BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 450


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          Date of Hearing:  June 29, 2016


                  ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS AND REDISTRICTING


                                Shirley Weber, Chair


          SB  
          450 (Allen and Hertzberg) - As Amended June 21, 2016


          SENATE VOTE:  (vote not relevant)


          SUBJECT:  Elections:  vote by mail voting and mail ballot  
          elections.


          SUMMARY:  Permits specified counties beginning in 2018, and all  
          other counties beginning in 2020, to conduct elections in which  
          every voter is mailed a ballot and vote centers and ballot  
          drop-off locations are available prior to and on election day,  
          in lieu of operating polling places for the election, subject to  
          certain conditions.  Permits Los Angeles County, beginning in  
          2020 and for a period of not more than four years, to conduct  
          elections in which vote centers and ballot drop-off locations  
          are available prior to and on election day, in lieu of operating  
          polling places for the election, subject to certain conditions.   
          Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Permits the counties of Calaveras, Inyo, Madera, Napa, Nevada,  
            Orange, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara,  
            Shasta, Sierra, Sutter, and Tuolumne, on or after January 1,  
            2018, and permits all other counties, on or after January 1,  
            2020, to choose to conduct elections where all voters are  
            mailed a ballot and where vote centers and ballot drop-off  








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            locations are available prior to and on election day, in lieu  
            of operating polling places for the election, subject to the  
            following conditions:


             a)   Vote Centers.  Requires vote centers to be open, in lieu  
               of polling places, on election day, and for the 10 days  
               prior to election day, in accordance with the following:


               i)     Number of Vote Centers and Dates and Hours of  
                 Operation. Requires the number of vote centers, and the  
                 dates and times that those vote centers are available, to  
                 comply with the following:

                  (1)       Regular Elections. At a regularly scheduled  
                    election, requires vote centers to be open in  
                    accordance with the following:

                    (a)         From the 10th day through the fourth day  
                      prior to the election, requires at least one vote  
                      center for every 50,000 registered voters, with no  
                      fewer than two vote centers, each open for at least  
                      eight hours per day.

                    (b)         From the third day prior to the election  
                      through election day, requires at least one vote  
                      center for every 10,000 registered voters, with no  
                      fewer than two vote centers.  Requires each vote  
                      center to be open for at least eight hours per day  
                      on the days prior to election day, and from 7 a.m.  
                      to 8 p.m. on election day.  Requires at least 90  
                      percent of the number of required vote centers to be  
                      open for all four days; provides that up to 10  
                      percent of the locations need not be open for all  
                      four days as long as the total number of vote  
                      centers open on each day does not fall below the  
                      required number of locations.









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                    (c)         Requires vote centers to be located in the  
                      jurisdiction where the election is being held.



                  (2)       Special Elections.  At a special election,  
                    requires vote centers to be open in accordance with  
                    the following:


                    (a)         From the 10th day through the day prior to  
                      the election, requires at least one vote center for  
                      every 60,000 registered voters, each open for at  
                      least eight hours per day, provided, however, that  
                      in jurisdictions with fewer than 30,000 registered  
                      voters, the elections official is only required to  
                      make a reasonable effort to establish a vote center.

                    (b)         On election day, requires at least one  
                      vote center for every 30,000 registered voters, each  
                      open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., provided, however, that  
                      in jurisdictions with fewer than 30,000 registered  
                      voters, the elections official is only required to  
                      make a reasonable effort to establish a vote center.  
                       


                    (c)         Requires vote centers to be located in the  
                      jurisdiction where the election is being held unless  
                      the jurisdiction is not wholly contained within the  
                      county, in which case the elections official is  
                      required to make a reasonable effort to locate at  
                      least one vote center in the jurisdiction.


               ii)    Location of Vote Centers.  Requires vote centers to  
                 be located in accordance with the following requirements:








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                  (1)       Equitably distributed around the county so as  
                    to afford maximally convenient options for voters.


                  (2)       At accessible locations as near as possible to  
                    established public transportation routes. 


               iii)   Voter Experience at a Vote Center.  Requires that a  
                 voter be able to do any of the following at a vote  
                 center:


                  (1)       Return, or vote and return, a vote by mail  
                    (VBM) ballot;

                  (2)       Register to vote, or update his or her  
                    registration, and vote, as specified;



                  (3)       Receive and vote a provisional ballot, as  
                    specified;



                  (4)       Receive a replacement ballot upon verification  
                    that a ballot for the same election has not been  
                    received from the voter by the elections official;  
                    and,



                  (5)       Vote a regular, provisional, or replacement  
                    ballot using accessible voting equipment that provides  
                    for a private and independent voting experience.









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               iv)    Assistance Available at, and Accessibility of, Vote  
                 Centers.
               
                  (1)       Language Assistance.  Requires vote centers to  
                    comply with the following language assistance  
                    requirements:


                    (a)         Assistance is provided in all languages  
                      required in the jurisdiction pursuant to state and  
                      federal law, in a manner that enables voters of  
                      applicable language minority groups to participate  
                      effectively in the electoral process.


                    (b)         Information is posted at each vote center  
                      regarding the availability of language assistance in  
                      English and any other languages required in the  
                      jurisdiction under state and federal law.


                    (c)         If a vote center is in or adjacent to a  
                      precinct, census tract, or other defined  
                      geographical subsection identified in establishing  
                      language requirements under state or federal law, or  
                      identified as needing language assistance through  
                      the public input process established by this bill,  
                      the vote center is staffed by election board members  
                      who speak the required language.  If the elections  
                      official is unable to recruit board members who  
                      speak the required language, alternative methods of  
                      effective language assistance are provided.



                    (d)         Translated election materials are provided  
                      in all languages required in that jurisdiction under  








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                      state or federal law.



                  (2)       Accessibility. Requires vote centers to comply  
                    with the following disability accessibility  
                    requirements:

                    (a)         Reasonable modifications and auxiliary  
                      aids and services are provided as required by  
                      federal law, as specified.

                    (b)         Vote centers comply with state and federal  
                      accessibility requirements, as specified.


                    (c)         Each vote center is equipped with no fewer  
                      than three accessible voting units that provide  
                      individuals with disabilities the same opportunity  
                      for access and participation as is provided to  
                      voters who are not disabled, including the ability  
                      to vote privately and independently, as specified.



               v)     Additional Requirements.

                  (1)       Requires every vote center to have an  
                    electronic mechanism that allows elections officials  
                    to immediately access voter registration data,  
                    including whether each voter has been issued a VBM  
                    ballot and whether a ballot has been received by the  
                    elections official.

                  (2)       Provides that the requirements for eligibility  
                    and composition of precinct boards at polling places  
                    generally apply for election boards at vote centers,  
                    except as otherwise specified.









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             b)   Vote by Mail Ballots and Ballot Return.  Requires  
               registered voters to be mailed ballots and requires  
               drop-off locations to be established as follows: 


               i)     Materials and Information Mailed to Voters.   
                 Requires the elections official to mail all of the  
                 following to each registered voter:


                  (1)       A VBM ballot, along with instructions and a  
                    ballot return envelope, beginning the 29th day before  
                    the election.


                  (2)       A notice, translated in all languages required  
                    for the jurisdiction under state and federal law, that  
                    informs voters of all of the following:


                    (a)         An all-mailed ballot election is being  
                      conducted and each eligible voter will be issued a  
                      ballot by mail;

                    (b)         The voter may cast a ballot in person at a  
                      vote center during specified days and times; 



                    (c)         The voter may request the elections  
                      official to send a ballot or a copy of a ballot in a  
                      language other than English, if such materials are  
                      required by state or federal law, no later than  
                      seven days before the election; and,











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                    (d)         The voter may request the elections  
                      official to deliver a ballot that voters with  
                      disabilities can mark privately and independently,  
                      as specified, no later than seven days before the  
                      election. 



                  (3)       A list of the ballot drop-off locations and  
                    vote centers established pursuant to this bill,  
                    including the dates and hours they are open.  
                    Additionally requires this list to be posted in an  
                    accessible format, as specified, on the Internet Web  
                    site of the county elections official.

                  (4)       A postage-paid postcard that the voter may  
                    return to the county elections official for the  
                    purpose of requesting a ballot in a language other  
                    than English.



               ii)    Ballot Drop-Off Locations.  Provides that a "ballot  
                 drop-off location" consists of a secure, accessible,  
                 locked ballot box located as near as possible to  
                 established public transportation routes to receive voted  
                 ballots.  Requires drop-off locations to comply with  
                 specified regulations adopted by the Secretary of State  
                 (SOS).  Requires the elections official to provide ballot  
                 drop-off locations that comply with the following:


                  (1)       Number of Drop-Off Locations and Dates and  
                    Hours of Operation. Requires drop-off locations to be  
                    open during regular business hours beginning not less  
                    than 28 days before the election, and on the date of  
                    the election, and requires the number of drop-off  
                    locations to comply with the following:









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                    (a)         Regular Elections. For regularly scheduled  
                      elections:

                       (i)            At least one drop-off location is  
                         provided for every 15,000 registered voters, with  
                         no fewer than two drop-off locations; and,

                       (ii)           At least one drop-off location  
                         includes an accessible, secured, exterior drop  
                         box that is available for a minimum of 12 hours a  
                         day including regular business hours. 



                    (b)         Special Elections. For special elections,  
                      at least one drop-off location is provided for every  
                      15,000 registered voters, with at least one drop-off  
                      location located within the jurisdiction where the  
                      special election is held.

               iii)   Accessibility of VBM Ballots and Written Election  
                 Materials.


                  (1)       Requires that a method be available for a  
                    voter with a disability to request a blank VBM ballot  
                    and, if a replacement ballot is necessary, a blank  
                    replacement ballot, that voters with disabilities can  
                    read and mark privately and independently, as  
                    specified.


                  (2)       Requires the elections official, upon request,  
                    to provide written voting materials in an accessible  
                    format to voters with disabilities, as specified.


             c)   Election Administration Plan.  Requires the elections  
               official to develop a plan for the administration of  








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               elections (administration plan) pursuant to this bill.


               i)     Operational Details.  
               
                  (1)       Requires the elections official, when  
                    developing the administration plan, to consider the  
                    following:

                    (a)         The proximity of vote centers and drop-off  
                      locations to all of the following:

                       (i)            Public transportation;

                       (ii)           Communities with historically low  
                         VBM usage;



                       (iii)          Population centers;



                       (iv)           Language minority communities; and,



                       (v)            Voters with disabilities.



                    (b)         Access to accessible and free parking at  
                      vote centers and drop-off locations.

                    (c)         Distance and time a voter must travel by  
                      car or public transportation to a vote center and  
                      drop-off location.










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                    (d)         Need for alternate methods for voters with  
                      disabilities for whom VBM ballots are not accessible  
                      to cast a ballot.



                    (e)         Traffic patterns near vote centers and  
                      drop-off locations.



                    (f)         Need for mobile vote centers.


                  (2)       Requires the administration plan to include  
                    information on the following, to the extent available  
                    at the time of publication:

                    (a)         The numbers, locations, and operating  
                      hours of vote centers and drop-off locations to be  
                      established, and an indication of whether drop-off  
                      locations are inside or outside.

                    (b)         A map with the location of each vote  
                      center and drop-off location.



                    (c)         Security and contingency plans to be  
                      implemented by the county to do both of the  
                      following:



                       (i)            Prevent a disruption of the vote  
                         center process; and,

                       (ii)           Ensure that the election is properly  








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                         conducted if a disruption occurs.



                    (d)         The number of election board staff  
                      including bilingual board members and languages  
                      spoken.

                    (e)         The services provided for individuals with  
                      disabilities including, but not limited to, the type  
                      and number of accessible voting machines and  
                      reasonable modifications at each vote center.



                    (f)         The design, layout, and placement of  
                      equipment inside each vote center that protects each  
                      voter's right to cast a private and independent  
                      ballot.


               ii)    Voter Education and Outreach Plan.  Requires the  
                 administration plan to include a voter education and  
                 outreach plan (outreach plan) that is subject to all of  
                 the following requirements:


                  (1)       Requires the outreach plan to include  
                    descriptions of the following:

                    (a)         How the elections official will use the  
                      media, including social media, newspapers, radio,  
                      and television, that serve language minority  
                      communities for purposes of informing voters of the  
                      upcoming election and promoting the toll-free voter  
                      assistance hotline.

                    (b)         How the elections official will have a  
                      community presence to educate voters.








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                    (c)         The accessible information that will be  
                      publicly available on the elections official's  
                      website.



                    (d)         The method used by the elections official  
                      to identify language minority voters.



                    (e)         How the elections official will educate  
                      and communicate the provisions of this bill to the  
                      public, including but not limited to:



                       (i)            Communities for which the county is  
                         required to provide voting materials and  
                         assistance in a language other than English under  
                         state and federal law, including a plan for a  
                         bilingual voter education workshop for each such  
                         language; and,

                       (ii)           The disability community including  
                         organizations and individuals that advocate on  
                         behalf of, or provide services to, individuals  
                         with disabilities, including a plan for a voter  
                         education workshop to increase accessibility for  
                         participation of voters with disabilities.



                    (f)         How the county will spend the necessary  
                      resources on voter education and outreach to ensure  
                      that voters are fully informed about the election,  








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                      including information about how the education and  
                      outreach budget compares to recent similar  
                      elections.

                    (g)         A plan for at least one public service  
                      announcement in the media, including newspapers,  
                      radio, and television, that serve English-speaking  
                      citizens for purposes of informing voters of the  
                      upcoming election and promoting the toll-free voter  
                      assistance hotline.  Requires this outreach to  
                      include access for voters who are deaf, hard of  
                      hearing, blind, or visually impaired.



                    (h)         A plan for at least one public service  
                      announcement in the media, including newspapers,  
                      radio, and television, that serve  
                      non-English-speaking citizens for each language in  
                      which the county is required to provide voting  
                      materials and assistance, for purposes of informing  
                      voters of the upcoming election and promoting the  
                      toll-free voter assistance hotline.



                    (i)         At least two direct contacts with voters,  
                      in addition to the mailing of the VBM ballot and of  
                      the sample ballot, for the purposes of informing  
                      voters of the upcoming election, and promoting the  
                      toll-free voter assistance hotline.



                  (2)       Requires the county elections official, after  
                    the adoption of the final administration plan, to  
                    submit the outreach plan to the SOS for approval.

                  (3)       Requires the SOS to approve, approve with  








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                    modifications, or reject a voter education and  
                    outreach plan within 14 days after the plan is  
                    submitted by an elections official.



               iii)   Miscellaneous Elements of the Administration Plan.   
                 Requires the administration plan to include descriptions  
                 of all of the following:

                  (1)       How a voter with disabilities may request and  
                    receive a blank VBM ballot and, if a replacement  
                                              ballot is necessary, a blank replacement ballot that  
                    voters with disabilities can mark privately and  
                    independently.



                  (2)       How the elections official will address  
                    significant disparities in voter accessibility and  
                    participation identified in reports required by this  
                    bill.

                  (3)       The methods and standards that the county  
                    elections official will use to ensure the security of  
                    voting conducted at vote centers.



                  (4)       Estimated short- and long-term costs and  
                    savings from conducting elections pursuant to this  
                    bill as compared to recent similar elections.



               iv)    Process for Adoption of Administration Plan.  


                  (1)       Requires a draft plan for the administration  








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                    of vote centers to be developed in consultation with  
                    the public, which includes, but is not limited to,  
                    both of the following:  


                    (a)         One meeting, publicly noticed 10 days  
                      prior to the meeting, that includes representatives,  
                      advocates, and other stakeholders representing each  
                      community for which the county is required to  
                      provide voting materials and assistance in a  
                      language other than English under state and federal  
                      law; and,

                    (b)         One meeting, publicly noticed 10 days  
                      prior to the meeting, that includes representatives  
                      from the disability community and community  
                      organizations and individuals that advocate on  
                      behalf of, or provide services to, individuals with  
                      disabilities.



                  (2)       Requires the county elections official to  
                    provide public notice of the draft plan and to accept  
                    public comments on the draft plan for a period of 14  
                    days.  Requires the elections official, following the  
                    public comment period, to hold a public meeting,  
                    noticed 10 days in advance, as specified, to consider  
                    the draft plan and public comments.

                  (3)       Requires the elections official to consider  
                    any public comments and permits the official to amend  
                    the draft plan after the consideration of the public  
                    comments.  Requires the elections official to publicly  
                    notice the amended draft plan and accept public  
                    comments for a period of 14 days.  Permits the  
                    elections official to adopt a final plan following  
                    this 14 day public comment period.









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                  (4)       Requires auxiliary aids and services to be  
                    provided upon request at any public meeting held for  
                    the development of the administration plan in order to  
                    ensure effective communication with people with  
                    disabilities.


                   
                  (5)       Requires the draft plan, amended plan, and  
                    adopted plan to be posted on the county's website in  
                    each language in which the county is required to  
                    provide voting materials and assistance, and on the  
                    county's and the SOS's website in an accessible  
                    format, as specified.



               v)     Updates and Amendments to the Administration Plan.  
               
                  (1)       Requires the elections official to hold  
                    additional public meetings to consider revising the  
                    plan, subject to the requirements outlined above, not  
                    more than two years after the adoption of the first  
                    plan, and every four years thereafter. 

                  (2)       Permits an elections official to amend a plan  
                    for the administration of elections under this bill as  
                    follows:



                    (a)         In the last 120 days before an election  
                      held pursuant to this bill, the plan may be amended  
                      with reasonable public notification; and,

                    (b)         If it is more than 120 days before an  
                      election held pursuant to this bill, the plan may be  








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                      amended with reasonable public notification after a  
                      30 day period during which public comments are  
                      accepted on the amended plan.





             d)   Additional Requirements.
             
               i)     Requires a toll-free voter assistance hotline, which  
                 is accessible to voters who are deaf and hard of hearing,  
                 maintained by the county elections official that is  
                 operational no later than 29 days before the day of the  
                 election until 5 p.m. on the day after the election.  
                 Requires the hotline to provide assistance to voters in  
                 all languages in which the county is required to provide  
                 voting materials and assistance, as specified.

               ii)    Requires the county elections official to establish  
                 a Language Access Advisory Committee (LAAC), comprised of  
                 representatives of language minority communities, and a  
                 Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC), comprised  
                 of voters with disabilities.  Requires the LAAC and the  
                 VAAC to be established no later than October 1 of the  
                 year prior to the first election conducted pursuant to  
                 this bill, and requires the LAAC and the VAAC to hold  
                 their first meetings no later than April 1 of the year in  
                 which the first election is conducted pursuant to this  
                 bill. Permits a county with fewer than 50,000 registered  
                 voters to establish a joint advisory committee for  
                 language minority communities and voters with  
                 disabilities.



               iii)   Requires the elections official to solicit public  
                 input about which vote centers should be staffed by  
                 election board members who are fluent in a language in  








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                 addition to English.





               iv)    Requires the county elections official to provide  
                 notice in the sample ballot, in VBM materials, and on the  
                 elections official's Internet Web site of the specific  
                 language services available at each vote center.

               v)     Requires election day procedures to be conducted as  
                 provided in existing law, except where otherwise  
                 specified.



               vi)    Permits the county elections official to provide  
                 additional ballot drop-off locations and vote centers  
                 beyond the number required by this bill.



               vii)   Provides that the return of voted VBM ballots is  
                 subject to provisions of existing law that apply to VBM  
                 ballots.



               viii)  Requires election results from an election that is  
                 conducted pursuant to this bill to be reported by  
                 precinct.



               ix)    Requires an elections official who conducts an  
                 election in accordance with the provisions of this bill  
                 to maintain an electronic index of voters who have done  
                 any of the following at a vote center:








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                  (1)       Registered to vote or updated his or her voter  
                    registration;

                  (2)       Received and voted a provisional ballot or  
                    replacement ballot; or,



                  (3)       Voted a ballot using the equipment at a vote  
                    center.


               x)     Permits a county to conduct a special election as an  
                 all-mailed ballot election under this bill only if the  
                 county has done one of the following:

                  (1)       Previously conducted an election in accordance  
                    with the provisions of this bill; or,

                  (2)       Adopted a final election administration plan,  
                    as specified, and completed all activities provided  
                    for in the county's outreach plan prior to the special  
                    election.



               xi)    Requires a county elections official that conducts  
                 an election pursuant to this bill to make a reasonable  
                 effort to inform a voter whose VBM ballot is missing a  
                 signature of that fact, and to notify those voters on how  
                 to correct the missing signature.
          2)Los Angeles County Alternative.  Permits Los Angeles County,  
            beginning January 1, 2020, to conduct elections subject to the  
            same conditions that are generally applicable above, with the  
            following exceptions:









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             a)   The county is not required to mail a ballot to every  
               registered voter, but is required to mail ballots to all of  
               the following voters:

               i)     Permanent VBM voters;

               ii)    Precincts with fewer than 500 registered voters;



               iii)   Voters who reside in jurisdictions adjacent to  
                 counties that are conducting elections pursuant to this  
                 bill; and,



               iv)    Voters in precincts that are either more than a 30  
                 minute travel time from a vote center, or where the  
                 precinct's traditional polling place from the last  
                 statewide election is more than 15 miles from the nearest  
                 vote center. 



             b)   At a regularly scheduled election, the county  
               establishes vote centers in accordance with the following:

               i)     Beginning 10 days before the election and continuing  
                 daily through and including the fourth day before the  
                 election, requires vote centers to be open for at least  
                 eight hours per day, and requires at least one vote  
                 center for every 30,000 registered voters.  

               ii)    Beginning on the third day before the election and  
                 continuing daily through and including election day,  
                 requires at least one vote center for every 7,500  
                 registered voters.  Requires each vote center to be open  
                 for at least eight hours per day on the days prior to  
                 election day, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.   








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                 Requires at least 90 percent of the number of required  
                 vote centers to be open for all four days; provides that  
                 up to 10 percent of the locations need not be open for  
                 all four days as long as the total number of vote centers  
                 open on each day does not fall below the required number  
                 of locations.



             c)   For regularly scheduled elections, the county  
               establishes at least one drop-off location for every 15,000  
               permanent VBM voters, with no fewer than two drop-off  
               locations, as specified.

             d)   Requires vote centers to be located within a reasonable  
               travel time of registered voters.



             e)   Requires the county to conduct a service area analysis  
               of its vote center plans to identify service gaps, and  
               requires the county to report its findings.



             f)   Provides that the county may conduct elections under  
               this alternative for no more than four years, and allows  
               the county to conduct elections as otherwise provided in  
               this bill after that time.



          3)Reporting Requirements.  Establishes reporting requirements  
            for an election that is conducted pursuant to this bill.

             a)   Requires the SOS to submit a report to the Legislature,  
               and to post that report in an accessible format on the  
               SOS's website, within six months after the date of any  
               election conducted pursuant to this bill, that includes the  








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               following information by categories of race, ethnicity,  
               language preference, age, gender, disability, permanent VBM  
               status, historical polling place voters, political party  
               preference, and language minorities, as specified, to the  
               extent possible:



               i)     Voter turnout;

               ii)    Voter registration;



               iii)   Ballot rejection rates, and the reasons for ballot  
                 rejection;



               iv)    Provisional ballot use;



               v)     The number of votes cast at each vote center;



               vi)    The number of ballots returned at drop-off  
                 locations;



               vii)   The number of ballots returned by mail;



               viii)  The number of persons who registered to vote at a  
                 vote center;









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               ix)    Instances of voter fraud; and,



               x)     Any other problems that became known to counties or  
                 the SOS during the election or the canvass of the  
                 election.



             b)   Requires a county that conducts an election pursuant to  
               this bill to do both of the following:

               i)     To the extent possible, submit information to the  
                 SOS that the SOS needs to prepare the report detailed  
                 above.

               ii)    Post a report on its official website in an  
                 accessible format, as specified, that compares the costs  
                 of elections conducted pursuant to this bill to the costs  
                 of previous similar elections.



          4)Task Force.  Requires the SOS to establish a task force, in  
            existence until January 1, 2022, to review elections conducted  
            pursuant to this bill, and to provide comments and  
            recommendations to the Legislature no later than six months  
            after each election.  Requires the task force to include, but  
            not be limited to, the following:

             a)   County elections officials;

             b)   Individuals with demonstrated language accessibility  
               experience for languages covered under federal law; 










                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 25






             c)   Representatives from the disability community and  
               community organizations and individuals that advocate on  
               behalf of, or provide services to, individuals with  
               disabilities; and,



             d)   Other experts with demonstrated experience in the field  
               of elections.


          5)Requires the SOS to enforce the provisions of this bill, as  
            specified.

          6)Repeals limits on the individuals who a voter may designate to  
            return his or her VBM ballot, and instead permits a voter to  
            designate any person to return his or her VBM ballot.


          7)Allows a VBM ballot to be returned to any polling place within  
            the state, instead of being limited to polling places within  
            the jurisdiction of the elections official who issued the  
            ballot.


             a)   Permits a voted VBM ballot to be returned in person to  
               any member of a precinct board at any polling place or vote  
               center within the state, instead of being limited to  
               polling places within the jurisdiction of the elections  
               official who issued the ballot.

             b)   Provides that if a VBM ballot is returned to a precinct  
               board of a polling place, vote center, or ballot drop-off  
               location that is located in a county other than the county  
               from which the ballot was issued, the elections official  
               for the county in which the VBM ballot was returned shall  
               forward the ballot to the elections official who issued it  
               no later than eight days after receipt.








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 26






          8)Makes technical and corresponding changes.

          EXISTING LAW:   


          1)Allows any voter to receive a VBM ballot for an election.   
            Allows a voter who wishes to receive a VBM ballot for every  
            election in which that voter is eligible to vote to become a  
            permanent VBM voter.


          2)Permits, but does not require, elections officials to allow  
            voters to cast ballots prior to an election at their offices  
            or satellite locations on weekends or times beyond regular  
            office hours.


          3)Permits a voter who is otherwise qualified to register to vote  
            to complete a conditional voter registration, as defined, and  
            to cast a provisional ballot during the 14 days immediately  
            preceding an election or on election day at the office of the  
            elections official.  Permits the county elections official to  
            offer conditional voter registration at satellite offices of  
            the county elections official.  Provides that these provisions  
            do not become operative until January 1 of the year following  
            the year in which the SOS certifies that the state has a  
            statewide voter registration database that complies with the  
            requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA).



          4)Allows local elections held on no more than three different  
            dates in Monterey, Sacramento, San Mateo, and Yolo counties to  
            be conducted wholly by mail, as part of a pilot project  
            lasting through January 1, 2018, subject to certain  
            conditions.










                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 27





          5)Permits San Diego County, as part of a pilot program lasting  
            through January 1, 2021, to conduct a special election to fill  
            a vacancy in the Legislature or in Congress as an all-mailed  
            ballot election, subject to certain conditions and reporting  
            requirements.


          6)Requires precinct boundaries to be fixed in a manner so that  
            the number of voters in the precinct does not exceed 1,000 on  
            the 88th day prior to the day of election, except as  
            specified.  Requires an elections official, at least 29 days  
            prior to an election, to designate a polling place for each  
            precinct, except as specified.


          7)Requires a state or a political subdivision of a state to  
            provide voting materials in the language of a minority group  
            when that group within the jurisdiction has an illiteracy rate  
            that is higher than the national illiteracy rate, and the  
            number of United States citizens of voting age in that single  
            language group within the jurisdiction meets at least one of  
            the following tests:


             a)   Numbers more than 10,000; 


             b)   Makes up more than five percent of all voting age  
               citizens; or, 


             c)   On an Indian reservation, exceeds five percent of all  
               reservation residents.


          8)Requires the elections official to make reasonable efforts to  
            recruit elections officials who are fluent in a language if  
            three percent or more of the voting-age residents in the  
            precinct are fluent in that language and lack sufficient skill  








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 28





            in English to vote without assistance.


          9)Requires, in counties where the SOS has determined it is  
            appropriate, each precinct board to post at least one copy of  
            the ballot with ballot measures and ballot instructions  
            printed in Spanish. Provides that the ballot shall also be  
            posted in other languages if a significant and substantial  
            need is found by the SOS.


          10)Provides that in determining whether it is appropriate to  
            require a county to post a copy of the ballot at a precinct in  
            a language other than English, the SOS shall find a need to  
            post such translated copies of the ballot if the number of  
            residents of voting age in the precinct who are members of a  
            single language minority and who lack sufficient skills in  
            English to vote without assistance equals three percent or  
            more of the voting-age residents.


          11)Requires the elections official to undertake necessary  
            measures when locating polling places to ensure that polling  
            places meet the guidelines promulgated by the SOS for  
            accessibility by the physically handicapped.


          12)Requires, pursuant to HAVA, that voting systems used in an  
            election for federal office be accessible for individuals with  
            disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind  
            and visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same  
            opportunity for access and participation, including privacy  
            and independence, as for other voters.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 29







          1)Purpose of the Bill: According to the author:


               California saw historically low voter turnout in 2014.  
                Only 25 percent of all registered California voters  
               cast a ballot in the June primary and only 42 percent  
               participated in the November general election.  Los  
               Angeles County - the largest voting jurisdiction in  
               the country - had the lowest turnout among all of  
               California's 58 counties.  Fewer than 17 percent of  
               L.A. County voters cast a ballot in the June primary  
               and only 31 percent voted in November.  While voter  
               turnout was poor across the entire country in 2014,  
               California ranked an inexcusable 43rd in turnout among  
               the 50 states and District of Columbia.





               Since 1960 turnout of registered voters in California  
               off-year general elections has steadily decreased from  
               a high of 79 percent in 1966 to a previous low of 50.5  
               percent in 2002.  Turnout for off-year primary  
               elections since 1960 has also steadily decreased from  
               a high of almost 69 percent in 1978 - when Proposition  
               13 appeared on the ballot - to a previous low of 33  
               percent in 2010.





               SB 450 is modeled on the very successful way Colorado  
               conducts its elections wherein every voter  
               automatically receives a vote by mail ballot who may  
               then return that ballot by mail or in person at  








                                                                     SB 450
                                                                   

                                                                     Page 30





               numerous drop-off locations and innovative vote  
               centers.  In lieu of traditional neighborhood polling  
               places, these vote centers are placed in convenient  
               locations all over town and open several days prior to  
               each election.  Furthermore, voters can use any vote  
               center or drop-off location in their home county -  
               they are not limited to using the one closest to their  
               residence.





               At the vote centers, voters can register to vote, cast  
               a vote, or get a new ballot if they lost or damaged  
               their mail ballot.  They are also equipped with  
               accessible voting machines for disabled voters and  
               electronic poll books that interact with the official  
               voter database. 





               Fully implemented for the 2014 elections, this hybrid  
               system resulted in Colorado achieving one of the  
               highest voter turnouts in the nation.  SB 450 will  
               replicate this system in California on a county by  
               county, opt-in basis beginning in 2018.  





               The language of SB 450 was painstakingly developed  
               with the input of the Secretary of State, county  
               elections officials, and numerous advocates  
               representing all facets of California's very diverse  
               electorate.  This effort is evident in the  








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 31





               unprecedented lengths to which the bill goes toward  
               accommodating non-English proficient voters and voters  
               with accessibility needs as well as requiring  
               extensive community involvement and voter education.





               A majority of our voters are already casting ballots  
               by mail.  During the November, 2014 General Election  
               over 60 percent of all voters statewide used a vote by  
               mail ballot.  Use of mail ballots in local and special  
               elections is even higher.  Furthermore, a recent poll  
               conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California  
               found that 70 percent of California adults favor  
               sending every registered voter a vote by mail ballot.





               SB 450 offers the best opportunity to significantly  
               increase voter participation while also saving  
               participating counties money over the current system.


          2)Colorado Model of Elections: As noted in the author's  
            statement above, the provisions of this bill are modeled after  
            the way that Colorado conducts its elections.  The essence of  
            Colorado's elections system is that voters may choose to vote  
            at home using a ballot that is mailed to them, or may visit  
            any of the several vote centers within their home county on  
            election day, or on the days leading up to election day,  
            including weekends.  The key elements of Colorado's system are  
            as follows:

             a)   Every registered voter is mailed a ballot.









                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 32





             b)   Voters may mail the voted ballot back to elections  
               officials, or may return it in person to the elections  
               official's office, a vote center, or a designated drop-off  
               location.



             c)   Instead of traditional neighborhood polling places,  
               Colorado provides vote centers which are open 8 to 14 days  
               prior to election day, depending on the type of election.  
               Vote centers provide all of the following services:



               i)     Voter registration through election day;

               ii)    Voting;



               iii)   Provisional voting for anyone who lost their ballot,  
                 or who otherwise needs a replacement ballot; and,



               iv)    Accessible voting machines for disabled voters.



             d)   In counties with at least 10,000 voters, one vote center  
               is provided for every 30,000 voters during early voting,  
               with a minimum of one vote center, and one vote center is  
               provided for every 15,000 voters on election day, with a  
               minimum of three vote centers.  In counties with fewer than  
               10,000 voters, at least one vote center is provided during  
               early voting, and at least one vote center is provided on  
               election day.

             e)   In counties with at least 25,000 voters, at least one  








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 33





               stand-alone drop-off location is provided for every 30,000  
               voters. 



            Colorado's election system came about through a series of  
            changes over time.  Larimer County in Colorado piloted the  
            first use of vote centers in 2003, and in 2004, Colorado's SB  
            153 established the legal framework permitting the use of vote  
            centers for conducting an election.  By the 2006 statewide  
            election, 19 Colorado counties were using election day vote  
            centers.



            In 2002, Colorado adopted a no-excuse, permanent absentee  
            voting system under which any voter could sign-up to receive  
            an absentee ballot (referred to as VBM ballots in California)  
            at any election.  By 2008, 50 percent of Colorado voters were  
            signed-up as permanent absentee voters, and in 2009, the  
            Colorado Legislature passed a bill allowing counties to  
            conduct primary elections as all-mail ballot elections.  As a  
            result, in 2010, more than two-thirds of Colorado counties  
            conducted the statewide primary election as an all-mail ballot  
            election.

            In 2013, the Colorado Legislature adopted and the Governor  
            signed HB 1303, which established the framework under which  
            Colorado's elections are now conducted.  HB 1303, among other  
            provisions, authorized voter registration to continue through  
            election day, required that every registered voter be mailed a  
            ballot no later than 22 days before each election, and  
            required county clerks to establish vote centers, as outlined  
            above.  Although the changes made by HB 1303 were significant,  
            many Colorado counties and many Colorado voters already had  
            experienced elections conducted using vote centers, and had  
            experienced elections in which every voter was mailed a  
            ballot, as detailed above.









                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 34





            While the provisions of this bill are modeled after Colorado  
            law, California's unique challenges will necessitate policies  
            that differ from the Colorado model in some respects.  For  
            example, under the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA), certain  
            jurisdictions in Colorado are required to provide elections  
            materials and assistance in Spanish, but Colorado counties  
            generally are not required to provide assistance in other  
            languages.  By contrast, Los Angeles County is required to  
            provide language assistance in nine languages other than  
            English.  (Los Angeles also offers bilingual poll worker  
            assistance in another seven languages.)  Many other California  
            counties also are required to provide assistance in languages  
            other than English and Spanish.  When elections are conducted  
            using polling places, bilingual poll workers can be directed  
            to those areas that have higher residential concentrations of  
            voters who require assistance in a particular language.  But  
            in an election system where voters have the option of voting  
            at any vote center countywide, and aren't tied to a specific  
            voting location, it can be more challenging to determine where  
            best to place bilingual election workers.

            Other challenges that California likely will face in moving to  
            an election system similar to Colorado's include the state's  
            size (both in terms of population and geography), and the fact  
            that fewer voters and elections officials have familiarity  
            with vote centers and elections in which all voters are mailed  
            a ballot.  Overcoming these challenges may require more robust  
            voter education and outreach, and may require other  
            adjustments to the Colorado model.  This bill contains many  
            adjustments to the Colorado model in an attempt to address  
            this state's unique challenges.

          3)Vote Centers vs. Polling Places: Vote centers are polling  
            locations at which any registered voter in a county can cast a  
            regular (i.e., non-provisional) ballot, regardless of the  
            voter's precinct.  Voters do not need to vote at polling  
            places near their homes, but can vote at any of the vote  
            centers throughout the county.  









                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 35





          Vote centers provide greater flexibility to voters in deciding  
            where and when to cast their ballots.  The trade-off is that  
            there are considerably fewer physical voting locations in  
            elections using vote centers than in elections using  
            neighborhood polling places.  For example, Orange County had  
            1,135 polling places for the November 2014 general election.   
            By contrast, if Orange County chose to conduct a statewide  
            election pursuant to SB 450, it would be required to have 140  
            vote centers open on election day and each of the three days  
            prior to the election (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday), and 28  
            vote centers open each day between the 10th day (Saturday) and  
            the 4th day (the following Friday) before the election. (The  
            county would also be required to have 94 ballot drop-off  
            locations for the 28 days before the election.)  This  
            reduction in the number of physical voting locations could  
            increase the distance that some voters have to travel in order  
            to cast a ballot in person. 

          On the other hand, because vote centers would be open for the 10  
            days prior to election day (including two full weekends), the  
            number of days and hours during which in-person voting is  
            available would increase significantly.  Additionally, with  
            vote centers, a voter could have the flexibility to vote near  
            his or her work, or near his or her child's school, if that  
            was a more convenient option.  Because of the reduced number  
            of physical voting locations, elections officials would also  
            have greater flexibility to locate vote centers near  
            established public transportation routes and in areas with  
            sufficient parking. (In fact, this bill would require  
            elections officials to take those factors into consideration  
            when deciding where to locate vote centers.)

          4)Technical Requirements for Vote Centers:  Because voters have  
            the option of casting a ballot at any vote center in the  
            county, vote centers need to have a system that can provide  
            any eligible voter in the county with the appropriate ballot.   
            While smaller counties that have fewer ballot styles may be  
            able to accommodate that need using pre-printed paper ballots,  
            vote centers in larger jurisdictions likely will feature  








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 36





            electronic voting systems that are pre-loaded with all the  
            ballot types in the county, or ballot-on-demand printers that  
            can produce the appropriate paper ballots as needed.



          Additionally, in order to verify the registration of voters,  
            determine the correct ballot type for each voter, and ensure  
            that a voter has not already cast a ballot, vote centers must  
            have a mechanism to verify voter registration information.  In  
            most jurisdictions, this requirement is likely to be met  
            through the use of electronic poll books that can communicate  
            with the voter registration database in real-time.  

          5)VoteCal:  On October 29, 2002, President George W. Bush signed  
            HAVA. Enacted partially in response to the 2000 Presidential  
            election, HAVA was designed to improve the administration of  
            federal elections.  Among other provisions, HAVA requires  
            every state to implement a single, uniform, official,  
            centralized, interactive computerized statewide voter  
            registration list defined, maintained, and administered at the  
            state level. This statewide voter registration list will serve  
            as the official list of eligible voters for any federal  
            election held within the state. 



          At the time HAVA was approved, California was already using a  
            statewide voter registration system, known as Calvoter, which  
            achieved some of the goals of the voter registration list  
            required by HAVA.  However, Calvoter did not satisfy many of  
            the requirements in that law, including requirements that the  
            database be fully interactive and have the capability of  
            storing a complete voter registration history for every voter.  
            Discussions between the United States Department of Justice  
            and the SOS led to the adoption of a memorandum of agreement  
            (MOA) between the two parties. In that MOA, the SOS committed  
            to further upgrades to the Calvoter system to achieve  
            short-term interim compliance with the requirements of HAVA,  








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 37





            and to complete development and implementation of a  
            longer-term solution for replacing the Calvoter system with a  
            new permanent statewide voter registration system. That new  
            permanent system is commonly known as VoteCal.

          After a number of delays, the VoteCal system has been developed  
            and rolled out to all 58 counties.  Although every California  
            county now has access to the VoteCal system, it will not  
            become the official system of record for voter registration  
            information in California until the system is certified by the  
            SOS.  That certification is expected to happen later this  
            summer. 
          6)Conditional Voter Registration (a.k.a. "Election Day"  
            Registration): AB 1436 (Feuer), Chapter 497, Statutes of 2012,  
            permits "conditional voter registration," under which a person  
            is allowed to register to vote and vote at the office of the  
            county elections official at any time, including on election  
            day, if certain requirements are met. AB 1436 does not,  
            however, require conditional voter registration to be  
            available at polling places. Conditional voter registration  
            will go into effect on January 1 of the year following the  
            date that the SOS certifies the operation of VoteCal.  Under  
            conditional voter registration, voters will cast provisional  
            ballots which will be counted only if the elections official  
            is able to determine the person's eligibility to vote, as  
            specified. 



          One of the conditions of this bill would require that  
            conditional voter registration be available at every vote  
            center.  Because counties would not be allowed to operate vote  
            centers pursuant to this bill until 2018, and because VoteCal  
            is scheduled to be fully implemented this summer, the state  
            law providing for conditional voter registration is expected  
            to be in effect before any elections are conducted under the  
            provisions of this bill. 

          7)San Mateo Pilot Project:  As noted above, existing law allows  








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 38





            four counties to conduct certain local elections as mailed  
            ballot elections, subject to certain conditions, as part of a  
            pilot project lasting through January 1, 2018.  San Mateo  
            County conducted its first election under that pilot project  
            last November, and submitted its required report on that  
            election to the Legislature last month.  



          While the pilot project in which San Mateo is participating is  
            described as an all-mailed ballot pilot project, the actual  
            election that was conducted in San Mateo last November shares  
            some similarities with the manner in which elections would be  
            conducted under this bill.  While all registered voters were  
            mailed a ballot, the county also opened 32 "universal polling  
            places," which functioned similar to vote centers, on election  
            day, and had two vote centers and 20 ballot drop-off locations  
            available for 28 days prior to the election.  (By contrast,  
            had the election been a regularly scheduled election conducted  
            pursuant to the terms of this bill, San Mateo County would  
            have been required to have 36 vote centers open on election  
            day and for the three days prior to election day, eight vote  
            centers open from the 10th day before the election through the  
            fourth day before the election, and 24 ballot drop-off  
            locations available for 28 days prior to the election.)  San  
            Mateo County also conducted an extensive voter education and  
            outreach campaign, similar to that which would be required by  
            this bill, and sent between three and six pieces of mail to  
            every registered voter to educate voters about the election,  
            similar to this bill's requirement that elections officials  
            make at least two direct contacts with voters, in addition to  
            the mailing of the VBM ballot and of the sample ballot, for  
            the purposes of informing voters of the election.  On the  
            other hand, San Mateo County also prepaid the return postage  
            on VBM ballots-something that is not required by this bill.

          The report to the Legislature regarding San Mateo County's  
            election found that turnout in the pilot election was slightly  
            higher than in the two most recent similar elections in the  








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 39





            county (elections held in November 2011 and November 2013).   
            In addition, turnout was higher than in the two most recent  
            similar elections among all age groups and political party  
            preferences, for both men and women, for voters who were not  
            signed up as permanent VBM voters, and among whites, Asian  
            Americans, and Latinos.  Among African American voters and  
            permanent VBM voters, turnout was higher than in the 2013  
            election, but lower than the 2011 election.  While the report  
            noted that previous research suggested that increased  
            convenience and mobilization by the office of the elections  
            official could have contributed to the observed changes in  
            turnout, it also cautioned that "the degree to which these  
            increases in turnout can be attributed to each of these  
            factors is uncertain, however, as the pilot did not include an  
            experimental component."

          8)Early Adopters: Of the 14 counties that would have the option  
            of adopting the provisions of this bill beginning in 2018,  
            three of the counties have more than 500,000 registered voters  
            based on the SOS's most recent report of registration (Orange,  
            Santa Clara, and Sacramento); two of the counties have more  
            than 100,000, but fewer than 500,000 registered voters (San  
            Mateo and San Luis Obispo); four of the counties have more  
            than 50,000, but fewer than 100,000 registered voters (Shasta,  
            Napa, Nevada, and Madera); and five of the counties have fewer  
            than 50,000 registered voters (Sutter, Tuolumne, Calaveras,  
            Inyo, and Sierra).



          The following table details the 14 counties that would have the  
            option of adopting the provisions of this bill beginning in  
            2018, and the number of vote centers and drop-off locations  
            that each county would be required to operate, based on  
            current registration figures.

             ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
            |County    |Registered| Polling  |   Vote   |   Vote   | Drop-off |
            |          |  Voters* |Places at | Centers, | Centers, |Locations |








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 40





            |          |          | 11/2014  | E-10 to  |   E-3    |          |
            |          |          |Election**|   E-4    | through  |          |
            |          |          |          |          | Election |          |
            |          |          |          |          |   Day    |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Orange    |1,395,380 |   1135   |    28    |   140    |    94    |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Santa     | 788,063  |   697    |    16    |    79    |    53    |
            |Clara     |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Sacramento| 715,975  |   528    |    15    |    72    |    48    |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |San Mateo | 367,155  |   211    |    8     |    37    |    25    |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |San Luis  | 155,801  |   145    |    4     |    16    |    11    |
            |Obispo    |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Shasta    |  96,310  |    79    |    2     |    10    |    7     |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Napa      |  72,461  |    13    |    2     |    8     |    5     |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Nevada    |  66,149  |    39    |    2     |    7     |    5     |








                                                                     SB 450
                                                                               

                                                                     Page 41





            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Madera    |  54,017  |    39    |    2     |    6     |    4     |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Sutter    |  42,351  |    22    |    2     |    5     |    3     |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Tuolumne  |  29,472  |    27    |    2     |    3     |    2     |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Calaveras |  27,532  |    15    |    2     |    3     |    2     |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Inyo      |  9,697   |    5     |    2     |    2     |    2     |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |Sierra    |  2,217   |   0***   |    2     |    2     |2         |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
             ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
            *As of 5/23/2016, per Secretary of State's Report of  
            Registration.



            **According to information provided by the counties to the  
            United States Election Assistance Commission as part of the  
            2014 Election Administration and Voting Survey.

            ***Due to the fact that none of Sierra County's precincts have  
            more than 250 registered voters, all of its precincts were  
            designated as mailed-ballot precincts for the November 2014  








                                                                     SB 450


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            election.  As a result, it did not have polling places for  
            that election.

          9)Los Angeles Option:  This bill includes an option for  
            conducting elections that is only available to Los Angeles  
            County.  While that option is similar to the election model  
            offered to other counties under the bill, the "Los Angeles  
            option" generally requires a larger number of vote centers  
            than are otherwise required, but does not require the county  
            to mail a ballot to every registered voter.  This option is  
            designed, in part, in recognition of the fact that voters in  
            Los Angeles County use VBM ballots at much lower rates than in  
            other counties in the state.  Furthermore, the county's large  
            population would create significant logistical challenges if  
            the county were required to begin mailing VBM ballots to  
            millions of additional registered voters in a short period of  
            time.  This bill, however, would require Los Angeles County to  
            transition to the election model that is applicable to all  
            other counties after four years of conducting elections under  
            the "Los Angeles option."

          The following table details the number of vote centers and  
            drop-off locations that Los Angeles County would be required  
            to operate under each of these two systems, based on current  
            registration numbers.

             ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
            |Voting    |Registered| Polling  |   Vote   |   Vote   | Drop-off |
            |Model     |  Voters* |Places at | Centers, | Centers, |Locations |
            |          |          | 11/2014  | E-10 to  |   E-3    |          |
            |          |          |Election**|   E-4    | through  |          |
            |          |          |          |          | Election |          |
            |          |          |          |          |   Day    |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |"Los      |4,909,904 |  2,849   |   164    |   655    |  102***  |
            |Angeles   |          |          |          |          |          |
            |Option"   |          |          |          |          |          |








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                                                                     Page 43





            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |----------+----------+----------+----------+----------+----------|
            |General   |4,909,904 |  2,849   |    99    |   491    |   328    |
            |SB 450    |          |          |          |          |          |
            |Option    |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
            |          |          |          |          |          |          |
             ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
            *As of 5/23/2016, per Secretary of State's Report of  
            Registration.



            **According to information provided by Los Angeles County to  
            the United States Election Assistance Commission as part of  
            the 2014 Election Administration and Voting Survey.

            ***Based on 1,525,569 permanent VBM voters as of 5/1/2016,  
            according to information from the website of the Los Angeles  
            County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. 

          10)Arguments in Support: The sponsor of this bill, Secretary of  
            State Alex Padilla, writes in support:

               California's current election system feeds the lack of  
               confidence that keeps many eligible voters away from  
               our democracy. In a September 2015 Public Policy  
               Institute of California survey the #3 reason  
               registered voters cited for not voting was a lack of  
               confidence in elections. The top reason unregistered  
               voters do not register and vote was lack of confidence  
               in elections and politics.



               SB 450 would allow counties to adopt tested and proven  
               policies that increase voter participation.  








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                                                                     Page 44





               Specifically, the bill would, beginning January 1,  
               2018, allow specified counties to send every  
               registered voter a ballot 28 days before Election Day,  
               provide in-person early voting 10 days before Election  
               Day, widely deploy Same Day Voter Registration and  
               establish vote centers across the county which can be  
               used by every voter.

               The State of Colorado adopted these policies statewide  
               in 2014 and California's San Mateo County piloted  
               these policies for their 2015 local elections. Both  
               Colorado and San Mateo saw an increase in voter  
               participation and a reduction in the use of  
               provisional ballots. In 2014, Colorado had the 3rd  
               highest turnout in the nation; while California was  
               43rd. San Mateo had the highest turnout, among all  
               demographics in 20 years.

               The Colorado and San Mateo experiences demonstrate  
               research conducted by the California Institute of  
               Technology, New York University and the Brennan Center  
               for Justice on the effects these policies have on  
               turnout and voter experience. California Institute of  
               Technology and New York University concluded that  
               widely available Same Day Voter Registration would  
               increase turnout in California by an average of 4.8%  
               with bigger gains among young people, Latinos and new  
               citizens. The Brennan Center found that early voting  
               can result in shorter lines on Election Day, improved  
               poll worker performance, early correction of  
               registration or voting errors, and increased voter  
               satisfaction.

            Also in support of this bill, Consumer Watchdog writes:













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                                                                     Page 45





               SB 450 would enact several key reforms that have  
               proven to increase participation, improve election  
               administration, and save money. 



               The bill would allow California counties, beginning in  
               2018, to begin conducting elections in a new way.  A  
               similar system used in Colorado has already proven to  
               increase turnout while reducing administrative costs.  
               It would reduce barriers for voters, including: 

               Extended period to vote: Every registered voter will  
               receive a ballot a month before Election Day and can  
               start voting a month before. Voters may mail their  
               ballot back, drop it at a voter drop-box or at any  
               vote center in their county; 



               Weekend voting: Every voter can vote inperson at least  
               10 days before Election Day, which includes 2  
               weekends; 

               More convenient voting locations: Voters can use any  
               vote center in their county to cast a ballot. Many of  
               these vote centers will be in more convenient  
               locations, for example near a voter's workplace or  
               school; 

               Greater language access: Every vote center will  
               provide translated materials and assistance in the  
               languages protected by the federal Voting Rights Act; 

               Greater disabled access: Every vote center will have  
               accessible voting machines to assist voters with  
               physical impairments to vote on their own, and any  
               voter can request  an accessible ballot, including  
               ballots necessary for the visually impaired; 








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                                                                     Page 46






               Same Day Voter Registration: Every vote  center will  
               have to provide sameday  voter registration which  
               allows citizens to register to vote or update their  
               registration information until the close of  the polls  
               on Election Day; 

               Direct public  participation: The  public will have an  
               unprecedented voice in how elections are  run,  
               including formal consultation on the location and   
               number of  vote centers and ballot drop boxes.

          11)Concerns Raised:  While not taking an official position on  
            the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union of California,  
            Advancement Project, Asian Americans Advancing Justice -  
            California, California Calls, California Foundation for  
            Independent Living Centers, California Voter Foundation,  
            Disability Rights California, and PICO California sent a joint  
            letter of concerns.  The letter suggests the following  
            amendments to address the concerns those organizations have  
            identified:

               Participating counties must provide return envelopes  
               with prepaid postage.


               


               When approving vote-by-mail pilot programs that  
               authorize a county to mail all voters ballots in lieu  
               of providing accessible neighborhood polling sites,  
               the Legislature has consistently recognized that  
               all-mail ballot programs must be conditioned on the  
               provision of prepaid postage on ballot return  
               envelopes?











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                                                                     Page 47





               The Legislature has acknowledged that lack of postage  
               can be a barrier to participation for low income  
               persons, the elderly, and people with disabilities.  
               The San Mateo County vote-by-mail pilot, tested for  
               the first time in November 2015, confirmed the  
               importance of prepaid postage to ensuring voter  
               participation?. Expansion of the S.B. 450 vote-by-mail  
               model to other counties should occur in 2022, not in  
               2020?


               


               [B]efore opening up to the entire state, the S.B. 450  
               vote-by-mail model should be implemented and tested  
               for a presidential primary and election by the limited  
               number of counties initially authorized to  
               participate. This will give the initial counties the  
               opportunity to develop and test best practices, will  
               give the S.B. 450 task force the opportunity to  
               meaningfully evaluate and compare the impact of both  
               the vote-by-mail model and the Los Angeles County vote  
               center model in a presidential election year, and will  
               afford the Legislature the time needed to enact any  
               legislative changes necessary to ensure the best model  
               and practices are in place to serve California voters'  
               and election officials' beyond 2020.

               In the absence of ballots mailed to all voters, the  
               proposed Los Angeles County vote center model should  
               provide 1) one vote center for every 5,000 voters from  
               E-3 to Election Day, and 2) a lower threshold for when  
               a ballot must be mailed to a voter who does not have  
               ready access to a vote center.


               









                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 48






               1) In the absence of mailed ballots, Los Angeles  
               County must provide more vote centers than the 1 per  
               7,500 vote center ratio that S.B. 450 currently  
               proposes?.
               


               Los Angeles County has pointed to Travis County as a  
               jurisdiction for comparison since vote centers are  
               used in a manner similar to what Los Angeles County  
               proposes. However, while Travis County does not mail  
               all voters a ballot, it provides far more vote centers  
               per person than what S.B. 450 proposes for Los Angeles  
               County. For example, in 2012, Travis County had 207  
               vote centers for 635,300 registered voters, a ratio of  
               one vote center per 3,069 registered voters. Two years  
               later, in 2014, Travis County had 186 vote centers for  
               652,463 registered voters, a ratio of one vote center  
               per 3,585 registered voters. Thus, under the most  
               recent version of S.B. 450, Los Angeles County would  
               have one vote center for more than twice as many  
               voters, presenting challenges both in terms of the  
               distance and means of getting to a vote center and in  
               terms of predicting the sheer volume of voters and  
               wait times to be managed at vote centers when voters  
               have not been mailed a ballot to offset in-person  
               turnout?.



               2) Ballots should be mailed to all voters who are more  
               than 10 minutes from a vote center, as determined by  
               travel time from their home to a vote center via  
               public transportation, and to any voter who lives more  
               than five miles from a vote center.
               










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                                                                     Page 49





          12)Arguments in Opposition:  In opposition to this bill, the  
            Election Integrity Project writes:



               By allowing "convenience" and indiscriminant use of  
               the vote by mail ballot, California law already  
               significantly increases the threat to election  
               integrity by opening the door to many forms of ballot  
               harvesting. Currently, roughly 50% of California  
               voters either choose to or have been forced into  
               voting with a mail ballot. However, the other half of  
               Californians are exercising their right of choice to  
               vote in person, and do so wisely because of the  
               increased risk to the integrity of a vote by mail  
               ballot, regardless of how it is submitted. SB 450  
               would remove all choice from the citizens of  
               California without their consent by allowing the  
               county bureaucracy to choose an all-mail ballot format  
               for elections. Citizens should not be subjected to  
               such a choice without their consent.



          13)Related Legislation: AB 1921 (Gonzalez), which is pending on  
            the Senate Floor, permits a VBM voter to who is unable to  
            return his or her ballot to designate any person to return the  
            ballot, as specified.  AB 1921 was approved by this committee  
            on a 5-2 vote, and was approved by the Assembly on a 46-29  
            vote.

          14)Previous Legislation: SB 439 (Allen), Chapter 734, Statutes  
            of 2015, allows elections officials to offer conditional voter  
            registration at satellite offices on days other than election  
            day, and requires the SOS to adopt and publish standards for  
            electronic poll books and ballot on demand printers, as  
            specified.










                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 50






          AB 3024 (Wolk) of 2006, would have authorized Solano County to  
            conduct a pilot project whereby the county elections official  
            would establish vote centers in lieu of polling places in each  
            precinct.  AB 3024 was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.  In  
            his veto message, the Governor stated that "[w]hile the vote  
            center system may offer some advantages over the current  
            precinct-based voting system, the proposed pilot project would  
            reduce the number of voting locations by 80 percent, and  
            thereby significantly increase the distance that voters would  
            have to travel in order to vote.  This burden would fall  
            disproportionately on those who are less mobile, frequently  
            the poor, disabled, and elderly."


































                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 51





          
          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Secretary of State Alex Padilla (sponsor)


          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,  
          AFL-CIO (prior version)


          California Association of Clerks and Election Officials 


          California Association of Nonprofits (prior version)


          California Common Cause 


          California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (if  
          amended) (prior version)


          California League of Conservation Voters


          California Nurses Association (prior version)


          California State Association of Counties (prior version)


          California Transit Association (prior version)








                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 52







          CALPIRG


          City Clerks Association of California (prior version)


          Consumer Watchdog 


          Courage Campaign (prior version)


          Equality California (prior version)


          League of California Cities (in concept) (prior version)


          Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors


          NARAL Pro-Choice California (prior version)


          San Mateo County Board of Supervisors (prior version)


          Sierra Club California


          Urban Counties of California




          Opposition









                                                                     SB 450


                                                                     Page 53






          Election Integrity Project


          One Individual (prior version)




          Analysis Prepared by:Ethan Jones / E. & R. / (916)  
          319-2094