SB 19: "An Act relating to elections; and providing for an effective date."
00 SENATE BILL NO. 19 01 "An Act relating to elections; and providing for an effective date." 02 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 * Section 1. AS 15.20.030 is amended to read: 04 Sec. 15.20.030. Preparation of ballots, envelopes, and other material. The 05 director shall provide ballots for use as absentee ballots in all districts. The director 06 shall provide a secrecy sleeve in which the voter shall initially place the marked ballot, 07 and shall provide a postage-paid return [AN] envelope with the prescribed voter's 08 certificate on it, in which the secrecy sleeve with ballot enclosed shall be placed. The 09 director shall prescribe the form of and prepare the voter's certificate, envelopes, and 10 other material used in absentee voting. The voter's certificate shall include a 11 declaration, for use when required, that the voter is a qualified voter in all respects, a 12 blank for the voter's signature, a certification that the affiant properly executed the 13 marking of the ballot and gave the voter's identity, blanks for the attesting official or 14 witness, and a place for recording the date the envelope was sealed and witnessed. The 15 envelope with the voter's certificate must include a notice that false statements made
01 by the voter or by the attesting official or witness on the certificate are punishable by 02 law. 03 * Sec. 2. AS 15.20.081 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 04 (m) An absentee ballot application must include an option for a qualified voter 05 to choose to receive absentee ballots by mail for state elections. The division may not 06 require a voter who chooses this option to reapply for an absentee ballot by mail 07 unless 08 (1) the voter has not voted an absentee ballot for a period of four years; 09 or 10 (2) a previous absentee ballot sent to the voter by the division under 11 this section was returned to the division as undeliverable. 12 * Sec. 3. AS 15.20.203(a) is amended to read: 13 (a) The district absentee ballot counting board shall examine each absentee 14 ballot envelope and shall determine whether the absentee voter is qualified to vote at 15 the election, whether the signature on the certificate is consistent with the voter's 16 signature in voter registration records, and whether the absentee ballot has been 17 properly cast. 18 * Sec. 4. AS 15.20.203(b) is amended to read: 19 (b) An absentee ballot may not be counted if 20 (1) the voter has failed to properly execute the certificate; 21 (2) an official or the witnesses authorized by law to attest the voter's 22 certificate fail to execute the certificate, except that an absentee ballot cast in person 23 and accepted by an absentee voting official or election supervisor may be counted 24 despite failure of the absentee voting official or election supervisor to properly sign 25 and date the voter's certificate as attesting official as required under AS 15.20.061(c); 26 (3) the ballot is not attested on or before the date of the election; 27 (4) the ballot, if postmarked, is not postmarked on or before the date of 28 the election; 29 (5) after the day of election, the ballot was delivered by a means other 30 than mail; [OR] 31 (6) the voter voted
01 (A) in person and is a 02 (i) first-time voter who initially registered by mail or by 03 facsimile or other electronic transmission approved by the director 04 under AS 15.07.050, has not provided the identification required by 05 AS 15.15.225(a), was not eligible for waiver of the identification 06 requirement under AS 15.15.225(b), and has not provided the 07 identifiers required in AS 15.07.060(a)(2) and (3) that can be verified 08 through state agency records described in AS 15.07.055(e); or 09 (ii) voter other than one described in (i) of this 10 subparagraph, did not provide identification described in 11 AS 15.15.225(a), was not personally known by the election official, 12 and has not provided the identifiers required in AS 15.07.060(a)(2) and 13 (3); or 14 (B) by mail or electronic transmission, is a first-time voter who 15 initially registered by mail or by facsimile or other electronic transmission 16 approved by the director under AS 15.07.050 to vote, has not met the 17 identification requirements set out in AS 15.07.060, and does not submit with 18 the ballot a copy of a 19 [(i)] driver's license, state identification card, current 20 and valid photo identification, birth certificate, passport, or hunting or 21 fishing license; or 22 (7) the signature on the certificate is inconsistent with the voter's 23 signature in voter registration records 24 [(ii) CURRENT UTILITY BILL, BANK 25 STATEMENT, PAYCHECK, GOVERNMENT CHECK, OR OTHER 26 GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT; AN ITEM DESCRIBED IN THIS 27 SUB-SUBPARAGRAPH MUST SHOW THE NAME AND 28 CURRENT ADDRESS OF THE VOTER]. 29 * Sec. 5. AS 15.20.203 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 30 (k) The district absentee ballot counting board shall determine whether a 31 voter's signature on the certificate is consistent with the voter's signature in voter
01 registration records under (a) of this section using a signature verification process that 02 includes signature comparison software according to a procedure provided in 03 regulations adopted by the director. 04 * Sec. 6. AS 15.20 is amended by adding new sections to read: 05 Sec. 15.20.221. Ballot tracking system. (a) The director shall establish a free 06 online system, available through the division's Internet website, through which a voter 07 may 08 (1) confirm that the voter's ballot has been sent by the division; 09 (2) track the date of the ballot's delivery to the voter; 10 (3) confirm the division's receipt of the voter's ballot; 11 (4) determine whether the voter's certificate has been reviewed; and 12 (5) determine whether the voter's ballot has been counted. 13 (b) The online system established under (a) of this section must indicate to a 14 voter 15 (1) if the signature on the voter's ballot is missing or is determined not 16 to match the signature in the voter's registration record under AS 15.20.203(k), the 17 process by which the voter may cure the lack of signature or verify the voter's identity; 18 and 19 (2) if the voter's ballot was not counted, the reason the ballot was not 20 counted. 21 (c) The online system established under (a) of this section must allow an 22 election official access to the names and political affiliations of all persons 23 (1) named on the master register, including a person whose voter 24 registration is inactivated under AS 15.07.130(b); and 25 (2) whose names are placed on the official registration list under 26 AS 15.07.070(c) or (d). 27 (d) In establishing the online system under (a) of this section, the director shall 28 ensure that the design of the system allows a voter to access information easily under 29 (a) and (b) of this section through a mobile electronic device. 30 Sec. 15.20.222. Procedure for curing uncounted ballot. (a) If a voter returns 31 a ballot and the voter does not have a signature stored in voter registration records, the
01 certificate is missing a signature, or the signature on the certificate is determined under 02 AS 15.20.203(k) not to match the signature in voter registration records, the director 03 shall, within 48 hours, but in no event later than two days after election day, send a 04 notification by first class, nonforwardable mail to the address indicated in the voter's 05 registration record and, if provided, by electronic mail to the voter's electronic mail 06 address or by telephone call or text message to the voter's telephone number. 07 (b) The notification provided to the voter under (a) of this section must 08 include an explanation of the need for a signature for verification purposes and 09 provide the voter a form and instructions for the voter to, within the period specified in 10 (c)(1) of this section, 11 (1) confirm that the voter returned a ballot to the division; 12 (2) provide a copy of a form of identification accepted by the division 13 under AS 15.07.060(e); and 14 (3) provide a signature for verification. 15 (c) A voter's ballot that is not counted for a reason set out in (a) of this section 16 may be counted only if 17 (1) the division receives the form sent to the voter under (b) of this 18 section from the voter within 14 days after election day and the form confirms that the 19 voter returned a ballot to the division; 20 (2) the voter provides a signature for verification and includes a copy 21 of a form of identification accepted by the division under AS 15.07.060(e); and 22 (3) the ballot is otherwise valid. 23 (d) A voter's ballot may not be counted and the director shall, if applicable, 24 send copies of the signature on the voter's return envelope and the signature stored in 25 voter registration records to the attorney general for investigation if 26 (1) the voter returns the form received under (b) of this section and the 27 form indicates that the voter did not return a ballot to the division; or 28 (2) the voter does not return the form received under (b) of this section 29 within 14 days after election day. 30 (e) An election official may not determine that the signature on a voter's return 31 envelope does not match the signature stored in the voter's registration record solely
01 based on substitution of initials or use of a common nickname. 02 (f) The director shall provide training in signature comparison and the use of 03 signature comparison software to election officials who compare signatures under this 04 section. 05 (g) The division shall update the signature stored in voter registration records 06 if the voter, after providing a copy of a form of identification accepted by the division 07 under AS 15.07.060(e), either provides a signature for the voter's missing signature or 08 cures a nonmatching signature under this section. 09 * Sec. 7. AS 15.56.035(a) is amended to read: 10 (a) A person commits the crime of unlawful interference with voting in the 11 second degree if the person 12 (1) has an official ballot in possession outside of the voting room 13 unless the person is an election official or other person authorized by law or local 14 ordinance, or by the director or chief municipal elections official in a local election; 15 (2) makes, or knowingly has in possession, a counterfeit of an official 16 election ballot; 17 (3) knowingly solicits or encourages, directly or indirectly, a registered 18 voter who is no longer qualified to vote under AS 15.05.010, to vote in an election; 19 (4) as a registration official 20 (A) knowingly refuses to register a person who is entitled to 21 register under AS 15.07.030; or 22 (B) accepts a fee from an applicant applying for registration; 23 (5) violates AS 15.20.081(a) by knowingly supplying or encouraging 24 or assisting another person to supply to a voter an absentee ballot application form 25 with a political party or group affiliation indicated if the voter is not already registered 26 as affiliated with that political party or group; 27 (6) knowingly designs, marks, or encourages or assists another person 28 to design or mark an absentee ballot application in a manner that suggests choice of 29 one ballot over another as prohibited by AS 15.20.081(a); [OR] 30 (7) knowingly submits or encourages or assists another person to 31 submit an absentee ballot application to an intermediary who could control or delay
01 the submission of the application to the division of elections or who could gather data 02 from the application form as prohibited by AS 15.20.081(a); or 03 (8) knowingly possesses a ballot provided to another voter under 04 this title unless the person is 05 (A) a family member of the voter; 06 (B) a caregiver of the voter; 07 (C) engaged in official duties as an election official or a 08 worker for the United States Postal Service or a private commercial 09 delivery service; or 10 (D) collecting a ballot on behalf of a charitable or 11 educational organization in the state that is exempt from taxation under 12 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) (Internal Revenue Code), and is 13 (i) a registered voter; or 14 (ii) an employee of the organization. 15 * Sec. 8. AS 15.20.203(j), 15.20.207(k), and 15.20.211(f) are repealed. 16 * Sec. 9. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 17 read: 18 APPLICABILITY. AS 15.56.035(a), as amended by sec. 7 of this Act, applies to 19 offenses committed on or after the effective date of sec. 7 of this Act. 20 * Sec. 10. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 21 read: 22 TRANSITION: REGULATIONS. The director of elections may adopt regulations to 23 implement the changes made by this Act. The regulations take effect under AS 44.62 24 (Administrative Procedure Act), but not before the effective date of the law implemented by 25 the regulations. 26 * Sec. 11. Section 10 of this Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c). 27 * Sec. 12. Except as provided in sec. 11 of this Act, this Act takes effect January 1, 2024.