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AB-1357 Voter registration.(2011-2012)

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AB1357:v96#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 1357
CHAPTER 192

An act to amend Sections 2103, 2157, and 2158 of the Elections Code, relating to voter registration.

[ Approved by Governor  August 08, 2011. Filed with Secretary of State  August 08, 2011. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1357, Swanson. Voter registration.
Under existing law, a person may not be registered to vote except by affidavit of registration. Existing law provides for an affidavit of registration to be included on a multipart card, to be known as a voter registration card. Existing law also expresses the Legislature’s intent to promote and encourage voter registration.
This bill would state the Legislature’s intent to permit, and would permit, county elections officials to provide affidavit of registration forms and voter registration cards online, as specified, provided the form is posted online on or before January 1, 2012, and that the affidavit meets specified requirements. The bill would require the Secretary of State, in consultation with county elections officials, to make available online an affidavit of registration, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 2103 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

2103.
 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature that the election board of each county, in order to promote and encourage voter registrations, shall establish a sufficient number of registration places throughout the county, and outside the county courthouse, for the convenience of persons desiring to register, to the end that registration may be maintained at a high level.
(b) It is also the intent of the Legislature that county elections officials, in order to promote and encourage voter registrations, shall enlist the support and cooperation of interested citizens and organizations, and shall deputize as registrars qualified citizens in such a way as to reach most effectively every resident of the county. The persons so deputized shall be permitted to register voters anywhere within the county, including at the places of residence of the persons to be registered, and the county elections official shall not deny deputy registrars the right to register voters anywhere in the county.
(c) It is also the intent of the Legislature that non-English-speaking citizens, like all other citizens, should be encouraged to vote. Therefore, appropriate efforts should be made to minimize obstacles to registration by citizens who lack sufficient skill in English to register without assistance.
(d) Where the county elections official finds that citizens described in subdivision (c) approximate 3 percent or more of the voting age residents of a precinct, or in the event that interested citizens or organizations provide information which the county elections official believes indicates a need for registration assistance for qualified citizens described in subdivision (c), the county elections official shall make reasonable efforts to recruit deputy registrars who are fluent in a language used by citizens described in subdivision (c) and in English. That recruitment shall be conducted through the cooperation of interested citizens and organizations and through voluntarily donated public service notices in the media, including newspapers, radio, and television, particularly those media that serve the non-English-speaking citizens described in subdivision (c). Deputy registrars so appointed shall facilitate registration in the particular precincts concerned and shall have the right to register voters anywhere in the county.
(e) In furtherance of the purposes of this section, the governing board of any county, city, city and county, district, or other public agency may authorize and assign any of its officers or employees to become deputy registrars of voters and to register qualified citizens on any premises and facilities owned or controlled by those public agencies during the regular working hours of the officers or employees. With the exception of firefighters, any compensation to which the officer or employee may be entitled in payment for the services of the officer or employee as a deputy registrar may be paid by the authority that appointed the officer or employee as a deputy registrar to the public agency that regularly employs the officer or employee.
(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that no limitation be imposed on the number of persons appointed to act as deputy registrars of voters.
(g) It is the intent of the Legislature that county elections officials be permitted to distribute affidavits of registration and voter registration cards, in all languages required by Section 203 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973aa-1a) or Section 4(f)(4) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973b(f)(4)) of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, by using the county’s Internet Web site.

SEC. 2.

 Section 2157 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

2157.
 (a) Subject to this chapter, the paper affidavit of registration shall be in a form prescribed by regulations adopted by the Secretary of State. The affidavit shall:
(1) Contain the information prescribed in Section 2150.
(2) Be sufficiently uniform among the separate counties to allow for the processing and use by one county of an affidavit completed in another county.
(3) Allow for the inclusion of informational language to meet the specific needs of that county, including, but not limited to, the return address of the elections official in that county, and a telephone number at which a voter can obtain elections information in that county.
(4) Be included on one portion of a multipart card, to be known as a voter registration card, the other portions of which shall include information sufficient to facilitate completion and mailing of the affidavit. The affidavit portion of the multipart card shall be numbered according to regulations adopted by the Secretary of State. For purposes of facilitating the distribution of voter registration cards as provided in Section 2158, there shall be attached to the affidavit portion a receipt. The receipt shall be separated from the body of the affidavit by a perforated line.
(5) Contain, in a type size and color of ink that is clearly distinguishable from surrounding text, a statement identical or substantially similar to the following:
“Certain voters facing life-threatening situations may qualify for confidential voter status. For more information, please contact the Secretary of State’s Safe At Home program or visit the Secretary of State’s Web site.”
(6) Contain, in a type size and color of ink that is clearly distinguishable from surrounding text, a statement that the use of voter registration information for commercial purposes is a misdemeanor pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 2194, and any suspected misuse shall be reported to the Secretary of State.
(7) Contain a toll-free fraud hotline telephone number maintained by the Secretary of State that the public may use to report suspected fraudulent activity concerning misuse of voter registration information.
(8) Be returnable to the county elections official as a self-enclosed mailer with postage prepaid by the Secretary of State.
(b) Nothing contained in this division shall prevent the use of voter registration cards and affidavits of registration in existence on the effective date of this section and produced pursuant to regulations of the Secretary of State, and all references to voter registration cards and affidavits in this division shall be applied to the existing voter registration cards and affidavits of registration.
(c) The Secretary of State may continue to supply existing affidavits of registration prior to printing new or revised forms that reflect the changes required pursuant to this section, Section 2150, or Section 2160.
(d) Nothing in this division shall prevent the lawful use of an affidavit of registration form provided on a county’s Internet Web site, provided that the county offered the form on the county’s Internet Web site on or before January 1, 2012, and the affidavit meets the requirements of paragraphs (1), (3), and paragraphs (5) to (7), inclusive, of subdivision (a). This subdivision shall be in effect until the Secretary of State makes affidavits of registration available pursuant to subdivision (e).
(e) The Secretary of State shall, in consultation with county elections officials, design and make available on his or her Internet Web site an affidavit of registration. The affidavit shall:
(1) Contain the information prescribed in Section 2150.
(2) Be numbered according to regulations adopted by the Secretary of State.
(3) Contain, in a type size that is clearly distinguishable from surrounding text, a statement identical or substantially similar to the following: “Certain voters facing life-threatening situations may qualify for confidential voter status. For more information, please contact the Secretary of State’s Safe At Home program or visit the Secretary of State’s Web site.”
(4) Contain, in a type size that is clearly distinguishable from surrounding text, a statement that the use of voter registration information for commercial purposes is a misdemeanor pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 2194, and any suspected misuse shall be reported to the Secretary of State.
(5) Contain a toll-free fraud hotline telephone number maintained by the Secretary of State that the public may use to report suspected fraudulent activity concerning misuse of voter registration information.
(6) Be returnable to the county elections official.
(f) Affidavits of registration provided on the Internet Web site of a county or of the Secretary of State shall be for individual use only and not for use by organizations seeking to register people to vote pursuant to Section 2158.

SEC. 3.

 Section 2158 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

2158.
 In addition to registration conducted by deputy registrars of voters, the county elections official shall do all of the following:
(a) Provide voter registration cards designed pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 2157 for the registration of voters at his or her office and in a sufficient number of locations throughout the county for the convenience of persons desiring to register, to the end that registration may be maintained at a high level. The cards shall be available in all languages required by Section 203 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973aa-1a) or Section 4(f)(4) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973b(f)(4)) of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.
(b) Provide voter registration cards designed pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 2157 in sufficient quantities to any citizens or organizations who wish to distribute the cards other than to persons who have been convicted of violating this section within the last five years. Citizens and organizations shall be permitted to distribute voter registration cards anywhere within the county.
(1) If, after completing his or her voter registration affidavit, an elector entrusts it to another person, the latter shall sign and date the attached, numbered receipt indicating his or her address and telephone number, if any, and give the receipt to the elector. Failure to comply with this paragraph shall not cause the invalidation of the registration of a voter.
(2) Any citizen or organization that distributes voter registration cards designed pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 2157 shall give a voter registration card to any elector requesting it, provided that the citizen or organization has a sufficient number of cards.
(3) If distribution of voter registration cards pursuant to this subdivision is undertaken by mailing cards to persons who have not requested the cards, the person mailing the cards shall enclose a cover letter or other notice with each card instructing the recipients to disregard the cards if they are currently registered voters.
(c) Mail a voter registration card immediately to any person who wishes to register to vote and requests a voter registration card.
(d) In addition to providing voter registration cards in his or her office, the county elections official may provide cards on the county’s Internet Web site for voters to print, complete, sign, and return to the county elections office. Cards provided online shall be available in all languages required by Section 203 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973aa-1a) or Section 4(f)(4) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973b(f)(4)) of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.