Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

05/14/2019 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
04:23:20 PM Start
04:24:03 PM Presentation(s): Vote at Home/vote by Mail by Dennis Wheeler.
05:17:56 PM SB100
05:21:35 PM HB132
05:30:13 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 15 Minutes Following Session --
+ Presentation: Vote at Home/Vote by Mail by TELECONFERENCED
- Amber McReynolds, Exec. Dir., National Vote at
Home Institute & Coalition
- Dennis Wheeler, Municipality of Anchorage
Moved SB 100 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 132(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                          May 14, 2019                                                                                          
                           4:23 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Zack Fields, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Co-Chair                                                                                
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: VOTE AT HOME/VOTE BY MAIL                                                                                         
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
SENATE BILL NO. 100                                                                                                             
"An Act naming the Willard E. Dunham Residence Hall."                                                                           
     - MOVED SB 100 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 132                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to the  Alaska permanent fund; relating  to the                                                               
earnings  reserve   account;  relating  to  the   permanent  fund                                                               
dividend; relating to deposits into  the permanent fund; relating                                                               
to  appropriations to  the dividend  fund and  general fund;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 132(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 100                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NAMING WILLARD E. DUNHAM RESIDENCE HALL                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MICCICHE                                                                                                 
03/27/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/27/19       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
04/10/19       (S)       STA WAIVED PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE,RULE                                                                  
04/11/19       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/11/19       (S)       Moved SB 100 Out of Committee                                                                          
04/11/19       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/12/19       (S)       STA RPT  4DP 1NR                                                                                       
04/12/19       (S)       DP: SHOWER, REINBOLD, MICCICHE, COGHILL                                                                
04/12/19       (S)       NR: KAWASAKI                                                                                           
04/17/19       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
04/17/19       (S)       VERSION: SB 100                                                                                        
04/22/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/22/19       (H)       STA                                                                                                    
05/14/19       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
BILL: HB 132                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PERM. FUND:DEPOSITS;DIVIDEND;EARNINGS                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) WOOL                                                                                              
04/15/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/15/19       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
04/25/19       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/25/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/25/19       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
05/11/19       (H)       STA AT 11:30 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
05/11/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/11/19       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
05/14/19       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
DENNIS WHEELER                                                                                                                  
Municipality of Anchorage (MOA)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-presented Vote at Home/Vote by Mail.                                                                  
AMBER MCREYNOLDS, Executive Director                                                                                            
National Vote At Home Institute and Coalition                                                                                   
Denver, Colorado                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-presented Vote at Home/Vote by Mail with                                                              
the use of a PowerPoint presentation.                                                                                           
EDRA MORLEDGE, Staff                                                                                                            
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 100 on behalf of Senator                                                                    
Micciche, prime sponsor.                                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
4:23:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JONATHAN  KREISS-TOMKINS called the House  State Affairs                                                             
Standing   Committee    meeting   to    order   at    4:23   p.m.                                                               
Representatives Hopkins, Story,  Wool, Fields, and Kreiss-Tomkins                                                               
were present at  the call to order.   Representative Shaw arrived                                                               
as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                 
^PRESENTATION(S):  Vote at Home/Vote by Mail by Dennis Wheeler.                                                                 
            PRESENTATION: Vote at Home/Vote by Mail                                                                         
4:24:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  announced  that   the  first  order  of                                                               
business  would be  a presentation  by Dennis  Wheeler and  Amber                                                               
4:24:10 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 4:24 p.m.                                                                                 
4:24:23 PM                                                                                                                    
DENNIS WHEELER,  Municipality of Anchorage (MOA),  stated that he                                                               
works for  Resource Data,  Inc., which was  contracted by  MOA to                                                               
assist  with initiating  and conducting  its Vote  by Mail  (VBM)                                                               
project.   He  maintained that  VBM has  been very  successful in                                                               
creating more  voter engagement, simplifying the  process for the                                                               
administration of elections, and  providing voters with a variety                                                               
of  ways to  return ballots.   He  stated that  he considers  the                                                               
system to be more "universal  return" rather than just VBM; votes                                                               
may be  returned by mail,  there are  six vote centers,  and drop                                                               
boxes are placed throughout the city.                                                                                           
MR. WHEELER said  that the basic concept of the  voting system is                                                               
as follows:   MOA receives voter  data from the State  of Alaska;                                                               
voter data  is matched with  MOA's Geographic  Information System                                                               
(GIS) to  pinpoint a voter's  location to ensure he/she  gets the                                                               
appropriate  ballot; the  ballot  packages are  printed; and  the                                                               
ballot  packages -  over  200,000  - are  mailed  out.   In  each                                                               
package is a ballot, a  secrecy sleeve, voter instructions, and a                                                               
specially  coded return  envelope  for each  voter.   The  voting                                                               
instructions   may   be   customized  depending   on   additional                                                               
requirements  to  be met  for  registration.   The  packages  are                                                               
mailed three weeks  before the election and  returned by Election                                                               
Day via the various methods mentioned.                                                                                          
4:28:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked about ballot security.                                                                               
MR.  WHEELER answered  that each  voter  is assigned  a bar  code                                                               
number for  each election; when  the envelopes are  returned, the                                                               
voter system  can recognize  the identifying  code and  the voter                                                               
associated  with that  code.   The system  can determine  whether                                                               
that identifying  code has already  been used  or if a  voter has                                                               
voted more  than once.   In  that case the  packet is  sorted out                                                               
mechanically and reviewed by election  officials.  He stated that                                                               
there have been instances in which  a voter gets a ballot package                                                               
in the mail, votes the package,  but also votes at a vote center.                                                               
He explained  that because  election data  is not  exposed across                                                               
the internet,  the isolated  vote centers  do not  have real-time                                                               
updated data;  however, the  system at  the election  center will                                                               
catch that  double voting.   If fraud is suspected,  the incident                                                               
will be referred to the  municipal attorney's office or Anchorage                                                               
Police Department (APD) for follow-up.                                                                                          
MR.  WHEELER continued  by relaying  another  level of  security:                                                               
the voter must  sign the return the envelope;  the signatures are                                                               
matched  to election  signatures from  previous elections  - both                                                               
state and local;  MOA is helping the state build  up its database                                                               
of  signatures provided  by the  voters from  the poll  books and                                                               
absentee applications.  The election  officials have been trained                                                               
to  verify  signatures;  each envelope  undergoes  two  signature                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked for confirmation that  every signature                                                               
is verified manually.                                                                                                           
MR. WHEELER  replied yes.   He added  that the  election software                                                               
lines up  the signatures  for review;  the process  goes quickly;                                                               
and the  signatures are verified  as they come into  the election                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  whether the  signature on  the voting                                                               
register at the polling station is used for verification.                                                                       
MR.  WHEELER  responded that  those  signatures  gathered at  the                                                               
polling station  during the  previous poll-based  elections could                                                               
have  been used  for verification  if  needed but  were not  used                                                               
routinely.  What MOA did for  its project was to scan the polling                                                               
station signatures  from the last  three municipal  elections and                                                               
added them to the state signature database.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL suggested  there  might be  software in  the                                                               
future to verify signatures.                                                                                                    
MR. WHEELER agreed.   He said that the  software exists; however,                                                               
MOA decided  not to spend the  additional money on it  because of                                                               
the   understanding  that   every  system   that  used   computer                                                               
verification also used human verification.   He explained that to                                                               
use computer verification,  the computer must be  "told" how many                                                               
different points of reference that  the user is willing to accept                                                               
before flagging it for review.   The municipality determined that                                                               
it could  save the money;  since human review would  be necessary                                                               
anyway, it would  be faster and more efficient to  use only human                                                               
review. The software could always be added later.                                                                               
4:34:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  about  the  cost  of  VBM.    He                                                               
acknowledged the one-time upfront costs  of setting up the system                                                               
and  asked whether  Mr. Wheeler  could comment  on the  long-term                                                               
operational  cost  of  the  system  compared  with  the  previous                                                               
traditional polling station system.                                                                                             
MR.  WHEELER answered  that the  municipal clerk's  report stated                                                               
that in  the 2017 Anchorage  Assembly race, the  election turnout                                                               
was 23 percent, and the cost  was $670,000.  In the last election                                                               
[4/2/19]  the  turnout  was  28.7   percent,  and  the  cost  was                                                               
$646,000.   He offered that  there has  been a reduction  in cost                                                               
and  a reduction  in cost  per vote.   He  mentioned that  in the                                                               
first roll-out of  the new system, the clerk  took a conservative                                                               
approach in  terms of overstaffing  and over-supplying;  the cost                                                               
of that election was $944,000.   He expressed his belief that the                                                               
operational costs  will decline  with experience.   He  said that                                                               
the new  election system uses  fewer personnel, but  the printing                                                               
costs  have  increased with  the  use  of envelopes  and  secrecy                                                               
4:37:28 PM                                                                                                                    
AMBER  MCREYNOLDS,  Executive  Director, National  Vote  At  Home                                                               
Institute  and Coalition,  relayed her  experience with  policies                                                               
and  implementation of  voting systems,  administering elections,                                                               
and  leading  Colorado's  transition to  a  full  ballot-delivery                                                               
system as Colorado's  Director of Elections.   She mentioned that                                                               
Colorado has led  the states in voter  registration rates through                                                               
improved registration processes.   In the transition  to full VBM                                                               
with vote centers, Colorado was able  to reduce costs by about 40                                                               
percent on  average across the  state; the greatest  cost savings                                                               
was  in  capital  expenditures  on voting  machines  -  an  80-90                                                               
percent reduction in cost.                                                                                                      
MS. MCREYNOLDS referred to  her PowerPoint presentation, entitled                                                               
"Vote at Home."   She turned to slide 2, which  read:  "Voting is                                                               
about     Customer    Service....Operational     Efficiency...and                                                               
MS. MCREYNOLDS moved  on to slide 3 to review  a flowchart, which                                                               
indicated that  a pro-voter policy, a  voter-centric process, and                                                               
effective  technology  all  contribute   to  an  improved  voting                                                               
experience.      She   referred  to   the   automatic   signature                                                               
verification  software  and  maintained  that  the  software  was                                                               
deployed in  Denver and  has worked  effectively over  time; many                                                               
Colorado  counties use  the  software.   She  explained that  the                                                               
software can be set to  a high-match setting, which matches about                                                               
35-40  percent of  the signatures;  and the  remaining signatures                                                               
are reviewed by bipartisan teams of election judges.                                                                            
4:42:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked whether Colorado  offers electronic                                                               
MS.  MCREYNOLDS  answered  that  Colorado  has  that  option  for                                                               
military voters and voters with special circumstances.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS asked  for  confirmation that  electronic                                                               
voting is  not available  for the general  public and  asked what                                                               
voter  security  measures  Colorado  uses  to  insure  electronic                                                               
MS. MCREYNOLDS  replied that  military voters  use a  secure file                                                               
transfer protocol (FTP)  site, which includes a login  with a key                                                               
identifier.   The military member  votes on the  computer, prints                                                               
out the ballot, and sends it  in both by mail and electronically.                                                               
If the  paper ballot cannot  be mailed in, the  electronic ballot                                                               
is  tabulated.     She  added  that  the   electronic  ballot  is                                                               
encrypted,  sent to  a secure  server,  downloaded, printed,  and                                                               
processed as a paper record.                                                                                                    
4:45:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MCREYNOLDS  turned  to  slide  4,  entitled  "The  Case  for                                                               
Expanding Vote at Home Systems," which read:                                                                                    
     checkbld Improves the Voting Experience                                                                                    
     checkbld Enhances Security                                                                                                 
     checkbld Provides Options & Choice                                                                                         
     checkbld Empowers the Voter                                                                                                
  checkbld Improves Efficiency in Election Administration, for                                                                  
        Campaigns, & for Voters                                                                                                 
     checkbld Increases Engagement & Turnout                                                                                    
MS. MCREYNOLDS  explained that security is  enhanced because most                                                               
of  the votes  are  on hand-marked  paper  ballots and  centrally                                                               
counted.   She described  another level of  security:   There are                                                               
four VBM states;  Hawaii just became a VBM state  last week.  The                                                               
other three VBM  states -Washington, Oregon, and  Colorado - have                                                               
the  most accurate  address lists  in the  country; they  are all                                                               
members of the Electronic  Registration Information System (ERIC)                                                               
-  a sharing  network among  states; they  all do  proactive list                                                               
maintenance,  address  updates  through   the  post  office,  and                                                               
automatic   registration.     She   explained  the   verification                                                               
processes:   Mailed  ballots are  not  forwardable; therefore,  a                                                               
ballot that  is returned "undeliverable"  requires action  by the                                                               
voter.   The  voter  must  update his/her  address  in person  or                                                               
online to have  a new ballot sent.  The  second verification step                                                               
is the signature verification.   If the signature does not match,                                                               
as  determined by  two election  judges,  the Elections  Division                                                               
mails a  discrepancy letter requesting  a copy  of identification                                                               
(ID)  and an  affidavit.    The discrepancy  may  be resolved  in                                                               
person or by electronic means.                                                                                                  
MS.  MCREYNOLDS offered  that  Vote at  Home  (VAH) gives  voters                                                               
three  weeks  to  research  issues  and  candidates,  make  their                                                               
choices, and return ballots at  their convenience.  Consequently,                                                               
there  is increased  engagement, more  complete voting,  and less                                                               
MS. MCREYNOLDS maintained that VAH  has produced significant cost                                                               
reductions   both  in   capital   expenditures  and   operational                                                               
efficiencies.   She  said that  just  like any  business, if  you                                                               
streamline operations and make the  customer process easier, less                                                               
time and money  is spent on responding to  complaints and dealing                                                               
with issues.                                                                                                                    
MS.   MCREYNOLDS  relayed   that  VAH   improves  efficiency   in                                                               
campaigns,  allowing  them to  refocus  efforts  as Election  Day                                                               
4:50:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MCREYNOLDS  moved to slide  5, entitled "Who Do  We Support,"                                                               
and explained that National Vote  At Home Institute and Coalition                                                               
is a  non-partisan, non-profit  organization designed  to support                                                               
voters; it  has educational materials  on its  website discussing                                                               
processes, policy,  best practices, research,  and implementation                                                               
of VAH.                                                                                                                         
MS. MCREYNOLDS turned to the map  on slide 7, entitled "2018 Mid-                                                               
term  Election  Turnout," to  point  out  election engagement  by                                                               
state during  the 2018  mid-term election;  all three  VAH states                                                               
were in the top seven states  for engagement; all three had lower                                                               
costs for the election.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked why the  other four states in  the top                                                               
seven,  which  do  not  have   VAH,  have  such  high  levels  of                                                               
engagement.  He  asked whether they have  other improved election                                                               
MS.  MCREYNOLDS  responded  that  there  are  a  couple  reasons:                                                               
Minnesota   consistently  ranks   high;  in   2018  it   had  two                                                               
competitive  Senate  races;  and voter  outreach  was  extensive.                                                               
Colorado  did not  have any  Senate races  that year.   Minnesota                                                               
does  not  require  a  voter  to  affiliate  with  a  party  upon                                                               
registration.    Both  Minnesota   and  Wisconsin  have  same-day                                                               
registration  and  other  election  reforms  that  have  enhanced                                                               
engagement.   She added  that three  of the  states from  the top                                                               
seven list  - Maine, Minnesota,  and Wisconsin  - have VAH  as an                                                               
option, but are not full VAH states.                                                                                            
MS. MCREYNOLDS referred to slide  8, "Down Ballot Positive Impact                                                               
of VAH,"  to discuss the benefits  of voters having more  time to                                                               
research issues.   She cited the results of two  studies:  A 2016                                                               
study  in  Utah found  a  5.5  percent  increase in  votes  "down                                                               
ballot" in VAH counties versus  polling place counties.  An Emory                                                               
University professor found  that the VBM and  VAH elections cause                                                               
an increase in  turnout in municipal elections and  a decrease in                                                               
ballot "roll-off"  on statewide  ballot measures  in presidential                                                               
election years;  the researcher  also found  that voters  who are                                                               
getting  their ballots  at home  are more  informed because  they                                                               
have more time to research issues.                                                                                              
4:55:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked whether  there are statistics  on the                                                               
number of people who do not vote down ballot.                                                                                   
MS. MCREYNOLDS  responded that  the [Utah]  study found  that VBM                                                               
voters  were  voting  6  percent farther  down  the  ballot;  she                                                               
maintained  that similar  outcomes were  seen in  Colorado.   She                                                               
explained  that  the  ballot  can   be  quite  lengthy  and  time                                                               
consuming to read thoroughly.                                                                                                   
MS. MCREYNOLDS  moved to  the map on  slide 9,  entitled "Current                                                               
Vote at Home  Status by State," to demonstrate the  VAH status of                                                               
each  state.   Washington, Oregon,  and Colorado  are at  step 5,                                                               
which is full VAH; California  and Utah are transitioning to full                                                               
VAH; states  at step 4 are  those having a permanent  mail ballot                                                               
option with  the voter  needing no excuse  for choosing  the mail                                                               
option; states at step 3 allow  a mail ballot with no excuse, but                                                               
the mail  ballot must be requested  each time; states at  step 2,                                                               
such as  Texas, Louisiana, and  Tennessee, require an  excuse for                                                               
requesting a VBM ballot with an  age waiver - that is, anyone age                                                               
65 or  over may request  a VBM ballot,  but anyone under  65 must                                                               
provide a doctor's  note or proof of a legitimate  excuse for not                                                               
being able to  vote at a voting place on  Election Day; states at                                                               
step  1,   such  as  Missouri,   Arkansas,  West   Virginia,  and                                                               
Pennsylvania, require anyone  requesting a VBM ballot  to have an                                                               
excuse  supported  by  a doctor's  note  or  other  documentation                                                               
verifying that he/she  is physically unable to be  present at the                                                               
polling place,  and the proof must  be submitted each time  a VBM                                                               
is requested.                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  expressed his surprise that  some states                                                               
require an  excuse for an absentee  ballot.  He asked  whether in                                                               
the  states that  adopted the  no-excuse permanent  mail absentee                                                               
ballot  option,  the  number  of   people  choosing  that  option                                                               
increased over time.                                                                                                            
MS. MCREYNOLDS  answered that  it depends.   Montana  and Arizona                                                               
have been at  step 4 for several years; both  are over 74 percent                                                               
VBM usage.   She expressed her belief that these  states would be                                                               
better  off transitioning  to step  5 -  full VAH  - because  the                                                               
election process under  step 4 is the most expensive.   They send                                                               
out most of the  ballots by mail and most of  the voters use VBM;                                                               
however, the  states still utilize early  voting, polling places,                                                               
and the  equipment and  allocation.  She  maintained that  on the                                                               
positive side,  it is a  system in  which voters can  choose, and                                                               
over time, use  of VBM grows.  She said  that under the permanent                                                               
option, knowing the  number of ballots that will  be mailed helps                                                               
a state allocate resources for in-person voting.                                                                                
5:02:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS mentioned  that VBM  voting in  Alaska is                                                               
called  "absentee voting."    He asked  about  the terminology  -                                                               
absentee  voting,  VBM,  and  VAH   -  and  whether  it  makes  a                                                               
difference in the understanding of the process.                                                                                 
MS.  MCREYNOLDS replied  that  she  would like  to  ban the  word                                                               
"absentee" in voting,  because it does not have  meaning for most                                                               
voters; it  implies being  absent rather  than using  a different                                                               
method of voting.   She maintained that  people understand voting                                                               
methods - returning the ballot by  mail or putting it into a drop                                                               
box - and  the terminology used should make it  easier for voters                                                               
to understand.   She said  that "absentee" does not  describe the                                                               
MS.  MCREYNOLDS  relayed  that different  states  have  different                                                               
needs, and  no one solution will  serve every state.   She turned                                                               
to  slide 10,  "Elements of  an  Effective Vote  at Home  Model,"                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
     • Ballot Delivery                                                                                                          
     • Proactive Address Updates                                                                                                
          • NCOA                                                                                                                
          • AVR                                                                                                                 
     • Effective Cure Process                                                                                                   
     • In-person voting experience at Vote Centers                                                                              
       • Ballot drop-off options including 24 hour ballot                                                                       
      • Electronic Delivery for UOCAVA voters & Accessible                                                                      
     • Audits                                                                                                                   
     • Pre-paid postage                                                                                                         
     • Ballot TRACE                                                                                                             
     • Civic Design                                                                                                             
     • Appropriate penalties to protect voters                                                                                  
     • Adjust processing & counting deadlines                                                                                   
MS. MCREYNOLDS pointed out that  the United States Postal Service                                                               
(USPS) is the only entity in  the U.S. that serves every election                                                               
office and  every citizen in one  way or another.   She explained                                                               
that  when addresses  are updated  through USPS,  states may  use                                                               
that data  to initiate automatic  voter registration and  to keep                                                               
its election  addresses current.   She emphasized  the importance                                                               
of an "effective cure process"  for voters whose signatures don't                                                               
match  -  one that  is  transparent  and provides  accountability                                                               
throughout.  She maintained that  in-person voting options should                                                               
be available.                                                                                                                   
5:07:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL   asked  whether  Oregon   offers  in-person                                                               
MS.  MCREYNOLDS   responded  that   it  is  offered   at  limited                                                               
locations.   She added that  Washington and Colorado offer  it as                                                               
well;  California  and Colorado  offer  greater  options for  in-                                                               
person voting.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked whether  every voter in  a VBM  or VAH                                                               
state automatically gets a ballot  in the mail; however, they may                                                               
vote in-person if they choose.                                                                                                  
MS.  MCREYNOLDS  answered  yes.    She  continued  reviewing  the                                                               
remaining  elements on  slide  10:   ballot  drop-off options  by                                                               
mail,  ballot  boxes,  or  drive-up  drop-off;  military  voters;                                                               
audits pre-election  and post-election; pre-paid  postage; ballot                                                               
tracking  systems;  design  of  ballot  and  clear  instructions;                                                               
appropriate  penalties  to  discourage  nefarious  activity;  and                                                               
establishing  appropriate processing  and  counting deadlines  to                                                               
allow election officials to complete the tally timely.                                                                          
5:11:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MCREYNOLDS  referred to slide  12 to point out  the resources                                                               
available on  the National Vote  At Home Institute  and Coalition                                                               
website which read:                                                                                                             
     checkbld Policy & Research Guide: www.voteathome.org/guide                                                               
     checkbld Research Library: www.voteathome.org/library                                                                    
     checkbld Latest news: www.voteathome.org/latest                                                                          
     checkbld Twitter: @voteathome                                                                                              
     checkbld Facebook: NationalVoteAtHome                                                                                      
MS.     MCREYNOLDS     gave      her     contact     information:                                                               
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  referred  to  the  80-90  percent  cost                                                               
savings associated with  VAH and asked whether  it represents the                                                               
ongoing operational  cost of administering a  VAH election system                                                               
versus a traditional polling place election system.                                                                             
MS. MCREYNOLDS answered that the  cost savings cited was specific                                                               
to capital  equipment expenditures.   She  said that  if Colorado                                                               
had not transitioned  to VAH, Denver would have  spent about $15-                                                               
17  million  on  a  new  voting system;  instead  it  spent  $1.5                                                               
million.  The  State of Colorado spent $17-20 million  for all 64                                                               
counties; if it had not transitioned  to VAH, the cost would have                                                               
been $150-200 million  to outfit all the polling  places with the                                                               
necessary equipment  to process  voters and  count ballots.   She                                                               
stated that  the second  largest saving for  Colorado was  in the                                                               
cost of poll  workers; there was about a  60-70 percent reduction                                                               
in the  number of  poll workers required  to staff  the election.                                                               
Other reductions  in cost  involved the  operational costs  of an                                                               
election;  Pew Research  Center  conducted a  post-implementation                                                               
study  of Colorado  in 2014,  which demonstrated  that there  was                                                               
about a  40 percent  reduction in operational  costs for  most of                                                               
the counties across the state.                                                                                                  
5:15:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  whether the  election equipment  that                                                               
did  not have  to  be  replaced were  ones  that processed  paper                                                               
ballots or were electronic voting machines.                                                                                     
MS. MCREYNOLDS answered that some  counties had electronic voting                                                               
with a  paper option; Denver offered  voters a choice of  a paper                                                               
ballot or  a machine; it  varied by county.   She stated  that at                                                               
the point  of transitioning to  full VAH, about 70-75  percent of                                                               
voters were  requesting VBM ballots;  the Elections  Division was                                                               
getting many  calls from  the remaining  20-25 percent  of voters                                                               
wanting a  mailed ballot; this  encouraged the division to  go to                                                               
full  VAH to  make the  process easy  and understandable  for all                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  stated that in  Alaska, the ballots  are all                                                               
paper  ballots and  the voting  machines count  the ballots.   He                                                               
asked whether under a VBM  system, fewer machines would be needed                                                               
because the ballot would be counted as they are received.                                                                       
MS.  MCREYNOLDS concurred  that less  equipment would  be needed.                                                               
She mentioned that in Colorado  the ballots are centrally counted                                                               
and  tallied;   therefore,  less   equipment  is  needed.     She                                                               
acknowledged that  Alaska may not  see the same level  of savings                                                               
as Colorado because Colorado was using many electronic machines.                                                                
         SB 100-NAMING WILLARD E. DUNHAM RESIDENCE HALL                                                                     
5:17:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the next order of                                                                        
business would be SENATE BILL NO. 100, "An Act naming the                                                                       
Willard E. Dunham Residence Hall."                                                                                              
5:18:22 PM                                                                                                                    
EDRA  MORLEDGE,  Staff,  Senator  Peter Micciche,  on  behalf  of                                                               
Senator  Micciche, prime  sponsor  of SB  100,  relayed that  the                                                               
proposed   legislation  would   rename   the  Alaska   Vocational                                                               
Technical Center dormitory to be  the Willard E. Dunham Residence                                                               
Hall.  She paraphrased from the sponsor statement, which read:                                                                  
     Senate Bill  100 names the Alaska  Vocational Technical                                                                    
     Center (AVTEC)  dormitory located  at 516  Third Avenue                                                                    
     in   Seward,  Alaska   as   the   "Willard  E.   Dunham                                                                    
     Residential Hall".                                                                                                         
     The  naming  of  the dormitory  honors  Willard  Eugene                                                                    
     Dunham  who  recently passed  away  on  March 1,  2019.                                                                    
     After  Willard's  years  of service  to  the  state  of                                                                    
     Alaska  and specifically  his  advocacy  for the  AVTEC                                                                    
     Facility  in   Seward,  it  is  appropriate   that  the                                                                    
     vocational training  residence hall  be named  for this                                                                    
     icon of  pioneering Alaskans who  has forever  left his                                                                    
     mark on this great state.                                                                                                  
     This  bill  honors the  work  and  memory of  the  much                                                                    
     beloved and  respected community member of  Seward, who                                                                    
     was a  champion of  the community and  was instrumental                                                                    
     in working to  diversify the economy of  the town after                                                                    
     the 1964 earthquake destroyed much of Seward.                                                                              
     Willard  Dunham worked  for  the  Alaska Department  of                                                                    
     Labor when  AVTEC was founded  in 1969.  His passionate                                                                    
     advocacy  of Seward  convinced  the committee  founding                                                                    
     AVTEC to  be established on  the Kenai Peninsula.  As a                                                                    
     direct result,  the decision was made  to establish the                                                                    
     state-supported vocational training  center, the Alaska                                                                    
     Skills  Center,  in  Seward  where  he  served  as  the                                                                    
     founding director from 1969 to 2019.                                                                                       
     Aside from his  work with AVTEC, Dunham  served time in                                                                    
     the US  Army as  a medic stationed  at the  Eielson Air                                                                    
     Force  Base, worked  with the  Department of  Labor and                                                                    
     Workforce Development,  and served  the City  of Seward                                                                    
     to  help to  create an  impressive record  of community                                                                    
     service   and  employment   projects.  Some   of  these                                                                    
     projects included the  Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                    
     and the  Seward Library and  Museum. He was  a founding                                                                    
     member  of   the  Alaska  SeaLife  Center's   Board  of                                                                    
     Directors,  was  elected  to serve  six  years  on  the                                                                    
     Seward City  Council, and spent  two years  as Seward's                                                                    
     mayor. Willard also spent time  as the president of the                                                                    
     Seward General  Hospital board,  served as  the Chamber                                                                    
     of  Commerce President  twice, served  on  Fish &  Game                                                                    
     Advisory groups and longshore union  boards, and sat on                                                                    
     nearly   every  city   task   force,  commission,   and                                                                    
     committee over a 60-year period.                                                                                           
     Renaming the  Third Avenue AVTEC dormitory  the Willard                                                                    
     E. Dunham  Residence Hall will  stand as a  reminder of                                                                    
     the  inspirational dedication  and  the vision  Willard                                                                    
     demonstrated  for  Seward,  and an  acknowledgement  of                                                                    
     Dunham's achievements, honorable  works, and service to                                                                    
     Alaska for over half of a century.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked about the community's  response to SB
100 and renaming the residence hall.                                                                                            
MS. MORLEDGE referred  to three letters of  support, [included in                                                               
the committee  packet], from:   Jacob  Collins, President  of the                                                               
Rotary Club  of Seward;  Shawn A. Aspelund,  who served  with Mr.                                                               
Dunham on the AVTEC Statewide  Advisory Board; and John V. Crews,                                                               
AVTEC Statewide Advisory Board Chair.                                                                                           
5:21:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS moved  to report  SB 100  out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
note.   There being no  objection, SB  100 was reported  from the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
          HB 132-PERM. FUND:DEPOSITS;DIVIDEND;EARNINGS                                                                      
5:21:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  announced  that   the  final  order  of                                                               
business would  be HOUSE BILL  NO. 132,  "An Act relating  to the                                                               
Alaska permanent fund; relating  to the earnings reserve account;                                                               
relating  to the  permanent fund  dividend; relating  to deposits                                                               
into  the  permanent  fund; relating  to  appropriations  to  the                                                               
dividend fund  and general fund;  and providing for  an effective                                                               
5:21:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  moved  to  adopt   Amendment  1,  [labeled  31-                                                               
LS0799\U.1, Nauman, 5/13/19], which read:                                                                                       
     Page 5, line 21:                                                                                                           
          Delete "33"                                                                                                           
          Insert "40"                                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  explained that  Amendment  1  would change  the                                                               
percentage used  to calculate the  permanent fund  dividend (PFD)                                                               
from 33  percent to 40 percent.   This would ensure  that the PFD                                                               
provided under HB  132 would be about $1,400;  he maintained that                                                               
this amount  would be "imminently reasonable  and defensible" and                                                               
comparatively substantial.                                                                                                      
5:22:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL commented  that he  supports the  amendment.                                                               
He stated that  based on 2018 revenues, 33 percent  would yield a                                                               
$1,142 PFD; 40  percent would yield a $1,384 PFD.   He added that                                                               
based on 2019 revenues, [40 percent] would yield a $1,435 PFD.                                                                  
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  removed his  objection.  There  being no                                                               
further objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL maintained  that  a PFD  formula is  needed,                                                               
which was  his motivation  for introducing  HB 132.   He  gave an                                                               
analogy:  A group  of investors own a restaurant.   At the end of                                                               
the year, they  each get a percentage of the  profit based on the                                                               
performance  of the  restaurant.   If the  restaurant has  a good                                                               
year,  the investors  get more  money.   If the  restaurant loses                                                               
money, the  investors get less or  no money.  He  maintained that                                                               
no  one would  suggest that  the  investors get  a percentage  of                                                               
profit based  on the value of  the building.  Real  estate values                                                               
may be escalating  every year, but the percentage  of profit that                                                               
the  investors get  as stakeholders  in the  restaurant would  be                                                               
based  on  the performance  of  the  restaurant.   Some  day  the                                                               
investors  may  sell  the  building; but  in  this  analogy,  the                                                               
building is  the permanent  fund, and Alaska  would not  sell it.                                                               
He  reiterated  that   the  dividend  should  be   based  on  the                                                               
performance of oil and other mineral resources.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS expressed that  he has some reservations,                                                               
but the conversation about the PFD formula is important.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  stated  that many  constituents  mention                                                               
"running  the state  like a  business" and  finding efficiencies;                                                               
when  a  business does  well,  it  pays  dividends based  on  its                                                               
profitability.    He  recalled  in  2008,  Governor  Sarah  Palin                                                               
approved an energy  rebate in addition to that year's  PFD.  Even                                                               
though  the  state's  economy  was  healthy,  Alaskans  felt  the                                                               
negative impacts  of higher  heating fuel  costs.   He maintained                                                               
that  HB 132  would alleviate  the adverse  consequences of  this                                                               
inverse relationship.   He encouraged further  dialogue about the                                                               
percentage to  be appropriated for  the dividend,  but maintained                                                               
that  linking that  percentage to  oil  revenues more  accurately                                                               
gives Alaskans their  share of the resource wealth  and does mote                                                               
to helps  assist with the  cost of  living than does  linking the                                                               
PFD amount to the performance of  "Wall Street."  He reminded the                                                               
committee  that in  the late  2000s, when  the price  of oil  was                                                               
increasing,  the stock  market was  crashing, and  the PFDs  were                                                               
smaller;  under  HB 132,  the  dividends  would reflect  the  oil                                                               
5:29:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS moved  to  report  HB 132,  as  amended, out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  note.    There  being no  objection,  CSHB  132(STA)  was                                                               
reported from the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                       
5:30:13 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State Affairs  Standing Committee  meeting was adjourned  at 5:30                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB100 ver A 4.22.19.PDF HSTA 5/14/2019 3:00:00 PM
SB 100
SB100 Sponsor Statement 4.22.19.pdf HSTA 5/14/2019 3:00:00 PM
SB 100
SB100 Fiscal Note DOA-FAC-4-11-19.pdf HSTA 5/14/2019 3:00:00 PM
SB 100
SB100 Supporting Document - Letter of Support (Collins) 4.22.19.pdf HSTA 5/14/2019 3:00:00 PM
SB 100
SB100 Supporting Document - Letter of Support (Crews) 4.22.19.pdf HSTA 5/14/2019 3:00:00 PM
SB 100
SB100 Supporting Document - Letter of Support (Aspelund) 4.22.19.pdf HSTA 5/14/2019 3:00:00 PM
SB 100
HB132 Amendment #1 Fields 5.13.19.pdf HSTA 5/14/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 132
PresentationH STA VAH.pptx HSTA 5/14/2019 3:00:00 PM
Vote at Home
HB132 Fiscal Note DOR-APFC 5.14.19.pdf HSTA 5/14/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 132