BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 365


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          SENATE THIRD READING


          SB  
          365 (Pavley)


          As Amended  May 4, 2015


          Majority vote


          SENATE VOTE:  26-12


           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Elections       |5-1  |Ridley-Thomas, Gatto, |Grove               |
          |                |     |Gordon, Mullin, Perea |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Appropriations  |10-4 |Gomez, Bloom, Bonta,  |Bigelow, Chang,     |
          |                |     |Calderon, Eggman,     |Gallagher, Jones    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |Eduardo Garcia,       |                    |
          |                |     |Quirk, Rendon, Weber, |                    |
          |                |     |Wood                  |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 


          SUMMARY:  Authorizes county elections officials to establish  








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          vote by mail (VBM) ballot drop-off locations, as specified.   
          Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Permits a VBM voter to return a VBM ballot to the elections  
            official from whom it came at a VBM drop-off location, if  
            provided in accordance with this bill.
          2)Defines the following terms for the purposes of this bill:


             a)   "VBM ballot drop box" to mean a secure receptacle  
               established by a county or city and county elections  
               official whereby a voted VBM ballot may be returned to the  
               elections official from whom it was obtained.
             b)   "VBM drop-off location" to mean a location consisting of  
               a secured VBM ballot drop box at which a voted VBM ballot  
               may be returned to the elections official from whom it was  
               obtained.  


          3)Requires the Secretary of State (SOS), on or before January 1,  
            2017, to promulgate regulations establishing best practices  
            for security measures and procedures, including, but not  
            limited to, chain of custody, pick-up times, proper labeling,  
            and security of the VBM drop boxes, that a county elections  
            official may use if the official establishes one or more VBM  
            ballot drop-off locations.  
          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, minor one-time General Fund costs (around $55,000)  
          for the SOS to promulgate the regulations.


          COMMENTS:  According to the author, "California law has actively  
          evolved to facilitate vote by mail. Since 1990, vote-by-mail use  
          has grown from approximately 18% of the total votes cast, to  
          over 60% of the votes in the last general election in November  
          2014.  In an effort to further motivate VBM voters, some  
          counties have begun to provide additional drop-off locations.  
          These additional drop-off locations (e.g., public libraries,  








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          city government offices, senior centers) allow busy voters to  
          drop off their ballots much closer to home?


          "Presently, there is an ambiguity in current law around  
          additional drop-off locations that may be creating a potential  
          barrier to counties seeking to expand this service.  For  
          example, in the November 2014 election, Los Angeles County,  
          which has a population of more than 10 million people and is  
          over 4,700 square miles in size, had one drop-off location.   
          This may have contributed to the fact that only 38% of voters in  
          Los Angeles County used VBM - nearly 20% lower than any other  
          county in the state.


          "SB 365 will clarify that additional drop off locations are  
          valid methods of delivering VBM ballots to the elections  
          official. In addition, the measure ensures the safety of these  
          drop-off locations by directing the Secretary of State to  
          establish suggested best practices for counties that choose to  
          implement VBM drop-off locations..."


          While existing law does not specifically address VBM ballot  
          drop-off locations, in practice, an unknown number of counties  
          currently establish VBM drop-off sites.  One of those counties,  
          Sacramento County, designates facilities throughout the county  
          where voters can drop-off their voted VBM ballot prior to  
          election day.  The county requires that all facilities be  
          accessible to voters with disabilities and have at least one  
          person monitor the station.  Sites include facilities such as  
          city halls, county departments, assisted living facilities,  
          local businesses, non-profit and community organizations, and  
          facilities that already serve as polling places on election day.  
           A list of the VBM drop-off sites is included in Sacramento  
          County's sample ballot booklets.  The Sacramento County system  
          is designed so that a voter or someone designated by the voter  
          must hand their voted VBM ballot to the person monitoring the  
          drop-off site.








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          Statistics show that voters are choosing to cast a VBM ballot  
          more and more each election.  For instance, in the November 2004  
          general election approximately 32% of voters cast a VBM ballot.   
          In the November 2014 general election over 60% of voters cast  
          VBM ballots.  However, studies have shown that not all VBM  
          ballots are being returned via the mail - many voters are  
          instead choosing to drop off their VBM ballot at a drop box on  
          or close to election day.  For example, one study found that in  
          the November 2014 general election, over 26% of those that voted  
          using a VBM ballot returned their ballot at a polling place  
          instead mailing or dropping it off at the counter in an  
          elections official's office.  


          This bill, which permits county elections officials to set up  
          VBM ballot drop off locations, as specified, will help ensure  
          there are more secure and convenient locations in which a voter  
          may drop off their voted VBM ballot.


          Please see the policy committee analysis for a full discussion  
          of this bill. 




          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Nichole Becker / E. & R. / (916) 319-2094  FN:  
          0001160
















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