Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

02/03/2005 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 97(STA) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
HB  94-ELECTIONS                                                                                                              
9:39:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  last order of business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO.  94, "An  Act  relating  to qualifications  of  voters,                                                               
requirements and procedures  regarding independent candidates for                                                               
President  and   Vice-President  of  the  United   States,  voter                                                               
registration and  voter registration records,  voter registration                                                               
through  a power  of attorney,  voter registration  using scanned                                                               
documents, voter  residence, precinct boundary and  polling place                                                               
designation  and  modification,   recognized  political  parties,                                                               
voters  unaffiliated  with  a   political  party,  early  voting,                                                               
absentee  voting,  application  for absentee  ballots  through  a                                                               
power  of  attorney,  or by  scanned  documents,  ballot  design,                                                               
ballot  counting, voting  by mail,  voting  machines, vote  tally                                                               
systems, initiative,  referendum, recall, and definitions  in the                                                               
Alaska Election  Code; relating  to incorporation  elections; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
9:39:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  moved adopt  the committee  substitute (CS)                                                               
for HB 94, Version 24-GH1048\G,  Kurtz, 1/31/05, as a work draft.                                                               
There being no objection, Version G was before the committee.                                                                   
9:40:45 AM                                                                                                                    
LAURA  GLASIER, Director,  Division of  Elections, Office  of the                                                               
Lieutenant  Governor,  reviewed  [the first]  sectional  analysis                                                               
[written for  HB 94 and  included in  the committee packet].   [A                                                               
subsequent  version   exists  in  the  committee   packet,  which                                                               
pertains to  CSHB 94(STA).]   She  noted that  the bill  title is                                                               
very  inclusive.    Ms.  Glasier  explained  that  she  had  just                                                               
received  [Version  G]  and  would try  to  match  her  sectional                                                               
analysis with  Version G.   She pointed  to Section  1, regarding                                                               
voter residency.                                                                                                                
9:41:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  clarified that  Version G  did not  change anything                                                               
from  the  governor's  version [not  included  in  the  committee                                                               
packet];  it  just put  the  language  into  the format  used  by                                                               
Legislative Legal and Research Services.                                                                                        
9:42:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. GLASIER noted that the  phrase "temporary construction camps"                                                               
was changed to "temporary worksites".                                                                                           
9:43:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. GLASIER,  in response to  Representative Gruenberg,  said she                                                               
highlighted in  the sectional the  issues that were  carried over                                                               
from  previous  legislation.   Section  1,  she said,  came  over                                                               
unchanged.   She moved on to  Section 2, regarding the  manner of                                                               
registration,  and explained  that it  would allow  an individual                                                               
with the  express power of  attorney "to allow the  individual to                                                               
register  on behalf  of the  voter" and  would add  "scanning" as                                                               
another  means to  transmit a  voter registration  application to                                                               
the division.                                                                                                                   
9:45:04 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  GLASIER,  in  response to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Gatto, said she was given legal  advice that she could not accept                                                               
a scanned  document as an  attachment to an e-mail  under current                                                               
9:46:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO referred  to the language [on  page 3, lines                                                               
11-12 of Version G], which read as follows:                                                                                     
         (4)   [(3)]    by   facsimile   transmission,                                                                  
     scanning, or another method of electronic transmission                                                                 
     that the director approves.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO noted  that  the language  states that  the                                                               
method be approved  by the director, therefore  he questioned why                                                               
the director could not approve scanning.                                                                                        
9:46:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. GLASIER  responded that  statute is  the "highest  and best."                                                               
She  said, "I  could have  done that  in an  emergency regulation                                                               
situation ..., but if we're going  to accept it then it should be                                                               
in our statutory authority."                                                                                                    
9:46:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  noted  that  there is  an  article  on                                                               
powers of  attorney in the probate  code.  He said,  "It looks to                                                               
me  that what  you're talking  about could  be put  on a  general                                                               
power of  attorney here,  but ... it  would specifically  have to                                                               
say, 'asking for a ballot'."                                                                                                    
9:47:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  GLASIER indicated  that  that is  her  understanding of  the                                                               
advice she  received from the  Department of  Law.  She  said the                                                               
committee  could choose  to amend  the power  of attorney  law in                                                               
statute; she said  she simply wants to "ensure  that those voters                                                               
can get a ballot."                                                                                                              
9:48:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  Ms.  Glasier if  she  would  be                                                               
willing  to accept  a  general  power of  attorney  asking for  a                                                               
ballot, or  if she would  prefer "something specifically  on that                                                               
power of attorney."                                                                                                             
9:48:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. GLASIER replied that the legislature should decide.                                                                         
9:48:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  surmised   that  the  committee  might                                                               
consider language regarding the  statutory power of attorney, and                                                               
he said he would revisit the subject again.                                                                                     
9:49:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  stated:     "I  would  concur  with  the                                                               
previous speaker in  that if we ... defined it  that somebody has                                                               
to give a power  of attorney specifically addressing registration                                                               
for voters, then anybody who  fails to do that is disenfranchised                                                               
effectively,  under the  statute, correct?   And  that's not  our                                                               
intent, at all."                                                                                                                
9:50:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. GLASIER  returned to  the sectional  analysis, to  Section 3,                                                               
regarding required information for  voter registration.  She said                                                               
this  section   would  remove  dated  language   that  refers  to                                                               
information  proving residency  that  might be  requested by  the                                                               
division.  She  offered further details.   Ms. Glasier summarized                                                               
Section 4, regarding procedure for  registration, which would add                                                               
"scanning"  as another  means to  transmit  a voter  registration                                                               
application  to  the  division  and  add  language  to  allow  an                                                               
individual  with the  express power  of attorney  to register  on                                                               
behalf of the voter.  She noted  that this was not in last year's                                                               
House Bill 523.                                                                                                                 
MS.  GLASIER turned  to Section  5  [Section 6  in the  sectional                                                               
analysis  to  Version G],  regarding  preparation  of the  master                                                               
register.   She indicated that  the House State  Affairs Standing                                                               
Committee   last  year   incorporated  a   change  suggested   by                                                               
Legislative Legal and Research Services  to ensure the protection                                                               
of voter information of those  victims of domestic violence.  She                                                               
noted  that Section  6 [Section  7 in  the sectional  analysis to                                                               
Version  G], regarding  precinct boundary  changes, would  change                                                               
language  that currently  requires  the division  to publish  the                                                               
notice of precinct  boundary changes in a  newspaper published in                                                               
the  House  district  to  one  that is  available  in  the  House                                                               
district.  If  there is no such newspaper, the  notice would have                                                               
to be posted  in a conspicuous place in a  precinct.  She offered                                                               
further details.                                                                                                                
9:52:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  GLASIER,  in  response to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg  regarding  whether Section  7  is  exactly as  it  was                                                               
adopted  last  year  [in  House  Bill 523],  answered  no.    She                                                               
explained that it is as it  was before last year's committee made                                                               
changes  and  requirements  on  the division.    She  said,  "The                                                               
division    believes   that    this   language    is   sufficient                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  emphasized that  [during the  review of                                                               
the  sectional  analysis] the  committee  needs  to hear  if  the                                                               
division changed even a comma.                                                                                                  
9:53:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO, regarding  the requirement for notification                                                               
in a daily  newspaper, said some communities don't  have any form                                                               
of newspaper.  He said the language is found on page 5, line 23.                                                                
9:54:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  last year's  House State  Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee  worked on different language  that cleared up                                                               
that  problem  and  he  indicated that  that  language  would  be                                                               
brought up for consideration once more.                                                                                         
9:54:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. GLASIER returned  to the sectional analysis.   She noted that                                                               
Section 7  [Section 8  in the sectional  analysis to  Version G],                                                               
regarding  Independent presidential  candidates, would  allow the                                                               
names of  those running  as Independents  for president  and vice                                                               
president   to  be   treated  the   same   as  those   candidates                                                               
representing a political  party.  In response to  a question from                                                               
Representative Gruenberg,  she confirmed  that [Section 5  in Ms.                                                               
Glasier's  sectional  analysis,  which  is]  Section  6  [of  the                                                               
sectional analysis  to Version G],  regarding the  preparation of                                                               
the master  register, is  the same  as was  in last  year's House                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee's House Bill 523.                                                                              
9:55:46 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. GLASIER  directed attention  to Section 8  [Section 9  in the                                                               
sectional analysis to Version G],  regarding ballot counting, and                                                               
said the number  of ballots returned to  the elections supervisor                                                               
or  designee for  destruction must  be reported  to the  election                                                               
9:56:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  GLASIER  addressed [Section  9  in  her sectional  analysis,                                                               
which  is Section  10 in  the sectional  analysis to  Version G],                                                               
regarding  early voting,  and  noted that  it  would require  the                                                               
director to designate locations for  early voting by January 1 of                                                               
an election year.  She said this  is a new section.  She reported                                                               
that [in the  last election] there was an  incredible interest in                                                               
early  voting sites,  which put  a  strain on  preparation.   The                                                               
division needs  planning time  to order  the ballots  and prepare                                                               
each of the early voting sites.                                                                                                 
9:57:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  questioned whether  the January  1 date                                                               
would give the division the flexibility it needs.                                                                               
9:58:13 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  GLASIER responded  that she  doesn't  want the  flexibility,                                                               
because, by making a commitment  to prepare an early voting site,                                                               
it then has  everything it needs, including  the staff available,                                                               
the ballots,  the voting booths, and  all of the equipment.   She                                                               
said management within the division  decided that January 1 was a                                                               
fair date.                                                                                                                      
[HB 94 was heard and held.]                                                                                                     

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