BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON
          ELECTIONS AND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
                            Senator Benjamin Allen, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             SB 439         Hearing Date:    4/21/15    
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          |Author:    |Allen                                                |
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          |Version:   |4/15/15                                              |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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          |Consultant:|Darren Chesin                                        |
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          Subject:  Election procedures:  conditional voter registration:   
                              ballot on demand systems

           DIGEST
           
          This bill permits county elections officials to offer  
          conditional voter registration and provisional voting at  
          satellite offices during the entire 14 days immediately  
          preceding Election Day and establishes criteria for the use of  
          ballot on-demand printing systems.  This system is commonly  
          referred to as either "election day voter registration" or "same  
          day voter registration." 

           ANALYSIS
           
          Existing law:

          1.Provides that a properly executed affidavit of voter  
            registration shall be deemed effective upon receipt by the  
            elections official if postmarked or received on or before the  
            15th day prior to an election to be held in the registrant's  
            precinct.

          2.Provides for conditional voter registration whereby a  
            qualified person may register to vote after the 15th day prior  
            to an election or on election day, and cast a provisional  
            ballot which will be counted if the conditional voter  
            registration is deemed effective.

          3.Requires county elections officials to offer conditional voter  







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            registration and provisional voting at its permanent offices,  
            and permits them to offer this type of registration and voting  
            at satellite offices on election day. 

          4.Specifies that conditional voter registration as described  
            above becomes operative on January 1 of the year following the  
            year in which the Secretary of State (SOS) certifies that the  
            state has a statewide voter registration database that  
            complies with the requirements of the federal Help America  
            Vote Act of 2002.  It is anticipated that this statewide voter  
            database will become operative in 2016, therefore conditional  
            voter registration will commence in 2017.

          5.Requires the SOS to adopt regulations governing the  
            manufacture, finishing, quality standards, distribution, and  
            inventory control of ballot cards and requires the biennial  
            inspection of the manufacturing, finishing, and storage  
            facilities involving ballot cards. 

          6.Requires the SOS to also approve each ballot card manufacturer  
            or finisher before a manufacturer or finisher provides ballot  
            cards for use in California elections.

          This bill:

          1.Permits county elections officials to offer conditional voter  
            registration and provisional voting at satellite offices after  
            the 15th day prior to an election through and including  
            election day. 

          2.Requires the SOS to adopt regulations for purposes of  
            certifying ballot on demand systems and requires the SOS to  
            approve each ballot on demand system before the system is  
            deployed for use in California elections. 

          3.Prohibits a jurisdiction from purchasing, leasing, or  
            contracting for, and a vendor, company, or person from  
            selling, leasing, or contracting with a jurisdiction for, a  
            ballot on demand system unless the ballot on demand system has  
            been certified by the SOS.

          4.Defines "ballot on demand system" as a self-contained system  
            that allows users to do any of the following on an as-needed  
            basis:








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             A.   Manufacture or finish ballot sheets or unfinished ballot  
               cards.
             B.   Manufacture and finish card stock.
             C.   Finish unfinished ballot cards into ballot cards.

           BACKGROUND
           
           Pending Election Day Registration in California  .  AB 1436  
          (Feuer), Chapter 497, Statutes of 2012, provided for Election  
          Day voter registration in California but it will not be  
          implemented until 2017, following the certification of VoteCal,  
          the new HAVA-compliant statewide voter database.  While AB 1436  
          requires county elections officials to offer voter registration  
          and concurrent voting by provisional ballot at the official's  
          permanent office during the 14 days following the normal close  
          of registration through Election Day it limits this convenience  
          to electors at satellite office locations to only Election Day  
          itself.
           
          Election Day Voter Registration in Other States  . According to  
          the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 10 states  
          plus the District of Columbia presently offer election day voter  
          registration, allowing any qualified resident of the state to go  
          to the polls or an election official's office on Election Day,  
          register that day, and then vote. Like California, Hawaii has  
          also enacted election day voter registration but has not yet  
          implemented it.  Illinois piloted election day voter  
          registration at limited locations during the 2014 General  
          Election and it will be implemented statewide June 1, 2015.  In  
          most other states, voters must register by a deadline prior to  
          Election Day.  The deadline varies by state, with most falling  
          between eight and 30 days before the election.

           Ballot on Demand Systems  .  Ballot on demand printing systems are  
          used in elections official's offices and other locations in  
          order to provide any voter with his or her proper ballot  
          regardless of the precinct to which the voter is assigned.   
          While some counties are currently using ballot on demand  
          printing systems that have been approved by prior Secretaries of  
          State, current statutes require the approval process to be  
          conducted on a county by county (and location by location) basis  
          which is very cumbersome and serves as a disincentive for  
          counties to participate.  For instance, if a single county wants  








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          to use a ballot on demand system, that county would have to seek  
          separate approval for each location where they anticipate usage.

           COMMENTS
           
           1.According to the author  : As a way of accommodating what should  
            be an enormous number of last-minute registrants, SB 439 will  
            allow county elections officials to offer voter registration  
            and voting at satellite offices during the entire 14 days  
            immediately preceding Election Day in addition to their main  
            offices.  

          In order to facilitate this process more cost-effectively and  
            make the experience quicker and more convenient for voters, SB  
            439 will also establish clear statutory authority and criteria  
            for the use of ballot on demand printing systems.  The SOS  
            will then be free to certify the BODs as systems instead of  
            each county having to seek individual approval.

                               RELATED/PRIOR LEGISLATION
          
          AB 1436 (Feuer), Chapter 497, Statutes of 2012.  See  
          "Background" above, for a description.

           POSITIONS
           
          Sponsor: Author

          Support:    Secretary of State
                       California Association of Clerks and Election  
               Officials
                       California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG)

          Oppose:    None received

                                          
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