Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/18/1993 08:00 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE February 18, 1993 8:00 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Al Vezey, Chairman Representative Pete Kott, Vice Chairman Representative Harley Olberg Representative Jerry Sanders Representative Fran Ulmer MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Bettye Davis Representative Gary Davis COMMITTEE CALENDAR HB 47 "An Act relating to the delivery of the primary ballots to persons making application for them when, by operation of political party rule, two or more primary ballots must be provided to the public." HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION HB 49 "An Act relating to facsimile absentee ballot application and facsimile absentee voting." HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION WITNESS REGISTER Charlot Thickstun, Director Division of Elections P.O. Box 110017 Juneau, Alaska 99801-0017 465-4611 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 47 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 47 SHORT TITLE: ABSENTEE BALLOTS - PRIMARY ELECTIONS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN TITLE: "An Act relating to the delivery of the primary ballots to persons making application for them when, by operation of political party rule, two or more primary ballots must be provided to the public." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/12/93 43 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/12/93 43 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 01/28/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 01/30/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 01/30/93 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/04/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/06/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/09/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/11/93 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/13/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/18/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 49 SHORT TITLE: ABSENTEE BALLOTING BY FAX BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN,Brice TITLE: "An Act relating to facsimile absentee ballot application and facsimile absentee voting." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/13/93 52 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/13/93 53 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 01/20/93 117 (H) COSPONSOR(S): BRICE 01/28/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 01/28/93 (H) MINUTE(STA) 01/30/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 01/30/93 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/09/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/11/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/11/93 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/13/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/18/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-20, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIRMAN AL VEZEY called the meeting to order at 8:03 a.m. and noted a quorum was present. HB 47: ABSENTEE BALLOTS - PRIMARY ELECTIONS CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title of HB 47 and invited comments. REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT commented on line 28, page 2. He suggested inserting two words, "if applicable", in HB 47. He spoke of his understanding of HB 47 and requested more input from the Director of Elections, Charlotte Thickstun, who was present to testify. Number 111 CHARLOT THICKSTUN, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF ELECTIONS, discussed her department's dislike of the bill and requested more time to compromise and make HB 47 workable. CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated HB 47 had not been placed in a subcommittee and asked for any comments from the committee. Number 136 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked Ms. Thickstun exactly what she would like to resolve. Number 143 MS. THICKSTUN wanted to eliminate any chance of litigations between parties with regard to ballots. Number 157 REPRESENTATIVE HARLEY OLBERG stated it would be a good idea to pass this through central committees. Number 169 CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if the committee would continue to work on HB 47, and if so, a volunteer was needed. If not, the committee would like to pass HB 47 out, he added. Number 180 REPRESENTATIVE FRAN ULMER requested a proposed committee substitute (CS) be brought before the committee. Number 190 CHAIRMAN VEZEY discussed Representative Sanders working with the Division of Elections on HB 47. REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS agreed. HB 49: ABSENTEE BALLOTING BY FAX Number 199 CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title of HB 49 and asked Representative Kott to submit his information on the bill. Number 209 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated he had a working draft of a CS to HB 49. Number 218 CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked to start the discussions concerning the working draft, and stated the CS must be adopted before it could be passed out of committee. The intention would be to revise the draft in committee, therefore, it would be premature to adopt it, he said. Number 234 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated major changes in the draft CS were to accommodate Alaskans living overseas. The same did not apply to Alaskans residing in the Lower 48, he said, and noted there was a mail service problem, which meant it took longer than domestic mail. Ballots mailed must be postmarked by the appropriate date, he added, and pointed out there was a time provision in statute. The most expeditious mail service was overnight mail, which costs $8, he said. Number 333 MS. THICKSTUN stated the Division did not want to pay out a lot for postage. She preferred to see priority mail used. Number 364 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT felt they could discriminate between those in the U.S. and overseas. Number 386 CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated three questions: "1) Is a qualified voter defined anywhere? 2) Are we extending this right to military and additional persons overseas? And, 3) what is the monitor process on the other end?" REPRESENTATIVE KOTT, in response to the first question, stated designations from existing statutes had not been restricted Number 419 CHAIRMAN VEZEY understood one could not just go to any fax machine and cast a ballot. MS. THICKSTUN disagreed. She said, "You could, but you would have your signature compared with the hard copy previously sent." Number 457 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER questioned whether or not forgery would occur, and asked if the Division was comfortable with this process. Number 474 CHAIRMAN VEZEY restated MS. THICKSTUN'S testimony, and added absentee ballots required witnesses. Number 505 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated it would work like checks and balances, with potential compromises likely, but that the right to vote outweighed those compromises. Number 535 CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (section 104, page 6) required an oath administered by an officer. It was his understanding that an official needed to verify the identity of the person casting a ballot. Number 557 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER agreed there should be verification. Number 563 MS. THICKSTUN added every absentee ballot contained an oath and witness policy. Number 573 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER MOVED to AMEND HB 49 so there were officials present when a ballot was being cast. She also asked for Ms. Thickstun's input. Number 613 MS. THICKSTUN stated her duty to work on HB 49 for overseas Alaskans, and stressed the importance of the bill to accommodate those who needed it. Number 663 CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated it would be addressed in statute and announced the committee would work with Representative Kott on that. ADJOURNMENT Number 692 CHAIRMAN VEZEY adjourned the meeting at 8:49 a.m.