Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/25/1994 09:12 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up HB 47 (ABSENTEE BALLOTS - PRIMARY                    
 ELECTIONS) as the next order of business before the Senate State              
 Affairs Committee.  The chairman calls Mr. Anderson to testify.               
 Number 201                                                                    
 TOM ANDERSON, Aide to Representative Martin, prime sponsor of                 
 HB 47, introduces the bill and says the purpose of HB 47 is to                
 insure that absentee ballot applicants for primary elections                  
 receive the proper ballot.  Mr. Anderson states that HB 47 would              
 ensure that if an applicant for an absentee ballot fails to mark              
 which ballot they would like to receive, the Division of Elections            
 would send them the ballot of their party affiliation.                        
 MR. ANDERSON states HB 47 would also prevent a voter from changing            
 their party registration 30 days prior to the primary.  The                   
 Division of Elections believes this will allow for a smoother                 
 MR. ANDERSON states HB 47 has a zero fiscal note, and will not have           
 any substantial financial impact.  Mr. Anderson announces that Mr.            
 Swanson, Director of the Division of Elections is available to                
 answer questions.                                                             
 Number 246                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks how many people, in the 1992 election cycle,              
 changed their party affiliation at the polls or within 30 days of             
 the election.                                                                 
 Number 252                                                                    
 JOE SWANSON, Director, Division of Elections, responds the division           
 does not have an answer to the chairman's question.  However, it              
 was more than a couple hundred people and less than a couple                  
 thousand people.  He will try to pin a number down for the                    
 committee, but those are not records that the division keeps.                 
 Number 262                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN surmises that persons changing their party                     
 affiliation so close to an election would probably be people who              
 were registered as democrats or AIP switching to a non-partisan               
 Number 270                                                                    
 MR. SWANSON responds the way the state republican party rules are             
 written and the current regulations of the Division of Elections,             
 a person who is registered republican can vote any ballot; a person           
 who is registered democrat or green party you are restricted to               
 vote the republican ballot.  Anyone registered non-partisan or                
 independent may vote both ballots.  (People registered nonpartisan            
 or independent may choose either the open ballot or the republican   can  
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN comments he thinks Mr. Swanson misspoke, and meant             
 to say that democrats, greens, and AIP were restricted to the open         
 MR. SWANSON states the chairman is correct.                                   
 Number 282                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER states he would support the first portion of the               
 bill, but he does not support the portion restricting people's                
 ability to change their party affiliation.  Senator Miller stresses           
 again that he has a big problem with that portion of the bill, and            
 says it would be enough to make him vote against the bill if it               
 gets to the floor of the senate.                                              
 Number 293                                                                    
 MR. SWANSON responds not allowing people to change their party                
 affiliation within 30 days before  an election was put in HB 47 at            
 the request of the Division of Elections.  Persons registering to             
 vote for the first time must register 30 days before the election.            
 A person is also not allowed to change their district registration            
 within 30 days before an election.  Mr. Swanson states it is his              
 understanding that people changing their party affiliation at the             
 last minute in the 1992 primary election caused a lot of problems             
 and confusion.  The Division of Elections is simply asking that the           
 same time frame be applied to changing party affiliation as is                
 applied to all other changes made in the voter registration                   
 Number 312                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER states he has a philosophical disagreement with Mr.            
 Swanson, and Senator Miller does not like persons not being allowed           
 to change party affiliation up until the moment they cast their               
 vote.  Senator Miller thinks that since there are not great numbers           
 of people changing their affiliation, it shouldn't be that much of            
 a problem.                                                                    
 Number 319                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Swanson if the Division of Elections                  
 intends to publish and advertise this change disallowing people to            
 change their party affiliation within 30 days before an election.             
 The chairman asks Mr. Swanson if the division intends to have                 
 registrars available in public places prior to 30 days before an              
 election so that persons who wanted to change their affiliation               
 could do so.                                                                  
 Number 323                                                                    
 MR. SWANSON replies the Division of Elections is setting in place             
 a considerable program for advertising, including advertising on              
 RATNET in several dialects.  The division felt that the public was            
 not sufficiently educated in the last election cycle on the split             
 primary, and what the choices were.  It is the division's intent to           
 do as much as possible to educate the public completely on the                
 Number 333                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there are further questions, or if anyone              
 else would like to testify.                                                   
 Number 336                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER makes a motion to discharge HB 47 from the Senate              
 State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                      
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks what committee HB 47 goes to next.                        
 MR. ANDERSON responds the bill goes to the Rules Committee.                   
 SENATOR MILLER withdraws his motion to discharge HB 47.                       
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN announce HB 47 will be held over until Wednesday,              
 April 27, 1994.                                                               

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