Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120
03/07/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS
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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 unchanged. 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 process. 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.