Senate BillNo. 365


Introduced by Senator Pavley

February 24, 2015


An act to amend Section 3017 of, and to add Section 3025 to, the Elections Code, relating to elections.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 365, as introduced, Pavley. Vote by mail ballot drop boxes.

Existing law provides that the Secretary of State is the chief elections officer of the state and requires the Secretary of State to administer the provisions of the Elections Code. Existing law authorizes the Secretary of State to adopt regulations to assure the uniform application and administration of state election laws.

Existing law sets forth procedures for processing vote by mail ballots and requires that all vote by mail ballots cast be received by the elections official or by the precinct board no later than the close of polls on election day. Under existing law, a vote by mail voter is required to return his or her voted vote by mail ballot either by returning the ballot by mail or in person to the elections official from whom it came or by returning the ballot in person to a member of a precinct board at a polling place within the jurisdiction.

This bill would permit a vote by mail voter to return his or her voted vote by mail ballot to the elections official from whom it came at a vote by mail ballot drop-off location, as defined. This bill would require the Secretary of State to promulgate regulations establishing best practices for security measures and procedures that a county elections official may use if the county elections official establishes one or more vote by mail ballot drop-off locations and vote by mail ballot drop boxes, as defined.

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

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

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SECTION 1.  

Section 3017 of the Elections Code is amended
2to read:

3

3017.  

(a) All vote by mail ballots cast under this division shall
4be voted on or before the day of the election. After marking the
5ballot, the vote by mail voter shall dobegin delete eitherend deletebegin insert anyend insert of the following:
6(1) return the ballot by mail or in person to the elections official
7from whom itbegin delete came orend deletebegin insert came,end insert (2) return the ballot in person to a
8member of a precinct board at a polling place within the
9begin delete jurisdiction.end deletebegin insert jurisdiction, or (3) return the ballot to the elections
10official from whom it came at a vote by mail ballot drop-off
11location, if provided pursuant to Section 3025.end insert
However, a vote
12by mail voter who is unable to return the ballot may designate his
13or her spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister,
14or a person residing in the same household as the vote by mail
15voter to return the ballot to the elections official from whom it
16came or to the precinct board at a polling place within the
17jurisdiction. The ballot must, however, be received by either the
18elections official from whom it came or the precinct board before
19the close of the polls on election day.

20(b) The elections official shall establish procedures to ensure
21the secrecy of a ballot returned to a precinct polling place and the
22security, confidentiality, and integrity of any personal information
23collected, stored, or otherwise used pursuant to this section.

24(c) On or before March 1, 2008, the elections official shall
25establish procedures to track and confirm the receipt of voted vote
26by mail ballots and to make this information available by means
27of online access using the county’s elections division Internet Web
28site. If the county does not have an elections division Internet Web
29site, the elections official shall establish a toll-free telephone
30number that may be used to confirm the date a voted vote by mail
31ballot was received.

32(d) The provisions of this section are mandatory, not directory,
33and a ballot shall not be counted if it is not delivered in compliance
34with this section.

P3    1(e) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a vote by mail voter’s ballot
2shall not be returned by a paid or volunteer worker of a general
3purpose committee, controlled committee, independent expenditure
4committee, political party, candidate’s campaign committee, or
5any other group or organization at whose behest the individual
6designated to return the ballot is performing a service. However,
7this subdivision does not apply to a candidate or a candidate’s
8spouse.

9

SEC. 2.  

Section 3025 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

10

3025.  

(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms
11have the following meanings:

12(1) “Vote by mail ballot drop box” means a secure receptacle
13established by a county or city and county elections official
14whereby a voted vote by mail ballot may be returned to the
15elections official from whom it was obtained.

16(2) “Vote by mail ballot drop-off location” means a location
17consisting of a secured vote by mail ballot drop box at which a
18voted vote by mail ballot may be returned to the elections official
19from whom it was obtained.

20(b) The Secretary of State shall promulgate regulations
21establishing best practices for security measures and procedures
22that a county elections official may use if the county elections
23official establishes one or more vote by mail ballot drop-off
24locations.



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