Today's Law As Amended

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AB-280 Voting rights: preclearance.(2013-2014)



SECTION 1.

 Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 400) is added to Division 0.5 of the Elections Code, to read:

CHAPTER  5. State Preclearance
400.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Citizen” means a citizen of the United States.
(b) “Citizen voting-age population” means the population of citizens who are 18 years of age or older within a political subdivision, as calculated by the United States Census Bureau in the most recent federal decennial census.
(c) “Electoral jurisdiction” means a geographic area within which reside the voters who are qualified to vote for an elective office.
(c) “Multilingual voting materials” means registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, provided in the language of one or more language minority groups.
(d) “Political subdivision” means a geographic area of representation created for the provision of government services, including, but not limited to, a city, a school district, a community college district, or other district organized pursuant to state law.
(e) “Protected class” means a class of voters who are members of a race, color, or language minority group, as this class is referenced and defined in the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1971 et seq.).
(f) “Voting locations” means places for casting a ballot.
401.
 To ensure that the right of citizens who reside in California to vote is not denied or abridged on account of race, color, or language minority status through the enforcement of a voting-related law, regulation, or policy that is enacted or administered after the enactment date of this chapter, the following voting-related laws, regulations, and policies shall be subject to this chapter:
(a) A change to an at-large method of election that adds offices elected at-large or converts offices elected by single-member districts to one or more at-large or multi-member districts.
(b) A change to the boundaries of an electoral jurisdiction or a series of changes within a year to the boundaries of an electoral jurisdiction that reduces the size of the citizen voting-age population of a protected class by 3 or more percent.
(c) A change through redistricting that alters the boundaries of an electoral jurisdiction in which a protected class has experienced a population increase of at least 10,000 citizens or 20 percent of the citizen voting-age population over the preceding decade, as determined by the five-year estimates of the United States Census American Community Survey.
(d) A change to voting locations that reduces, consolidates, or relocates one or more voting locations, including an early, absentee, or election-day voting location, and results in a net loss, on a per voter basis, of voting locations in 20 percent of the total number of census tracts in a political subdivision with the highest proportion of voters from a protected class that represents at least 20 percent of the citizen voting-age population in the political subdivision, provided that the net loss is greater than the net loss resulting from the changes in 20 percent of the total number of census tracts in a political subdivision with the highest proportion of voters of any other protected class that represents at least 20 percent of the citizen voting-age population in the political subdivision.
(e) A change to multilingual voting materials that reduces the voting materials available in languages other than English, or alters the manner in which the materials are provided or distributed, if no similar reduction or alteration occurred in materials provided in English.
402.
 (a) If a political subdivision enacts or seeks to administer a voting-related law, regulation, or policy described in Section 401 that is different from that in force or effect on the date the act adding this section is enacted, the governing body of the political subdivision shall submit the law, regulation, or policy to the Secretary of State for approval. The law, regulation, or policy shall not take effect or be administered in the political subdivision until the law, regulation, or policy is approved by the Secretary of State.
(b) The Secretary of State shall provide a written decision to the governing body of the political subdivision within 60 days of a request to enact or administer a voting-related law, regulation, or policy described in Section 401. If the Secretary of State fails to provide a written decision within 60 days, the governing body of the political subdivision may implement the law, regulation, or policy. The governing body of the political subdivision may make a written request for an expedited review of a law, regulation, or policy if the political subdivision has a demonstrated need to implement the proposed change before the end of the 60-day review period. The written request shall describe the basis for the request in light of conditions in the political subdivision and shall specify the date by which a decision is needed. The Secretary of State shall attempt to accommodate a reasonable request.
(c) The governing body of the political subdivision shall have the burden of establishing, by objective and compelling evidence, that the law, regulation, or policy satisfies both of the following:
(1) Is not likely to result in a discriminatory effect on the participation of voters from a protected class that constitutes at least 20 percent of the political subdivision’s citizen voting-age population.
(2) Is not motivated in whole or substantially in part by an intent to reduce the participation of voters from a protected class.
(d) If the Secretary of State denies a request to enact or administer a law, regulation, or policy, the governing body of the political subdivision may seek review of the decision by means of an action filed in superior court.
(e) The Secretary of State may file suit to enjoin the governing body of a political subdivision from implementing a law, regulation, or policy in violation of this section.
(f) Venue for an action filed pursuant to subdivision (d) or (e) shall lie exclusively in the Superior Court for the County of Sacramento.
403.
 A political subdivision with two or more protected classes that each represent 20 percent of the citizen voting-age population shall not implement a previously enacted or adopted voting-related law, regulation, or policy described in Section 401 that has not yet been implemented, unless the law, regulation, or policy is approved pursuant to Section 402.
404.
 (a) The Attorney General, or a registered voter who resides in a political subdivision where the change to a voting-related law, regulation, or policy occurred, may file an action in superior court to compel the political subdivision to satisfy the obligations set forth in this chapter.
(b) In an action brought pursuant to this section, a court shall provide as a remedy that the voting-related law, regulation, or policy be enjoined unless the court determines that the law, regulation, or policy is not subject to this chapter or has been precleared by the procedures established in Section 402.
405.
 For purposes of this chapter, any data provided by the United States Census Bureau, whether based on enumeration or statistical sampling, shall not be subject to challenge or review by any court.
SEC. 2.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.