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SB-103 Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/16/2021 09:00 PM
SB103:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  March 16, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  March 09, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 103


Introduced by Senator Dodd

January 05, 2021


An act to amend Sections 6864, 6901, 6906, 6909, 7100, 7300, 7578, 7843, 8550, 8651, and 18002 of, to add Chapter 1.2 (commencing with Section 6911) of Part 2 of Division 6 to, and to repeal Sections 6905, 6907, and 6908 of, the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 103, as amended, Dodd. Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act.
Existing law provides for the nomination of electors of President and Vice President of the United States by political parties, and provides for electors who desire to be write-in candidates for presidential electors pledged to a particular candidate for President or Vice President to file a declaration of write-in candidacy. Existing law requires the electors chosen by the voters at each United States presidential election to assemble in the State Capitol in the afternoon on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December next following their election and cast electoral ballots for the President and the Vice President of the United States who are candidates of the political party that nominated the electors, if the candidates are alive. Existing law provides that an elector who willfully neglects or refuses to perform these duties, or who knowingly and fraudulently acts in violation or contravention of them, is guilty of a crime punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both a fine and imprisonment, as specified. Existing law provides that if an elector is dead or absent on the day of voting the remaining electors present shall elect a replacement from the citizens of the state. Existing law provides for compensation for electors for their services and expenses related to travel to and from the State Capitol, as specified.
This bill would enact the Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act. The bill would require each political party and each group of electors pledged to a presidential and vice presidential candidate who qualifies for the ballot by a means other than political party nomination to specify alternate electors in addition to their elector nominees. The bill would require each elector and alternate elector to execute a pledge pursuant to which they promise to cast their electoral ballots for the presidential and vice presidential candidates to whom they are pledged or who are the candidates of the political party that nominated them, and would provide that those pledges are transferred to successor candidates who are nominated, as specified, if a candidate dies or withdraws as a candidate before the meeting of electors. The bill would provide that an elector who casts the elector’s ballots in violation of the elector’s pledge automatically vacates the elector’s position, and specifies procedures for filling the vacant position with a substitute elector. The bill would require the Secretary of State to preside over the meeting of electors, examine and accept the ballots of the electors, and prepare and transmit a certificate of the vote to the President of the United States Senate and other entities, as specified. The bill would make the criminal penalties described above inapplicable to provisions regarding presidential electors. The bill would extend the compensation described above to alternate electors. The bill would make conforming changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 6864 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

6864.
 In each year of the general election at which electors of President and Vice President of the United States are to be chosen, the Green Party shall also nominate as the candidates of its party as many electors of President and Vice President of the United States as the state is then entitled, 50 percent of whom shall be women and 50 percent men, unless an odd number of electors is to be chosen, in which case the difference between the number of women and men shall be not more than one elector. The Green Party shall also nominate an alternate elector for each elector chosen, for the purposes of Chapter 1.2 (commencing with Section 6911) of Part 2 of Division 6. The Green Party Liaison to the Secretary of State shall certify the name of each elector and alternate elector nominated, and the elector's and alternate elector’s residence addresses to the Secretary of State.

SEC. 2.

 Section 6901 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

6901.
 Whenever a political party, in accordance with Section 6864, 7100, 7300, 7578, or 7843, submits to the Secretary of State its certified list of nominees for electors and alternate electors of President and Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of State shall notify each candidate for elector and alternate elector of the elector’s nomination by the party. The Secretary of State shall cause the names of the candidates for President and Vice President of the several political parties to be placed upon the ballot for the ensuing general election.

SEC. 3.

 Section 6905 of the Elections Code is repealed.

SEC. 4.

 Section 6906 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

6906.
 The electors, when convened, shall vote by ballot for a person for President and a person for Vice President of the United States, one of whom, at least, is not an inhabitant of this state.

SEC. 5.

 Section 6907 of the Elections Code is repealed.

SEC. 6.

 Section 6908 of the Elections Code is repealed.

SEC. 7.

 Section 6909 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

6909.
 Each presidential elector and alternate elector shall receive ten dollars ($10) for the elector’s services, and mileage at the rate of five cents ($0.05) per mile for each mile of travel from the elector’s domicile to the State Capitol and return.
Their accounts therefor shall be certified by the Secretary of State, and audited by the Controller, who shall draw the Controller’s warrants for the same on the Treasurer, payable out of the General Fund.

SEC. 8.

 Chapter 1.2 (commencing with Section 6911) is added to Part 2 of Division 6 of the Elections Code, to read:
CHAPTER  1.2. Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act

6911.
 This chapter shall be known, and may be cited as, as the Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act.

6912.
 In this chapter:
(a) “Cast” means accepted by the Secretary of State in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 6917.
(b) “Elector” means an individual selected as a presidential elector under Section 6864, 7100, 7300, 7578, or 7843 and this chapter or an individual who is a write-in candidate for presidential elector under Section 8650 who was a nominee for the office of presidential elector pursuant to Section 6864, 7100, 7300, 7578, 7843, 8303, or 8650 and selected as a presidential elector under the laws of this state and this chapter.
(c) “President” means President of the United States.
(d) “Unaffiliated presidential candidate” means a candidate for President who qualifies for the general election ballot in this state by means other than nomination by a political party.
(e) “Vice President” means Vice President of the United States.

6913.
 For each elector position in this state, a political party contesting the position, or an unaffiliated presidential candidate, shall submit to the Secretary of State the names of two qualified individuals. One of the individuals shall be designated “elector nominee” and the other “alternate elector nominee.” Except as otherwise provided in Sections 6915 to 6918, inclusive, this state’s electors are the winning elector nominees under the laws of this state.

6914.
 (a) Each elector nominee and alternate elector nominee of a political party shall execute the following pledge: “If selected for the position of elector, I agree to serve and to mark my ballots for President and Vice President for the nominees for those offices of the party that nominated me.”
(b) Each elector nominee and alternate elector nominee of an unaffiliated presidential candidate shall execute the following pledge: “If selected for the position of elector as a nominee of an unaffiliated presidential candidate, I agree to serve and mark my ballots for that candidate and for that candidate’s vice presidential running mate.”
(c) The pledges executed pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) shall accompany submission of the corresponding names to the Secretary of State.
(d) If, after the nomination of a candidate for President or Vice President by a political party and before the meeting of electors described in Section 6917, the candidate dies or withdraws as a candidate for that office in accordance with the rules of the political party, the pledge described in subdivision (a) applies to the successor candidate for that office nominated by the political party in accordance with the party’s rules.
(e) If, after nomination of an unaffiliated candidate for President or Vice President and before the meeting of electors described in Section 6917, the candidate dies or withdraws as a candidate for that office, the pledge described in subdivision (b) applies to the successor candidate for that office nominated by the group of elector nominees of the candidate.

6915.
 In submitting this state’s certificate of ascertainment as required by Section 6 of Title 3 of the United States Code, the Governor shall certify this state’s electors and state in the certificate that:
(a) The electors will serve as electors unless a vacancy occurs in the office of elector before the end of the meeting at which elector votes are cast, in which case a substitute elector will fill the vacancy.
(b) If a substitute elector is appointed to fill a vacancy, the Governor will submit an amended certificate of ascertainment stating the names on the final list of this state’s electors.

6916.
 (a) The Secretary of State shall preside at the meeting of electors described in Section 6917.
(b) The position of an elector not present to vote is vacant. The Secretary of State shall appoint an individual as a substitute elector to fill a vacancy as follows:
(1) If the alternate elector is present to vote, by appointing the alternate elector for the vacant position.
(2) If the alternate elector for the vacant position is not present to vote, by appointing an elector chosen by lot from among the alternate electors present to vote who were nominated by the same political party or unaffiliated presidential candidate.
(3) If the number of alternate electors present to vote is insufficient to fill any vacant position pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2), by appointing any immediately available individual who is qualified to serve as an elector and chosen through nomination by an plurality vote of the remaining electors, including nomination and vote by single elector if only one remains.
(4) If there is a tie between at least two nominees for substitute elector in a vote conducted under paragraph (3), by appointing an elector chosen by lot from among those nominees.
(5) If all elector positions are vacant and cannot be filled pursuant to paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, by appointing a single presidential elector, with remaining vacant positions to be filled under paragraph (3) and, if necessary, paragraph (4).
(c) To qualify as a substitute elector under subdivision (b), an individual who has not executed the pledge required under Section 6914 shall execute the following pledge: “I agree to serve and to mark my ballots for President and Vice President consistent with the pledge of the individual to whose elector position I have succeeded.”

6917.
 (a) At the time designated for elector voting and after all vacant positions have been filled under Section 6916, the Secretary of State shall provide each elector with a presidential and a vice-presidential ballot. The elector shall mark the elector’s presidential and vice-presidential ballots with the elector’s votes for the offices of President and Vice President, respectively, along with the elector’s signature and the elector’s legibly printed name.
(b) Except as otherwise provided by state law other than this chapter, each elector shall present both completed ballots to the Secretary of State, who shall examine the ballots and accept as cast all ballots of electors whose votes are consistent with their pledges executed under Section 6914 or subdivision (c) of Section 6916. Except as otherwise provided by state law other than this chapter, the Secretary of State shall not accept and shall not count either an elector’s presidential or vice-presidential ballot if the elector has not marked both ballots or has marked a ballot in violation of the elector’s pledge.
(c) An elector who refuses to present a ballot, presents an unmarked ballot, or presents a ballot marked in violation of the elector’s pledge executed under Section 6914 or subdivision (c) of Section 6916 vacates the office of elector, creating a vacant position to be filled under Section 6916.
(d) The Secretary of State shall distribute ballots to and collect ballots from a substitute elector and repeat the process under this section of examining ballots, declaring and filling vacant positions as required, and recording appropriately completed ballots from the substituted electors, until all of the state’s electoral votes have been cast and recorded.

6918.
 (a) After the vote of this state’s electors is completed, if the final list of electors differs from any list that the Governor previously included on a certificate of ascertainment prepared and transmitted under Section 6 of Title 3 of the United States Code, the Secretary of State immediately shall prepare an amended certificate of ascertainment and transmit it to the Governor for the Governor’s signature.
(b) The Governor immediately shall deliver the signed amended certificate of ascertainment to the Secretary of State and a signed duplicate original of the amended certificate of ascertainment to all individuals entitled to receive this state’s certificate of ascertainment, indicating that the amended certificate of ascertainment is to be substituted for the certificate of ascertainment previously submitted.
(c) The Secretary of State shall prepare a certificate of vote. The electors on the final list shall sign the certificate. The Secretary of State shall process and transmit the signed certificate with the amended certificate of ascertainment under Sections 9 to 11, inclusive, of Title 3 of the United States Code.

6919.
 In applying and construing this uniform act, consideration shall be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.

SEC. 9.

 Section 7100 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

7100.
 In each year of the general election at which electors of President and Vice President of the United States are to be chosen, the candidate in each congressional district who received the largest number of votes in the primary election among the candidates who disclosed a preference for the Democratic Party shall designate one presidential elector and one alternate presidential elector for the purposes of Chapter 1.2 (commencing with Section 6911) of Part 2 of Division 6 and shall file each elector’s name and residence and business address with the state chairperson by a date specified by the state chairperson. The candidate for United States Senate who received the largest number of votes in the primary election among the candidates who disclosed a preference for the Democratic Party in each of the last two United States senatorial elections shall designate one presidential elector and one alternate presidential elector and shall file each elector’s name and residence and business address with the state chairperson by a date specified by the state chairperson. In the event there is no candidate for United States Senate or for any particular congressional district who disclosed a preference for the Democratic Party, or if any candidate fails to designate a presidential elector and alternate presidential elector by the date specified by the state chairperson, the state chairperson shall designate one presidential elector and one alternate presidential elector for each vacancy. The state chairperson shall file the names and residence and business addresses of all the electors designated pursuant to this section with the Secretary of State by October 1 of the presidential election year.

SEC. 10.

 Section 7300 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

7300.
 (a) In each year of the general election at which electors of President and Vice President of the United States are to be chosen, the Republican nominees for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Controller, Attorney General, and Secretary of State, the Republican nominees for United States Senator at the last two United States senatorial elections, the Assembly Republican leader, the Senate Republican leader, all elected officers of the Republican State Central Committee, the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman, the President of the Republican County Central Committee Chairmen’s Association, and the chairperson or president of each Republican volunteer organization officially recognized by the Republican State Central Committee shall act as presidential electors, except that Senators, Representatives, and persons holding an office of trust or profit of the United States shall not act as electors. Each of those persons acting as electors pursuant to this subdivision shall also designate an alternate elector for the purposes of Chapter 1.2 (commencing with Section 6911) of Part 2 of Division 6 and notify the chairperson of the Republican State Central Committee of the name, residence address, and business address of the alternate elector.
(b) The remaining presidential elector positions, any vacant positions, shall be filled by appointment of the chairperson of the Republican State Central Committee in accordance with the bylaws of the committee. The chairperson shall also appoint an alternate elector for each elector appointed by the chairperson. The name, residence address, and business address of each appointee and each alternate elector described in this subdivision and subdivision (a) shall be filed with the Secretary of State by October 1 of the presidential election year. The Republican State Central Committee shall adopt bylaws implementing this section.

SEC. 11.

 Section 7578 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

7578.
 In each year of the general election at which electors of President and Vice President of the United States are to be chosen, the convention shall also nominate as the candidates of its party as many electors of President and Vice President of the United States as the state is then entitled to, and one alternate elector for each of those electors, for the purposes of Chapter 1.2 (commencing with Section 6911) of Part 2 of Division 6. The convention shall certify the name of each elector and alternate elector nominated, and each elector’s residence address to the Secretary of State.

SEC. 12.

 Section 7843 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

7843.
 In each year of the general election at which electors of President and Vice President of the United States are to be chosen, the convention meeting of the state central committee shall also nominate as the candidates of its party as many electors of President and Vice President of the United States as the state is then entitled to, 50 percent of whom shall be women and 50 percent men, unless an odd number of electors is to be chosen, in which case the difference between the number of women and men shall be not more than one. The convention meeting shall also nominate an alternate elector for each elector chosen, for the purposes of Chapter 1.2 (commencing with Section 6911) of Part 2 of Division 6. The chairperson of the state central committee shall certify the name of each elector and alternate elector nominated, and the elector’s and alternate elector’s residence address to the Secretary of State.

SEC. 13.

 Section 8550 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

8550.
 (a) At least 88 days prior to the election, each candidate shall leave with the officer with whom the candidate’s nomination papers are required to be left, a declaration of candidacy which states all of the following:
(1) The candidate’s residence, with street and number, if any.
(2) That the candidate is a voter in the precinct in which the candidate resides.
(3) The name of the office sought by the candidate.
(4) That the candidate will not withdraw as a candidate before the election.
(5) That, if elected, the candidate will qualify for the office.
(b) A declaration of candidacy described in subdivision (a) for the office of presidential elector shall be accompanied by a declaration of an individual who will serve as an alternate elector if the elector vacates the elector’s office. The accompanying declaration shall state that the individual is an alternate to the candidate for the office of presidential elector and shall contain the information described in paragraphs (1), (2), (4), and (5) of subdivision (a).
(c) The name of a candidate shall not be placed on the ballot unless the declaration of candidacy provided for in this section has been properly filed.

SEC. 14.

 Section 8651 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

8651.
 (a) The declaration of write-in candidacy for presidential elector shall contain the following information:
(1) Candidate’s name.
(2) Residence address.
(3) A declaration stating that the candidate is a write-in candidate for the office of presidential elector.
(4) Oath or affirmation as set forth in Section 3 of Article XX of the California Constitution.
(5) The date of the general election.
(6) The names of the candidates for President and Vice President of the United States for which the group of presidential electors are pledged.
(b) The declaration of write-in candidacy described in subdivision (a) shall be accompanied by a declaration of an individual who will serve as an alternate elector if the elector vacates the elector’s office. The accompanying declaration shall state that the individual is an alternate to the write-in candidate for the office of presidential elector and shall contain the information described in paragraphs (1), (2), (4), (5), and (6) of subdivision (a).

SEC. 15.

 Section 18002 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

18002.
 (a) Every person charged with the performance of any duty under any law of this state relating to elections, who willfully neglects or refuses to perform it, or who, in the person’s official capacity, knowingly and fraudulently acts in contravention or violation of any of those laws, is, unless a different punishment is prescribed by this code, punishable by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(b) This section does not apply to Chapters 1 (commencing with Section 6900) and 1.2 (commencing with Section 6911) of Part 2 of Division 6.