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AB-37 Elections: vote by mail ballots. (2021-2022)

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Date Published: 12/07/2020 09:00 PM
AB37:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 37


Introduced by Assembly Members Berman, Cervantes, and Lorena Gonzalez
(Principal coauthor: Senator Umberg)
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Quirk)

December 07, 2020


An act to amend Sections 3000.5 and 3019.7 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 37, as introduced, Berman. Elections: vote by mail ballots.
Existing law required county elections officials to mail a ballot to every registered voter for the November 3, 2020, statewide general election. Existing law, for the November 3, 2020, statewide general election, also required county elections officials to use a specified Secretary of State vote by mail tracking system or a system that meets the same specifications.
This bill would extend these requirements to all elections. By requiring a county elections officials to mail a ballot to every registered voter, and to take other actions, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would also make various conforming and technical changes.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 3000.5 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

3000.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, for the statewide general election to be held on November 3, 2020, the county each election, the elections official shall, no later than 29 days before the day of the election, begin mailing the materials specified in Section 3010 to every registered voter in the county. voter. The county elections official shall have five days to mail a ballot to each person who is registered to vote on the 29th day before the day of the election and five days to mail a ballot to each person who is subsequently registered to vote. The county elections official shall not discriminate against any region or precinct in the county in choosing which ballots to mail first within the prescribed five-day mailing period.
(b) The distribution of vote by mail ballots to all registered voters does not prevent a voter from voting in person at a polling place, vote center, or other authorized location.
(c) Consistent with paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 2226, this section does not require that the elections official mail a ballot to a voter with an inactive voter registration status.

SEC. 2.

 Section 3019.7 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

3019.7.
 (a) Not later than January 1, 2020, the The Secretary of State shall establish maintain a system that a county elections official may use to allow a vote by mail voter to track the voter’s vote by mail ballot through the mail system and as the vote by mail ballot is processed by the county elections official. A county elections official shall use this system unless the county makes available to voters a different vote by mail ballot tracking system that meets or exceeds the level of service provided by the Secretary of State’s system. The system established pursuant to this section shall, at a minimum, allow a voter to register to receive information via email or text message from the county elections official about the status of the voter’s vote by mail ballot, including all of the following information:
(1) A notification when the ballot has been delivered by the county elections official to the United States Postal Service.
(2) A notification of the date, based on information from the United States Postal Service, that the voter’s ballot is expected to be delivered to the voter.
(3) A notification if the voter’s ballot is returned as undeliverable to the county elections official by the United States Postal Service.
(4) A notification when the voter’s completed ballot has been received by the county elections official.
(5) A notification that the voter’s completed ballot has been counted, or, if the ballot cannot be counted, a notification of the reason why the ballot could not be counted and instructions of any steps that the voter can take in order to have the ballot counted.
(6) A reminder of the deadline for the voter to return the voter’s ballot if the county elections official has not received a voter’s completed ballot by specified dates as determined by the county elections official.
(b) The Secretary of State shall make the system established maintained pursuant to subdivision (a) available for use by each county. A county elections official may use the system for the purpose of complying with Section 3019.5.

(c)The Secretary of State shall use funds provided to the state pursuant to the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 20901 et seq.) to develop the system described in this section. The Secretary of State shall implement this section only to the extent that these funds are available.

(d)For the statewide general election to be held on November 3, 2020, the county elections official shall use the system established by the Secretary of State pursuant to subdivision (a), unless the county makes available to voters a different vote by mail ballot tracking system that meets or exceeds the level of service provided by the Secretary of State’s system.

SEC. 3.

 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.