Legislature(1997 - 1998)

1997-04-22 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1997-04-22                     Senate Journal                      Page 1414
SB 183                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 183 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
An Act relating to voter qualification,                                       
disqualification, and registration; to voter                                   
registration officials; to election notices; to                                
mail elections; to certain voting procedures; to                               
the transportation of ballots; and to the official                             
election pamphlet and certain immunity from                                    
liability regarding claims arising from                                        
publication of the official election pamphlet.                                 
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs and Finance          
Fiscal note published today from Office of the Governor.                       
Governors transmittal letter dated April 18:                                   
Dear President Miller:                                                         
This bill I am transmitting amends the state election code to instill          
higher voter confidence in the election process and provide greater            
voter access to ensure maximum turnout at the polls.                           
This legislation proposes to change the election process in Regional           
Educational Attendance Areas (REAA) and Coastal Resource Service               
Areas (CRSA) by conducting elections through the mail.  This is                
expected to increase voter turnout, which has historically been low            
in these areas.  In 1996, average turnout for REAA elections was 35            
percent; for CRSA it was 40 percent.  Under this bill, the Division            
of Elections will mail a ballot to all eligible voters in these areas          
about three weeks prior to the election.                                       
In the 1996 general election, 513 voters participated in the electoral         
process through absentee voting by personal representative.  Fifteen           
percent of these voters ballots were rejected.  This legislation will          
make the process less time consuming, less confusing and provide               
for better accountability.                                                     

1997-04-22                     Senate Journal                      Page 1415
SB 183                                                                       
In an attempt to increase voter participation and voter access, this           
legislation proposes extending the application deadline for absentee           
voting by fax to the day before an election.  Current law requires             
the application to be received four days before an election.  This             
change would expand the opportunity to voters who find themselves              
in extenuating circumstances.                                                  
The legislation also proposes to change the name of the questioned             
ballot to special review ballot.  Many voters have expressed                   
concern and confusion over the term questioned.  This new name                 
more accurately reflects the true intent of the ballot.                        
Other sections of the bill make technical changes to the election              
code regarding the official election pamphlet, public notice of                
elections, and transportation of ballots.  Division of Elections staff         
will be available during the committee process on this bill to offer           
its full explanation and analysis.                                             
I urge your prompt consideration and passage of this bill.                     
						Tony Knowles