Today's Law As Amended


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SB-1163 Elections: vote by mail ballots.(2019-2020)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for the health and public welfare of the millions of Californians participating in the election process.
(b) Physical distancing measures and personal protection must remain a priority of the state and local governments to minimize the spread of infection due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(c) Election workers and voters must be protected under statute from potential infection from COVID-19 until a vaccine or other appropriate disease control is widely distributed.
(d) The state has an interest in limiting the total amount of individuals interacting with a ballot during a time of a catastrophic health pandemic.

SEC. 2.

 Section 3017 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

3017.
 (a) (1) All vote by mail ballots cast under this division shall be voted on or before the day of the election. After marking the ballot, the vote by mail voter shall do any of the following:
(A) Return the ballot by mail or in person to the elections official who issued the ballot.
(B) Return the ballot in person to a member of a precinct board at a polling place or vote center within the state.
(C) Return the ballot to a vote by mail ballot dropoff location within the state that is provided pursuant to Section 3025 or 4005.
(2) A (A)  Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a  vote by mail voter who is unable to return the ballot may designate another person to return the ballot to the elections official who issued the ballot, to the precinct board at a polling place or vote center within the state, or to a vote by mail ballot dropoff location within the state that is provided pursuant to Section 3025 or 4005. The person designated shall return the ballot in person, or put the ballot in the mail, no later than three days after receiving it from the voter or before the close of the polls on election day, whichever time period is shorter. Notwithstanding subdivision (d), a ballot shall not be disqualified from being counted solely because it was returned or mailed more than three days after the designated person received it from the voter, provided that the ballot is returned by the designated person before the close of polls on election day.
(B) During, or within 6 months of the suspension of, a duly proclaimed state of emergency or local emergency, as defined in Section 8558 of the Government Code, due to an epidemic or other contagious disease, including COVID-19, both of the following apply:
(i) A vote by mail voter who is unable to return their ballot may designate only their spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, or a person residing in the same household to return their ballot.
(ii) A vote by mail voter’s ballot shall not be returned by a paid or volunteer worker of a general purpose committee, controlled committee, independent expenditure committee, political party, candidate’s campaign committee, or any other group or organization at whose behest the individual designated to return the ballot is performing a service. However, this clause does not apply to a candidate or a candidate’s spouse.
(3) The ballot must be received by the elections official who issued the ballot, the precinct board, or the vote by mail ballot dropoff location before the close of the polls on election day. If a vote by mail ballot is returned to a precinct board at a polling place or vote center, or to a vote by mail ballot dropoff location, that is located in a county that is not the county of the elections official who issued the ballot, the elections official for the county in which the vote by mail ballot is returned shall forward the ballot to the elections official who issued the ballot no later than eight days after receipt.
(b) The elections official shall establish procedures to ensure the secrecy of a ballot returned to a polling place and the security, confidentiality, and integrity of any personal information collected, stored, or otherwise used pursuant to this section.
(c) On or before March 1, 2008, the elections official shall establish procedures to track and confirm the receipt of voted vote by mail ballots and to make this information available by means of online access using the county’s elections division Internet Web site.  internet website.  If the county does not have an elections division Internet Web site,  internet website,  the elections official shall establish a toll-free telephone number that may be used to confirm the date a voted vote by mail ballot was received.
(d) The provisions of this section are mandatory, not directory, and a ballot shall not be counted if it is not delivered in compliance with this section.
(e) (1) A person designated to return a vote by mail ballot shall not receive any form of compensation based on the number of ballots that the person returns and an individual, group, or organization shall not provide compensation on this basis.
(2) For purposes of this paragraph, “compensation” means any form of monetary payment, goods, services, benefits, promises or offers of employment, or any other form of consideration offered to another person in exchange for returning another voter’s vote by mail ballot.
(3) A person in charge of a vote by mail ballot and who knowingly and willingly engages in criminal acts related to that ballot as described in Division 18 (commencing with Section 18000), including, but not limited to, fraud, bribery, intimidation, and tampering with or failing to deliver the ballot in a timely fashion, is subject to the appropriate punishment specified in that division.
SEC. 3.
 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order to address public health concerns due to COVID-19 in the upcoming statewide general election on November 3, 2020, it is necessary for this act to take effect immediately.