Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/09/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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Heard & Held
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Heard & Held
             HB 1-ELECTION REGISTRATION AND VOTING                                                                          
3:03:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that the first  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."                                                                                               
3:04:13 PM                                                                                                                    
KENDRA KLOSTER,  Staff, Representative  Chris Tuck,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of Representative Tuck,  prime sponsor of                                                               
HB  1,  informed  the  committee  that  a  forthcoming  committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  would amend  HB 1 as  follows:   update outdated                                                               
election   statutes;  make   changes   to   the  same-day   voter                                                               
registration   process;  provide   clarification  on   questioned                                                               
absentee-in-person  early  vote and  the  process  for voting  by                                                               
electronic  transmission; and  improve  the electronic  signature                                                               
3:05:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP  pointed  out   a  discrepancy  in  statute                                                               
regarding voting age.  He referred to  Section 1 of HB 1 [page 1,                                                               
lines 6-8], which  states that a person may vote  at any election                                                               
who is 18 years  of age or older, and Section 2 of  HB 1 [page 2,                                                               
lines  11-12], which  requires a  declaration that  the applicant                                                               
will be 18  years of age or  older within 90 days  after the date                                                               
of  registration.   He  asserted  that  there exists  a  loophole                                                               
allowing  a person  to  vote  before age  18  and suggested  that                                                               
language be added  stating that a person must be  age 18 prior to                                                               
Election Day.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK responded  that  Section 1  refers to  voter                                                               
qualification and  stipulates that  regardless of when  the voter                                                               
registers prior to  turning 18 years of age,  his/her ballot will                                                               
not  count unless  he/she  is age  18  or older.    He said  that                                                               
someone not  yet age  18 who tries  to vote would  not be  on the                                                               
voter register, thus would have  to fill out a questioned ballot.                                                               
He stated  that not being 18  years of age is  a disqualification                                                               
for  being allowed  to vote.   He  added that  the provisions  in                                                               
Section 2 are for an applicant.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP requested  that  Section 2  be reviewed  to                                                               
ensure that  there would  be no  loophole allowing  someone under                                                               
age 18 to register and vote.                                                                                                    
3:08:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX,  in  response to  Representative  Knopp's                                                               
concern,   stated  that   she  thinks   the  voter   registration                                                               
application requires an applicant to  certify that he/she will be                                                               
18 years of age by Election Day.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP conceded that may  be the case but mentioned                                                               
that the voter  registration card does not show date  of birth or                                                               
age,  so  could not  be  used  to  verify  age for  the  election                                                               
3:10:09 PM                                                                                                                    
LAURI  WILSON, Elections  Supervisor, Southeast  Region, Division                                                               
of Elections (DOE), Office of  the Lieutenant Governor, explained                                                               
that if  a voter registers  within 90 days of  his/her birthdate,                                                               
he/she must be 18  years of age to vote.   If the voter registers                                                               
and  receives a  voter  registration card  but  hasn't turned  18                                                               
years of  age, he/she is not  eligible to vote, and  his/her name                                                               
is not on the  precinct register.  If the voter's  name is not on                                                               
the register, he/she  must vote a questioned  ballot, which would                                                               
be  reviewed,  and  a  determination made  that  he/she  was  not                                                               
eligible to  vote.  Therefore,  the ballot would not  be counted.                                                               
She added  that same would occur  if he/she voted absentee:   the                                                               
absentee ballot  would be  reviewed, and  it would  be determined                                                               
that the  individual was not yet  18 years of age,  therefore not                                                               
eligible to vote.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP  asked  for  clarification  that  a  person                                                               
cannot be  added to the voter  register until he/she is  18 years                                                               
of age, regardless of when he/she applied.                                                                                      
MS. WILSON answered that is correct.   For any voter not eligible                                                               
to vote,  the DOE system is  designed not to add  his/her name to                                                               
the precinct register.                                                                                                          
3:12:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK commented  that under  HB 1,  same-day voter                                                               
registration ballots would be reviewed  just as is currently done                                                               
with  early in-person  absentee voting  ballots.   He added  that                                                               
since it  has been a long  time since the election  statutes have                                                               
been  updated, HB  1 offers  conforming language  for changes  to                                                               
voter  registration  across  all   voting  options:    electronic                                                               
voting, voting by mail, in-person  absentee voting, special needs                                                               
voting, and voting by fax.                                                                                                      
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that HB 1 would be held over.                                                                    

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