Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/07/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 127 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
            HB   1-ELECTION REGISTRATION AND VOTING                                                                         
4:34:52 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."                                                                                               
4:35:45 PM                                                                                                                    
KENDRA KLOESTER,  Staff, Representative Chris Tuck,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of Representative Tuck,  prime sponsor of                                                               
HB 1,  provided the  committee with a  sectional analysis  of the                                                               
proposed  committee  substitute  (CS)   for  HB  1,  labeled  30-                                                               
LS0070\D, Bullard,  3/6/17 [hereafter referred to  as Version D].                                                               
She reported  the following:   Section 1, which relates  to same-                                                               
day voter registration, would remain  unchanged; Section 2, which                                                               
relates to electronic signature  and options for individuals with                                                               
no  Division  of  Motor  Vehicle  (DMV)  licenses,  would  remain                                                               
unchanged;  and   Section  3,  which  requires   same-day  voting                                                               
registrants to  vote on  a questioned  ballot, also  would remain                                                               
MS. KLOESTER relayed  that Sections 4-7 would be  new sections in                                                               
HB 1  to make conforming  changes to  the sections of  Chapter 15                                                               
related  to  same-day voter  registration.    She explained  that                                                               
Section  8 would  change  the term  "absentee  voting" to  "early                                                               
voting"  to provide  more clarity  for the  public regarding  the                                                               
voting terms  - absentee-in-person  voting, absentee  voting, and                                                               
early voting -  and to promote understanding of  the early voting                                                               
MS.  KLOESTER  said  that  Section  9  would  be  a  new  section                                                               
requiring a voter,  who registers and votes  a questioned ballot,                                                               
to sign  a declaration of  residency with the  understanding that                                                               
falsification  of  information  on   the  voter  registration  is                                                               
considered a  Class A misdemeanor.   She stated that  Sections 10                                                               
and  11  would  address  the   requirements  for  submitting  the                                                               
declaration described in  Section 9.  She  mentioned that Section                                                               
12-15  would change  the terminology  from  "absentee voting"  to                                                               
"early voting".                                                                                                                 
MS. KLOESTER  stated that  Section 16,  included in  the original                                                               
version of HB  1, would provide on the absentee  ballot an option                                                               
for  the applicant  to automatically  receive an  absentee ballot                                                               
every  year.   She added  that Version  D would  include language                                                               
that  an applicant  could  be  taken off  the  list of  recurring                                                               
ballot mailings if his/her address became "bad."                                                                                
MS.  KLOESTER  relayed the  following:    Section 17  would  make                                                               
conforming  changes  for  voter registration;  Section  18  would                                                               
address the definition of electronic  signature; Section 19 would                                                               
clarify "early"  versus "absentee  voting" language;  and Section                                                               
20 would amend  AS 29.26.050 to add a new  subsection (d) related                                                               
to same-day  voter registration.   She explained that  Section 21                                                               
would repeal AS  29.26.050(a)(3) due to the  proposed addition of                                                               
subsection (d) by Section 20.   She said that Sections 22 and 23,                                                               
providing  an effective  date  and  transitional language,  would                                                               
remain unchanged.                                                                                                               
4:42:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH asked  to what  extent Version  D has  been                                                               
coordinated with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.                                                                         
MS.  KLOESTER replied  that she  has been  working with  Director                                                               
Josie Bahnke and other staff  in the Division of Elections (DOE).                                                               
She  offered  that Ms.  Bahnke  could  provide information  about                                                               
communication  with Lieutenant  Governor  Byron  Mallott and  his                                                               
staff regarding  Version D.   She added that  before introduction                                                               
of  HB 1,  Representative Tuck's  staff met  with the  lieutenant                                                               
governor,  his staff,  Claire Richardson,  and the  Alaska Native                                                               
Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Regional  Association to review the                                                               
changes and provide updates.                                                                                                    
4:43:36 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSIE BAHNKE,  Director, Division  of Elections (DOE),  Office of                                                               
the Lieutenant  Governor, responded that the  lieutenant governor                                                               
has been briefed on  HB 1.  She added that DOE  staff has not had                                                               
the  opportunity to  fully analyze  Version D  and attended  this                                                               
hearing  to  better  understand  it.   She  asserted  that  after                                                               
briefly reviewing Version D, she  has identified some significant                                                               
and  interrelated administrative  and drafting  issues but  added                                                               
that her  staff will continue working  with Representative Tuck's                                                               
Office to resolve these issues.                                                                                                 
4:45:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP  said  that  he has  issues  with  same-day                                                               
registration, and he asked if  same-day registration would mean a                                                               
person could vote the same day as he/she registered to vote.                                                                    
MS. BAHNKE  answered affirmatively  and added that  currently one                                                               
must register 30 days before voting in an election.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP  stated that  he  is  not comfortable  with                                                               
requiring  only an  affidavit  declaring  residency for  same-day                                                               
voting.   He  asked  if the  proposed  legislation could  require                                                               
documentation  to  demonstrate  residency,   such  as  a  current                                                               
utility  bill,  a   bank  statement,  a  local   paycheck,  or  a                                                               
government  check.   He added  that he  would prefer  a six-month                                                               
residency requirement  for voting  eligibility in a  district, as                                                               
that would  give the voter  more familiarity with  the candidates                                                               
and issues.                                                                                                                     
MS. KLOESTER replied that there  are states that require a person                                                               
to show a  utility bill or identification to register  to vote on                                                               
the same  day.   She suggested  that Representative  Tuck's staff                                                               
could explore that possibility  with Representative Knopp's staff                                                               
and DOE.                                                                                                                        
4:48:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK, as  prime  sponsor of  HB  1, reminded  the                                                               
committee  members that  a  person  must be  a  resident 30  days                                                               
before the election to vote, and  that would not change under the                                                               
proposed legislation.   He stated that  he is open to  changes to                                                               
the  proposed legislation  regarding  how and  when residency  is                                                               
established for voter registration.                                                                                             
4:49:08 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 4:49 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.                                                                       
4:50:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS stated that HB 1 was held over.