BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 2824


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          Date of Hearing:  May 18, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                               Lorena Gonzalez, Chair


          AB  
          2824 (Thurmond) - As Amended May 4, 2016


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          Yes


          SUMMARY:


          This bill requires county elections officials to post specified  
          semiofficial election information on their counties' websites.  
          Specifically, this bill: 


          1)Requires a county, with the technical capacity to do so, to  
            post the following information on its website in both  
            downloadable spreadsheet and Election Markup Language (EML)  
            formats, or in one of the formats if it does not have the  
            technical capacity to do both:









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             a)   A statement of the results showing all the following:


               i)     The total number of ballots cast;
               ii)    The number of votes cast at each precinct for each  
                 candidate and for and against each measure;


               iii)   The number of votes cast for each candidate and for  
                 and against each measure; and, 


               iv)    The number of votes cast in each city, Assembly  
                 district, congressional district, senatorial district,  
                 State Board of Equalization district, and supervisorial  
                 district located in whole or in part in the county, for  
                 each candidate for the offices of presidential elector  
                 and all statewide offices, depending on the offices to be  
                 filled, and on each statewide ballot proposition.


             b)   Precinct data for vote-by-mail ballots, provisional  
               ballots, spoiled ballots, and any other data readily  
               available on the computer system.


          2)Requires the above information to be posted at the end of  
            election night, daily through the first Friday after election  
            day, and thereafter, weekly on Fridays until the results are  
            certified in accordance with existing law. If the information  
            has not changed from a prior posting, the elections official  
            may instead just post a statement to that effect.


          3)Requires a county, if modification to its voting system would  
            allow the county to comply with the posting requirements  
            stated above, to propose a modification of its voting system  
            to the Secretary of State (SOS) for approval by December 31,  








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            2017. 


          4)Prohibits the SOS, after December 31, 2017, from certifying  
            any voting system not capable of (a) complying with (1)(a)  
            above and (b) enabling data to be transferred from the system  
            to an external digital medium to allow transfer to a computer  
            connected to the Internet.


          5)Decreases the length of time that a county elections official  
            must post and maintain the certified statement of the election  
            results on its website following the election from at least 10  
            years to at least 22 months.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          Information from counties was limited at the time of this  
          analysis, although indications are that the majority of existing  
          county voting systems are currently unable to comply with this  
          bill's reporting requirements. There would thus be significant  
          one-time state reimbursable costs for technology upgrades,  
          probably of at least a few hundred thousand dollars, but  
          possibly much greater. (It is staff's understanding that such  
          functionality will be incorporated into new voting systems that  
          counties will be acquiring over time, and that would be required  
          by this bill for any voting systems approved by the SOS after  
          December 31, 2007.)





          As an example of one county's cost to comply with the bill,  
          Sacramento County indicates it would have to use a third-party  
          vendor at a cost of $18,000 annually.   









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          COMMENTS:


          1)Background. Current law requires a county elections official  
            to conduct a semifinal official canvass by tabulating VBM and  
            precinct ballots, compiling the results, and transmitting the  
            semiofficial results to the SOS, for elections for state and  
            federal office, and for statewide ballot measures, every two  
            hours following the commencement of vote counting.  
            Additionally, elections officials prepare a final certified  
            statement of the results of the election and submit it to the  
            governing body within 30 days of the election. AB 813  
            (Melendez), Chapter 112, Statutes of 2013, requires elections  
            officials to also post certified election results on the  
            county's website in a downloadable spreadsheet format.


          2)Purpose. This bill expands AB 813 by requiring county  
            elections officials to post election results regularly, and as  
            specified, beginning on election night. According to the  
            author's office, "Often on election night and in the first few  
            weeks thereafter especially in close races, candidates,  
            initiative stakeholders, and involved citizens need to be able  
            to analyze and verify the reported numbers from precincts and  
            counties as much as possible in order to determine what action  
            is appropriate for them to take, such as to: concede, ask for  
            a recount, claim victory, etc. These detailed numbers are  
            [currently] not in a format that lends itself to easy,  
            efficient analysis, especially for counties with many  
            precincts.


            "Providing this information on a timely basis that is needed  
            by campaign managers, initiative proponents, and concerned  
            citizens starting on election night in a format that they can  
            use to verify reported results and analyze the detail in  
            various ways that will satisfy them will prevent uncertainty  
            and will greatly lessen the need and desire to interrupt  








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            Registrars with inquiries, requests for recounts, and demands  
            for audits."


          3)Opposition. The California Association of Clerks and Elections  
            Office (CACEO) assert that the bill will delay the canvass and  
            election certification and result in one-time costs for  
            technical development and ongoing costs to generate and post  
            the results. The CACEO states, "?there must be acknowledgment  
            that counties have varying voting systems which have varying  
            functionality?" and that "..elections officials require  
            discretion in managing their elections, which includes the  
          time and manner in which results are posted."  


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