte, O'Donnell,  
            Patterson, Quirk, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago,  
            Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber,  
            Wilk, Williams, Wood, Rendon
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Daly, Mathis, Olsen

          Prepared by:Darren Chesin / E. & C.A. / (916) 651-4106
          7/29/16 10:43:30


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