HB 138: "An Act relating to elections; requiring a risk-limiting audit of selected election results; requiring state elections and local elections conducted by the state to be conducted by mail; requiring certain vote-by-mail ballots and election materials to be provided in certain written languages other than English; establishing an online ballot tracking and registration verification system; establishing vote centers, ballot drop boxes, and ballot tabulation centers; eliminating the use of precincts, polling places, absentee ballots, and questioned ballots in certain elections; establishing new elections offenses; and providing for an effective date."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 138 01 "An Act relating to elections; requiring a risk-limiting audit of selected election results; 02 requiring state elections and local elections conducted by the state to be conducted by 03 mail; requiring certain vote-by-mail ballots and election materials to be provided in 04 certain written languages other than English; establishing an online ballot tracking and 05 registration verification system; establishing vote centers, ballot drop boxes, and ballot 06 tabulation centers; eliminating the use of precincts, polling places, absentee ballots, and 07 questioned ballots in certain elections; establishing new elections offenses; and providing 08 for an effective date." 09 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 10 * Section 1. AS 15.07.060 is amended by adding new subsections to read: 11 (g) The director shall provide every applicant for registration or reregistration 12 the opportunity to designate, from among the written languages in which the division
01 is required to print election materials under 52 U.S.C. 10503, as amended, the 02 language in which the applicant prefers to receive ballots and other election materials 03 printed for an election held under AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895. If an applicant requests 04 that ballots and election materials be printed in an applicable language, the director 05 shall provide the applicant with ballots and election materials in the applicant's 06 selected language under AS 15.20.805. If an applicant requests ballots and election 07 materials in a written language in which the division is not required under 52 U.S.C. 08 10503, as amended, to print ballots and election materials, the director shall notify the 09 applicant that ballots and election materials printed in that language are not available 10 and allow the applicant another opportunity to select a language under this subsection. 11 An applicant who does not indicate a language preference shall be provided with 12 ballots and election materials printed in English. The division shall provide an 13 applicant who has made a request under this subsection with ballots and election 14 materials in the applicant's selected language until the earlier of the date that 15 (1) the applicant's voter registration is inactivated or cancelled; or 16 (2) the division is no longer required under 52 U.S.C. 10503, as 17 amended, to print ballots and election materials in the requested language. 18 (h) The division shall provide the option for each applicant who requests 19 registration or reregistration under this section to provide an electronic mail address, 20 telephone number, or both to contact the individual regarding a defect in a ballot cast 21 by the individual under AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895 or if the ballot is otherwise 22 challenged. 23 * Sec. 2. AS 15.15 is amended by adding a new section to read: 24 Sec. 15.15.455. Risk-limiting audits. (a) In addition to the ballot counting 25 review conducted under AS 15.15.420 - 15.15.440 and AS 15.20.865(f), after each 26 state election but before the certification of the ballot counting review under 27 AS 15.15.450, the director shall conduct a risk-limiting audit of selected election 28 results. The audit must be designed using statistical methods to limit the risk of 29 certification of an election result that is inconsistent with the result that would be 30 obtained by conducting a recount. 31 (b) The director shall adopt regulations necessary to implement and administer
01 (a) of this section. The regulations must include a procedure for selecting which 02 election results to audit. In adopting regulations under this subsection, the director 03 shall consult recognized statistical experts, equipment vendors, and municipal clerks 04 and shall consider best practices for conducting risk-limiting election audits. 05 * Sec. 3. AS 15.20.800 is repealed and reenacted to read: 06 Sec. 15.20.800. Voting by mail. The director shall conduct by mail 07 (1) a state primary, general, special, or special primary election to 08 (A) select, nominate, or elect a governor, a lieutenant governor, 09 an acting governor, a state senator, or a state representative; 10 (B) retain or reject a justice or judge seeking retention in office 11 under art. IV, Constitution of the State of Alaska, and AS 15.35; 12 (C) determine whether a constitutional convention shall be 13 called and to select, nominate, or elect delegates to a constitutional convention; 14 (D) approve or reject an initiative submitted under art. XI, 15 Constitution of the State of Alaska, and AS 15.45.010 - 15.45.245; 16 (E) approve or reject a referendum submitted under art. XI, 17 Constitution of the State of Alaska, and AS 15.45.250 - 15.45.465; 18 (F) recall an official identified in (A) of this paragraph when 19 authorized by art. XI, Constitution of the State of Alaska, and AS 15.45.470 - 20 15.45.720; 21 (G) approve or reject a proposed amendment to the 22 Constitution of the State of Alaska submitted under AS 15.50; 23 (H) ratify or reject a state general obligation bond under 24 AS 37.15; or 25 (I) administer an advisory vote when authorized by the 26 legislature by law; and 27 (2) other elections that the state is required by law to conduct, 28 including 29 (A) a special election authorized by AS 04.11.507(c) calling for 30 a local option, change in local option, or removal of local option unless the 31 petition of the residents of the established village asks that the provisions of
01 this section not apply to that special election; 02 (B) an election authorized by AS 14.08.071 unless the regional 03 educational attendance area board adopts a resolution for the purpose that is 04 approved by the voters and filed with the office of the director determining that 05 the provisions of this section do not apply; 06 (C) an election authorized by AS 29.05.110, whether conducted 07 separately or in combination with an election under AS 29.05.120, or an 08 election authorized by AS 29.06.140 or 29.06.510, unless the Local Boundary 09 Commission recommends to the director that the provisions of this section not 10 apply to the election; 11 (D) an election authorized 12 (i) by AS 30.13.010 to establish a regional resource 13 development authority or to elect the initial members of the board of 14 governors of the authority unless petitioners request that the provisions 15 of this section not apply; or 16 (ii) by AS 30.13.020 unless the board of governors of 17 the regional resource development authority adopts a resolution stating 18 that the provisions of this section do not apply and the resolution is 19 ratified by the voters of the development area and filed with the office 20 of the director. 21 * Sec. 4. AS 15.20 is amended by adding new sections to article 4 to read: 22 Sec. 15.20.805. Procedures for conducting an election by mail. (a) For each 23 election held under AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895, the director shall send an official ballot 24 to each person whose name appears on the official registration list prepared under 25 AS 15.07.125 for that election. Except as provided in (b) of this section, the director 26 shall send the ballot, a secrecy sleeve, a voter's certificate, and a return envelope with 27 postage prepaid by first class, nonforwardable mail, to the address stated on the 28 official registration list unless 29 (1) the voter has notified the director or an election supervisor of a 30 different address to which the ballot should be sent; or 31 (2) a previous mailing to the address on the official registration list has
01 been returned to the division as undeliverable. 02 (b) The director shall prepare the ballot, secrecy sleeve, voter's certificate, 03 return envelope, and other material used in an election held under AS 15.20.800 - 04 15.20.895. The voter's certificate must include a space for a voter to declare, when 05 required, that the voter is a qualified voter, and a space for the voter's signature. The 06 voter's certificate must include a notice that a false statement made by the voter on the 07 certificate is punishable by law. The voter's certificate may be printed on the return 08 envelope. If the division uses ballot counting technology that preserves the 09 confidentiality of a voter's information and ballot choices, the director may mail to a 10 voter a ballot without including a secrecy sleeve. 11 (c) The director shall send ballots under this section not later than 29 days 12 preceding the date of the election. However, the director shall send a special advance 13 ballot prepared under (d) of this section to a person not later than 45 days preceding 14 the date of the election if the person 15 (1) is an absent uniformed services voter or is an overseas voter 16 qualified under AS 15.05.011; or 17 (2) notified the director in writing at least 60 days before the election 18 that the voter expects to be living, working, or traveling outside the United States at 19 the time of the election or expects to be living, working, or traveling in a remote area 20 of the state where distance, terrain, or other natural conditions deny the voter 21 reasonable access to a polling place at the time of the election. 22 (d) The director shall prepare special advance ballots for use under (c) of this 23 section in a state primary, general, special, or special primary election. A ballot 24 prepared for use under this subsection must contain each judicial retention election 25 and ballot proposition or question scheduled to appear on the particular ballot. The 26 director shall list on the ballot the different races to be voted on at the particular 27 election on a statewide basis. If the names of the candidates in a general or special 28 election are not certified before the ballot must be prepared, the director shall prepare 29 a ballot with the name of each candidate appearing on the primary election ballot. The 30 voter may mark candidates for each office in order of preference and mark as many 31 candidates for each office as the voter wishes, but the voter may not assign the same
01 ranking to more than one candidate for the same office. 02 (e) A return envelope for an absent uniformed services voter or an overseas 03 voter must allow the voter to return the ballot free of postage if required under 39 04 U.S.C. 3406. 05 (f) If a voter requests under AS 15.07.060(g) or, at least 45 days before an 06 election, requests in writing or by other means designated in regulations adopted by 07 the director to receive a ballot in a language other than English in which the division is 08 required to print election materials under 52 U.S.C. 10503, as amended, the director 09 shall provide the voter with a ballot and election materials under this section in the 10 language requested. 11 Sec. 15.20.810. Completion and return of ballot. (a) Upon receiving an 12 official ballot, a voter shall mark the ballot, sign the voter's certificate printed on the 13 return envelope supplied with the ballot, place the ballot in the secrecy sleeve, insert 14 both the ballot and the secrecy sleeve into the return envelope, and return the ballot to 15 the division by mail or by depositing the ballot at a vote center established under 16 AS 15.20.845 or ballot drop box designated by the director under AS 15.20.855. 17 (b) A ballot may not be mailed or deposited at a vote center or ballot drop box 18 by an intermediary who is paid by or who volunteers for a political party, political 19 group, or business or organization to provide that service. However, nothing in this 20 subsection prohibits a voter from giving a completed ballot to a friend, relative, or 21 associate to mail by way of the United States Postal Service or for deposit at a vote 22 center or ballot drop box. 23 Sec. 15.20.815. Ballot tracking and registration verification system. (a) The 24 director shall establish a free online system, available through the division's Internet 25 website, through which a voter may 26 (1) confirm that the voter's ballot has been sent by the division, track 27 the date of the ballot's delivery to the voter, and confirm the division's receipt of the 28 voter's ballot; 29 (2) determine whether the voter's ballot has been counted; and 30 (3) request a replacement ballot under AS 15.20.820. 31 (b) The online system established under (a) of this section must indicate to a
01 voter whose ballot has not been counted 02 (1) the reason the ballot was not counted; and 03 (2) if the signature on the voter's ballot was missing or was determined 04 not to match the signature in the voter's registration record under AS 15.20.830(c), the 05 process by which the voter may cure the lack of signature or verify the voter's identity. 06 (c) The online system established under (a) of this section must allow an 07 election official access to the names and political affiliations of all persons 08 (1) named on the master register, including those persons whose voter 09 registrations are inactivated under AS 15.07.130(b); and 10 (2) whose names must be placed on the official registration list under 11 AS 15.07.070(c) or (d). 12 (d) In establishing the online system under (a) of this section, the director shall 13 ensure that the design allows a voter to access information easily under (a) and (b) of 14 this section through a mobile electronic device. 15 Sec. 15.20.820. Replacement ballots. (a) A voter may obtain an official 16 replacement ballot if a ballot is destroyed, spoiled, or lost, or if, for any other reason, 17 the ballot has not been received or cannot be used by the voter. 18 (b) A voter may request a replacement ballot electronically, by telephone, in 19 writing, in person, at a vote center established under AS 15.20.845, or by other means 20 designated in regulations adopted by the director. To receive a replacement ballot at an 21 address other than the address indicated in the voter's registration record, the voter 22 shall complete and sign a replacement ballot request on a form prescribed for that 23 purpose by the division. 24 (c) Upon receiving a replacement ballot request, the director or, when 25 applicable, an election supervisor, shall 26 (1) verify the voter's registration and ensure that another ballot has not 27 been returned by the voter; 28 (2) issue the replacement ballot in person at a vote center established 29 under AS 15.20.845, by mail, or by other means; and 30 (3) take reasonable measures to ensure that a voter requesting a 31 replacement ballot is not able to vote more than once.
01 (d) The director or an election supervisor, as applicable, may indicate on a 02 replacement ballot's return envelope that the envelope contains a replacement ballot. 03 (e) The director or an election supervisor, as applicable, may delegate a duty 04 assigned in this section to an election official in the district. 05 Sec. 15.20.825. Time of vote-by-mail ballot counting review. (a) Not less 06 than 10 days before the date of the election, the election supervisors, in the presence 07 and with the assistance of the ballot counting boards, shall review all voter certificates 08 received by that date. The election supervisors shall continue the review of 09 certificates, at times designated by the election supervisors, until the review is 10 completed. A ballot may not be counted until the accompanying voter certificate has 11 been reviewed. 12 (b) Counting of ballots begins 10 days before the date of the election at places 13 designated by each election supervisor and continues until all ballots have been 14 counted. The counting teams shall report the count of ballots to the director. 15 (c) Not later than the 15th day after the date of the election, each ballot 16 counting board shall certify its ballot count. 17 (d) If an election supervisor's office receives a ballot after the completion of 18 the vote-by-mail ballot counting review, the office shall immediately forward the 19 ballot to the director by the most expeditious secure service. 20 Sec. 15.20.830. Procedure for vote-by-mail counting review. (a) The vote- 21 by-mail ballot counting board established under AS 15.20.865(c) shall examine each 22 return envelope for a ballot cast by mail, cast at a vote center, or deposited at a ballot 23 drop box and shall determine whether the voter is qualified to vote at the election and 24 whether the ballot has been properly cast. 25 (b) A ballot may be counted only if 26 (1) the voter has properly executed the voter's certificate; 27 (2) the voter's signature on the return envelope is determined to match 28 the signature in that voter's registration record; 29 (3) the ballot, 30 (A) if postmarked, is postmarked on or before the date of the 31 election and received by the election supervisor not later than the seventh day
01 after the election; 02 (B) if cast at a vote center or deposited at a ballot drop box, 03 was cast or deposited before the time the vote center or drop box was closed on 04 election day; 05 (4) for a voter who returned the ballot 06 (A) in person at a vote center and is a 07 (i) first-time voter who initially registered to vote by 08 mail or by facsimile or other electronic transmission approved by the 09 director under AS 15.07.050, the voter has provided the identification 10 required by AS 15.15.225(a) or has provided the identifiers required in 11 AS 15.07.060(a)(2) and (3) that can be verified through state agency 12 records described in AS 15.07.055(e); or 13 (ii) voter other than one described in (i) of this 14 subparagraph, the voter has provided identification described in 15 AS 15.15.225(a), was personally known by the election official, or has 16 provided the identifiers required in AS 15.07.060(a)(2) and (3); or 17 (B) by mail or by deposit at a ballot drop box and is a first-time 18 voter who initially registered to vote by mail or by facsimile or other electronic 19 transmission approved by the director under AS 15.07.050, the voter has met 20 the identification requirements set out in AS 15.07.060 or has submitted with 21 the ballot a copy of 22 (i) the voter's driver's license, state identification card, 23 current and valid photo identification, birth certificate, passport, or 24 hunting or fishing license; or 25 (ii) a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, 26 government check, or other government document; an item described 27 in this sub-subparagraph must show the name and current address of 28 the voter. 29 (c) An election supervisor shall determine whether a voter's signature on the 30 return envelope matches the signature in that voter's registration record under (b)(2) of 31 this section according to a procedure provided in regulations adopted by the director.
01 (d) Any person present at a vote-by-mail ballot counting review may 02 challenge the name of a voter when read from the voter's certificate on the return 03 envelope if the person has good reason to suspect that the challenged voter is not 04 qualified to vote, is disqualified, or has voted at the same election. The person making 05 the challenge shall specify the basis of the challenge in writing. The ballot counting 06 board by majority vote may reject and refuse to count the ballot of a person properly 07 challenged on grounds listed in (b) of this section. 08 (e) The director shall develop a process by regulation for collecting all 09 statements of challenge and ballots rejected under this section. 10 (f) For each ballot accepted under this section, an election official shall open 11 the return envelope and place the ballot, or the secrecy sleeve containing the ballot if 12 the secrecy sleeve is not omitted under AS 15.20.805(b), in a container and mix the 13 ballot or secrecy sleeve among the other ballots or secrecy sleeves placed in the 14 container under this subsection. An election official shall then draw the ballots or 15 secrecy sleeves from the container, remove the ballots that are contained in secrecy 16 sleeves from the sleeves, and count the ballots at the times specified in AS 15.20.825 17 and according to the rules for determining properly marked ballots in AS 15.15.360. 18 (g) Upon completion of the ballot review, an election supervisor shall prepare 19 an election certificate for execution by the ballot counting board and shall forward the 20 original certificate and other returns to the director not later than the 16th day 21 following the election. 22 (h) The director shall prepare and mail to each voter whose ballot was rejected 23 under this section, and not cured under AS 15.20.840, a summary of the reason the 24 ballot was rejected. The director shall mail the summary to the voter not later than 25 (1) 10 days after completion of the review of ballots by the state 26 review board for a primary election or special primary election under AS 15.40.140; 27 (2) 60 days after certification of the results of a general election or 28 special election other than a special primary election described in (1) of this 29 subsection. 30 Sec. 15.20.835. Counting of votes cast by former residents of a district and 31 of ballots deposited outside of voters' election districts. (a) A person who meets all
01 voter qualifications except the requirement in AS 15.05.010(3) is qualified to vote a 02 ballot in the house district in which the person formerly resided if the person lived in 03 that house district for at least 30 days immediately before changing residence, except 04 that the person may vote only for 05 (1) statewide ballot measures and questions; 06 (2) candidates for federal or statewide offices; 07 (3) candidates for the state senate if the voter's former residence and 08 present residence are in the same senate district; and 09 (4) candidates for judicial retention if the voter's former residence and 10 present residence are in the same judicial district. 11 (b) The director shall adopt regulations relating to the casting of a ballot at a 12 vote center or ballot drop box by a voter who is registered to vote in the state but not 13 in the election district for which the vote was cast. The regulations must require that 14 the voter's ballot be forwarded before the completion of the ballot count to the ballot 15 tabulation center that is counting ballots for the district in which the voter is registered 16 to vote. 17 Sec. 15.20.840. Procedure for curing uncounted ballot. (a) If a voter returns 18 a ballot and the voter does not have a signature stored in the voter's registration record, 19 the return envelope is missing a signature, or the signature on the envelope is 20 determined under AS 15.20.830(c) not to match the signature in the voter's registration 21 record, the director shall, within 48 hours, but in no event later than two days after 22 election day, send a notification by first class, nonforwardable mail to the address 23 indicated in the voter's registration record and, if provided under AS 15.07.060(h), by 24 electronic mail to the voter's electronic mail address or by telephone call or text 25 message to the voter's telephone number. 26 (b) The notification provided to the voter under (a) of this section must 27 include an explanation of the need for a signature for verification purposes and 28 provide the voter a form and instructions for the voter to, within the period specified in 29 (c)(1) of this section, 30 (1) confirm that the voter returned a ballot to the division; 31 (2) provide a copy of a form of identification accepted by the division
01 under AS 15.07.060(e); and 02 (3) provide a signature for the verification. 03 (c) A voter's ballot that is not counted for the reasons set out in (a) of this 04 section may be counted only if 05 (1) the division receives the form sent to the voter under (b) of this 06 section back from the voter within 14 days after election day and the form confirms 07 that the voter returned a ballot to the division; 08 (2) the voter provides a signature for verification and includes a copy 09 of a form of identification accepted by the division under AS 15.07.060(e); and 10 (3) the ballot is otherwise valid. 11 (d) A voter's ballot may not be counted and the director shall, if applicable, 12 send copies of the signature on the voter's return envelope and the signature stored in 13 the voter's registration record to the attorney general for investigation if 14 (1) the voter returns the form sent to the voter under (b) of this section 15 and the form indicates that the voter did not return a ballot to the division; or 16 (2) the voter does not return the form sent to the voter under (b) of this 17 section within 14 days after election day. 18 (e) An election official may not determine that the signature on a voter's return 19 envelope does not match the signature stored in the voter's registration record solely 20 based on substitution of initials or use of a common nickname. 21 (f) The director shall provide training in the technique and standards of 22 signature comparison to election supervisors and election officials who compare 23 signatures under this section. 24 (g) The division shall update the signature stored in a voter's registration 25 record if the voter, after providing a copy of a form of identification accepted by the 26 division under AS 15.07.060(e), either provides a signature for the voter's missing 27 signature or cures a nonmatching signature under this section. 28 Sec. 15.20.845. Vote centers. (a) For the 10 days immediately preceding an 29 election under AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895 and on election day, a qualified voter may 30 cast a completed ballot or replacement ballot at a vote center designated by the 31 director under this section. The director shall provide as many vote centers in each
01 house district as the director considers necessary to ensure that each voter in the 02 district may effectively cast or deposit a completed ballot, receive assistance under 03 AS 15.15.240, and, if necessary, obtain a replacement ballot under AS 15.20.820. 04 (b) In establishing a vote center, the director shall prioritize the convenience 05 of the location for voters. In selecting a vote center location, the director shall consider 06 (1) the proximity of a location to public transportation and availability 07 of public parking near the location; 08 (2) geographic and climatic factors that may affect a voter's access to 09 the location; 10 (3) the characteristics of the house district and the distribution and 11 densities of its population; 12 (4) the need for language assistance for voters in the area as required 13 under 52 U.S.C. 10503, as amended; 14 (5) the accessibility of the location to voters with disabilities; 15 (6) whether the location has historically served a significant number of 16 voters as a polling place; 17 (7) whether the location is a public building that is known to voters 18 and whether the use of the building will result in cost savings in comparison to other 19 possible locations; and 20 (8) whether effective methods and standards to ensure the security of 21 voting can be implemented at the location. 22 (c) The director shall ensure that at each vote center a qualified voter may 23 (1) deposit a completed ballot for collection; 24 (2) change the voter's residence address or voter registration; 25 (3) cast a replacement ballot; and 26 (4) receive voting assistance under AS 15.15.240. 27 (d) A vote center must be equipped to allow an election official secure 28 electronic access to the online ballot tracking and registration verification system 29 established under AS 15.20.815. If the director finds that secure electronic access to 30 the information available under AS 15.20.815 is not practicable from a vote center, the 31 division shall adopt a procedure to allow access to the information by election officials
01 from the vote center by way of telephone or other means. 02 (e) A vote center and its facilities and voting equipment must comply with the 03 requirements of 42 U.S.C. 12101 - 12213 (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), 04 as amended. 05 (f) If a qualified voter requests a replacement ballot at a vote center under 06 AS 15.20.820, an election supervisor or election official shall verify under 07 AS 15.20.815(a), or as provided in (d) of this section, that the division has not already 08 received a ballot for the election from the voter. If an election supervisor or election 09 official is unable to determine whether the voter has already cast a ballot for the 10 election, the election supervisor or election official shall provide the voter with a 11 replacement ballot. A replacement ballot shall also be provided to a person who claims 12 to be a registered voter, but for whom no evidence of registration can be found. The 13 director or the director's representative shall determine whether the person is 14 registered in the district before counting the ballot. 15 (g) The director shall provide materials, forms, and supplies for each vote 16 center, including information regarding the date of the election and hours the vote 17 center will be open, instructions on how to obtain a replacement ballot, instructions for 18 first-time voters who initially registered by mail, general information on voting rights, 19 prohibitions on acts of fraud and misrepresentation, and whom to contact to report 20 violations. 21 (h) On the date of an election, each election board shall open all vote centers 22 for which the board is responsible at 7:00 a.m., close the vote centers at 8:00 p.m., and 23 keep the vote centers open during the time between those hours. The election board 24 members shall report to the vote centers at 6:30 a.m. on an election day. For the 10 25 days preceding the date of the election, excluding Sundays, an election board shall 26 open all vote centers for which the board is responsible at 9:00 a.m., close the vote 27 centers at 7:00 p.m., and keep the vote centers open during the time between those 28 hours. On the 10 days preceding the date of an election, election board members shall 29 report to the vote centers at 8:30 a.m. 30 (i) At each vote center, the division shall provide language assistance as 31 required under 52 U.S.C. 10503, as amended, in a manner that enables each voter to
01 participate effectively in the electoral process. An election supervisor shall post at 02 each vote center information regarding the availability of language assistance in 03 English and all other languages for which language assistance is required to be 04 provided in the jurisdiction under federal law. 05 (j) Before the initial opening of a vote center under (h) of this section, an 06 election supervisor shall inspect the voting equipment to determine whether the 07 equipment has been properly prepared for voting. 08 (k) The director shall designate locations for vote centers established under 09 this section by June 1 of an election year. 10 Sec. 15.20.850. Ballot tabulation centers. (a) The director shall have ballots 11 cast in an election under AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895 processed and counted at ballot 12 tabulation centers established by the division. A vote center may be used as a ballot 13 tabulation center. The director may adopt regulations prescribing the manner in which 14 the ballot count is accomplished at a ballot tabulation center to ensure accuracy in 15 counting ballots. The director shall establish ballot tabulation centers in 16 (1) the cities of Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Nome; and 17 (2) other locations as the director determines necessary to expedite the 18 ballot counting process in an election under AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895. 19 (b) A member of a vote-by-mail election board shall report to a ballot 20 tabulation center at the time designated by the director to count the vote. Before 21 undertaking the duties of office, each member shall subscribe to an oath to honestly, 22 faithfully, impartially, and promptly carry out the duties of the position. If a member 23 of a vote-by-mail election board fails to appear and subscribe to the oath at the time 24 designated by the director, the director or the director's designee may appoint a 25 qualified voter to fill the vacancy. 26 Sec. 15.20.855. Drop boxes for vote-by-mail ballots. (a) The director shall 27 provide ballot drop boxes at locations selected to provide the greatest convenience to 28 voters and to maximize the return of voted ballots, taking the locations of vote centers 29 and United States post offices into account. The director shall adopt regulations 30 governing the use and location of ballot drop boxes. The director shall include in the 31 regulations a requirement that drop boxes be open 24 hours a day in the 10 days
01 preceding the day of an election, the locations of drop boxes, and the security 02 requirements for the drop boxes. The regulations must require that each drop box be 03 open on the date of the election until 8:00 p.m. An election supervisor shall 04 prominently display a sign at each drop box location identifying the location as an 05 official ballot drop box site. 06 (b) Subject to (a) of this section, if a municipality has previously administered 07 a municipal election by mail that used ballot drop boxes, the director may, upon 08 agreement with the municipality, use the municipality's drop boxes and ballot drop 09 box locations. 10 (c) An election supervisor shall ensure that ballots are removed from a ballot 11 drop box frequently enough to allow additional ballots to be deposited securely. A 12 team of at least two election officials shall remove ballots from a ballot drop box. A 13 record must be kept of the date and time of each removal of ballots, the number of 14 ballots removed from the drop box, and the names of the election officials who 15 removed the ballots. The election officials responsible for removing ballots from a 16 drop box shall place the ballots in a secured transport container along with a copy of 17 the record kept under this subsection and deliver the ballots to a ballot tabulation 18 center, where another election official shall verify the record. All ballot drop boxes 19 must be closed and any remaining ballots placed in a secured transport container at 20 8:00 p.m. on the date of the election. 21 (d) The director shall designate the ballot drop box locations for state elections 22 under AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895 by June 1 of an election year. 23 Sec. 15.20.860. Special provisions applicable to voter qualification and 24 registration. (a) Notwithstanding AS 15.05.011(a), a person residing outside the 25 United States who is qualified under AS 15.05.011 may register and vote by mail. 26 (b) For an election described in AS 15.05.014, 27 (1) notwithstanding AS 15.05.014(1), registration and voting 28 procedures, except as otherwise provided in this section, must be identical to 29 procedures established in this title; and 30 (2) the provisions of AS 15.05.014(2) and (3) apply to the elections 31 described in this subsection except that the authorization in AS 15.05.014(3) to vote
01 by absentee ballot does not apply. 02 (c) In an election to be conducted under AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895, an election 03 official appointed under AS 15.10 may serve as a registration official for purposes of 04 AS 15.07. 05 (d) Notwithstanding AS 15.07.030(b), a person qualified under AS 15.05.011 06 to vote in a federal election is entitled to be registered as a voter in the house district in 07 which the person resided immediately before departure from the United States. 08 (e) For purposes of complying with AS 15.07.064, notwithstanding 09 AS 15.07.064(e)(1), the director may consider an application for registration within a 10 municipality or established village to comply with law based on other information 11 contained in the application, including evidence that the application was made in 12 person before a voting registrar or election official or other voting official appointed to 13 serve in the municipality or established village, if the application complies with 14 AS 15.07.064(e)(2) and (3). 15 (f) In AS 15.07.130(b) and (d), a voter "appears to vote" if a voter who has not 16 received a ballot by mail makes a timely request to the division for a ballot. 17 (g) In addition to disclosure under AS 15.07.195(b)(1), a voter's residential 18 address may be disclosed to a watcher appointed under AS 15.20.870 and, in the case 19 of a watcher appointed by an organization or group sponsoring or opposing an 20 initiative, referendum, or recall group, authorized by the director. 21 Sec. 15.20.865. Vote-by-mail election administration. (a) For each ballot 22 tabulation center established under AS 15.20.850, an election supervisor shall appoint 23 a vote-by-mail election board composed of at least three qualified voters registered to 24 vote in the state. In addition to the three qualified voters registered to vote in the state, 25 an election supervisor may also appoint not more than two members of the youth vote 26 ambassador program established under AS 15.10.108 to serve on a vote-by-mail 27 election board under the supervision of the board chair. The provisions of 28 AS 15.10.120(b), (c), and (e) apply to nominations and appointments under this 29 subsection. An election supervisor shall appoint a chair for each vote-by-mail election 30 board. The decision of the majority of vote-by-mail election board members 31 determines the action that the board shall take regarding any question that arises
01 during the course of the election. 02 (b) Before assuming the duties of office, each election official shall take an 03 oath to honestly, faithfully, and promptly perform the duties of office. Any appointed 04 election official, including an appointed election official who has not personally 05 subscribed to the oath, may administer the oath to another election official. The chair 06 of each vote-by-mail election board appointed under (a) of this section shall rotate the 07 time at which election officials serving at a vote center may be relieved for meals. 08 (c) Each vote-by-mail election board shall assist the election supervisor in 09 counting the ballots cast under AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895 and a member of the vote- 10 by-mail election board shall receive the same compensation as an election board 11 member under AS 15.15.380. 12 (d) Notwithstanding the requirements of AS 15.15.070(b), (c), and (h), in 13 implementing the notice requirements of AS 15.15.070(a), the director shall 14 (1) give notice by publication at least twice in one or more newspapers 15 of general circulation in each of the four judicial districts; the printed notice must 16 include the date of election, notification that the election will be conducted by mail, 17 the dates and times vote centers and ballot drop boxes will be open before the date of 18 the election and on election day, the locations of vote centers and ballot drop boxes, 19 the offices to which candidates are to be nominated or elected, and the subject of each 20 proposition or question to be voted on; 21 (2) post notices in communities that do not have newspapers of general 22 circulation where posting of notice is considered necessary by the director; the posted 23 notice must include the information required in (1) of this subsection; 24 (3) arrange for an abbreviated form of the notice published under (1) of 25 this subsection to be broadcast on one or more radio or television stations in each of 26 the four judicial districts; the broadcast notice must include, at a minimum, the date of 27 the election, notification that the election will be conducted by mail, the dates and 28 times vote centers and ballot drop boxes will be open before the date of the election 29 and on election day, the locations of vote centers and ballot drop boxes, and the 30 address and telephone number of the election supervisor for the area in which the 31 notice is broadcast; and
01 (4) post notice of the election on the division's Internet website; the 02 posted notice must include the information required in (1) of this subsection. 03 (e) Notwithstanding AS 15.15.380, the director shall pay each member of a 04 vote-by-mail election board for time spent performing election duties, including the 05 receiving of instructions. The chair of a vote-by-mail election board and the chair and 06 members of the state ballot counting review board shall be paid for time spent 07 performing election duties. The director shall set the compensation to be paid under 08 this subsection by regulation. 09 (f) In carrying out the duty under AS 15.15.420 to review the counting of 10 ballots, 11 (1) the director shall conduct only 12 (A) a review of the tallies and ballots cast; and 13 (B) a hand count of ballots from one randomly selected election 14 district; this subparagraph does not apply if the ballot for the election district 15 contains only uncontested offices; 16 (2) if, following the ballot review set out in (1) of this subsection, the 17 director finds a discrepancy of more than one percent between the results of the hand 18 count under (1)(B) of this subsection and the count certified by the election board for 19 the district, the director shall conduct a hand recount of all ballots from that district; 20 (3) if the director finds an unexplained discrepancy in the ballot count 21 within a district, the director may conduct a hand count of all ballots from that district; 22 and 23 (4) the director shall certify in writing to the state ballot counting 24 review board and publish on the division's Internet website any changes resulting from 25 a count performed under (2) or (3) of this subsection. 26 (g) The state ballot counting review shall begin as soon as practicable after the 27 election is completed and not later than 15 days after the date of the election and shall 28 continue until completed. The director may designate the hours each day during which 29 the state ballot counting review board may conduct its ballot counting review. 30 (h) The director shall comply with AS 15.15.470 except that the director's 31 obligation under that section to preserve records applies to tallies and registers without
01 regard to precinct election certificates. 02 Sec. 15.20.870. Watchers. A candidate may appoint one or more watchers for 03 each vote center and ballot tabulation center in the candidate's district or the state for 04 any election. An organization or organized group that sponsors or opposes an 05 initiative, referendum, or recall may appoint one or more watchers for each vote center 06 and ballot tabulation center after first obtaining authorization from the director. A 07 candidate may not have more than one watcher on duty at a time in a vote center or 08 ballot tabulation center. A watcher must be a United States citizen. A watcher at a 09 ballot tabulation center may be present at a position that affords a full view of all 10 action of the election officials taken until the ballots are finally counted and the results 11 certified by a vote-by-mail election board or the data processing review board. A vote- 12 by-mail election board or the data processing review board may require a watcher at a 13 ballot tabulation center to present written proof of appointment signed by the 14 organization or organized group or the candidate the watcher represents. 15 Sec. 15.20.875. Election recounts. (a) The director and appointed candidate 16 watchers shall complete a review of ballots cast. The review of the ballot counts 17 certified by the vote-by-mail ballot counting boards shall be accomplished by 18 reviewing the tallies of the recorded vote to check for mathematical error and by 19 comparing the totals with the election certificate of results. 20 (b) A defeated candidate or 10 qualified voters who believe there has been a 21 mistake made by an election official or by a vote-by-mail ballot counting board in 22 counting the votes in an election may apply to the director within five days after the 23 completion of the state review under (a) of this section for a recount of the votes from 24 a house district or for a particular office, proposition, or question. However, an 25 application for a recount of votes cast for the offices of governor and lieutenant 26 governor must be filed within three days after completion of the state review following 27 the general election. As provided in AS 15.15.460, if there is a tie vote, the director 28 shall initiate the recount and give notice to the interested parties as provided in 29 AS 15.20.470. An application made under this subsection is subject to the 30 requirements of AS 15.20.430(b). 31 (c) An application filed under (b) of this section must state the basis of the
01 belief that a mistake has been made, the district for which the recount is to be held, or 02 the particular office, proposition, or question for which the recount is to be held. The 03 application must designate two persons to represent the applicant and assist at the 04 recount. Any person may be named representative, including the candidate or a person 05 signing the application. An application filed by 10 qualified voters must also include 06 the designation of one of the 10 voters as chair. The application must include the full 07 name and mailing address of each applicant. A recount initiated under this subsection 08 is subject to the requirements of AS 15.20.440(b). 09 (d) An application filed under this section must include a deposit in cash, by 10 certified check, or by bond with a surety approved by the director, as provided in 11 AS 15.20.450. 12 (e) In conducting a recount requested under this section, the director shall 13 review all ballots to determine which ballots, or parts of ballots, were properly marked 14 and which ballots are to be counted in the recount and shall check the accuracy of the 15 original count and the review. For administrative purposes, the director may join and 16 include two or more applications in a single review and count of votes. The rules in 17 AS 15.15.360 governing the counting of ballots shall be followed in the recount when 18 a ballot is challenged based on a question regarding the voter's intent to vote for the 19 candidate, proposition, or question. The ballots and other election material must 20 remain in the custody of the director during the recount, and the highest degree of care 21 shall be exercised to protect the ballots against alteration or mutilation. The recount 22 shall be completed within 10 days. The director may employ additional personnel as 23 needed to assist in the recount. 24 Sec. 15.20.890. Provisions of title not applicable to voting by mail. 25 AS 15.07.010, 15.07.070(h), and 15.07.081; AS 15.10.108(c), 15.10.120(a), 26 15.10.120(d), and 15.10.125 - 15.10.170; AS 15.15.030(13), 15.15.032, 15.15.040(c), 27 15.15.050, 15.15.060, 15.15.080 - 15.15.210, 15.15.225(c), 15.15.230, 15.15.330, 28 15.15.340, 15.15.350(a) and (b), 15.15.370, 15.15.390, 15.15.430, and 15.15.440; 29 AS 15.20.010 - 15.20.225, 15.20.430(a), 15.20.440(a), and 15.20.480; AS 15.45.670; 30 and AS 15.56.035(a)(1) do not apply in an election conducted under AS 15.20.800 - 31 15.20.895.
01 Sec. 15.20.895. Definition of "voter" in AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895. In 02 AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895, notwithstanding AS 15.80.010, "voter" means a person 03 whose name appears on the official registration list prepared under AS 15.07.125 for 04 an election subject to the requirements of AS 15.20.800 - 15.20.895. 05 * Sec. 5. AS 15.45.680 is amended to read: 06 Sec. 15.45.680. Statement of official subject to recall; display of grounds 07 for and against recall. The director shall provide each election board in the state or in 08 the senate or house district of the person subject to recall with at least five copies of 09 the statement of the grounds for recall included in the application and at least five 10 copies of the statement of not more than 200 words made by the official subject to 11 recall in justification of the official's conduct in office. The person subject to recall 12 may provide the director with the statement within 10 days after the date the director 13 gave notification that the petition was properly filed. The election board shall post at 14 least one copy of the statements for and against recall in a conspicuous place in a 15 location where the election is held [THE POLLING PLACE]. 16 * Sec. 6. AS 15.56.060(a) is amended to read: 17 (a) A person commits the crime of unlawful interference with an election if 18 the person 19 (1) induces or attempts to induce an election official to fail in the 20 official's duty by force, threat, intimidation, or offers of reward; 21 (2) intentionally changes, attempts to change, or causes to be changed 22 an official election document including ballots, tallies, and returns; 23 (3) intentionally delays, attempts to delay, or causes to be delayed the 24 sending of the certificate, register, ballots, or other materials whether original or 25 duplicate, required to be sent by AS 15.15.370; 26 (4) intentionally alters or destroys a ballot cast at an election or the 27 returns of an election; this paragraph does not apply to an elections official in 28 performance of duties; 29 (5) intentionally places a fraudulent ballot among official ballots; 30 (6) falsely writes anything purporting to be written by an elections 31 official in performance of duties on the ballot;
01 (7) takes a ballot, tampers with a ballot drop box, or otherwise 02 intentionally attempts to hinder or delay the return of a vote-by-mail ballot to the 03 division; 04 (8) manufactures or knowingly uses a fraudulent return envelope; 05 (9) sells, makes an offer with the intent to sell, purchases, or makes 06 an offer with the intent to purchase, for money or other valuable consideration, 07 an official ballot, replacement ballot, or return envelope; or 08 (10) [(4)] is contracted or employed by the state to print or reproduce 09 in any manner an official ballot, and the person knowingly 10 (A) personally appropriates, or gives or delivers to, or permits 11 to be taken by anyone other than a person authorized by the director, official 12 ballots; or 13 (B) prints or reproduces or has printed or reproduced official 14 ballots in a form or with a content other than that prescribed by law or as 15 directed by the director. 16 * Sec. 7. AS 15.56.060 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 17 (c) In this section, "return envelope" means an envelope used to return a vote- 18 by-mail ballot to the division. 19 * Sec. 8. AS 15.80.010(7) is amended to read: 20 (7) "election official" means election board members, vote-by-mail 21 election board members, members of counting or review boards, employees of the 22 division of elections, and absentee voting officials; 23 * Sec. 9. This Act takes effect January 1, 2023.