BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 439  


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          Date of Hearing:  August 19, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          SB 439  
          (Allen) - As Amended June 11, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill authorizes conditional voter registration at satellite  
          offices prior to election day and establishes processes and  
          procedures for the review and approval of ballot on demand  
          systems and electronic poll books, as defined, for use in  








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          California elections. Specifically, this bill: 


          1)Permits a county elections official to offer conditional voter  
            registration and provisional voting at satellite offices on  
            days prior to election day, rather than solely on election  
            day.


          2)Requires the Secretary of State (SOS) to adopt regulations  
            governing the manufacture, finishing, quality standards,  
            distribution, inventory control and certification of ballot on  
            demand systems, and requires the SOS to approve each ballot on  
            demand system before deploying the system for use in  
            California elections.


          3)Requires the SOS to adopt and publish electronic poll book  
            standards and regulations governing the certification and use  
            of electronic poll books.


          4)Prohibits a jurisdiction from purchasing, leasing, or  
            contracting for a ballot on demand system and from using an  
            electronic poll book unless certified by the SOS.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          The SOS would incur ongoing General Fund costs of about $90,000  
          for one position related to promulgating the regulations and  
          testing and certification of ballot on demand systems and  
          electronic poll books. 


          COMMENTS:










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          1)Conditional Registration. AB 1436 (Feuer), Chapter 497,  
            Statutes of 2012, established conditional voter registration,  
            also known as "same-day" registration, in California.  
            Specifically, current law authorizes a person who is otherwise  
            qualified to register to vote to complete a conditional voter  
            registration and cast a provisional ballot at the elections  
            official's permanent office during the 14 days immediately  
            preceding an election or on election day.  In addition,  
            current law permits conditional voter registration at an  
            elections official's satellite office on election day only.  
            This bill instead authorizes a county elections official to  
            offer conditional voter registration and provisional voting at  
            satellites offices on other days instead of only on election  
            day. 


          2)Ballot on Demand System. A ballot on demand system is a device  
            that can print ballots on demand for use in elections.  In  
            practice, ballot on demand 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.


            Current law requires a ballot on demand system to be approved  
            using the same approval process that is in place for  
            commercial ballot printing operations.  Consequently, a ballot  
            on demand system's approval process must be conducted on a  
            county by county (and location by location) basis.  For  
            instance, if a single county wants to use a ballot on demand  
            system, that county would have to seek separate approval for  
            each location where they anticipate usage.  According to the  
            author, this is very cumbersome and may serve as a  
            disincentive for counties to participate.  According to the  
            SOS's website, 18 ballot on demand systems have been approved  
            for use in 13 counties.  


            This bill creates a new certification and approval process  








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            specifically for ballot on demand systems. The bill requires  
            the SOS to adopt regulations governing and certifying a ballot  
            on demand system for use in California elections, as  
            specified, and would allow jurisdictions to purchase and  
            deploy these systems upon certification.


          3)Poll Books. An electronic poll book is an electronic version  
            of the traditional paper poll book which contains a list of  
            the registered voters in each precinct or district.  An  
            electronic poll book typically looks like a tablet or laptop  
            computer and is used to more quickly and accurately check-in a  
            voter at his or her precinct or voting sites.  Many electronic  
            poll books also have the capability to allow a poll worker to  
            look up voters from the entire county or state, connect to a  
            county or state voter registration database, notify a poll  
            worker if a voter has already voted, allow a voter to sign in  
            electronically, produce turnout numbers and lists of those who  
            have voted, and receive immediate updates on who has voted in  
            other voting jurisdictions. In California, however, electronic  
            poll books are in their infancy and simply serve as an  
            electronic list of registered voters in the precinct or  
            district.  


            SB 439 creates a new election-related policy that permits a  
            county elections official to use new technology to assist in  
            checking in voters at polling places and other voting sites,  
            and sets up processes and procedures for the review and  
            approval of electronic poll books for use in California  
            elections. In order to ensure this technology is secure and  
            promotes the integrity of the election, this bill requires the  
            SOS to adopt and publish electronic poll book standards and  
            regulations governing the certification and use of electronic  
            poll books and prohibits an electronic poll book from being  
            used unless it has been certified by the SOS.


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








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          319-2081