BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                        SB 450|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                              |
          |(916) 651-1520    Fax: (916)      |                              |
          |327-4478                          |                              |

                                UNFINISHED BUSINESS 

          Bill No:  SB 450
          Author:   Allen (D) and Hertzberg (D), et al.
          Amended:  8/18/16  
          Vote:     21 


           SENATE ELECTIONS & C.A. COMMITTEE:  4-1, 8/25/16 (Pursuant to  
            Senate Rule 29.10)
           AYES:  Allen, Hancock, Hertzberg, Liu
           NOES:  Anderson

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  47-31, 8/23/16 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT:   Elections:  vote by mail voting and mail ballot  

          SOURCE:    Secretary of State Alex Padilla
          DIGEST:   This bill permits counties 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.  

          Assembly Amendments (1) delete the prior version of this bill  
          and instead permit 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; and (2) permit 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  


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          are available prior to and on election day, in lieu of operating  
          polling places for the election, subject to certain conditions. 


          Existing law:

          1)Allows any voter to receive a vote by mail (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)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  

          3)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  

          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 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 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  


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               of polling places, on election day, and for the 10 days  
               prior to election day.  Requires, for regularly scheduled  
               elections, one vote center for every 50,000 registered  
               voters from the 10th day to the 4th day prior to the  
               election, and one vote center for every 10,000 registered  
               voters from the 3rd day prior to the election through  
               election day, with no fewer than two vote centers.   
               Requires, for special elections, one vote center for every  
               60,000 registered voters from the 10th day to the day prior  
               to the election, and one vote center for every 30,000  
               registered voters on election day, as specified.  Specifies  
               minimum hours of operation at vote centers.  Requires that  
               a voter be able to return a VBM ballot, register to vote,  
               and vote at any vote center in the voter's county of  
               residence.  Requires vote centers to be accessible to  
               voters with disabilities, and requires language assistance  
               to be provided at vote centers consistent with current  
               state and federal law.

             b)   VBM Ballots and Return.  Requires all registered voters  
               to be mailed ballots and requires ballot drop-off  
               locations, consisting of a secure, accessible, locked  
               ballot box, to be available from the 28th day before the  
               election through election day, as specified.  Requires a  
               ballot drop-off location for every 15,000 registered  

             c)   Election Administration.  Requires county elections  
               officials to develop a plan for conducting elections, and  
               specifies the elements of the plan, including voter  
               education and outreach, and the public process for  
               developing the plan.  Requires the Secretary of State (SOS)  
               to review and approve the voter education and outreach  
               portions of the plan.

             d)   Requires a toll-free voter assistance hotline,  
               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  


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               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.

             e)   Requires the county elections official to establish a  
               Language Access Advisory Committee and a Voting  
               Accessibility Advisory Committee, as specified. 

             f)   Permits a county to conduct a special election as an  
               all-mailed ballot election under this bill, as specified.

          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:

             a)   The county is not required to mail a ballot to every  
               registered voter, but is required to mail ballots to  
               permanent VBM voters, voters in precincts with fewer than  
               500 registered voters, voters in jurisdictions that are  
               shared with counties that are conducting elections pursuant  
               to this bill, and voters in precincts that are either more  
               than a 30-minute travel time from a vote center, or where  
               the precinct's polling place from the last statewide  
               election is more than 15 miles from the nearest vote  

             b)   Requires, for regularly scheduled elections, one vote  
               center for every 30,000 registered voters from the 10th day  
               to the 4th day prior to the election, and one vote center  
               for every 7,500 registered voters from the 3rd day prior to  
               the election through election day.  Additionally requires a  
               vote center to be located in every city within the county  
               that has at least 1,000 registered voters.  Requires at  


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               least one drop-off location for every 15,000 permanent VBM  
               voters, with no fewer than two drop-off locations, as  

             c)   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)Requires the SOS to report specified information to the  
            Legislature within six months of any election conducted  
            pursuant to this bill and establish a task force to review  
            these elections and to provide recommendations to the  

          4)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  

          5)Contains double-jointing language to avoid chaptering problems  
            with AB 1921 (Gonzalez).


          Colorado Model of Elections.  As noted in the author's statement  
          below, 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.  

          Technical Requirements for Vote Centers.  Because voters have  


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          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 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.  

          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  
          Los Angeles 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  


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          conducts its elections wherein every voter automatically  
          receives a VBM ballot who may then return that ballot by  
          mail or in person at 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  

          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 SOS, county elections officials, and numerous  
          advocates representing all facets of California's very  
          diverse electorate.  This effort is evident in the  
          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 VBM 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 VBM ballot.

          SB 450 offers the best opportunity to significantly  
          increase voter participation while also saving  


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          participating counties money over the current system.

          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes

          According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee: 

          1)The SOS will incur ongoing General Fund costs of about  
            $280,000 for three positions to review and approve county  
            voter education and outreach plans, provide technical support  
            for election equipment at vote centers, which will be  
            connected to the statewide voter registration database  
            (VoteCal), conduct demographic analysis of election data, and  
            staff the SOS task force.

          2)Initial costs to participating counties will likely be  
            significant, but in many cases will result in long-term cost  
            savings. Since the bill is permissible, any county costs will  
            not be state reimbursable.

          SUPPORT:   (Verified8/25/16)

           Secretary of State Alex Padilla (source)
           American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,  
           California Association of Clerks and Election Officials
           California Association of Nonprofits
           California Common Cause
           California Foundation for Independent Living Centers 
          California League of Conservation Voters 
           California Nurses Association
           California Public Interest Research Group 
           California State Association of Counties
           California Transit Association
           City Clerks Association of California


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                                                                    Page  9

           Consumer Watchdog
           Courage Campaign
           Equality California
          League of Women Voters of California 
           Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
           NARAL Pro-Choice California
           Next Gen Climate Action
          Rural County Representatives of California 
           San Fernando Valley Young Democrats
           San Mateo County Board of Supervisors
           Service Employees International Union
           Sierra Club California 
           Urban Counties of California 

          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/25/16)

           Department of Finance
           Election Integrity Project
           Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  47-31, 8/23/16
           AYES: Alejo, Arambula, Atkins, Bloom, Bonilla, Bonta, Brown,  
            Burke, Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper,  
            Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gomez,  
            Gonzalez, Gordon, Hadley, Roger Hernández, Holden, Irwin,  
            Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Low, McCarty, Medina, Mullin, Nazarian,  
            O'Donnell, Quirk, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Santiago, Mark  
            Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Weber, Williams, Wood, Rendon
           NOES: Achadjian, Travis Allen, Baker, Bigelow, Brough, Chang,  
            Chávez, Dababneh, Dahle, Beth Gaines, Gallagher, Cristina  
            Garcia, Gatto, Grove, Harper, Jones, Kim, Lackey, Linder,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, Melendez, Obernolte, Olsen,  
            Patterson, Salas, Steinorth, Wagner, Waldron, Wilk
           NO VOTE RECORDED: Gray, Lopez

          Prepared by:Darren Chesin / E. & C.A. / (916) 651-4106
          8/25/16 17:30:41


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