Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

05/10/2019 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 71 2019 REVISOR'S BILL TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 123 ELECTRIC-ASSISTED BICYCLES TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 123 Out of Committee
+= HB 115 ABSENTEE VOTING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 142 NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS VPSO & TANF PROGRAMS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                     HB 115-ABSENTEE VOTING                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:32:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  115, "An  Act relating  to absentee  voting; and                                                               
providing for  an effective date."   He said the  committee would                                                               
take up  amendments to the bill.   He noted that  the Director of                                                               
the Division  of Elections (DOE)  is unavailable today  to answer                                                               
committee  questions, so  the  plan  is to  hold  the bill  after                                                               
taking up amendments  to allow for questions to be  answered at a                                                               
future hearing.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:34:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN moved to adopt Amendment 1, labeled 31-                                                                  
LS0213\A.1, Bullard, 5/2/19, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Delete "a new subsection"                                                                                             
          Insert "new subsections"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 4 - 11:                                                                                                      
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
          "(m)  An absentee ballot application must include                                                                     
     options  for a  qualified  voter to  choose to  receive                                                                    
     absentee ballots by mail for                                                                                               
               (1)  all future regularly scheduled state                                                                        
     elections;                                                                                                                 
               (2)  future state                                                                                                
               (A)  special elections;                                                                                          
               (B)  primary elections; or                                                                                       
               (C)  general elections; or                                                                                       
               (3)  any combination of future elections                                                                         
     described in (2)(A) - (C) of this subsection.                                                                              
          (n)  The division may not require a voter who                                                                         
     chooses to receive absentee  ballots under this section                                                                    
     to reapply  to receive absentee ballots  by mail unless                                                                    
     the  voter  has not  voted  an  absentee ballot  for  a                                                                    
     period of four years or  an absentee ballot sent to the                                                                    
     voter under  this section is  returned to  the division                                                                    
     as  undeliverable.  A  voter  may  change  the  voter's                                                                    
     absentee ballot selection under  (m) of this section by                                                                    
     reapplying under this section."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:34:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN explained  that the  current language  of                                                               
the  bill  does not  allow  voters  the  option to  choose  which                                                               
absentee ballots they want to receive.   He relayed that DOE said                                                               
it  spends approximately  $2.50  when it  sends  out an  absentee                                                               
ballot.   He argued  that unused  absentee ballots  are wasteful,                                                               
and it  would save money  if voters could designate  ballots they                                                               
do not wish to use.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN asked  Representative Tuck, the prime  sponsor of HB                                                               
115, if he supports Amendment 1.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:35:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CHRIS   TUCK,  Alaska  State   Legislature,  said                                                               
Amendment  1 would  make a  simple matter  more complicated.   He                                                               
stated  that  Alaskans  who  would choose  to  always  receive  a                                                               
permanent absentee  ballot under HB  115 "would not  be obligated                                                               
to vote on  that ballot unless they miss  a particular election."                                                               
He  said he  wants to  ensure voters  can always  show up  at the                                                               
polls  and vote,  and  not be  limited to  "this  type of  voting                                                               
here."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:36:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked Representative  Tuck if  Amendment 1                                                               
or  a  similar  amendment  had  already  been  heard  in  another                                                               
committee.   She  mentioned  that  she feels  she  has heard  the                                                               
amendment before.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK said  it  is possible  there  was a  similar                                                               
amendment  proposed  to  an omnibus  elections  bill  during  the                                                               
Thirtieth Alaska  State Legislature.   He spoke to  his intention                                                               
to  keep HB  115  simple and  focused on  the  issue of  absentee                                                               
voting.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:37:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked where  Representative Eastman  got the                                                               
$2.50 per ballot figure and requested that he expound on it.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN said  that  number was  forwarded to  him                                                               
from DOE.   He clarified that it only relates  to state elections                                                               
and  not municipal  elections.   He said  $2.50 is  the cost  per                                                               
ballot and said he believes  that includes preparation, printing,                                                               
and mailing.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL posited  that DOE  took the  total cost  and                                                               
divided by the  number of ballots to reach $2.50  per ballot.  He                                                               
said,  "If you  subtracted a  couple,  you may  not save  exactly                                                               
$2.50  per  ballot   since  the  ...  initiation   fee  might  be                                                               
particularly high."   He noted that  there is no one  from DOE to                                                               
confirm that.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN reminded the committee that  the plan is not to move                                                               
the bill out of committee today.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SHAW  mentioned  that   he  and  his  wife  voted                                                               
absentee during the last election and "it was a 50-cent stamp."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:39:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN drew attention to  line 9 of the amendment                                                               
and said it  is his understanding that the language  is the exact                                                               
same as  is in HB  115, so that  even with the  amendment passing                                                               
voters would  be able to  check a box to  sign up for  all future                                                               
elections.   He asked  if Representative Tuck  reads it  the same                                                               
way.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK identified  where language is the  same in HB                                                               
115 and in the  amendment.  He said his concern  is that a person                                                               
who regularly votes by mail could  miss out on a special election                                                               
and  potentially be  dropped  from  the list.    He said  special                                                               
elections  are currently  an exception  in the  bill.   He called                                                               
Amendment 1 "a policy call" about  whether a voter should have to                                                               
check a box for special elections.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:41:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked if  that means  the bill,  as written,                                                               
does not include special elections, so  a person who signs up for                                                               
the permanent list would not receive a special election ballot.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK said,  "Actually,  now that  I reread  this,                                                               
that may be correct."  He  said the bill would probably require a                                                               
special  absentee  ballot  application  to  vote  absentee  in  a                                                               
special  election.   He suggested  the bill  could be  amended so                                                               
that the  language "future  regularly scheduled  state elections"                                                               
is replaced by "all future scheduled state elections."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  noted  that the  amendment  currently  before  the                                                               
committee is Amendment 1.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:43:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL said  his preference would be for  a voter to                                                               
receive all the  ballots for which he/she is  eligible instead of                                                               
having to preselect them because  there may be things that change                                                               
during an election.   He said it is better to err  on the side of                                                               
giving too many  voting options.  He also noted  that it could be                                                               
an administrative hassle  for DOE to determine and  keep track of                                                               
who gets  which ballots.   He  opined that it  is better  to send                                                               
voters every ballot.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:44:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN said  he appreciates the intent of  the amendment to                                                               
give  voters a  range of  choices.   He said  he understands  the                                                               
appeal but observed  that having DOE implement  Amendment 1 would                                                               
invite error  and confusion on  both the division and  the voter.                                                               
He commented  that some  voters    particularly elderly  voters                                                                 
might forget whether they signed up  for a particular ballot.  He                                                               
spoke to  the convenience of  voting by mail in  the Municipality                                                               
of Anchorage.   Arguing that it  is likely to seed  confusion and                                                               
extra  expense for  DOE,  he  stated that  he  would not  support                                                               
Amendment 1.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:46:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  said there  is another amendment  to come                                                               
that  might alleviate  concerns about  voters forgetting  whether                                                               
they have  signed up for  an absentee  ballot.  He  remarked that                                                               
Amendment 1 addresses  that the bill does not  currently allow an                                                               
option  to sign  up  for  special elections.    He  said it  also                                                               
recognizes that some  voters like to go to the  polls for general                                                               
elections  but  only vote  absentee  in  special elections.    He                                                               
remarked  that  those  people  would   be  given  the  option  to                                                               
designate which  ballots to receive.   He  noted that he  has not                                                               
fashioned the  amendment so  that absentee  ballots would  be the                                                               
norm and those  who wish not to  receive them could opt  out.  He                                                               
said if  there is a  concern that  not enough people  are getting                                                               
absentee ballots, that would be a  way to solve that problem.  He                                                               
remarked that his approach is to  include a line on the form that                                                               
would  allow voters  to sign  up for  all, some,  or none  of the                                                               
ballots.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:47:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives Eastman  voted in                                                               
favor  of  adopting Amendment  1.    Representatives Wool,  Shaw,                                                               
Stutes,  Thompson,  and  Claman  voted against  it.    Therefore,                                                               
Amendment 1 failed by a vote of 1-5.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:48:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  moved to  adopt Amendment 2,  labeled 31-                                                               
LS0213\A.2, Bullard, 5/2/19, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 4 - 11:                                                                                                      
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
          "(m)  An absentee ballot application must include                                                                     
     an option  for a qualified  voter to choose  to receive                                                                    
     absentee   ballots  by   mail   for  future   regularly                                                                    
     scheduled  state  elections.  The division  shall  stop                                                                    
     mailing  absentee ballots  to a  voter and  require the                                                                    
     voter to  reapply to receive  absentee ballots  by mail                                                                    
     if                                                                                                                         
               (1)  the voter does not vote an absentee                                                                         
     ballot sent to the voter; or                                                                                               
               (2)  an absentee ballot sent to the voter                                                                        
       under this section is returned to the division as                                                                        
     undeliverable."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN explained that  Amendment 2 recognizes the                                                               
fact that  the State  of Alaska  (SOA) should  not have  to waste                                                               
money on  absentee ballots  that are  not going to  be used.   He                                                               
said the  amendment would make  it so that  a voter who  does not                                                               
use an absentee ballot would  not receive future absentee ballots                                                               
unless he/she reapplies.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:49:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK,  when asked for  his stance on  Amendment 2,                                                               
said he  opposes it.   He said some  people only vote  in general                                                               
elections and,  under this amendment,  would be dropped  from the                                                               
list if they skip a primary  election.  He identified language in                                                               
the bill that  would allow for a four-year grace  period before a                                                               
voter is dropped  from the list due to inactivity.   He said that                                                               
language  allows for  voters who  only  wish to  vote in  general                                                               
elections to do so without being dropped.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:49:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES said  she opposes  Amendment 2  because of                                                               
the current mail situation on  Kodiak Island.  She explained that                                                               
all  mail  on  Kodiak  goes  through Anchorage,  even  if  it  is                                                               
something mailed  by a person  on Kodiak  to a person  on Kodiak.                                                               
She said  Kodiak Island Borough  currently does not  have mail-in                                                               
ballots  but that  does not  mean it  won't in  the future.   She                                                               
said,  "If  the  planes  don't  get in  with  the  ballots,  then                                                               
everybody who  is used to  getting these  ballots in the  mail is                                                               
off the list."   She said she can see  some real problems brewing                                                               
for rural Alaskans who may have mail-in ballots.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:50:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  agreed with Representative  Tuck's stance                                                               
that many Alaskans  only vote in general elections  and said that                                                               
is a reason to only send  them ballots for general elections.  He                                                               
said  the  situation referenced  by  Representative  Stutes is  a                                                               
bigger  problem having  to do  with voting  access.   He remarked                                                               
that the  bill and  the amendments  being offered  already assume                                                               
that the  voting system  is not  broken and  nothing in  them can                                                               
solve that problem.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:51:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives Eastman  voted in                                                               
favor of  adopting Amendment 2.   Representatives Thompson, Wool,                                                               
Shaw, Stutes, and Claman voted  against it.  Therefore, Amendment                                                               
2 failed by a vote of 1-5.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:52:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  moved to  adopt Amendment 3,  labeled 31-                                                               
LS0213\A.3, Bullard, 5/2/19, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 9:                                                                                                            
          Delete "or"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 11:                                                                                                           
          Delete "."                                                                                                            
          Insert "; or                                                                                                          
               (3)  a person at an address to which an                                                                          
     absentee  ballot is  sent under  this section  provides                                                                    
     evidence satisfactory  to the  division that  the voter                                                                    
     to whom  the absentee ballot  was sent no  longer lives                                                                    
     or receives mail at the address."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN explained that  Amendment 3 would instruct                                                               
DOE  to cease  sending  absentee  ballots to  an  address if  the                                                               
resident informs DOE that the voter no longer lives there.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:53:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  asked  Representative  Tuck for  his  position  on                                                               
Amendment 3.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  asked Representative Eastman if  Amendment 3                                                               
relates to  situations in which  a resident receives  an absentee                                                               
ballot addressed  to a  prior resident and  writes "no  longer at                                                               
this  address"  on  the  envelope before  dropping  back  in  the                                                               
mailbox.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   EASTMAN  said   the   amendment  is   addressing                                                               
situations in  which a resident says,  "I got this ballot.   It's                                                               
not mine.   Please stop sending ballots."  He  explained that the                                                               
amendment would allow  DOE to use that information  to remove the                                                               
prior resident from the list.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  said the  amendment makes  sense.   He noted                                                               
the current  bill currently has  two conditions for  removal from                                                               
the  list,  including  items  of   mail  that  were  returned  as                                                               
undeliverable.   He  said  the  bill does  not  currently have  a                                                               
provision for DOE  being informed that the voter is  no longer at                                                               
the address.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:54:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN asked  a question about mail returned  to the sender                                                               
with  a yellow  United States  Postal Service  (USPS) label.   He                                                               
questioned  how the  provision proposed  in  Amendment 3  differs                                                               
from that  official USPS action.   He asked if that  means, under                                                               
Amendment 3,  that DOE  would rely  on a  handwritten note  by an                                                               
unknown person to remove a voter from the mailing list.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN said  that he queried how  many people are                                                               
registered  to vote  at his  home  address and  learned that  "an                                                               
awful lot of people" he had never  met were.  He said he does not                                                               
want to  have to  receive someone else's  ballot for  four years.                                                               
He said Amendment 3  would allow him to call DOE  and ask that it                                                               
stop sending the ballot.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked if Amendment  3 would require DOE  to publish                                                               
and  enact   regulations  about   what  qualifies   as   evidence                                                               
satisfactory to the division.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  said he does  not know  if it would.   He                                                               
noted "evidence  satisfactory to  the division" is  language that                                                               
was recommended  by the  drafter of the  amendment.   He remarked                                                               
that  immediate contact  with DOE  about a  ballot may  be deemed                                                               
satisfactory where delayed contact may not.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN asked  if Representative  Eastman has  a definition                                                               
for "evidence satisfactory to the division                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  said he  does not.   He said  the drafter                                                               
wanted to leave that up to the division.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:57:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  asked for confirmation  that the  version of                                                               
the bill in front of the committee is Version 31-LS0213\A.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN answered correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  read the language  in line 10:  "the voter's                                                               
previous absentee ballot sent under  this section was returned to                                                               
the division  as undeliverable."   He said  he thinks  a previous                                                               
draft  of the  bill  may  have read  "any  mail  returned to  the                                                               
division as undeliverable" so that  a returned voter registration                                                               
card or  any other mail sent  by DOE could result  in the removal                                                               
of the voter from  the list.  He said he would  talk to DOE about                                                               
what it would prefer.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN   said  the   current  language   of  the                                                               
amendment may capture that because  the language "a voter to whom                                                               
the absentee  ballot was sent"  identifies that the issue  is the                                                               
person, not the ballot.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:59:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN suggested  that Amendment 3 be tabled  until DOE can                                                               
weigh in on it.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  said he supports  that idea.  He  noted that                                                               
the wording  "any mail  returned" could  potentially result  in a                                                               
situation  where a  person  seeking to  mess  with someone  could                                                               
covertly get that person removed from the list.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:00:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES REPRESENTATIVE moved  to table Amendment 3.                                                               
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:01:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  moved to  adopt Amendment 4,  labeled 31-                                                               
LS0213\A.7, Bullard, 5/2/19, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 3 - 11:                                                                                                      
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "* Section  1. AS 15.20.081 is  amended by  adding a                                                                
     new subsection to read:                                                                                                    
          (m)  An absentee ballot application must include                                                                      
     an option  for a qualified  voter to choose  to receive                                                                    
     absentee   ballots  by   mail   for  future   regularly                                                                    
     scheduled  state elections.  A  voter  who selects  the                                                                    
     option  to  receive  future absentee  ballots  by  mail                                                                    
     shall provide the division  with the voter's electronic                                                                    
     mail  address, if  any. At  least 90  days before  each                                                                    
     state election,  the division shall send  to each voter                                                                    
     who has  requested to  receive future  absentee ballots                                                                    
     by  mail, and  who has  provided the  division with  an                                                                    
     electronic  mail  address,  notice by  electronic  mail                                                                    
     indicating that  the voter is  scheduled to  receive an                                                                    
     absentee  ballot by  mail for  the election.  A voter's                                                                    
     selection  of the  option  to  receive future  absentee                                                                    
     ballots  by mail  remains in  effect, and  the division                                                                    
     may not require a voter  to reapply to receive absentee                                                                    
     ballots by mail under this section, unless the                                                                             
               (1)  voter has not voted an absentee ballot                                                                      
     for a period of four years; or                                                                                             
               (2)  voter's previous absentee ballot sent                                                                       
       under this section was returned to the division as                                                                       
     undeliverable."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   EASTMAN   said   Amendment   4   addresses   the                                                               
possibility  that a  voter may  not remember  whether he/she  has                                                               
applied to  receive an  absentee ballot.   He said  the amendment                                                               
would instruct DOE to send an  e-mail reminder to voters who have                                                               
signed up for an absentee ballot  if DOE has an e-mail address on                                                               
file.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:02:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  asked  Representative  Tuck for  his  position  on                                                               
Amendment 4.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   TUCK  said   he   opposes  it   because  it   is                                                               
unnecessary.  He  stated an absentee ballot may  only be returned                                                               
by  the person  that  requested  the ballot.    He  spoke to  the                                                               
identification procedures employed to  verify an absentee voter's                                                               
identity.   He said it is  illegal to submit a  falsified ballot.                                                               
He said it is already legal   to allow someone who is a registrar                                                               
to provide an  absentee application to somebody else  to fill out                                                               
to vote by mail."   He noted that one need not  be a registrar to                                                               
do that.  He said it  is a regular practice for political parties                                                               
to send out  absentee applications to party members.   He said he                                                               
does not  see anything  wrong with an  entity making  an absentee                                                               
ballot application available to a voter.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:03:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES asked for  confirmation that Amendment 4 is                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN said yes.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   STUTES  shared   concerns  with   the  following                                                               
language  beginning  on line  6  of  Amendment  4: "A  voter  who                                                               
selects the  option to  receive future  absentee ballots  by mail                                                               
shall  provide  the division  with  the  voter's electronic  mail                                                               
address   She said she receives  enough junk e-mail at her e-mail                                                               
address and  does not want  to be  required to submit  her e-mail                                                               
address simply because she wants to vote by mail.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN commented  that he worries every  time the committee                                                               
adds "one  more thing"  to a  department's to-do  list.   He said                                                               
Amendment  4  feels   like  an  unfunded  mandate.     He  echoed                                                               
Representative  Stutes   misgivings  about  the   e-mail  address                                                               
requirement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:04:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN   said  he  agrees   with  Representative                                                               
Stutes.   He said that language  is not what he  intended when he                                                               
submitted the amendment to the  drafter and agreed that it should                                                               
be optional for a voter to provide his/her e-mail address.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  moved Amendment  1 to Amendment  4, which                                                               
would remove the  word "shall" in line 7 and  insert in its place                                                               
the word "may."  There being no objection, so ordered.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN noted  that Amendment  4 would  not cause                                                               
DOE to  substantially alter  its current practices.   He  said it                                                               
would  simply allow  for voters  who have  provided their  e-mail                                                               
address  to receive  an e-mail  notification.   He remarked  that                                                               
this would be important because  some voters will not remember if                                                               
they have  already applied  for their absentee  ballot.   He said                                                               
the  e-mail notification  would ensure  that such  voters do  not                                                               
take  up DOE's  time by  calling to  confirm or  by submitting  a                                                               
redundant application.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:07:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives Eastman  voted in                                                               
favor  of  adopting Amendment  4,  as  amended.   Representatives                                                               
Stutes,  Thompson,  Wool,  Shaw,  and Claman  voted  against  it.                                                               
Therefore, Amendment 4, as amended, failed by a vote of 1-5.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:08:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  moved to  adopt Amendment 5,  labeled 31-                                                               
LS0213\A.5, Bullard, 5/2/19, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, following line 11:                                                                                                 
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
        "* Sec. 2.  AS 15.20.220 is amended by  adding a new                                                                
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
          (c) Before the certification of a state ballot                                                                        
     counting review under  AS 15.15.450, the director shall                                                                    
     select  random  voters  in   each  house  district  who                                                                    
     submitted absentee ballots.  The director shall attempt                                                                    
     to  contact  the  voter  to   confirm  that  the  voter                                                                    
     returned an absentee  ballot. On or before  the day the                                                                    
     director  certifies  a  state  ballot  counting  review                                                                    
     under  AS 15.15.450, the  director shall  aggregate the                                                                    
     information  collected under  this subsection,  deliver                                                                    
     the information  to the senate secretary  and the chief                                                                    
     clerk of  the house of representatives,  and notify the                                                                    
     legislature  that  the  information is  available.  The                                                                    
     director  shall include  in  the information  delivered                                                                    
     under this  subsection the  number of  absentee voters,                                                                    
     by district, that                                                                                                          
               (1)  the division attempted to contact;                                                                          
               (2)  the division successfully contacted;                                                                        
               (3)  reported voting by absentee ballot in                                                                       
     the applicable election; and                                                                                               
               (4)  reported not voting by absentee ballot                                                                      
     in the applicable election."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 12:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Sec. 2"                                                                                                     
          Insert "Sec. 3"                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:08:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN   said  it  is  important   to  implement                                                               
safeguards  to  ensure  that the  increased  number  of  absentee                                                               
ballots  be used  appropriately.   He relayed  that DOE  found on                                                               
more  than one  occasion during  the last  election cycle  that a                                                               
person in  whose name  an absentee  ballot was  received reported                                                               
that he/she did  not submit an absentee ballot.   He said this is                                                               
of great  public concern.   He explained  that Amendment  5 would                                                               
require that  the Director of  DOE contact a random  selection of                                                               
absentee  voters from  each house  district in  order to  confirm                                                               
that  the  voters returned  an  absentee  ballot.   He  said  the                                                               
amendment does not specify the size  of the random selection.  He                                                               
stated  that the  amendment would  call for  a "check"  to ensure                                                               
absentee ballots are being used appropriately.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:09:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  asked  Representative  Tuck for  his  position  on                                                               
Amendment 5.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK said  he opposes  Amendment 5.   He  said he                                                               
would  like to  keep HB  115 simple.   He  noted that  he is  not                                                               
familiar with  the DOE findings  to which  Representative Eastman                                                               
made  mention.   He  added  that he  does  not  know whether  DOE                                                               
currently has  a verification process.   He noted that DOE  has a                                                               
review process in which it  examines signatures before certifying                                                               
an election.   He expressed concern that Amendment  5 could place                                                               
a burden on the Division of  Elections and could alarm voters who                                                               
receive  a  phone call  that  might  raise concerns  about  their                                                               
ballot.  He said the amendment is not necessary at this time.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:10:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  said  the  amendment appears  to  be  an  unfunded                                                               
mandate that  creates more  duties for  DOE.   He shared  that he                                                               
thinks DOE  is doing a  good job.   He said  he has not  seen any                                                               
meaningful evidence of election fraud in Alaska.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:11:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  alluded  to news  headlines  related  to                                                               
DOE's  reporting  about  people mailing  absentee  ballots  under                                                               
other  people's names.    He expressed  concern  and opined  that                                                               
something must be  done so that it does continue.   He noted that                                                               
HB 115 would significantly expand  the number of absentee ballots                                                               
and thus significantly expand the potential for fraud.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:11:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives Eastman  voted in                                                               
favor  of   adopting  Amendment   5.     Representatives  Stutes,                                                               
Thompson,  Shaw,  and  Claman  voted   against  it.    Therefore,                                                               
Amendment 5 failed by a vote of 1-4.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:12:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  moved to  adopt Amendment 6,  labeled 31-                                                               
LS0213\A.6, Bullard, 5/2/19, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 4 - 7:                                                                                                       
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
          "(m)  An absentee ballot application must include                                                                     
      an option for a qualified voter to choose to receive                                                                      
     absentee   ballots  by   mail   for  future   regularly                                                                    
     scheduled  state  elections.  The division  shall  stop                                                                    
     sending  absentee   ballots  to  a  voter   under  this                                                                    
     subsection upon  the voter's  written request.  A voter                                                                    
     may  request that  the division  stop sending  absentee                                                                    
     ballots at any  time. If a voter does  not request that                                                                    
     the  division   stop  sending  absentee   ballots,  the                                                                    
     division  may  stop  sending absentee  ballots  to  the                                                                    
     voter and require the voter to reapply only if"                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  said he noticed  that there is  no option                                                               
for a  voter who  has signed  up for an  absentee ballot  to undo                                                               
that action.   He opined that  this would be an  important option                                                               
for a voter  to have to avoid  the risk of misuse  of an unwanted                                                               
absentee ballot and to avoid unnecessary DOE costs.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:12:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK,  upon being asked his  position on Amendment                                                               
6, opined  that it is  not necessary.   He said the  bill already                                                               
includes an  automatic mechanism to  drop an absentee  voter from                                                               
the mailing list if the voter votes at the polls.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:13:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  commented that  the committee  should give                                                               
credit to  people for  having common sense.   She  expressed that                                                               
what  Amendment 6  seeks  to  accomplish should  not  need to  be                                                               
enshrined in statute.  She called it "a foolish amendment."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:14:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN remarked  that the bill tells  DOE to send                                                               
absentee ballots  to people  for four  years without  allowing it                                                               
any discretion  in the process.   He said  it is common  sense to                                                               
allow DOE to take phone  calls and written correspondence related                                                               
to requests for removal from the mailing list.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN moved Conceptual  Amendment 1 to Amendment                                                               
6, which he  said would prevent a third party  from signing up on                                                               
someone's behalf to  receive future absentee ballots.   He opined                                                               
that  third parties  should not  be allowed  to submit  forms for                                                               
someone to receive absentee ballots perpetually.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN remarked that the  subject of Conceptual Amendment 1                                                               
to  Amendment  6  is  broadly separate  and  different  from  the                                                               
subject of  Amendment 6.   He ruled it out  of order and  said it                                                               
would  be  too hard  to  get  it down  into  writing  to make  it                                                               
meaningful for a vote.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:15:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN explained  that  he had  worked with  the                                                               
drafters to try and get it into writing.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  told Representative Eastman  that he can  object to                                                               
the rule of the chair and the committee would vote on it.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN said, "I'll  object because it was reduced                                                               
to writing and I want that on the record."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
A  roll  call vote  was  taken.   Representatives  Shaw,  Stutes,                                                               
Thompson,  Wool, and  Claman voted  to uphold  the ruling  of the                                                               
chair.  Representative Eastman voted  against it.  Therefore, the                                                               
ruling of the chair was upheld by a vote of 5-1.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:17:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  said Amendment  6 would allow  the option                                                               
for someone to contact DOE if  he/she wishes to no longer receive                                                               
absentee ballots.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:17:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote was  taken.   Representative Eastman  voted in                                                               
favor  of adopting  Amendment 6.   Representatives  Shaw, Stutes,                                                               
Thompson,  Wool,  and  Claman  voted   against  it.    Therefore,                                                               
Amendment 6 failed by a vote of 1-5.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:18:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 2:18 p.m. to 2:19 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:18:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN announced  that HB  115 would  be held  for further                                                               
review so that the committee could hear from DOE.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB071 ver S 5.10.19.PDF HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/11/2019 9:30:00 AM
SB 71
SB071 Sponsor Statement 5.10.19.pdf HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/11/2019 9:30:00 AM
SB 71
SB071 Sectional Summary 5.10.19.pdf HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/11/2019 9:30:00 AM
SB 71
SB071 Supporting Document-Statutory Instruction 5.10.19.pdf HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/11/2019 9:30:00 AM
SB 71
SB071 Supporting Document-Department of Law Approval 5.10.19.pdf HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/11/2019 9:30:00 AM
SB 71
SB071 Fiscal Note LAW-CIV 5.10.19.pdf HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/11/2019 9:30:00 AM
SB 71
HB123 ver M 5.3.19.PDF HJUD 5/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 123
HB115 ver A 5.1.19.pdf HJUD 5/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/6/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/11/2019 9:30:00 AM
HB 115
HB115 Amendments #1-6.pdf HJUD 5/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/6/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/11/2019 9:30:00 AM
HB 115
HB142 ver K 5.8.19.pdf HJUD 5/8/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 142
HB142 Sponsor Statement 5.8.19.pdf HJUD 5/8/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 142
HB142 Sectional Analysis 5.8.19.pdf HJUD 5/8/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 142
HB142 Fiscal Note DPS-VPSO 5.8.19.pdf HJUD 5/8/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 142