Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2013-14 Calif. Election Bills to Watch

With spring well underway, the California Legislature is also in full swing, with policy committees now hearing newly introduced bills for the 2013-2014 session. Many bills have been introduced that, if enacted, could significantly impact California voting and elections. 

Below is a rundown of those that have come to our attention, organized by the following topics:  Voting Technology; Voter Registration; Disclosure; Vote by Mail; Disaster Preparedness; Youth Voting; Initiative Process; and Civic Education. Please note that many of these bills are in the process of being amended and the descriptions provided are subject to change. 

Today the Assembly Elections Committee will take up several of these bills at their 1:30 p.m. hearing at the State Capitol, Room 444. The full hearing agenda is available online, along with links where the public can listen to or watch the hearing online. The Assembly committee has additional hearings scheduled on April 23 and May 7; the Senate Elections Committee meets on April 30.

More information about the bills, including texts, co-authors, committee staff analyses, amendments and when and whether they get scheduled for hearing, is from the official California legislative information site, now featuring a new, HTML-friendly display format that makes legislation much easier to read online.

Voting Technology
  • SB 360/Alex Padilla (D) - allows a county to develop or contract for voting system before it has received federal qualification.
  • AB 19/Phil Ting (D) - directs the Secretary of State to implement a pilot program for online voting.
  • AB 813/Melissa Melendez (R) - requires election results to be published online in a format that can be downloaded.
  • AB 829/Paul Fong (D) - requires election management systems software to be escrowed in a manner similar to existing voting system software escrow requirements.
Voter Registration
  • SB 361/Padilla - requires the Secretary of State to provide voters with statewide access to online lookup tools that help voters locate their polling places and verify registration, vote by mail ballot and provisional ballot status, and also allows the Secretary of State to enter into data sharing agreements with other states to maintain accurate registration data.
  • SB 44/Leland Yee (D) - requires state web sites to link to the Secretary of State's online voter registration site.
  • AB 1122/Mark Levine (D) - requires the Secretary of State and Department of Motor Vehicles to fully comply with the National Voter Registration Act (also known as "Motor-Voter").
  • AB 843/Dan Logue (R) - requires proof of residency requirements for a conditional registration application to be deemed effective.
  • SB 111/Jim Beall (D) - allows a signature stamp to be used by certain voters to register to vote online.
  • SB 756/Cathleen Galgiani (D) - allows Election Day registration to begin in 2014 instead of waiting until VoteCal, the state's new online voter registration system, is deployed.
  • AB 1170/Tim Donnelly (R) - changes current law to require rather than permit counties to remove inactive voters from registration roles.
  • AB 938 and AB 149/Shirley Weber (D) - these bills address voting rights for those convicted of felonies.
  • SB 27/Lou Correa (D) - enhances disclosure of proposition campaign donors.
  • SB 3/Yee - makes numerous changes to state disclosure rules and, among other provisions, directs Secretary of State to work toward a state and local unified campaign finance disclosure system.
  • AB 400/Fong - requires initiative, referendum and recall petitions to name top donors to the committee paying to circulate petitions.
  • AB 800/Richard Gordon (D) - strengthens FPPC's pre-election auditing and enforcement authority (bill responds to $11 million anonymous donation in Nov. 2012 initiative campaigns).
  • SB 52/Mark Leno (D) - proposes extensive revisions to the Political Reform Act in order to implement the new "California Disclose Act".
Vote by Mail
  • SB 29/Lou Correa (D) - allows ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within three days of the election to be counted.
  • AB 1135/Kevin Mullin (D) - lets county registrars use other registration documents in addition to registration application to verify voters' signatures.
  • AB 269/Shannon Grove (R) and Jim Patterson (R) - Vote-by-Mail ballots for military and overseas voters would be accepted if postmarked by Election Day and received within ten days.
  • AB 530/Sharon Quirk-Silva (D) - allows counties to accept Vote-by-Mail ballot applications over the phone.
  • SB 589/Jerry Hill (D) - allows counties to use additional election materials besides registration affidavit to very vote-by-mail signatures and also requires counties to provide a free access system for at least 30 days after an election is certified so voters can find out if their Vote-by-Mail ballot was counted and if not, why not. 
Disaster Preparedness
  • SB 362/Padilla - requires Governor and Secretary of State to establish procedures for voting during disasters.
  • AB 214/Nancy Skinner (D) - directs Secretary of State to develop regulations for voting in a disaster (online voting provision has been amended out of bill).
Youth Voting
  • SB 240/Yee - requires polling places on UC and CSU campuses for statewide general elections.
  • SB 267/Fran Pavley (D) - requires polling places on community college, UC and CSU campuses under certain circumstances.
  • ACA 7/Mullin - allows 17 year olds who will be 18 by the General election to vote in the Primary election.
  • SB 113/Hannah-Beth Jackson (D) - lowers the age when Californians can pre-register to vote from 17 to 15 and allows pre-registration to begin immediately instead of waiting for VoteCal to be deployed. 
Initiative Process
  • ACA 6/Mike Gatto (D) - requires initiative constitutional amendments to get 55% of vote to pass.
  • SCA 6/Mark DeSaulnier (D) - requires initiative measures (other than bonds) to identify a funding source.
  • SB 477/Darryl Steinberg (D) - intent is to require initiative campaign committees to receive a certain number of small contributions to demonstrate grassroots support for the proposed initiative before collecting large donations. 
Civic Education
  • SB 619/Yee - requires civics education for state employees. 
  • AB 700/Jimmy Gomez (D) - requires social science instruction in grades 8-12 to include a voter education component. 

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