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AB-683 Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee.(2015-2016)

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AB683:v94#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 683
CHAPTER 334

An act to amend Sections 2053, 9082.7, and 13300.7 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.

[ Approved by Governor  September 28, 2015. Filed with Secretary of State  September 28, 2015. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 683, Low. Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Existing law, the Visually Impaired Voter Assistance Act of 1989, requires the Secretary of State to establish a Visually Impaired Voter Assistance Board and prescribes the composition of the board, as specified. Under existing law the board is required to, among other things, make recommendations to the Secretary of State for improving the availability and accessibility of ballot pamphlet audio recordings and their delivery to visually impaired voters. Existing law also requires the Secretary of State to make available the complete state ballot pamphlet over the Internet, which is required to include specified information. Existing law further authorizes county and city elections officials to establish procedures designed to permit a voter to opt out of receiving his or her sample ballot, voter pamphlet, notice of polling place, and associated materials by mail, and instead obtain them electronically via email or by accessing them on the county’s or city’s Internet Web site, as specified.
This bill would rename the board as the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee and would instead require the committee to advise the Secretary of State on improving the accessibility of elections, including election materials, as specified, for all voters with disabilities, and would revise the composition of the committee, as specified. The bill would require the Secretary of State to consult with the committee and consider the committee’s recommendations, which the Secretary of State could implement at his or her discretion. The bill would also require the committee to make additional recommendations to the Secretary of State for improving the accessibility of election materials made available over the Internet, and would require the elections materials made available over the Internet to meet or exceed certain standards and guidelines, as specified. The bill would further require the committee to make recommendations for providing voters with disabilities the same access and participation as is provided to other voters who are not disabled, including the ability to vote privately and independently.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 2053 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

2053.
 The Secretary of State shall establish a Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee. The Secretary of State shall consult with the committee and consider the committee’s recommendations related to improving the accessibility of elections for voters with disabilities. The Secretary of State may implement the committee’s recommendations as he or she deems appropriate.
(a) The committee shall consist of the Secretary of State, his or her designees, and additional members appointed by the Secretary of State. The appointees shall have demonstrated experience with accessibility requirements for voters with disabilities or be a county elections official.
(b) The committee shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Secretary of State and shall do all of the following:
(1) Establish guidelines for reaching as many voters with disabilities as practical.
(2) Make recommendations for improving the availability and accessibility of election materials, including, but not limited to, sample ballots, voter information pamphlets, and vote-by-mail ballots, and their delivery in print or alternative formats to voters with disabilities.
(3) Increase the distribution of public service announcements identifying the availability of election materials for voters with disabilities at least 45 days before any federal, state, and local election.
(4) Make recommendations for improving the accessibility of election materials made available on Internet Web sites that are in compliance with the most current, ratified standards under Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794d), as amended, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium for accessibility.
(5) Promote the Secretary of State’s toll-free voter registration telephone line for citizens needing voter registration information, including information for individuals with disabilities, and the California State Library and regional library services for individuals who are unable to read conventional print due to a visual, intellectual, learning, physical, or any other disability.
(6) Make recommendations for providing voters with disabilities the same access and participation as is provided to other voters who are not disabled, including the ability to vote privately and independently.
(7) Establish subcommittees to further the scope and purposes of the committee as they relate to improving voter services and access for individuals with disabilities, including, but not limited to, visually impaired voters and deaf or hard of hearing voters.
(8) Promote the use of plain language and alternative formats for election materials.
(9) Make recommendations for materials to train poll workers on issues related to serving voters with disabilities and providing accessible voting locations.
(c) A member shall not receive compensation, but each member shall be reimbursed for his or her reasonable and necessary expenses in connection with service on the committee.

SEC. 2.

 Section 9082.7 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

9082.7.
 (a) The Secretary of State shall make available the complete state ballot pamphlet over the Internet. The online version of the state ballot pamphlet shall contain all of the following:
(1) For each candidate listed in the pamphlet, a means to access campaign contribution disclosure reports for the candidate that are available online.
(2) For each state ballot measure listed in the pamphlet, a means to access the consolidated information specified in subdivision (b).
(b) The Secretary of State shall create an Internet Web site, or use other available technology, to consolidate information about each state ballot measure in a manner that is easy for voters to access and understand. The information shall include all of the following:
(1) A summary of the ballot measure’s content.
(2) The total amount of reported contributions made in support of and opposition to the ballot measure, calculated and updated as follows:
(A) (i) The total amount of contributions in support of the ballot measure shall be calculated by adding together the total amounts of contributions made in support of the ballot measure and reported in semiannual statements required by Section 84200 of the Government Code, preelection statements required by Section 84200.5 of the Government Code, campaign statements required by Section 84202.3 of the Government Code, and late contribution reports required by Section 84203 of the Government Code that are reported within 16 days of the election at which the measure will appear on the ballot.
(ii) The total amount of contributions in opposition to the ballot measure shall be calculated by adding together the total amounts of contributions made in opposition to the ballot measure and reported in semiannual statements required by Section 84200 of the Government Code, preelection statements required by Section 84200.5 of the Government Code, campaign statements required by Section 84202.3 of the Government Code, and late contribution reports required by Section 84203 of the Government Code that are reported within 16 days of the election at which the measure will appear on the ballot.
(iii) For purposes of determining the total amount of reported contributions pursuant to this subparagraph, the Secretary of State shall, to the extent practicable with respect to committees primarily formed to support or oppose a ballot measure, do both of the following:
(I) Ensure that transfers of funds between primarily formed committees are not counted twice.
(II) Treat a contribution made to a primarily formed committee that supports or opposes more than one state ballot measure as if the total amount of that contribution was made for each state ballot measure that the committee supports or opposes.
(B) The total amount of reported contributions calculated under this paragraph for each state ballot measure shall be updated not later than five business days after receipt of a semiannual statement, campaign statement, or preelection statement and not later than two business days after receipt of a late contribution report within 16 days of the election at which the measure will appear on the ballot.
(C) The total amount of reported contributions calculated under this paragraph for each state ballot measure shall be accompanied by an explanation that the contribution totals may be overstated due to the inclusion of contributions made to committees supporting or opposing more than one state ballot measure, as required by subclause (II) of clause (iii) of subparagraph (A).
(3) A current list of the top 10 contributors supporting and opposing the ballot measure, if compiled by the Fair Political Practices Commission pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 84223 of the Government Code.
(4) (A) A list of each committee primarily formed to support or oppose the ballot measure, as described in Section 82047.5 of the Government Code, and a means to access information about the sources of funding reported for each committee.
(B) Information about the sources of contributions shall be updated as new information becomes available to the public pursuant to the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Title 9 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Government Code).
(C) If a committee identified in subparagraph (A) receives one million dollars ($1,000,000) or more in contributions for an election, the Secretary of State shall provide a means to access online information about the committee’s top 10 contributors reported to the Fair Political Practices Commission pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 84223 of the Government Code.
(D) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 84223 of the Government Code, the Fair Political Practices Commission shall automatically provide any list of top 10 contributors created pursuant to Section 84223 of the Government Code, and any subsequent updates to that list, to the Secretary of State for purposes of compliance with this section.
(5) Any other information deemed relevant by the Secretary of State.
(c) Information made available over the Internet pursuant to this section shall meet or exceed the most current, ratified standards under Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794d), as amended, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium for accessibility. The Secretary of State may also implement recommendations of the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee made pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 2053.

SEC. 3.

 Section 13300.7 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

13300.7.
 Notwithstanding any other law, county and city elections officials may establish procedures designed to permit a voter to opt out of receiving his or her sample ballot, voter pamphlet, notice of polling place, and associated materials by mail, and instead obtain them electronically via email or by accessing them on the county’s or city’s Internet Web site, provided that all of the following conditions are met:
(a) The procedures establish a method of providing notice of and an opportunity by which a voter can notify elections officials of his or her desire to obtain ballot materials electronically in lieu of receiving them by mail.
(b) The voter email address or any other information provided by the voter under this section remains confidential pursuant to Section 6254.4 of the Government Code and Section 2194 of this code.
(c) The procedures provide notice and opportunity for a voter who has opted out of receiving a sample ballot and other materials by mail to opt back into receiving them by mail.
(d) The procedures establish a process by which a voter can apply electronically to become a vote by mail voter.
(e) A voter may only opt out of, or opt back into, receiving his or her sample ballot and other ballot materials by mail if the elections official receives the request and can process it prior to the statutory deadline for the mailing of those materials for the next election, pursuant to Section 13303. If a voter misses this deadline, the request shall take effect the following election.
(f) The procedures shall include a verification process to confirm the voter’s identity, either in writing with a signature card that can be matched to the one on file with the elections official, or if the request is submitted electronically, it shall contain the voter’s California driver’s license number, California identification number, or a partial social security number.
(g) Information made available over the Internet pursuant to this section shall meet or exceed the most current, ratified standards under Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794d), as amended, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium for accessibility. Election officials may also implement recommendations of the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee made pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 2053, and of any local Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee created pursuant to the guidelines promulgated by the Secretary of State related to the accessibility of polling places by the physically handicapped.