Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/25/1994 09:12 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 election. 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 affiliation. 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 ballot.) CHAIRMAN LEMAN comments he thinks Mr. Swanson misspoke, and meant to say that democrats, greens, and AIP were restricted to the open ballot. 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 process. 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 process. 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.