Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

02/28/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Scheduled but Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Postponed to 5:30 Meeting>
             HB 1-ELECTION REGISTRATION AND VOTING                                                                          
4:12:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that the final  order of business                                                               
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 1, "An Act relating  to absentee voting,                                                               
voting,  and   voter  registration;  relating  to   early  voting                                                               
locations  at  which  persons  may  vote  absentee  ballots;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
4:12:38 PM                                                                                                                    
KENDRA KLOSTER,  Staff, Representative  Chris Tuck,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of Representative Tuck,  prime sponsor of                                                               
HB  1, explained  forthcoming changes  to HB  1.   She said  that                                                               
Section 3  of HB 1  will be  amended to clarify  the verification                                                               
process  for  individuals  changing  their  voter  registrations.                                                               
These  individuals  must  verify  that they  have  lived  in  the                                                               
district  for  30 days,  which  is  a  requirement of  the  state                                                               
MS. KLOSTER  stated that  Section 9  of HB 1  will be  amended to                                                               
allow  the  applicant  of  an   absentee  ballot  the  option  of                                                               
receiving an absentee ballot every  year without reapplying.  She                                                               
added that if the absentee voter  does not vote for four years or                                                               
his/her address  becomes outdated,  then he/she would  be removed                                                               
from the  list of  voters who get  their absentee  ballots mailed                                                               
automatically.   Those  with  a "bad"  address  may update  their                                                               
address  information with  the Division  of  Elections (DOE)  and                                                               
reapply to get back on the list.                                                                                                
4:15:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP  asked for  verification that a  person must                                                               
be a resident of his/her district  for 30 days prior to voting in                                                               
that district  and that the  proposed legislation  allows someone                                                               
to register the same day as he/she votes.                                                                                       
MS. KLOSTER confirmed that is correct.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE   KNOPP  expressed   his  concern   that  same-day                                                               
registration would  lead to corruption  in elections  by allowing                                                               
someone to  move into a  district just  30 days before  voting in                                                               
the district.                                                                                                                   
4:17:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK   responded  that  currently  one   must  be                                                               
registered to vote  30 days before an election to  vote.  He said                                                               
that the constitution only requires  residency for 30 days before                                                               
voting  in an  election.   He explained  that under  the proposed                                                               
legislation, someone  who moves to  a different district  but has                                                               
not  yet changed  his/her registration,  could register  and vote                                                               
the  same day.   He  added  that if  a  person moved  to the  new                                                               
district  31 days  before  the election,  he/she  still would  be                                                               
allowed to  vote in the  election, because the  constitution only                                                               
requires a 30-day residency.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX mentioned  that for presidential elections,                                                               
same-day  voter registration  is allowed  nationwide.   She added                                                               
that  a  person  who  is  not  registered  to  vote  may  vote  a                                                               
questioned  ballot,  and   the  ballot  will  be   good  for  the                                                               
presidential  election.   She  asked  if  a  person, who  is  not                                                               
registered  to vote  but  votes a  questioned  ballot, must  show                                                               
proof that he/she has lived in the district at least 30 days.                                                                   
MS.  KLOSTER explained  that the  change  to HB  1 would  include                                                               
clarifying  language  for  a verification  process  in  voting  a                                                               
questioned ballot.  She offered  that the process would include a                                                               
signed  statement   verifying  residency,  and  she   added  that                                                               
providing false information is against the law.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX mentioned that  she doesn't recall anything                                                               
currently  in  the  voter   registration  process  requiring  the                                                               
registrant to provide proof of residency.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE   TUCK   responded   that   under   the   proposed                                                               
legislation, a person  would be required to  have verification of                                                               
residency  for  same-day voter  registration.    He offered  that                                                               
voting a questioned ballot updates  one's voter registration and,                                                               
therefore, serves  as reregistration.  He  asserted that same-day                                                               
voter registration,  as proposed  by HB 1,  will allow  a person:                                                               
to  vote in  his/her  new district  on Election  Day  in all  the                                                               
races;  to   re-register  by  updating  the   voter  registration                                                               
records; and to verify residency.                                                                                               
4:22:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened public testimony on HB 1.                                                                           
4:22:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL HAWFIELD  testified in support  of HB  1.  He  stated his                                                               
belief  that HB  1  would clarify  statutory  language about  the                                                               
voter  registration process,  streamline and  enhance the  voting                                                               
process,  and  encourage  more  participation,  especially  among                                                               
young people.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON referred to  the Alaska Voter Registration                                                               
via  the  Permanent  Fund   Dividend  (PFD)  application,  Ballot                                                               
Measure 1 (2016), and asked if  there was an estimate of how many                                                               
people have not registered to vote.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK responded  that the  PFD voter  registration                                                               
initiative will solve some of  the voter registration challenges.                                                               
He  said that  voter  registration  information is  automatically                                                               
updated because  of the PFD  application.   He offered that  HB 1                                                               
would  allow someone  to vote  through  same-day registration  if                                                               
he/she moved  to another district  after applying for the  PFD or                                                               
turned 18 years of age two days before Election Day.                                                                            
4:26:59 PM                                                                                                                    
ALEX KOPLIN,  Kenai Peninsula Votes,  testified in support  of HB                                                               
1.   He offered his belief  that Alaska does well  in registering                                                               
voters, but getting people to  vote is a challenge, especially in                                                               
local  elections.   He emphasized  the  importance of  increasing                                                               
voter  turnout.   He  offered other  measures  to increase  voter                                                               
turnout  might include  allowing people  to leave  work early  to                                                               
vote and extending  voting beyond one day.  He  asserted that the                                                               
absentee voting process is confusing,  and the automatic mail out                                                               
of absentee  ballots would  be a  huge improvement  and encourage                                                               
more  voter  participation.     He  opined  that Alaska  does  an                                                               
excellent  job with  online voter  registration, which  serves to                                                               
energize voters and enhance voter  turnout.  He attested that the                                                               
democratic system works when more  people get involved, and voter                                                               
participation is not a partisan issue.                                                                                          
4:30:28 PM                                                                                                                    
KIM   REITMEIER,  Executive   Director,   Alaska  Native   Claims                                                               
Settlement Act  of 1971  (ANCSA) Regional  Association, testified                                                               
that the  association represents the 12  land-based Alaska Native                                                               
corporations, 121,000  shareholders, and a significant  number of                                                               
descendants.   She  mentioned that  she co-chaired  the automatic                                                               
PFD voter registration  initiative, which passed last  year.  She                                                               
stated that the association supports  HB 1, supports a modernized                                                               
election process, and  seeks to ensure that  rural residents have                                                               
equal access to voter engagement.   She asserted that the younger                                                               
generation  requires new  ways of  communication and  engagement,                                                               
and  it  is "up  to  us  to ensure  that  we  are engaging  those                                                               
individuals, making processes easier  for them, and ensuring that                                                               
we have an energized state and communities."                                                                                    
4:32:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  closed  public  testimony on  HB  1.    He                                                               
announced HB 1 would be held over.                                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 097 ver A.pdf HSTA 2/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 97
HB097 Sponsor Statement ver A 2.23.17.pdf HSTA 2/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 97
HB097 Sectional Analysis ver A 2.23.17.pdf HSTA 2/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 97
HB097 Fiscal Note DPS 2.25.17.pdf HSTA 2/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 97
HB 097 Support Indirect Expenditure Report 2.22.17.pdf HSTA 2/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 97
HB 82 Proposed CS ver D 2.28.17.pdf HSTA 2/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB082 Summary of Changes ver A to ver D 2.27.2017.pdf HSTA 2/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB01_Elections_Bill_Support_022717.pdf HSTA 2/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 1