Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

04/15/2021 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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03:31:48 PM Start
03:35:31 PM Confirmation Hearing(s)
04:13:43 PM SB39
04:49:39 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Governor Appointees TELECONFERENCED
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
        SB  39-BALLOT CUSTODY/TAMPERING; VOTER REG; MAIL                                                                    
4:13:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER  announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL  NO. 39                                                               
"An Act  relating to elections;  relating to  voter registration;                                                               
relating to ballots  and a system of tracking  and accounting for                                                               
ballots;  establishing an  election offense  hotline; designating                                                               
as a  class A  misdemeanor the collection  of ballots  from other                                                               
voters; designating as  a class C felony  the intentional opening                                                               
or tampering  with a  sealed ballot,  certificate, or  package of                                                               
ballots without  authorization from the director  of the division                                                               
of elections; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
He noted  the new committee  substitute for  SB 39. He  said that                                                               
because this is  largely a new bill, he would  go through the new                                                               
sponsor statement.                                                                                                              
4:14:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER read [Original punctuation provided]:                                                                              
     Senate Bill  39, updates Alaska's  decades-old election                                                                    
     statutes,  strengthening  voter  access  and  improving                                                                    
     integrity  so Alaskans  may  regain  confidence in  our                                                                    
     election  system. We  sometimes disagree  with election                                                                    
     results, but rarely  in our history have  we refused to                                                                    
     accept  them.  A  troubling  trend  has  emerged  where                                                                    
     entire segments  of our nation  not only  disagree with                                                                    
     election  results, but  refuse to  acknowledge them  as                                                                    
     legitimate.  It happened  in 2016,  and again  in 2020.                                                                    
     Whether these  concerns are real or  perceived, we must                                                                    
     find  a  way  to  restore all  people's  faith  in  our                                                                    
     election  system   as  it  is  a   cornerstone  to  our                                                                    
     Constitutional Republic.                                                                                                   
     "I began working on election  issues in 2018, involving                                                                    
     the accuracy  of Alaska's election  data and  our voter                                                                    
     rolls.  Problematic  areas  within our  system  created                                                                    
     integrity  concerns  and  irreconcilable  errors  which                                                                    
     limited  citizens from  qualifying  their ballots  when                                                                    
     the  Division  of   Elections  questioned  or  rejected                                                                    
     Alaska's  current   election  model   is  built   on  a                                                                    
     foundation   of  disqualification   and  rejection   of                                                                    
     ballots.  A significant  aspect of  SB 39  is to  shift                                                                    
     toward greater  voter inclusion with  the qualification                                                                    
     of ballots. "Voters should know  when their ballots are                                                                    
     questioned   or  rejected   and  be   informed  of   it                                                                    
     immediately. Ballot  curing is a two-part  process that                                                                    
     includes   immediate   voter  notification   and   then                                                                    
     providing  voters reasonable  time  and opportunity  to                                                                    
     correct   identified   technical   deficiencies.   Once                                                                    
     notified,  the  voter  should have  an  opportunity  to                                                                    
     correct  technical  issues  rather  than  the  Division                                                                    
     disqualifying the  ballot and not counting  their vote.                                                                    
     Curing of ballots is an essential component of SB 39."                                                                     
     Improvements   to  voter   access  required   extensive                                                                    
     additional   work  on   existing  statutes   that  have                                                                    
     contributed  to limiting  all voters.  Before the  2020                                                                    
     elections, only  two states  had clear  regulations and                                                                    
     policies for vote-by-mail procedures.  A new measure of                                                                    
     inclusion  is amending  the current  statute to  accept                                                                    
     additional types  of qualifying identification  such as                                                                    
     Tribal  identification  as  one example.  Alaska  is  a                                                                    
     diverse state,  and our  Indigenous First  Alaskans are                                                                    
     an essential segment with  unique needs not experienced                                                                    
     in   urban  communities.   "My  goal   is  to   include                                                                    
     additional    provisions     for    increased    Tribal                                                                    
     participation   and   for    more   opportunities   for                                                                    
     communities  to  take a  greater  role  in their  local                                                                    
     voting  systems,   just  as  many   larger  communities                                                                    
     already practice across Alaska."                                                                                           
     Consistency  and  standardization  of protocols  is  an                                                                    
     overarching  objective,  and communities  that  already                                                                    
     practice   vote-by-mail   are  enhanced   by   improved                                                                    
     security  and  authentication.  Additionally,  absentee                                                                    
     voting improvements  expand the option to  voters where                                                                    
     they   may  request   an  automatic   absentee  ballot.                                                                    
     Alaskans should  be able  to vote  in the  manner which                                                                    
     suits  them  and  feel confident  that  their  vote  is                                                                    
     secure and counted.  If we shift to one  type of voting                                                                    
     or another we risk  alienating a significant portion of                                                                    
     the  population  and inadvertently  suppressing  votes.                                                                    
     This  is not  a bill  to suggest  one method  of voting                                                                    
     over another. SB 39 addresses  the quality of the voter                                                                    
     data, security standards, and chain of custody.                                                                            
     Another major area SB39  improves is voter registration                                                                    
     roll  accuracy.  Alaska  checks only  a  few  databases                                                                    
     against eligible  voter lists;  SB39 enables  the state                                                                    
     to  clean  the  voter   rolls  more  often  and  cross-                                                                    
     reference   a  broader   segment  of   other  available                                                                    
        databases. It requires third-party supervised bi-                                                                       
     annual audits  of our voter rolls.  Municipalities such                                                                    
     as  Anchorage use  state  data  for their  vote-by-mail                                                                    
     system. It  is self-evident that when  the state's data                                                                    
     is not  accurate, neither is their  vote-by-mail system                                                                    
     based  upon  the over  mailing  of  ballots. There  are                                                                    
     thousands  more  people on  our  voter  rolls than  are                                                                    
     eligible to  vote in Alaska. Currently  the Division of                                                                    
     Elections checks  our voter data with  31 other states.                                                                    
     Why are  we not running  it by  all 50 states?  Data is                                                                    
     also not  checked with many local  and national sources                                                                    
     that would  certainly improve the quality  of our voter                                                                    
     rolls. Do  we want a  60% solution or a  100% solution?                                                                    
     Alaska voters deserve better than what we have now.                                                                        
     A cornerstone to  how SB 39 mitigates  chain of custody                                                                    
     concerns, and vulnerable or  compromised voter data, is                                                                    
     through  a  well-established methodology,  Multi-Factor                                                                    
     Authentication (MFA), and  blockchain technology, which                                                                    
     many of the most  secure institutions utilize. Both MFA                                                                    
     and Blockchain  have been  around for  a long  time and                                                                    
     are  used worldwide  in many  different  ways. A  Biden                                                                    
     Administration  report   and  an   independent  Harvard                                                                    
     Journal  of Law  and  Technology  study recommend  that                                                                    
     states implement Multi-Factor  Authentication and chain                                                                    
     of custody  protocols to strengthen  election integrity                                                                    
     and ensure one voter equals one vote.                                                                                      
     In addition  to Multi-Factor Authentication,  this bill                                                                    
     requires the Division of Elections  to adhere to the US                                                                    
     Postal  Service's best  practice  recommendation for  a                                                                    
     vote  by  mail  ballot  chain  of  custody  system.  By                                                                    
     utilizing the  USPS's existing ballot  envelope barcode                                                                    
     procedure,   voters  can   account  for   their  ballot                                                                    
     anywhere it is  in transit. Citizens should  be able to                                                                    
     track their  ballot from  the time  it is  shipped from                                                                    
     the Division until  received by the voter  and until it                                                                    
     is returned to the  Division. These systems also notify                                                                    
     a voter  if their ballot has  been questioned, rejected                                                                    
     and may  even include ballot curing  procedures. Nearly                                                                    
     everyone orders products online  today. Most things can                                                                    
     be  tracked,   down  to  the  minute,   and  a  precise                                                                    
     location;  we  can  also  do   so  with  ballots  using                                                                    
     election-specific   software   readily  available   and                                                                    
     already in use in many states for ballot tracking.                                                                         
     The platform  for elections security is  a three-legged                                                                    
     stool;  data  security,  accurate voter  rolls,  and  a                                                                    
     qualitative, secure chain of  custody which is achieved                                                                    
     through  Multi-Factor  Authentication.  In  October  of                                                                    
     2020,  a  data  breach  resulted  in  113,000  Alaskans                                                                    
     having  their  personal   data  exposed.  The  Division                                                                    
     confirmed on the  record that the stolen  data could be                                                                    
     used to apply for and  submit ill-cast ballots and lead                                                                    
     to identity  theft. SB 39  addresses these  concerns by                                                                    
     bringing Alaska into the 21st century.                                                                                     
4:20:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER  said this bill is  not in its final  form and other                                                               
committees will have  an opportunity to make  changes through the                                                               
process. He asked Mr. Ogan  to introduce himself and walk through                                                               
the sectional analysis for SB 39, version O.                                                                                    
4:20:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT   OGAN,   Staff,   Senator  Mike   Shower,   Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, highlighted  that version O does not                                                               
ban  by-mail   voting,  but  it  does   establish  protocols.  He                                                               
paraphrased  the  sectional  analysis   for  SB  39,  version  O.                                                               
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     Sec 1. Perjury for false statement about citizenry.                                                                        
     Sec  2.  Includes  tribal ID,  deletes  hunt  and  fish                                                                    
     Sec 3. Makes electronic transmission universal.                                                                            
     Sec 4. Shall (no longer may) adopt regs APA NVRA.                                                                          
          1. Block Chain requirement for data systems                                                                           
          2. Voter authentication process                                                                                       
          3. Alternate process for digital MFA                                                                                  
     Sec   5.   New   voters   multi-factor   authentication                                                                    
     education process.                                                                                                         
He explained that this section directs the Division of Elections                                                                
to instruct voters on how the multi-factor authentication                                                                       
process would work.                                                                                                             
     Sec 6. Adds process  regulation information to existing                                                                    
     registration process.                                                                                                      
     Sec 7. New Section:                                                                                                        
          1. Nationally recognized best practices and                                                                           
          develop protocols to produce accurate voter                                                                           
          2. Utilize nationally recognized expert to                                                                            
          biannually audit rolls, using multiple data bases                                                                     
          to cross check data.                                                                                                  
          3. Allows DOL and DOE to share with others-                                                                           
          including tribal.                                                                                                     
     Sec 8. Mandates multi-factor authentication security.                                                                      
     Sec 9.  Adds notification  requirement to  cancel voter                                                                    
     Sec  10. Requires  a watermark  or other  identifier on                                                                    
     most official ballots.                                                                                                     
     Sec 11. Required  software for electronically generated                                                                    
     ballots to be open-source USA based servers.                                                                               
     Sec  12. New  subsection requires  electronic generated                                                                    
     ballots to utilize multi-factor authentication.                                                                            
     Sec  13. New  Section requires  robust ballot  security                                                                    
     and chain of custody procedures.                                                                                           
4:24:15 PM                                                                                                                    
     Sec  14.  Clarifies  guidelines  for  election  workers                                                                    
     screening voters.                                                                                                          
     Sec  15.  Requires   multi-factor  authentication,  but                                                                    
     exempts those that are unable.                                                                                             
     Sec  16. Allows  tribal ID,  but eliminate  hunting and                                                                    
     fishing license as valid ID.                                                                                               
     Sec 17.  Ends practice of destroying  a spoiled ballot,                                                                    
     and  give  director the  ability  to  mark or  punch  a                                                                    
     spoiled ballot to preserve ballot chain of custody.                                                                        
     Sec 18. Director ay prescribe how to void ballot.                                                                          
     Sec 19. Guides exhibited ballot protocols.                                                                                 
MR. OGAN explained that this provision preserves the integrity                                                                  
of a private vote.                                                                                                              
     Sec 20.  Mandates how the director  handles ballots and                                                                    
     ends practice  of destroying them to  maintain chain of                                                                    
     Sec 21. New Section on Voter qualification.                                                                                
     Sec 22. New Section on when  the Lt Gov can certify the                                                                    
     election and what disclosures need to be made.                                                                             
     Sec 23.  Ballot chain of custody  protocols stipulating                                                                    
     that all  ballots remain in  strict control of  DOE for                                                                    
     22 months.                                                                                                                 
     Sec 24.  New Section  prescribing division  support for                                                                    
     municipal  support for  elections as  long as  chain of                                                                    
     custody  and multi-factor  authentication protocol  are                                                                    
     Sec    25.   Outlining    multi-factor   authentication                                                                    
     protocols to voters.                                                                                                       
     Sec   26.    Prescribes   multi-factor   authentication                                                                    
     procedures for absentee voting.                                                                                            
     Sec   27.  New   Section  prescribing   disclaimers  on                                                                    
     absentee ballot applications.                                                                                              
     Sec 28. Requires  multi-factor authentication protocols                                                                    
     on electronic voting procedures.                                                                                           
     Sec 29.  Changes the application deadlines  to 14 days,                                                                    
     from 10 days, to allow  for earlier returns of absentee                                                                    
     ballots,  to allow  for  better  accounting and  ballot                                                                    
     Sec   30.  Prescribes   new   protocols  for   absentee                                                                    
     signatures  only if  an authorized  oath  taker is  not                                                                    
     available,  and  requires positive  identification  and                                                                    
     contact information,  along with a  statement verifying                                                                    
     why an oath  taker was not available,  and creating the                                                                    
     penalty of perjury for not being truthful.                                                                                 
     Sec 31.  Shortens time allowed for  absentee ballots to                                                                    
     be  received  by  DOL, allowing  for  earlier  election                                                                    
     results.  Matches Colorado,  another state  that has  a                                                                    
     large military constituency.                                                                                               
     4:27:55 PM                                                                                                               
     Sec  32. Voter  inclusion  measure to  allow for  rural                                                                    
     voters to  vote when multi-factor authentication  is no                                                                    
     possible.  May  need  to phase  to  allow  director  to                                                                    
     eventually   require   non  exclusionary   multi-factor                                                                    
     Sec  33. New  Section. Allows  a voter  to sign  up for                                                                    
     absentee voting for a four-year period.                                                                                    
     Sec 34. Guides review of absentee ballot envelopes.                                                                        
     Sec  35. Disallows  removal of  ballots from  envelopes                                                                    
     before close of election.                                                                                                  
     Sec  36. Requires  the vote  to not  be counted  unless                                                                    
     postmarked  or  barcode  tracked  being  mailed  on  or                                                                    
     before  the  day of  the  election;  allows tribal  ID;                                                                    
     prescribes new absentee  ballot signature requirements;                                                                    
     and multi-factor protocols.                                                                                                
     Sec  37.   Prescribes  that  the  ballot   may  not  be                                                                    
     separated  from the  envelope  until  the division  has                                                                    
     determined the voter has not voted more than once.                                                                         
     Sec 38. Ballot cure provision.                                                                                             
     Sec 39.  New subsection:  Guides the director  to allow                                                                    
     the last vote  made to be counted if the  voter did not                                                                    
     intentionally vote twice.                                                                                                  
     Sec 40. Prescribes that the  vote may not be counted if                                                                    
     the   voter   was    able   to   utilize   Multi-factor                                                                    
     authentication,  and   voter  fails  to   provide  said                                                                    
     Sec 41. Ballot Curing Section.                                                                                             
     Sec 42. Chain of  custody language to assure identifier                                                                    
     data is verified.                                                                                                          
     Sec  43.  Expands  grounds   for  election  contest  to                                                                    
     include breach  of voter registration data,  and ballot                                                                    
     accounting irregularities.                                                                                                 
     Sec  44.  Codifies  that   the  division's  failure  to                                                                    
     contact an absentee voter whose  ballot is rejected, is                                                                    
     not grounds for a contested election.                                                                                      
     Sec 45. Allows the director  to conduct mail out voting                                                                    
     in a community  of less than 750  people. Allows larger                                                                    
     communities  to request  mail out  voting. Allows  mail                                                                    
     out voting in emergencies.                                                                                                 
     Sec 46. Puts  sideboards on mail out  voting rolls, and                                                                    
     chain  of  custody  protection and  management  through                                                                    
     block chain.                                                                                                               
4:30:40 PM                                                                                                                    
     Sec  47.  Requires  forensic  examination  of  precinct                                                                    
     tabulators  and  bans  internet connection  before  and                                                                    
     after election.                                                                                                            
MR. OGAN clarified that internet connection is also banned                                                                      
during an election.                                                                                                             
     Sec  48. Criminalizes  ballot harvesting,  but protects                                                                    
     those  that assist  others with  limited  drop offs  of                                                                    
     Sec 49. Defines "collects"                                                                                                 
     Sec 50.  Protects people who are  cognitively unable to                                                                    
     express their vote.                                                                                                        
     Sec  51. Adds  to the  crime of  voter misconduct,  for                                                                    
     those that attempt to corrupt the vote.                                                                                    
MR. OGAN noted that he had omitted Section 52 from the sectional                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD advised that Section 52 talks about election                                                                   
fraud in violation of AS 15.56.060 thereby causing the outcome                                                                  
of an election to change. This crime is a Class C felony.                                                                       
MR. OGAN thanked Senator Reinbold for the lifeline. He continued                                                                
the sectional analysis.                                                                                                         
     Sec 53.  Codifies the crime of  disclosing unauthorized                                                                    
     election data before election day.                                                                                         
     Sec 54.  New Section that asserts  that the legislature                                                                    
     is  the constitutionally  defined  body  with the  sole                                                                    
     authority to prescribe election law.                                                                                       
     Sec 55. Bans electronic signatures.                                                                                        
     Sec 56. Requires  the Lt gov to  notify the legislature                                                                    
     and the public of a data breach.                                                                                           
     Sec 57. Clarifies  what "mark" of a  person that cannot                                                                    
     write is acceptable.                                                                                                       
     Sec  58.  Prescribes  election fraud  training  at  the                                                                    
     Trooper Academy.                                                                                                           
     Sec 59.  Requires a  Permanent Fund  Dividend applicant                                                                    
     to identify  the house district the  applicant has been                                                                    
     a resident I for the last 30 days.                                                                                         
MR. OGAN highlighted that the opt in provision for the Permanent                                                                
Fund is not in version O.                                                                                                       
     Sec 60. Effective date of audit provision.                                                                                 
     Sec 61. Effective dates and applicability.                                                                                 
     Sec 62. Transition regulations .                                                                                           
     Sec 63. Effective dates. Sec 64. Additional effective                                                                      
4:34:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER  directed  attention  to Section  9  regarding  the                                                               
notification  requirement   to  cancel  voter   registration.  He                                                               
explained that  citizens are not  trained to ask the  Division of                                                               
Elections to  remove their  name from the  voter rolls  when they                                                               
leave the  state. He cited  the example  of a former  Alaskan who                                                               
holds office  in Maine  and still  receives ballots  from Alaska.                                                               
Section  9  requires the  state  to  educate citizens  about  the                                                               
process to deregister.                                                                                                          
He  found no  questions or  comments  and solicited  a motion  to                                                               
adopt the CS.                                                                                                                   
4:36:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  moved  to  adopt  the work  draft  CS  for  SB
39(STA), work order 32-LS0204\O, as the working document.                                                                       
4:37:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER objected for discussion  purposes and asked Mr. Ogan                                                               
to share why there is not an explanation of the changes.                                                                        
MR.  OGAN said  he  did  not prepare  an  explanation of  changes                                                               
because SB 39, version O, is essentially a new bill.                                                                            
CHAIR SHOWER  asked if  there were questions  or comments  on the                                                               
SENATOR REINBOLD  said she  had no problem  adopting the  CS; she                                                               
would drill down on it in judiciary.                                                                                            
4:39:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked how the mail-in  ballot provisions differ                                                               
between version A and version O.                                                                                                
MR. OGAN said version  A had a ban on voting  by mail and version                                                               
O switches  the focus  to ballot chain  of custody.  He described                                                               
ballot integrity as a three-legged  stool. It must have good data                                                               
that  is secure,  good ballot  chain of  custody procedures,  and                                                               
multi-factor  authentication. He  mentioned  the Municipality  of                                                               
Anchorage  mail  out  voting  efforts   and  said  there  was  no                                                               
intention to  usurp local  control, but  any community  that uses                                                               
state  resources to  support  an election  must  have those  data                                                               
protection  protocols  in  place  to use  mail  out  ballots.  He                                                               
highlighted that version O expands  the sources the state uses to                                                               
ensure  data  integrity  and  it  directs  that  a  third  party,                                                               
nationally recognized  expert assist  the division with  an audit                                                               
of the data rolls.                                                                                                              
CHAIR  SHOWER added  that  everything that  was  in the  original                                                               
version   of  the   bill   reflected   concerns  from   different                                                               
individuals or  groups. That created  significant debate  and his                                                               
office worked with  groups and local communities  to distill what                                                               
would be  good for local control.  He said that was  the goal all                                                               
along.  Local governments  should be  able  to choose  how to  do                                                               
business as  long as the  elections are secure, and  all Alaskans                                                               
can trust the results.                                                                                                          
SENATOR COSTELLO  said she  was pleased that  mail in  voting was                                                               
restored because  that was  the section  that generated  the most                                                               
emails  to  her  office.  She   stated  support  for  secure  and                                                               
accessible elections.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  SHOWER   emphasized  that  the  bill   does  not  restrict                                                               
municipalities from  having mail  in balloting.  The focus  is on                                                               
cleaning up  the data rolls,  chain of custody,  and multi-factor                                                               
authentication to ensure  that every eligible Alaskan  is able to                                                               
vote and their vote counts.  He said everyone should be cognizant                                                               
of the  two data breaches in  2019 and 2020. "We're  getting data                                                               
breaches as we go in this  electronic world and we must move into                                                               
the 21st  Century to  get to  the point where  we can  secure our                                                               
data," he said. Part of  the effort with blockchain technology is                                                               
to protect people's data. He  described other state's use of this                                                               
technology to track voting data and ballot location on a phone.                                                                 
4:48:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   SHOWER  removed   his  objection.   Finding  no   further                                                               
objection,  the CS  for  SB 39,  version O,  was  adopted as  the                                                               
working document.                                                                                                               
4:48:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER held SB 39 in committee for future consideration.                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 39 Oppose Written Public Testimony.pdf SSTA 4/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 39
SB 39 Support Written Public Testimony.pdf SSTA 4/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 39
SB 39 CS v.O.pdf SSTA 4/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 39
SB 39 Harvard Journal of Law and Technology Article Vol 34, Digest Fall 2020.pdf SSTA 4/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 39
SB 39 - Sectonal Analysis v.O 4.15.21.pdf SSTA 4/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 39
SB 39 - Sponsor Statement v.O 4.15.21.pdf SSTA 4/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 39