Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120
03/09/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS
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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of HB 1, informed the committee that a forthcoming committee substitute (CS) would amend HB 1 as follows: update outdated election statutes; make changes to the same-day voter registration process; provide clarification on questioned absentee-in-person early vote and the process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 definition. 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 official. 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.