Legislature(2021 - 2022)

04/29/2021 04:02 PM STA


Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 29, 2021                                                                                         
                           4:02 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Chair                                                                                   
Representative Matt Claman, Vice Chair                                                                                          
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
Representative James Kaufman                                                                                                    
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 163                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to vehicle title applications."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 142                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to eligibility for the permanent fund                                                                          
dividend."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 66                                                                                                               
"An  Act  relating to  voting,  voter  qualifications, and  voter                                                               
registration;  relating to  poll watchers;  relating to  absentee                                                               
ballots  and  questioned  ballots; relating  to  election  worker                                                               
compensation; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 39                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to voter preregistration for minors at least 16                                                                
years of age."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 25                                                                                                               
"An Act  relating to the duties  of the state Board  of Education                                                               
and  Early  Development;  relating  to  statewide  standards  for                                                               
instruction in  social-emotional learning;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 187                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to the  elimination or  modification of  state                                                               
agency publications that are  outdated, duplicative, or excessive                                                               
or   that  could   be  improved   or   consolidated  with   other                                                               
publications   or  exclusively   delivered  electronically;   and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 5                                                                                         
"An Act relating  to sexual abuse of a minor;  relating to sexual                                                               
assault; relating  to the code  of military justice;  relating to                                                               
consent; relating  to the testing  of sexual  assault examination                                                               
kits; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 163                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FORM OF SIGNATURE ON VEHICLE TITLE                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SCHRAGE                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
04/05/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/05/21       (H)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
04/13/21       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/13/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/13/21       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/15/21       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/15/21       (H)       Moved HB 163 Out of Committee                                                                          
04/15/21       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/16/21       (H)       CRA RPT 6DP                                                                                            
04/16/21       (H)       DP:  MCCABE,  PRAX,  MCCARTY,  DRUMMOND,                                                               
                        SCHRAGE, HANNAN                                                                                         
04/27/21       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/27/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/27/21       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/29/21       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 142                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PFD ELIGIBILITY                                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) MCCARTY                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
03/20/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/20/21       (H)       STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
04/09/21       (H)       STA REFERRAL MOVED TO AFTER JUD                                                                        
04/09/21       (H)       BILL REPRINTED                                                                                         
04/21/21       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/21/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/21/21       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/26/21       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/26/21       (H)       Moved CSHB 142(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/26/21       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/28/21       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) NT 3DP 2NR 1AM                                                                         
04/28/21       (H)       DP: SNYDER, KREISS-TOMKINS, CLAMAN                                                                     
04/28/21       (H)       NR: EASTMAN, DRUMMOND                                                                                  
04/28/21       (H)       AM: VANCE                                                                                              
04/29/21       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  66                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ELECTIONS, VOTING, BALLOTS                                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TUCK                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
02/18/21       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/15/21                                                                               
02/18/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/21       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
04/09/21       (H)       STA REFERRAL MOVED TO AFTER JUD                                                                        
04/09/21       (H)       BILL REPRINTED                                                                                         
04/12/21       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/12/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/12/21       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/14/21       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/14/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/14/21       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/19/21       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/19/21       (H)       Moved CSHB 66(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                    
04/19/21       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/21/21       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) 4DP 3DNP                                                                               
04/21/21       (H)       DP: KREISS-TOMKINS, DRUMMOND, SNYDER,                                                                  
                         CLAMAN                                                                                                 
04/21/21       (H)       DNP: EASTMAN, VANCE, KURKA                                                                             
04/21/21       (H)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER STA                                                                           
04/21/21       (H)       BILL REPRINTED                                                                                         
04/29/21       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CALVIN SCHRAGE                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided  a brief  statement  during  the                                                             
hearing on HB 163, as the prime sponsor.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEN MCCARTY                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 142, as the prime sponsor.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 66, as the prime sponsor.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL MASON, Staff                                                                                                            
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on HB
66 on behalf of Representative Tuck, prime sponsor.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:02:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  JONATHAN KREISS-TOMKINS  called  the  House State  Affairs                                                             
Standing   Committee    meeting   to    order   at    4:02   p.m.                                                               
Representatives Kreiss-Tomkins,  Story, Claman, and  Kaufman were                                                               
present at the  call to order.  Representatives  Tarr and Eastman                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
           HB 163-FORM OF SIGNATURE ON VEHICLE TITLE                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:05:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that the first  order of business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL NO. 163,  "An Act relating to  vehicle title                                                               
applications."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:05:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CALVIN SCHRAGE,  Alaska State  Legislature, prime                                                               
sponsor of HB 163, stated that  he had no additional comments and                                                               
welcomed questions from the committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:06:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   KREISS-TOMKINS,  seeing   no  questions   from  committee                                                               
members, announced that HB 163 was held over.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                     HB 142-PFD ELIGIBILITY                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:07:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 142,  "An Act relating to eligibility for                                                               
the permanent  fund dividend."   [Before  the committee  was CSHB
142(JUD).]                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:07:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEN MCCARTY,  Alaska State Legislature, introduced                                                               
HB 142,  as the prime  sponsor.   He explained that  the proposed                                                               
legislation  would  limit  the   Permanent  Fund  Dividend  (PFD)                                                               
eligibility  of active-duty  military members  to those  who were                                                               
physically stationed in Alaska.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS invited questions from the committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:08:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether  the bill would  impact the                                                               
eligibility of  congressional staff  who had  left the  state and                                                               
were living and working in Washington D.C.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY  indicated  that  congressional  members,                                                               
members  of the  Peace  Corps, and  full-time  students who  were                                                               
still Alaska  residents would  still be  eligible to  receive the                                                               
PFD.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  whether  the proposed  legislation                                                               
would  impact an  Alaska resident  who was  stationed abroad  for                                                               
some period of time and had family residing in state.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY relayed  that a  military member  who was                                                               
deployed would not lose PFD  eligibility if his/her base remained                                                               
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  whether someone  who was  deployed                                                               
overseas would lose eligibility.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY was unsure of the answer.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:12:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAUFMAN  questioned  why  the  bill  was  focused                                                               
solely on the military, as opposed to having a broader scope.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY  reported that last year,  $16 million was                                                               
distributed  to individuals  who no  longer lived  in state.   He                                                               
indicated  that  the intent  was  to  reduce  the amount  of  PFD                                                               
dollars sent to people who no longer resided in Alaska.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAUFMAN   cited  the  sponsor   statement,  which                                                               
specified  that  in  2018, $4,900,000  had  been  distributed  to                                                               
service members  who spent more than  180 days out of  state.  He                                                               
inquired   about  the   discrepancy  between   $16  million   and                                                               
$4,900,000.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY  stated that  the $4.9 million  applied to                                                               
active-duty military  members only,  whereas the $16  million was                                                               
distributed  to military  members, as  well as  their significant                                                               
others and dependents.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:14:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY sought  to  clarify when  a service  member                                                               
would  become ineligible  under  the proposed  legislation.   She                                                               
pointed out that some military  members were serving out of state                                                               
with the intent of returning to  Alaska.  She asked whether those                                                               
people would lose their eligibility.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY indicated  that  those individuals  would                                                               
lose eligibility.  He explained  that many people who intended to                                                               
return to Alaska  never did.  He said if  and when those military                                                               
members   return  to   Alaska,  they   could  regain   their  PFD                                                               
eligibility.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:16:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN, referencing a  letter from the Department                                                               
of Revenue  (DOR) [hard copy  included in the  committee packet],                                                               
asked Representative McCarty to  quantify the forecasted increase                                                               
in eligibility for individuals not serving in the military.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY  offered to  follow up with  the requested                                                               
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN pointed  out that  the document  from DOR                                                               
suggested that  paid dividends would be  reduced by approximately                                                               
$8.5 million  if the bill were  to pass.  He  contended that less                                                               
money  wouldn't be  disbursed, it  would just  be distributed  to                                                               
different people.  He asked if that was correct.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   MCCARTY  shared   his  understanding   that  the                                                               
existing  money  would  be divided  accordingly  to  "the  number                                                               
allocated out for the state in that year."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS explained that if  there was a finite amount                                                               
of money going towards dividends  and the denominator of eligible                                                               
Alaskans grew smaller, then each  remaining Alaskan would receive                                                               
an incrementally larger dividend.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:18:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   TARR   sought   to  clarify   the   concept   of                                                               
reestablishing  residency  for  a  service member  who  had  left                                                               
Alaska and subsequently returned.   She asked whether someone who                                                               
had  previously   established  residency   in  Alaska   would  be                                                               
"situated differently" than someone who was new to Alaska.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY said  anyone who returned to  the state or                                                               
moved to  the state would  be considered in an  equitable manner.                                                               
He indicated  that it would create  too much of a?  "quagmire" to                                                               
differentiate between the two.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:21:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked how  many appeals had  been submitted                                                               
against the  denial of an  individual's PFD eligibility,  as well                                                               
as  why certain  appeals  were awarded.    She expressed  concern                                                               
about taking away PFD eligibility from military members.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY   recalled  his  conversation   with  two                                                               
generals who indicated that there was  a lot of incentive to move                                                               
to  Alaska  for  service  members;  further,  that  the  proposed                                                               
legislation  shouldn't deter  that.   He expressed  concern about                                                               
the   significant   resources   that   were   invested   in   the                                                               
investigations  into applicants'  intention of  returning to  the                                                               
state after a permanent change of station (PCS).                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:24:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   KREISS-TOMKINS  asked   how   many  PCNs   were  in   the                                                               
investigation section in the Permanent Fund Dividend Division.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:24:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether  it would be  beneficial to                                                               
discourage snowbirds from renting  out their in-state residences,                                                               
as it could be perceived as a business.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY stated  that snowbirds  were required  to                                                               
return to the  state within 180 days or else  they lose their PFD                                                               
eligibility.   Alternatively, military members could  be deployed                                                               
over 180 days for purposes  of deployment and still be considered                                                               
residents.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked DOR  how much  time would  be spent                                                               
verifying people's intent to return to Alaska.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  agreed.    He  noted  that  these                                                               
questions would be addressed in the next bill hearing.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  questioned  whether the  repeal  of  the                                                               
allowable  absence eligibility  criteria, which  required DOR  to                                                               
consider  relevant factors  of intent,  would impact  individuals                                                               
outside of the military.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY deferred  the question  to the  Permanent                                                               
Fund Dividend Division.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:27:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  recalled   previous  legislation  that  had                                                               
proposed placing  dividends in an  account for  [service members]                                                               
who left the state with the intent  to return in the future.  She                                                               
explained  that if  those individuals  returned  to Alaska,  they                                                               
would then be eligible to collect  those PFDs.  She asked whether                                                               
that concept had been considered by the bill sponsor.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY replied that it had been considered.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:29:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS   asked  whether   the  bill   sponsor  had                                                               
considered  amending  any  of  the   allowable  absences  in  the                                                               
drafting of the proposed legislation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY   said  he   had  considered   making  an                                                               
allowance  for the  commercial aviation  industry but  ultimately                                                               
decided  against it,  as other  industries  would have  requested                                                               
equitable treatment.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:30:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  inquired about the language  "is absent" on                                                               
page 2,  line 1, of  CSHB 142(JUD),  which was changed  from "was                                                               
absent".  She  asked whether the change of tense  was made by the                                                               
bill sponsor or Legislative Legal Services.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY  deferred  the  question  to  Legislative                                                               
Legal Services.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:32:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that HB 142 was held over.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
               HB  66-ELECTIONS, VOTING, BALLOTS                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:33:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL NO.  66, "An  Act relating to  voting, voter                                                               
qualifications,   and  voter   registration;  relating   to  poll                                                               
watchers; relating  to absentee  ballots and  questioned ballots;                                                               
relating to  election worker compensation;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."  [Before the committee was CSHB 66(JUD).                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:34:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CHRIS  TUCK,   Alaska  State  Legislature,  prime                                                               
sponsor, introduced  HB 66.   He presented the  sponsor statement                                                               
[included  in  the  committee  packet],  which  read  as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
       In November of 2020, over 361,000 Alaskans voted.                                                                        
      Never in Alaska's history have so many people cast a                                                                      
     ballot in an election.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     House  Bill 66  seeks to  build on  the success  of the                                                                    
     2020  election   by  making   permanent  some   of  the                                                                    
     temporary  changes  put  in place  to  ensure  Alaskans                                                                    
     could  vote safely.  These changes  include eliminating                                                                    
     the witness requirement for absentee  ballots and a pay                                                                    
     increase for election workers up to $15 per hour.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     HB 66  also seeks to  modernize elections in  Alaska by                                                                    
     allowing  electronic  signatures   and  same-day  voter                                                                    
     registration. The  bill also requires  absentee ballots                                                                    
     to be counted  as they are received  instead of waiting                                                                    
     until after the polls close  on election day. This will                                                                    
     speed  up   the  release  of  more   complete  election                                                                    
     results.                                                                                                                   
     Other provisions in House Bill 66 include:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     ? Creating an option  for permanent absentee voting for                                                                    
     individuals  that  plan  to   vote  by  mail  in  every                                                                    
     election.                                                                                                                  
     ? Requiring the Division of  Elections to offer a voter                                                                    
     the option to fix a  mailed-in absentee ballot if there                                                                    
     are errors.                                                                                                                
     ? Calling  for the  same early  voting locations  to be                                                                    
     available during every election.                                                                                           
     ?  Clarifying  that  candidates and  groups  sponsoring                                                                    
     ballot initiatives can have poll watchers.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     The  overarching  goal  behind   HB  66  is  to  remove                                                                    
     barriers to the  ballot box at every  stage of Alaska's                                                                    
     elections. HB 66  will make it more  convenient to vote                                                                    
     before  election day  and  make it  easier  to vote  on                                                                    
     election day.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK reported  that  on November  3, 2020,  there                                                               
were  27,686  absentee  in-person  votes;  98,816  male  absentee                                                               
votes;  53,229 early  in-person  votes; 12,026  votes via  online                                                               
delivery;  48 votes  via fax;  and 1,847  special needs  ballots.                                                               
Overall, 46 percent  of the votes cast in the  2020 United States                                                               
presidential  election were  submitted  by  mail.   Additionally,                                                               
nationwide, the share  of voters casting ballots  on election day                                                               
fell from 60 percent in 2016 to 28 percent in 2020.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:38:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS invited questions from the committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:39:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE sought  to clarify  the difference  between                                                               
early  absentee voting  and absentee  voting.   Additionally, she                                                               
inquired  about  the  bill sponsor's  intent  for  the  provision                                                               
regarding polling locations in the proposed legislation.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  relayed that in  the 2014 election,  many of                                                               
the polling  locations in rural Alaska  had been moved.   He said                                                               
the  intent  was to  ensure  that  once  a polling  location  was                                                               
established  after   redistricting,  it  would  remain   in  that                                                               
specific precinct  to avoid  any uncertainty.   He  addressed in-                                                               
person  absentee voting,  explaining that  it was  akin to  early                                                               
voting.  The  only difference, he said, was that  with true early                                                               
voting,  which  was  only available  in  Juneau,  Anchorage,  and                                                               
Fairbanks,  the ballots  were  counted  immediately, whereas  in-                                                               
person  absentee  votes  were counted  later  because  they  were                                                               
treated as an  absentee ballot.  He emphasized  the importance of                                                               
clarifying  the   terminology  because  in  the   2014  and  2016                                                               
elections,  voters who  wanted to  submit  an in-person  absentee                                                               
ballot  were turned  away by  poll  workers in  rural Alaska  who                                                               
thought the voters  had to be absent to participate.   He further                                                               
noted that there were components  of the bill that would increase                                                               
the minimum wage  for poll workers and improve  their training by                                                               
the Division of Elections (DOE).                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS informed  the committee  that early  voting                                                               
occurred wherever  there was a DOE  office; consequently, Juneau,                                                               
Anchorage, Fairbanks,  and Nome  were the  only places  in Alaska                                                               
where people could participate in early voting.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked whether there was  statutory language                                                               
that  specified  the  protocols  DOE  would  take  if  a  polling                                                               
location needed to change.   She shared a personal anecdote about                                                               
a polling location  in her district that had been  moved prior to                                                               
an election due to the pandemic.   She recalled that DOE had been                                                               
scrambling because within  a month before the  election, at least                                                               
nine polling  locations had  to be relocated.   Further,  DOE had                                                               
communicated  to  Representative   Vance  that  the  notification                                                               
system consisted  of a postcard in  the mail.  She  asked whether                                                               
any  guidance  or protocols  existed  to  prevent confusion  when                                                               
those situations occurred.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:44:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said the  experience shared by Representative                                                               
Vance  highlighted  the  importance  of  maintaining  established                                                               
polling  locations.   He directed  attention to  AS 15.20.045(b),                                                               
noting  that it  was the  only statute  that addressed  [location                                                               
changes].   He  indicated  that under  the proposed  legislation,                                                               
polling locations would be designated  to a specific place for 10                                                               
years,  which  would  discourage   DOE  from  choosing  temporary                                                               
locations.   He said  the bill  would implement  concrete polling                                                               
locations; however,  if a relocation  had to occur, DOE  would be                                                               
required to  notify the public  in writing, as specified  on page                                                               
8, lines 19-21 of CSHB 66(JUD).                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  shared  a   personal  anecdote  about  her                                                               
district and  expressed interest in clarifying  the requirements,                                                               
as  well  as  implementing  proper   notification  methods  if  a                                                               
location were to change.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK welcomed further  discussion on the issue and                                                               
agreed that protocols should be followed.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:49:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked  how people would be  notified of an                                                               
opportunity to cure a ballot.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK directed  attention  to Section  28 of  CSHB
66(JUD),  which indicated  that  voters would  be  notified of  a                                                               
rejected ballot by  mail.   Additionally,  the notification would                                                               
include an explanation of how to  cure the ballot.  He noted that                                                               
Section 30 outlined the ballot curing process.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN pointed  out that  voters were  contacted                                                               
about  ballot  curing  via  phone,   electronic  mail,  and  text                                                               
message.    He  asked  whether the  bill  sponsor  would  support                                                               
utilizing  those  same methods  to  notify  voters of  a  polling                                                               
location change.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  stated that  he would be  open to  the idea.                                                               
He shared his  understanding that people were  informed of ballot                                                               
curing opportunities by mail.  He  said he didn't want to replace                                                               
the  by-mail notification;  however, it  could be  augmented with                                                               
the other methods.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:52:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN, referring  to Section  28, claimed  that                                                               
notification by mail  was not included in the bill  language.  He                                                               
asked  why  it was  not  included  as  an alternative  option  to                                                               
telephone, electronic mail, or text message.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  contended that  on  page  13, lines  16-18,                                                               
Section   28  specified   that   in  addition   to  mailing   the                                                               
notification,  the director  could notify  a voter  by telephone,                                                               
electronic mail, or text message.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS shared  a  personal  anecdote about  ballot                                                               
curing.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  referenced the language on  page 13, line                                                               
17,  which  stated  that  the  director may  notify  a  voter  by                                                               
telephone, electronic mail,  or text message.   He questioned why                                                               
"may" was used instead of "shall."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  explained that the by-mail  notification was                                                               
required  whereas  the  notification  via  telephone,  electronic                                                               
mail, or text message was to  augment the mailed notice.  He said                                                               
he had  no problem  with "may"  or "shall;"  however, he  said he                                                               
would  want  to hear  from  the  department before  amending  the                                                               
current language.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:56:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL  MASON, Staff,  Representative Chris  Tuck, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, stated that the mailing  requirement was included in                                                               
the  language  at the  request  of  the  department.   The  other                                                               
methods of contact  offered additional flexibility, he  said.  He                                                               
explained that  the department was  enthusiastic about  using the                                                               
other notification methods  as they were available, but  not as a                                                               
required form of contact for every person.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether the director  would only be                                                               
permitted  to send  a  text  message to  voters  who he/she  knew                                                               
personally.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK clarified  that the  director could  utilize                                                               
the  augmented methods  of contact  for the  voters who  provided                                                               
that information.   He said notification by  telephone, email, or                                                               
text  message  would  not  be required  to  avoid  the  mandatory                                                               
inclusion  of  a  phone  number   and  email  address  on  ballot                                                               
applications.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:57:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR inquired about  adding a provision to address                                                               
voters for whom English was a Second Language (ELS).                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  pointed out  that the ballot  curing process                                                               
included  the option  of  correcting a  ballot  in person,  which                                                               
could  be   helpful  for  non-native  speakers   of  the  English                                                               
language.   Nonetheless, he pondered  how to accommodate  a voter                                                               
for  whom English  was a  Second Language  who needed  to cure  a                                                               
rejected absentee ballot from the convenience of his/her home.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:00:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY,  referring to Section 28,  sought to verify                                                               
that voters  who were  notified of a  rejected ballot  would have                                                               
enough time to send in a cured ballot that would be counted.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  answered yes.   He shared  his understanding                                                               
that  typically, post  offices put  a  date stamp  on ballots  to                                                               
ensure that they  arrived in a timely manner.   He added that DOE                                                               
and local post offices were  well coordinated during the election                                                               
cycle.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY inquired about the deadlines.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MASON directed  attention to  page 13,  lines 14-15  of CSHB
66(JUD),  which specified  that notice  must be  sent a  voter no                                                               
later than  three days  after a  ballot had  been rejected.   The                                                               
voter  would have  until  the  tenth day  after  the election  to                                                               
complete  the  curing process,  he  said.    In response  to  the                                                               
previous  question from  Representative Tarr,  he explained  that                                                               
ballots  could be  cured in  person  or via  an affidavit,  which                                                               
could be used to attest to the ELS component.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
5:04:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY, referencing subparagraph  (G) on page 15 of                                                               
CSHB 66(JUD), inquired about the cost of postage.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  explained that larger ballots  required more                                                               
postage than a  first-class stamp, which was  the typical postage                                                               
required for the average ballot.   He believed that sometimes, if                                                               
the first-class  stamp was  not enough  postage, DOE  would incur                                                               
the  extra cost.   He  noted that  postage-paid return  envelopes                                                               
would   be  provided   for  all   ballots   under  the   proposed                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:05:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  whether the  bill sponsor  had given                                                               
any thought to the existing  prohibition on "ballot selfies."  He                                                               
noted  that  ballot  selfies   were  still  technically  illegal,                                                               
despite DOE's expressed intent against enforcing that statute.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  explained  that  the purpose  of  taking  a                                                               
picture with  one's ballot was to  encourage people to vote.   He                                                               
said he was supportive of furthering that sentiment.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS shared  his  belief  that useless  statutes                                                               
should be "retired."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
5:06:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN  inquired about  the intent of  Section 5.                                                               
He  sought to  confirm that  it would  require the  voter's party                                                               
affiliation to be reflected on the envelope.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  explained that presently, when  applying for                                                               
an  absentee ballot,  people  had the  option  of changing  their                                                               
party  affiliation  on the  same  application.   Essentially,  he                                                               
said, Section 5 would add that in statute.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAUFMAN asked  whether  filling  out the  portion                                                               
pertaining to party affiliation would be required.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK said  no,  it  would not  be  required.   He                                                               
explained  that  because the  PFD  was  accompanied by  automatic                                                               
voter   registration,  this   would  provide   people  with   the                                                               
opportunity  to make  a declaration  of  their party  affiliation                                                               
immediately.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN,  referencing Section 33,  which pertained                                                               
to compensation  for election  workers, asked  whether volunteers                                                               
would be prohibited.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK deferred the question to DOE.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:09:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  questioned  why   the  hourly  wage  for                                                               
different positions varied from $12.50 to $15.50.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. MASON  said the pay scale  was based on the  compensation for                                                               
election  workers in  different states.   He  reported that  many                                                               
jurisdictions set the  minimum wage at $15 for poll  workers.  He                                                               
noted that  the hourly  pay of  $12.50 in  paragraph (6)  was for                                                               
extra  election  day  and election  night  workers;  however,  he                                                               
wouldn't be opposed to paying them $15.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  how this  would impact  the fiscal                                                               
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK   said  presently,   the  fiscal   note  was                                                               
indeterminate.    Referencing  the  fiscal  note's  analysis,  he                                                               
explained  that there  would be  costs  of approximately  $66,600                                                               
associated with  return postage for by-mail  ballots and $138,600                                                               
for reprinting  of absentee by-mail, absentee  in-person, special                                                               
needs, and questioned  ballot envelopes.  He noted  that the cost                                                               
of election worker compensation had not been estimated.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN revisited the topic  of ballot curing.  He                                                               
asked   how  a   partial  ballot   rejection  would   affect  the                                                               
notification process.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK was  unsure of  whether a  partial rejection                                                               
existed.   He understood that  any error that prevented  a ballot                                                               
from  being  opened or  counted  would  cause  the ballot  to  be                                                               
rejected.  There could be one  error or multiple errors, he said,                                                               
both of which would lead to a rejection.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
5:12:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN inquired  about curing  ballots that  had                                                               
been partially counted.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  believed  that Representative  Eastman  was                                                               
referring to  a questioned ballot.   He considered a  scenario in                                                               
which a  newly registered voter  in this  state could vote  for a                                                               
presidential  candidate per  federal law  but could  not vote  on                                                               
anything beyond that  if the person lacked a  30-day residency in                                                               
Alaska.   He contemplated  how that  ballot could  be cured.   He                                                               
shared a  personal anecdote.   He  shared his  understanding that                                                               
voting by mail could be the  solution for a person who was voting                                                               
in the wrong location.  He deferred the question to DOE.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR MASON  clarified that ballot  curing was for minor  mistakes -                                                               
not for changing votes or adding votes after an election.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:16:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether  ballot curing  should only                                                               
be  available  for  absentee  by-mail   ballots,  as  opposed  to                                                               
absentee in-person.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  opined that it  should be available  for any                                                               
absentee ballot that was rejected due to technical error.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MASON  clarified that  ballot curing did  not apply  to early                                                               
voting,  as those  ballots  were anonymous.    He explained  that                                                               
curing  rejected  absentee  ballots  allowed voters  to  fix  the                                                               
technical mistakes that were separate from the ballot.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:18:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  noted  that  curing  was  associated  with                                                               
absentee ballots  because the by-mail process  was what presented                                                               
the opportunity for technical errors to exist.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:18:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN described  a high-integrity voting process                                                               
as  one with  a high  degree of  traceability in  terms of  voter                                                               
identification.    He  asked  how  the  bill  would  ensure  that                                                               
electronic  voter  registration  and other  aspects  of  absentee                                                               
voting had  the same degree  of "integrity" that was  inherent to                                                               
in-person voting.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  said MyAlaska  would be used  for electronic                                                               
registration.  He  indicated that MyAlsaka was secure,  as it was                                                               
used  for PFD  applications  and many  other important  services.                                                               
Regarding  voter identification,  he elaborated  on the  rigorous                                                               
identification  protocols  for  absentee  voting.    Further,  he                                                               
explained  that   absentee  ballots  were  "checked   and  double                                                               
checked" during  the counting process.   He added that if  any of                                                               
the  ballots that  were set  aside during  that process  ended up                                                               
determining  the  outcome  of the  election,  the  results  would                                                               
typically be litigated in court.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MASON noted  that there would be future  testimony from Paddy                                                               
McGuire on how to implement secure by-mail voting.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
5:22:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE asked  whether there  was a  curing process                                                               
for ballots  submitted on  election day.   She shared  a personal                                                               
anecdote.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK said  Paddy McGuire  would elaborate  on in-                                                               
person voting in  his forthcoming testimony.   He emphasized that                                                               
once a ballot entered the ballot box,  it could not be cured.  He                                                               
added that training  of poll workers was a  critical component of                                                               
reducing errors.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MASON believed that the  situation detailed by Representative                                                               
Vance  was not  addressed in  statute.   He agreed  that training                                                               
would be a viable solution.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE, referencing  Section 29,  asked about  the                                                               
intent of the word "immediately" on page 13, line 29.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MASON said  the  intent  was that  once  a  ballot had  been                                                               
rejected, the  director would  immediately make  that information                                                               
available through a free access system.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  added  that   this  provision  would  allow                                                               
absentee voters  to see  whether their  ballots had  been counted                                                               
through  an online  system.   Further, DOE  would be  required to                                                               
notify voters by mail of a rejected ballot within three days.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
5:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  said she liked this  feature.  Nonetheless,                                                               
she expressed concern about data  breaches.  She asked what steps                                                               
were being taken by the  division to protect voters' information.                                                               
She emphasized  the importance of  providing a secure  system for                                                               
voters,  both in-person  and  by  mail.   She  shared a  personal                                                               
anecdote.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:31:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  maintained that  people's votes  were never                                                               
revealed under any circumstance.   He explained that ballots were                                                               
not link to the individual  voter's identification, which was the                                                               
intrinsic value of a paper ballot system.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VANCE  clarified   that  the   public  perceived                                                               
security  as  a  problem;  consequently, she  believed  that  the                                                               
legislature  needed to  make it  clear that  it would  not be  an                                                               
issue.  She recalled a bill  hearing from last year, during which                                                               
time  she  had  asked  the   division  whether  a  voter's  party                                                               
affiliation was  visible from  the envelope.   She  reported that                                                               
DOE had  indicated that sometimes  that information  was visible.                                                               
She shared  a personal anecdote.   She said the public  felt that                                                               
if  their   party  affiliation  was  visible,   it  was  breaking                                                               
confidentiality.    She  stated  that  she  wanted  to  pursue  a                                                               
heightened sense of confidentiality for every voter.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   TUCK  pointed   out   that   a  person's   party                                                               
affiliation   was   public   knowledge;  therefore,   it   wasn't                                                               
confidential.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  confirmed  that party  affiliation  was  a                                                               
matter   of   public  record.      However,   he  believed   that                                                               
Representative Vance  had been speaking  to a situation  in which                                                               
the   party  affiliation   appeared   on   the  envelope   either                                                               
inadvertently or by some means.   He asked whether Representative                                                               
Tuck was aware of that.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK was unsure and deferred to DOE.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
5:35:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN  recalled that the bill  hearing referenced                                                               
by  Representative Vance  concerned a  ballot initiative  in 2020                                                               
[Ballot  Measure 2].     He explained  that participation  in the                                                               
closed   republican  primary   required  proof   of  a   person's                                                               
eligibility  to vote,  which was  accomplished by  declaring that                                                               
status on  the outside of the  envelope.  However, he  shared his                                                               
understanding  that  the voters'  approval  of  Ballot Measure  2                                                               
switched Alaska's primary system  and created an open nonpartisan                                                               
primary where  all candidates  would appear  on one  ballot, thus                                                               
negating the issue.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
5:36:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  shared that  there had  been a  problem with                                                               
pre-filled  absentee ballot  requests  during  the last  election                                                               
cycle, which  created confusion.   She suggested  that unofficial                                                               
requests  from  a  campaign-related  organization,  for  example,                                                               
needed clearer  disclosure to identify  that it was  not official                                                               
correspondence from a government agency.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
5:38:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   EASTMAN  shared   his  understanding   that  the                                                               
questioned  ballot   envelope  was   used  to   register  voters.                                                               
Consequently,  part   of  that   process  involved   updating  or                                                               
declaring a  party affiliation.   He acknowledged the  utility of                                                               
capturing that information on the  envelope but expressed concern                                                               
that because it  was submitted by mail, the  information could be                                                               
potentially misused.   He asked whether  the proposed legislation                                                               
would change that process.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK answered no.   He further clarified that when                                                               
nonpartisan or  undeclared voters voted  in primary, they  had to                                                               
specify which  ballot they were  requesting upon filling  out the                                                               
application for a primary absentee ballot.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:40:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  sought  to confirm  whether  a  questioned                                                               
ballot would be cast by an  unregistered voter who wanted to vote                                                               
on election  day; therefore, per  federal law, that  person could                                                               
vote  for a  presidential  candidate only,  as  opposed to  state                                                               
officials, using a questioned ballot.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  said  in   a  more  likely  scenario,  a                                                               
questioned ballot  would be provided  to a person who  was voting                                                               
in  the  wrong polling  location.    He continued  by  addressing                                                               
ballot  confidentiality.   He  acknowledged  that under  statute,                                                               
votes were never associated with  the voters; however, he relayed                                                               
a complaint from  a constituent regarding an  alleged incident in                                                               
which poll workers were looking at people's ballots.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  noted that  another  way  a vote  could  be                                                               
linked  to  the voter  is  if  the  voter printed,  scanned,  and                                                               
emailed his/her ballot to DOE as a method of return.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  recalled that voters waived  their right to                                                               
confidentiality  if they  utilized  that method  of  return.   He                                                               
revisited  the  issue  of  poll  worker  compensation  and  asked                                                               
whether  the bill  sponsor would  consider  adding an  "automatic                                                               
inflation adjuster" to the pay scale.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  said he would  consider that  an improvement                                                               
to the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  commended the bill sponsor  for including                                                               
the language  "not less than",  which would provide DOE  with the                                                               
flexibility   to  pay   poll  workers   more  than   the  minimum                                                               
compensation rate, as provided in Section 33.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
5:44:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MASON lamented  the absence  of  testifiers.   He relayed  a                                                               
comment from  Paddy McGuire about  how many of the  problems with                                                               
elections  resulted  from  the training  and  experience  of  the                                                               
people  who conduct  the elections;  further,  he indicated  that                                                               
higher  wages   produced  better  poll  workers   who  were  more                                                               
dedicated  and  experienced.    He suggested  that  some  of  the                                                               
challenges  with  elections could  be  solved  by increasing  the                                                               
workers' compensation.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:45:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    KAUFMAN    recalled    Representative    Tuck's                                                               
introductory  remarks  in which  he  touted  the success  of  the                                                               
November 2020 election due to  the high volume of Alaskan voters.                                                               
He  asked  whether  the  bill  sponsor  believed  that  the  2020                                                               
election was one of high integrity.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  opined  that  the  absentee  ballot  review                                                               
process  revealed  integrity  and  cooperation.   He  compared  a                                                               
successful  election  process   to  a  nonpartisan  team-building                                                               
exercise  and  shared  his  personal   experience,  which  was  a                                                               
positive  one.   He  said  he  observed good-natured  people  who                                                               
wanted  to maintain  the integrity  of  the process,  as well  as                                                               
identify and correct any anomalies along the way.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MASON reported  that Lieutenant  Governor  Meyer had  stated                                                               
that the Alaska election officials  verified zero claims of fraud                                                               
during the 2020 election.  He shared the following quotes:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     "The  November  3rd election  was  the  most secure  in                                                                    
     American  history. ...  There is  no evidence  that any                                                                    
     voting system deleted or lost  votes, changed votes, or                                                                    
     was in any way compromised."                                                                                               
       - Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency                                                                       
     (CISA)                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     "To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could                                                                     
     have affected a different outcome in the election."                                                                        
     - Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  said  he   welcomed  people  who  challenge                                                               
elections because  it maintained accountability and  integrity in                                                               
the election process.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:49:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAUFMAN   asked  whether   there  was   room  for                                                               
improvement in the election process.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK believed  that  encouraging  more people  to                                                               
vote  and feel  confident in  the election  process was  always a                                                               
better outcome than  reduced volume.  In response  to whether the                                                               
process  was  perfect,  he   acknowledged  that  corrections  and                                                               
iterations  would  be  necessary  as  technology  and  procedures                                                               
change.  He said he had  no reason to believe that elections were                                                               
flawed  in this  state.   Nonetheless, he  agreed that  technical                                                               
errors needed to be minimalized.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
5:52:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS, in  response  to Representative  Kaufman's                                                               
question,  believed that  improvement  was always  a good  thing,                                                               
even if it wasn't in response to a proven occurrence of fraud.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAUFMAN agreed.   He  emphasized his  interest in                                                               
improving integrity in addition to volume.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  concurred.  He  highlighted practicability,                                                               
adding that  if there was a  way to improve the  integrity of the                                                               
system in  a way  that was workable  with the  administrative and                                                               
financial parameters, it would be ideal.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
5:53:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether there had  been an increase                                                               
in  the number  of  polling locations  that  corresponded to  the                                                               
increase in Alaska's population.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   TUCK  said   polling  locations   in  individual                                                               
districts had not increased; however,  he reported an increase in                                                               
the number of in-person absentee voting locations.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  inquired about  the benefits  of bringing                                                               
polling locations closer to people who live far away from one.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK agreed that  equal opportunity for convenient                                                               
voting was  essential.   He said if  adding more  locations would                                                               
help with that, then it should be considered.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN,  referring to  the free access  system in                                                               
Section 29, asked  what would happen if there were  errors in the                                                               
online  system  that  resulted  in  incorrect  information  being                                                               
shown.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  explained that the free  access system would                                                               
be helpful  because it  would show whether  a voter's  ballot had                                                               
been counted.  He deferred to  the division to address what would                                                               
happen if  the system  indicated that a  ballot had  been counted                                                               
for a person who hadn't voted.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:58:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked  whether  the  proposed  legislation                                                               
would  allow  ballot  drop  boxes   to  be  stationed  at  public                                                               
libraries, for example.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  clarified that ballot drop  boxes were under                                                               
the purview of  DOE.  He added that the  proposed legislation did                                                               
not address that matter specifically.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  shared his  understanding that DOE  had set                                                               
up drop boxes during the most  recent election in response to the                                                               
high rates  of absentee voting;  however, he recognized  that the                                                               
division had not implemented a  systematic plan pertaining to the                                                               
location of those boxes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MASON noted  that  there  was a  section  in  the bill  that                                                               
allowed  the   division  to   partner  with   municipalities  for                                                               
nonspecific matters, such as installing ballot drop boxes.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:00:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK assured  the committee  that the  unanswered                                                               
questions  would  be  forwarded  to  DOE  before  the  next  bill                                                               
hearing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that HB 66 was held over.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
6:01:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 6:01.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects