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AB-2352 Elections: reportable errors.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/19/2018 04:00 AM
AB2352:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 18, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2352


Introduced by Assembly Member Low

February 13, 2018


An act to amend Section 10002 of, and to add Sections 15506 and 17507 to, the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2352, as amended, Low. Elections: reportable errors.
Existing law permits the governing body of any city or district to request that the county render specified services to the city or district regarding the conduct of an election.
If a jurisdiction requests that the county conduct an election on its behalf pursuant to this provision, this bill would require the jurisdiction at the time that it makes that request to provide the county elections official with the boundaries of the jurisdiction and any districts within the jurisdiction.
Existing law imposes various obligations on the Secretary of State with respect to the results of an election. Existing law also imposes various requirements on county elections officials with respect to the retention and preservation of election records.
This bill would require the Secretary of State to promulgate regulations by January 1, 2020, establishing which errors in election administration constitute “reportable errors” and would require county elections officials to document reportable errors and to submit information about these errors to the Secretary of State for review and guidance, if necessary. By requiring new duties of local government officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) A fair, accessible, and equitable electoral process is central to our democracy.
(b) Each county’s registrar of voters administers the federal, state, and local elections.
(c) Errors related to the electoral process can be detrimental to our democracy and each registrar of voters should be accountable for their policies and procedures.
(d) Appropriate measures should be taken to avoid electoral process errors as much as possible.
(e) Keeping the public’s faith in a fair, accessible, and equitable electoral process is of utmost importance.
(f) A recent report by the State Auditor indicates that processing errors in the County of Santa Clara might have been avoidable.
(g) It is vital that other counties learn from the errors that occurred in the County of Santa Clara and take the appropriate steps to avoid making similar errors that jeopardize the integrity of the electoral process.

SEC. 2.

 Section 10002 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

10002.
 (a) (1) The governing body of any city or district may by resolution request the board of supervisors of the county to permit the county elections official to render specified services to the city or district relating to the conduct of an election. Subject to approval of the board of supervisors, these services shall be performed by the county elections official.
(2) The resolution of the governing body of the city or district shall specify the services requested.
(3) A city that requests the board of supervisors to permit the elections official to prepare the city’s election materials shall, if the board of supervisors agrees to provide such services, supply the county elections official with a list of its precincts, or consolidated precincts, as applicable, no later than 61 days before the election.
(4) A jurisdiction at the time that it requests that the county conduct an election on its behalf pursuant to this section shall provide the county elections official both of the following:
(A) The boundaries of the jurisdiction.
(B) Any districts within the jurisdiction.
(b) Unless other arrangements satisfactory to the county have been made, the city or district shall reimburse the county in full for the services performed upon presentation of a bill to the city or district.

SEC. 3.

 Section 15506 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

15506.
 The Secretary of State shall do all of the following:
(a) Promulgate regulations by January 1, 2020, establishing which errors in election administration constitute “reportable errors.” The regulations shall be consistent with all of the following:
(1) A “reportable error” must affect at least 100 individuals or 0.01 percent of the registered voters, whichever is greater.
(2) A “reportable error” includes, but is not limited to, instances when a voter is provided election-related materials from a county elections official that is incorrect or incomplete. For the purpose of this paragraph, “election-related materials” includes, but is not limited to, ballots, sample ballots, voter information guides, and polling place notifications that are sent to a voter by mail, e-mail, or text.
(3) A “reportable error” is not a minor or technical typographical or formatting error, as determined by the Secretary of State.
(b) Require county elections officials to submit specified information about reportable errors to the Secretary of State within a prescribed time.
(c) Review submitted information about reportable errors and issue appropriate guidance to address those errors, if necessary.

SEC. 4.

 Section 17507 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

17507.
 A county elections official shall document reportable errors, consistent with Section 15506, and shall submit specified information about these errors to the Secretary of State, State, after each election, as required.

SEC. 5.

 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.