Today's Law As Amended


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



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 3000.5 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

3000.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, for an election proclaimed or conducted prior to January 1, 2022, 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. The county  voter. The  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 Section 3016.5 of the Elections Code is repealed.

3016.5.
 (a) A county elections official shall permit a voter with a disability to cast his or her ballot using a certified remote accessible vote by mail system.
(b) This section does not apply to a county when conducting an all-mailed ballot election pursuant to Section 4005.
(c) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2020, or one year after the date on which the Secretary of State certifies a remote accessible vote by mail system pursuant to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 19280) of Division 19, whichever is later.

SEC. 3.

 Section 3016.7 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

3016.7.
 For the statewide general election to be held on November 3, 2020, the  The  county elections official shall permit any voter to cast a ballot using a certified remote accessible vote by mail system, regardless of whether the voter is a voter with disabilities or a military or overseas voter.

SEC. 4.

 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 a system that a county elections official may use  maintain a system  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. The system established pursuant to this section  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  shall, at a minimum, be accessible to voters with disabilities and  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 an election proclaimed or conducted prior to January 1, 2022, 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. 5.

 Section 3020 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

3020.
 (a) All vote by mail ballots cast under this division shall be received by the elections official from whom they were obtained or by the precinct board no later than the close of the polls on election day.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), any vote by mail ballot cast under this division shall be timely cast if it is received by the voter’s elections official via the United States Postal Service or a bona fide private mail delivery company no later than three seven  days after election day and either of the following is satisfied:
(1) The ballot is postmarked on or before election day or is time stamped or date stamped by a bona fide private mail delivery company on or before election day, or it is otherwise indicated by the United States Postal Service or a bona fide private mail delivery company that the ballot was mailed on or before election  day.
(2) If the ballot has no postmark, a postmark with no date, or an illegible postmark, the  and no other information is available from the United States Postal Service or the bona fide private mail delivery company to indicate the date on which the ballot was mailed, the  vote by mail ballot identification envelope is date stamped by the elections official upon receipt of the vote by mail ballot from the United States Postal Service or a bona fide private mail delivery company, and is signed and dated pursuant to Section 3011 on or before election day.
(c) For purposes of this section, “bona fide private mail delivery company” means a courier service that is in the regular business of accepting a mail item, package, or parcel for the purpose of delivery to a person or entity whose address is specified on the item.
(d) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), for the statewide general election to be held on November 3, 2020, any vote by mail ballot cast under this division shall be timely cast if it is received by the voter’s elections official via the United States Postal Service or a bona fide private mail delivery company by the 17th day after election day and either of the following is satisfied:
(1) The ballot is postmarked on or before election day, is time stamped or date stamped by a bona fide private mail delivery company on or before election day, or it is otherwise indicated by the United States Postal Service or a bona fide private mail delivery company that the ballot was mailed on or before election day.
(2) If the ballot has no postmark, a postmark with no date, or an illegible postmark, and no other information is available from the United States Postal Service or the bona fide private mail delivery company to indicate the date on which the ballot was mailed, the vote by mail ballot identification envelope is date stamped by the elections official upon receipt of the vote by mail ballot from the United States Postal Service or a bona fide private mail delivery company, and is signed and dated pursuant to Section 3011 on or before election day.

SEC. 6.

 Section 15101 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

15101.
 (a) Any jurisdiction in which vote by mail ballots are cast may begin to process vote by mail ballot return envelopes beginning 29 days before the election. Processing vote by mail ballot return envelopes may include verifying the voter’s signature on the vote by mail ballot return envelope pursuant to Section 3019 and updating voter history records.
(b) (1) Any jurisdiction having the necessary computer capability may start to process vote by mail ballots on the 15th business day before the election. Processing vote by mail ballots includes opening vote by mail ballot return envelopes, removing ballots, duplicating any damaged ballots, and preparing the ballots to be machine read, or machine reading them, including processing write-in votes so that they can be tallied by the machine, but under no circumstances may a vote count be accessed or released until 8 p.m. on the day of the election. All other jurisdictions shall start to process vote by mail ballots at 5 p.m. on the day before the election.
(2) (b)  For the statewide general election to be held on November 3, 2020, any  Any  jurisdiction having the necessary computer capability may start to process vote by mail ballots on the 29th day before the election. Processing vote by mail ballots includes opening vote by mail ballot return envelopes, removing ballots, duplicating any damaged ballots, and preparing the ballots to be machine read, or machine reading them, including processing write-in votes so that they can be tallied by the machine, but under no circumstances may a vote count be accessed or released until 8 p.m. on the day of the election. All other jurisdictions shall start to process vote by mail ballots at 5 p.m. on the day before the election.
(c) Results of any vote by mail ballot tabulation or count shall not be released before the close of the polls on the day of the election.
SEC. 7.
 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.