Legislature(1997 - 1998)

1997-04-22 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

1997-04-22                     House Journal                      Page 1263
HB 257                                                                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 257 by the House Rules Committee by request of                  
the Governor, entitled:                                                        
An Act relating to voter qualification, disqualification, and                 
registration; to voter registration officials; to election notices; to         
mail elections; to certain voting procedures; to the transportation            
of ballots; and to the official election pamphlet and certain                  
immunity from liability regarding claims arising from publication              
of the official election pamphlet.                                             
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs and Finance          

1997-04-22                     House Journal                      Page 1264
HB 257                                                                       
The following fiscal note applies:                                             
Fiscal note, Office of the Governor, 4/22/97                                   
The Governor's transmittal letter, dated April 18, 1997, appears below:        
Dear Speaker Phillips:                                                         
This bill I am transmitting amends the state election code to instill          
higher voter confidence in the election process and provide greater            
voter access to ensure maximum turnout at the polls.                           
This legislation proposes to change the election process in Regional           
Educational Attendance Areas (REAA) and Coastal Resource Service               
Areas (CRSA) by conducting elections through the mail.  This is                
expected to increase voter turnout, which has historically been low in         
these areas.  In 1996, average turnout for REAA elections was 35               
percent; for CRSA it was 40 percent.  Under this bill, the Division of         
Elections will mail a ballot to all eligible voters in these areas about       
three weeks prior to the election.                                             
In the 1996 general election, 513 voters participated in the electoral         
process through absentee voting by personal representative.  Fifteen           
percent of these voters ballots were rejected.  This legislation will          
make the process less time consuming, less confusing and provide for           
better accountability.                                                         
In an attempt to increase voter participation and voter access, this           
legislation proposes extending the application deadline for absentee           
voting by fax to the day before an election.  Current law requires the         
application to be received four days before an election.  This change          
would expand the opportunity to voters who find themselves in                  
extenuating circumstances.                                                     
The legislation also proposes to change the name of the questioned             
ballot to special review ballot.  Many voters have expressed                   
concern and confusion over the term questioned.  This new name                 
more accurately reflects the true intent of the ballot.                        

1997-04-22                     House Journal                      Page 1265
HB 257                                                                       
Other sections of the bill make technical changes to the election code         
regarding the official election pamphlet, public notice of elections, and      
transportation of ballots.  Division of Elections staff will be available      
during the committee process on this bill to offer its full explanation        
and analysis.                                                                  
I urge your prompt consideration and passage of this bill.                     
							Tony Knowles