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SB-583 Elections: Voter registration: California New Motor Voter Program.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 06/14/2021 09:00 PM
SB583:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 14, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  May 20, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  April 28, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  March 22, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 583


Introduced by Senator Newman
(Coauthors: Senators Archuleta and Min)
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Reyes)

February 18, 2021


An act to amend Sections 2263, 2264, 2265, 2268, and 2401 of, and to add Sections 2263.1 and 2271 to, the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 583, as amended, Newman. Elections: Voter registration: California New Motor Voter Program.
Existing law requires, in conformance with federal law, that the Secretary of State and the Department of Motor Vehicles establish and implement the California New Motor Voter Program for the purpose of increasing opportunities for voter registration for qualified voters. Existing law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to transmit to the Secretary of State specified information related to the person’s eligibility to vote, which the person provides when applying for a driver’s license or identification card or when the person notifies the department of an address change. Existing law provides that this information transmitted to the Secretary of State constitutes a completed affidavit of registration, and the Secretary of State is required to register the person to vote, unless the person affirmatively declines to register to vote or the person is ineligible to vote, or other specified conditions exist. Existing law defines a “voter registration agency” to mean, among other entities, a department, division, or office of state or local government, or a program supported by state funds, that is designated by executive order of the Governor or pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
This bill would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to transmit specified information to the Secretary of State with respect to a person who, when submitting an application for a driver’s license or identification card, provides documentation demonstrating United States citizenship and that the person is of an eligible age to register or preregister to vote, among other requirements. The bill would require the Secretary of State, upon receipt of this information, to register or preregister the person to vote. The bill would require, if a person is registered or preregistered to vote in this manner, that the appropriate county elections official send to the person’s address of record a notice advising that the person may decline to register or preregister to vote, designate a party preference, select a language preference, or choose to be a permanent vote by mail voter. The bill would also require the county elections official to send a notice to a person if the Secretary of State changes the person’s voter registration information after receiving updated name or address information from the department. The bill would require certain information contained within the notices to be translated into the minority languages for the county, as further specified.
This bill would prohibit the department, if at the time a person submits an application for a driver’s license or identification card to the department the person provides a document demonstrating the person is not a United States citizen, from providing that person the opportunity to attest to meeting all voter eligibility requirements and from electronically providing records of that person to the Secretary of State. The bill would prescribe additional requirements with respect to voter registration for a person who provides a new name or address when submitting an application for a driver’s license or identification card.
This bill would expand the definition of “voter registration agency” to also include entities designated by the Secretary of State. The bill would require the Secretary of State to establish a schedule whereby specified voter registration agencies must provide the Secretary of State electronic information regarding individuals who are eligible to vote or who provide updated registration information.
This bill would make these provisions operative on the earlier of (1) January 1, 2025, or (2) five days after the Secretary of State certifies that the information technology infrastructure to substantially implement the bill is functional. This bill would allow the Secretary of State, commencing January 1, 2022, to perform administrative actions necessary to implement these provisions.
By imposing new duties on county elections officials with respect to voter registration, the 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.

 Section 2263 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

2263.
 (a) The Department of Motor Vehicles, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall establish a schedule and method for the department to electronically provide to the Secretary of State the records specified in this section.
(b) (1) For each person who is not currently registered to vote in this state and whose information is not subject to transmission to the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 2263.1, and who either submits an application for a driver’s license or identification card pursuant to Section 12800, 12815, or 13000 of the Vehicle Code or notifies the Department of Motor Vehicles of a change of address pursuant to Section 14600 of the Vehicle Code, the department shall provide to the Secretary of State, in a manner and method to be determined by the department in consultation with the Secretary of State, all of the following information:
(A) Name.
(B) Date of birth.
(C) Either or both of the following, as contained in the department’s records:
(i) Residence address.
(ii) Mailing address.
(D) Digitized signature, as described in Section 12950.5 of the Vehicle Code.
(E) Telephone number, if available.
(F) Email address, if available.
(G) Language preference.
(H) Political party preference.
(I) Whether the person chooses to become a permanent vote by mail voter.
(J) Whether the person affirmatively declined to become registered or preregistered to vote during a transaction with the department.
(K) A notation that the applicant has attested that the applicant meets all voter eligibility requirements, including United States citizenship, specified in Section 2101 and, as applicable, the preregistration eligibility requirements in subdivision (d) of Section 2102.
(L) Other information specified in regulations implementing this chapter.
(2) (A) The department may provide the records described in paragraph (1) to the Secretary of State before the Secretary of State certifies that all of the conditions set forth in subdivision (e) of this section have been satisfied. Records provided pursuant to this paragraph shall only be used for purposes of outreach to and education to of eligible voters conducted by the Secretary of State.
(B) The Secretary shall provide materials created for purposes of outreach and education as described in this paragraph in languages other than English, as required by the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 10503).
(3) If at the time of the transaction with the department, the person provides a document that demonstrates the person is not a United States citizen, the person shall not be offered the opportunity to attest that the person meets all voter eligibility requirements and the department shall not electronically provide records of that person to the Secretary of State.
(c) The Secretary of State shall not sell, transfer, or allow any third party access to the information acquired from the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to this chapter without approval of the department, except as permitted by this chapter and Section 2194.
(d) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall not electronically provide records of a person who applies for or is issued a driver’s license pursuant to Section 12801.9 of the Vehicle Code because the person is unable to submit satisfactory proof that the person’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.
(e) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall commence implementation of this section no later than one year after the Secretary of State certifies all of the following:
(1) The State has a statewide voter registration database that complies with the requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 20901 et seq.).
(2) The Legislature has appropriated the funds necessary for the Secretary of State and the department to implement and maintain the California New Motor Voter Program.
(3) The regulations required by Section 2270 have been adopted.
(f) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall not electronically provide records pursuant to this section that contain a home address designated as confidential pursuant to Section 1808.2, 1808.4, or 1808.6 of the Vehicle Code.

SEC. 2.

 Section 2263.1 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

2263.1.
 (a) The Department of Motor Vehicles, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall establish a schedule and method for the department to electronically provide to the Secretary of State the records specified in this section.
(b) (1) This subdivision applies to a person who meets all of the following conditions:
(A) The person is not currently registered to vote in California.
(B) The person submits an application for a driver’s license or identification card pursuant to Section 12800, 12815, or 13000 of the Vehicle Code, or notifies the Department of Motor Vehicles of a change of address pursuant to Section 14600 of the Vehicle Code.
(C) In the course of the person’s transaction with the department, the person provides documentation demonstrating United States citizenship and that the person is of an eligible age to register or preregister to vote.
(2) For each person who meets the conditions of paragraph (1), the department shall provide to the Secretary of State, in a manner and method to be determined by the department in consultation with the Secretary of State, the following information about the person:
(A) Name.
(B) Date of birth.
(C) Either or both of the following, as contained in the department’s records:
(i) Residence address.
(ii) Mailing address.
(D) Digitized signature, as described in Section 12950.5 of the Vehicle Code.
(E) Telephone number, if available.
(F) Email address, if available.
(G) Language preference, including the language in which the person conducted the transaction with the department.
(H) Other information specified in regulations implementing this chapter.
(c) (1) This subdivision applies to a person who meets all of the following conditions:
(A) The person is currently registered to vote in California.
(B) The person submits an application for a driver’s license or identification card pursuant to Section 12800, 12815, or 13000 of the Vehicle Code, or notifies the Department of Motor Vehicles of a change of address pursuant to Section 14600 of the Vehicle Code.
(C) The person provides information indicating a different name or address from that contained in the person’s voter registration record.
(2) For a person who meets the conditions of paragraph (1), the department shall provide to the Secretary of State, in a manner and method to be determined by the department in consultation with the Secretary of State, notice of a person’s changed name or address.
(d) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall not electronically provide records pursuant to this section that contain a home address designated as confidential pursuant to Section 1808.2, 1808.4, or 1808.6 of the Vehicle Code.
(e) This section shall not be construed to amend the substantive qualifications for voter registration in California or to require documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration.
(f) This section shall not be construed to provide a retroactive basis to register individuals to vote or to update voter registration information based on information in the possession of the Department of Motor Vehicles before the person’s transaction.
(g) The Secretary of State and the Department of Motor Vehicles shall jointly develop a process by which the Department of Motor Vehicles, upon obtaining a person’s full name, date of birth, driver’s license or state identification number, residence address, and mailing address if different from residence address, may use information from the statewide voter registration database to determine whether the person is already registered to vote in the state and, if so, whether the person is registered at the address and under the name the person provided to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The Secretary of State may satisfy the requirement in this subdivision by providing a copy of the statewide voter registration database to the Department of Motor Vehicles on a daily basis.

SEC. 3.

 Section 2264 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

2264.
 (a) The willful, unauthorized disclosure of information obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to Section 2263 or 2263.1 to any person, or the use of any false representation to obtain any of that information or the use of any of that information for a purpose other than as stated in Section 2263 or 2263.1, is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 364 days, or both fine and imprisonment.
(b) The Secretary of State shall establish procedures to protect the confidentiality of the information acquired from the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to Section 2263 or 2263.1. The disclosure of this information shall be governed by the Information Practices Act of 1977 (Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1798) of Title 1.8 of Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code), and the Secretary of State shall account for any disclosures, including those due to security breaches, in accordance with that act.

SEC. 4.

 Section 2265 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

2265.
 (a) The records of a person designated in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 2263 or subdivision (b) of Section 2263.1 shall constitute a completed affidavit of registration and the Secretary of State shall register the person to vote, or, as applicable, preregister the person to vote, unless any of the following conditions is satisfied:
(1) For a person whose records are transmitted pursuant to Section 2263, the records reflect that the person affirmatively declined to become registered or preregistered to vote during a transaction with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
(2) For a person whose records are transmitted pursuant to Section 2263, the records do not reflect that the person has attested to meeting all voter eligibility requirements specified in Section 2101 or, as applicable, all preregistration eligibility requirements in subdivision (d) of Section 2102.
(3) The Secretary of State determines that the person is ineligible to vote or, as applicable, will be ineligible to vote when the person reaches 18 years of age.
(b) If the record for a person who is registered or preregistered to vote pursuant to this chapter does not provide or contain a party preference, the party preference shall be designated as “Unknown” on a voter registration index under Article 5 (commencing with Section 2183) of Chapter 2, and the person shall otherwise be treated as a “No Party Preference” voter.
(c) (1) When a person whose information was transmitted by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 2263.1 becomes registered or preregistered to vote, the appropriate county elections official shall send to the person’s address of record, by nonforwardable mail, a notice that the person has been registered or preregistered to vote, as applicable. The notice shall include a postage paid preaddressed return form by which the person may decline to be registered or preregistered, designate a party preference, select a language preference, or opt to be a permanent vote by mail voter. The notice may be combined with the notice required under subparagraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 20507 Section 20507(a)(2) of Title 52 of the United States Code. The notice shall also do all of the following:
(A) Offer the person the opportunity to provide a party preference, state that doing so may be required in order to vote in that party’s presidential primary election, and state that the person may also provide a party preference via the state’s online voter registration system.
(B) Offer the person the opportunity to choose to become a permanent vote by mail voter.
(C) Offer the person the opportunity to select a language preference.
(D) Include an explanation of the eligibility requirements to register or preregister to vote, and a statement that, if the person is not eligible, the person should decline to register or preregister using the preaddressed return form.
(E) State the penalties for providing false information.
(F) Include a statement that, if the person declines to register or preregister to vote, the fact that the person has declined will remain confidential and will be used only for election administration purposes.
(G) Include a statement that, if the person does not decline to be registered or preregistered to vote, the office at which the person was registered or preregistered will remain confidential and will be used only for election administration purposes.
(H) Provide information regarding how a person can obtain assistance and additional information about the notice.
(2) If the notice described in paragraph (1) is returned as undeliverable, the county elections official shall send the person a residency confirmation notice pursuant to Section 2220.
(d) All of the following apply in the event that a person returns the return form described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c):
(1) If the person indicates a party preference, the person’s party preference shall be changed and marked as effective as of the date the form is received.
(2) If the person chooses to become a permanent vote by mail voter, the person shall be added to the list of permanent vote by mail voters.
(3) If the person selects a language preference, the language preference shall be retained as part of the person’s registration information.
(4) If the person declines to be registered to vote, the person’s registration or preregistration shall be canceled, and the person shall be deemed to have never registered or preregistered to vote. Information related to the person’s declining to be registered or preregistered to vote shall not be used for any purpose other than the administration of elections.
(5) If the person is registered or preregistered to vote and thereafter returns the form indicating that the person declines to be registered or preregistered to vote, but before returning the form the person votes in an election, the person’s declining to register or preregister to vote on the return form shall have no force and effect.
(6) If a person returns a form but does not select or indicate any new information on the form, the form is of no force and effect.
(e) If the Secretary of State receives from the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 2263.1 updated name or address information for a person who is currently registered to vote, all of the following shall occur:
(1) The Secretary of State shall use the new information to update the voter’s registration information and shall have the voter’s registration status updated to active.
(2) (A) The appropriate county elections official shall send to the person’s address of record, by forwardable mail, notice of the change and a postage paid preaddressed return form by which the person may verify or correct the information. The notice shall also provide information regarding how a person can obtain assistance and additional information about the notice.
(B) If the person returns the form described in subparagraph (A) indicating that the update to the registration information was in error, the appropriate county elections officials shall immediately correct the information in the statewide voter registration database.
(f) (1) This subdivision applies to the notices described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) and subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e).
(2) The Secretary of State shall prescribe the form of the notices.
(3) The Secretary of State shall ensure that for each county with citizens of language minorities that qualify under Section 14201 of this code or Section 10503 of Title 52 of the United States Code, the notices shall be translated into all qualifying minority languages for the county, made publicly available, and provided to the county for its use.
(4) The Secretary of State shall ensure that for each county with citizens of language minorities that qualify under Section 14201 of this code or Section 10503 of Title 52 of the United States Code, each notice provided to a person by the county shall contain, at a minimum, the following information translated into all qualifying minority languages for the county:
(A) Information regarding how a person can obtain assistance in the person’s minority language and additional information about the notice.
(B) With respect to the notice described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c), the following information:
(i) The statement that the person has been registered to vote or preregistered to vote, as applicable.
(ii) The explanation of the eligibility requirements to register or preregister to vote and a statement that, if the person is not eligible, the person should decline to register or preregister to vote.
(C) With respect to the notice described in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e), the statement that the person’s voter registration information or status has changed.
(5) The Secretary of State shall promulgate regulations to ensure compliance by counties with this subdivision.

SEC. 5.

 Section 2268 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

2268.
 (a) If a person who is ineligible to vote becomes registered or preregistered to vote pursuant to this chapter in the absence of a violation by that person of Section 18100, that person’s registration or preregistration shall be presumed to have been effected with official authorization and not the fault of that person.
(b) The Secretary of State and the Department of Motor Vehicles shall develop procedures to ensure that a driver’s license, identification card, or other identifying information submitted by an applicant pursuant to this chapter is sufficiently evaluated to determine whether the applicant is eligible to register or to preregister to vote and to protect against future erroneous registrations or preregistrations. If it becomes known to the Secretary of State or the department that either the Secretary of State or the department, or both, committed an error resulting in the registration or preregistration of an ineligible person pursuant to this chapter, and unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the person has violated Section 18100, the Secretary of State or the department shall do both of the following:
(1) Immediately contact the person to inform the person of the erroneous registration or preregistration.
(2) Provide the person a letter asserting that the Secretary of State or the department, or both, was responsible for the erroneous registration or preregistration. A copy of this letter shall be maintained permanently in the person’s file with the department and shall be accessible to the person upon request.

SEC. 6.

 Section 2271 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

2271.
 (a) A voter registration agency, as defined in Section 2401, shall annually provide to the Secretary of State information describing each designated office under the agency’s supervision, the type of services the office provides, and a designated voter registration contact for that office. At the earliest practicable time, the Secretary of State or the Secretary of State’s designee shall assess which voter registration agencies, in the regular course of business and substantially in accordance with the procedures set forth in this chapter that apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles, collect sufficient information from applicants to confirm eligibility for registration or to update information for an existing registration, or both.
(b) (1) When the Secretary of State or the Secretary of State’s designee determines that during the regular course of business a voter registration agency collects the necessary information either to confirm eligibility for voter registration or to update information for an existing registration, or both, the Secretary of State shall establish a schedule by which the agency shall begin prospectively providing to the Secretary of State electronic records regarding individuals eligible to register to vote or individuals with updated voter registration information, or both if applicable.
(2) When the voter registration agency provides, and the Secretary of State and the county elections official process, the electronic records described in paragraph (1), they shall do so substantially in accordance with the procedures and requirements set forth in this chapter that apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles, subject to any modifications necessary to comply with federal law.
(3) Notwithstanding any other law, the Secretary of State may develop procedures for processing electronic records received from an agency without an image of the applicant’s signature.
(4) This section shall not be construed to provide a retroactive basis to register individuals to vote or to update voter registration information based on information previously in the possession of the Secretary of State, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or another voter registration agency.

SEC. 7.

 Section 2401 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

2401.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Voter preference form” means the form described in Section 20506(a)(6)(B) of Title 52 of the United States Code.
(b) “Voter registration agency” means either of the following:
(1) A department, division, or office of state or local government, or a program supported by state funds, that is designated by executive order of the Governor or pursuant to the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 20501 et seq.), or that is designated by the Secretary of State, as a voter registration agency.
(2) A private entity under contract with a designated voter registration agency to provide services or assistance on behalf of the designated voter registration agency.

SEC. 8.

 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.

SEC. 9.

 (a) This act shall become operative on the earlier of the following:
(1) January 1, 2025.
(2) Five days after the date the Secretary of State certifies that the information technology infrastructure to substantially implement this act is functional.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the Secretary of State may, commencing January 1, 2022, perform administrative actions necessary to implement this act.