Print Friendly HOUSE BILL NO. 94 – Vote by mail
HOUSE BILL NO. 94
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H0094......................................................by STATE AFFAIRS
ELECTIONS - VOTE BY MAIL - Amends and adds to existing law to provide for
board of county commissioner authorization of vote by mail; to provide
specific elections required or eligible to be conducted by mail; to provide
procedures for conducting elections by mail; to provide procedures for the
ordering of candidate names on the vote by mail ballot; to provide for the
applicability of other laws; and to provide for city council authorization
of vote by mail subject to specified Idaho law.
02/01 House intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/02 Rpt prt - to St Aff
02/15 Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg
02/16 Ret'd to St Aff
]]]] LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ]]]]
Fifty-ninth Legislature First Regular Session - 2007
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HOUSE BILL NO. 94
BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO ELECTIONS; AMENDING TITLE 34, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW
3 CHAPTER 26, TITLE 34, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR BOARD OF COUNTY COMMIS-
4 SIONER AUTHORIZATION OF VOTE BY MAIL, TO SPECIFY ELECTIONS REQUIRED OR
5 ELIGIBLE TO BE CONDUCTED BY MAIL, TO PROVIDE PROCEDURES FOR CONDUCTING
6 ELECTIONS BY MAIL, TO PROVIDE PROCEDURES FOR THE ORDERING OF CANDIDATE
7 NAMES ON THE VOTE BY MAIL BALLOT AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPLICABILITY OF
8 OTHER LAWS; AND AMENDING SECTION 50-429, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR CITY
9 COUNCIL AUTHORIZATION OF VOTE BY MAIL SUBJECT TO SPECIFIED IDAHO LAW AND
10 TO MAKE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS.
11 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
12 SECTION 1. That Title 34, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby amended
13 by the addition thereto of a NEW CHAPTER, to be known and designated as Chap-
14 ter 26, Title 34, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
15 CHAPTER 26
16 VOTE BY MAIL
17 34-2601. AUTHORIZATION BY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS. With express
18 authorization from the board of county commissioners, the clerk of the county
19 board of commissioners shall conduct all primary, special, and general elec-
20 tions entirely by a vote by mail system. The board of county commissioners
21 shall give the county clerk at least ninety (90) days' notice before the first
22 election to be conducted entirely by mail. If the board of county commission-
23 ers, after consultation with the county clerk, decides to return to a polling
24 place election environment, the board of county commissioners shall give the
25 county clerk at least ninety (90) days' notice before the first election to be
26 conducted using polling places. Authorization under this section shall apply
27 to all primary, special, and general elections conducted by the county clerk
28 and in accordance with section 34-1401, Idaho Code.
29 34-2602. ELECTIONS REQUIRED OR ELIGIBLE. (1) Once designated by the board
30 of county commissioners, primary and general elections shall be conducted by
32 (2) Any election held pursuant to the provisions of section 34-1401,
33 Idaho Code, may be conducted by mail if so designated by the governing board
34 of the jurisdiction.
35 34-2603. PROCEDURES. (1) A vote by mail election shall be conducted as
36 provided in this section.
37 (2) At a minimum, the places designated under this section shall be open
38 on the date of the election for a period of eight (8) hours, but must be open
39 until at least 8:00 p.m. local time. At each place of deposit designated under
40 this section, the county clerk shall prominently display a sign stating that
1 the location is an official ballot drop site.
2 (3) (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, the
3 county clerk shall mail by nonforwardable mail an official ballot with a
4 return identification envelope and a secrecy envelope not sooner than the
5 eighteenth day before the date of a vote by mail election and not later
6 than the fourteenth day before the date of the election, to every regis-
7 tered voter.
8 (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection, in the case of bal-
9 lots to be mailed to addresses outside this state, the county clerk shall
10 follow the provisions of chapter 10, title 34, Idaho Code, regarding
11 absentee voting.
12 (4) Election day registration shall be made available for each elector
13 who completes a voter registration in accordance with section 34-408(3), Idaho
14 Code. The county clerk shall make available to the registrant the official
15 ballot, the return identification envelope and the secrecy envelope at the
16 county clerk's office or at another place designated by the county.
17 (5) Upon receipt of any ballot described in this section, the elector
18 shall mark the ballot, sign the return identification envelope supplied with
19 the ballot and comply with the instructions provided with the ballot. The
20 elector may return the marked ballot to the county clerk by United States mail
21 or by depositing the ballot at the office of the county clerk or at any place
22 of deposit designated by the county. The ballot must be returned in the return
23 identification envelope. If the elector returns the ballot by mail, the elec-
24 tor must provide the proper postage. A ballot must be received at the office
25 of the county clerk or a designated place of deposit not later than the 8:00
26 p.m. local time on the date of the election.
27 (6) An elector may obtain a replacement ballot if the ballot is
28 destroyed, spoiled, lost or not received by the elector. Replacement ballots
29 shall be issued and processed as described in this section. The county clerk
30 shall keep a record of each replacement ballot provided under this subsection.
31 Notwithstanding any deadline for mailing ballots in subsection (3) or (4) of
32 this section, a replacement ballot may be mailed, made available in the office
33 of the county clerk or at a location designated by the county. A replacement
34 ballot need not be mailed after the fifth day before the date of the election.
35 (7) A ballot shall be counted only if:
36 (a) It is returned in the return identification envelope;
37 (b) The envelope is signed by the elector to whom the ballot is issued;
39 (c) The signature is verified as provided in subsection (8) of this sec-
41 (8) The county clerk shall verify the signature of each elector on the
42 return identification envelope with the signature on the elector's registra-
43 tion card, according to the procedure provided by rules adopted by the secre-
44 tary of state. If the county clerk determines that an elector to whom a
45 replacement ballot has been issued has voted more than once, the county clerk
46 shall count only one (1) ballot cast by that elector.
47 (9) The county clerk shall begin official processing of returned ballots
48 in a vote by mail system including opening of both the outer envelope and the
49 inner secrecy envelope and removing the ballot from the envelope no earlier
50 than five (5) working days before the election. However, no ballots shall be
51 actually counted until the day of the election. The county clerk shall be
52 responsible for ensuring the security of the ballots at all times, including
53 restriction of access to any areas where ballots are stored or counted.
54 (10) The requirements regarding certification, reporting and the mailing
55 of overseas and military ballots apply to elections conducted by mail ballot.
1 (11) Ballots shall be counted in a manner consistent with the provisions
2 of chapters 12, 23 and 24, title 34, Idaho Code.
3 34-2604. ORDER OF CANDIDATES NAMES ON THE BALLOT. (1) Not later than the
4 sixty-ninth day before the date of any election held by vote by mail process,
5 the secretary of state shall complete a random ordering of the letters of the
7 (2) Not later than the sixty-eighth day before the date of any election
8 held by vote by mail, the secretary of state shall communicate to each county
9 clerk a copy of the random ordering of the letters of the alphabet.
10 (3) The county clerk shall arrange by surname the names of the candidates
11 on the ballot or ballot label in the random order of the letters of the alpha-
12 bet completed by the secretary of state under subsection (1) of this section.
13 34-2605. APPLICABILITY OF OTHER LAWS. All election laws, including, but
14 not limited to, bond election laws, city charters or ordinances, not inconsis-
15 tent with this chapter, shall apply to all elections in election precincts
16 where vote by mail systems are used. No provision of law or ordinance, which
17 in any way conflicts with this chapter or with the use of vote by mail systems
18 as provided in this chapter, shall operate to prohibit use of vote by mail
19 systems in any election or bond issue election.
20 SECTION 2. That Section 50-429, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
21 amended to read as follows:
22 50-429. GENERAL AND SPECIAL CITY ELECTIONS. (1) A general election shall
23 be held in each city governed by this title, for officials as in this title
24 provided, on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November in each odd-
25 numbered year. All such officials shall be elected and hold their respective
26 offices for the term specified and until their successors are elected and
27 qualified. All other city elections that may be held under authority of gen-
28 eral law shall be known as special city elections.
29 (2) With express authorization from the city council and subject to the
30 provisions of chapter 26, title 34, Idaho Code, the city clerk shall conduct
31 all primary, special and general elections entirely by a vote by mail system.
32 The city council shall give the city clerk at least ninety (90) days' notice
33 before the first election to be conducted entirely by mail. If the city coun-
34 cil decides to return to a polling place election environment, the city coun-
35 cil shall give the city clerk at least ninety (90) days' notice before the
36 first election to be conducted using polling places. If a city chooses to have
37 the county conduct any general or special election for it and if that county
38 has adopted a vote by mail system pursuant to chapter 26, title 34, Idaho
39 Code, the city election shall be conducted by mail ballot.
40 (3) On and after January 1, 1994, notwithstanding any other provisions of
41 law to the contrary, there shall be no more than four (4) elections conducted
42 in any city in any calendar year, except as provided in this section.
43 ( 34) The dates on which elections may be conducted are:
44 (a) The first Tuesday in February of each year; and
45 (b) The fourth Tuesday in May of each year; and
46 (c) The first Tuesday in August of each year; and
47 (d) The Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each year.
48 (e) In addition to the elections specified in subsections paragraphs (a)
49 through (d) of this subsection, an emergency election may be called upon
50 motion of the city council of a city. An emergency exists when there is a
51 great public calamity, as an extraordinary fire, flood, storm, epidemic or
1 other disaster, or if it is necessary to do emergency work to prepare for
2 a national or local defense, or it is necessary to do emergency work to
3 safeguard life, health or property. Such a special election, if conducted
4 by the city clerk, shall be conducted at the expense of the political sub-
5 division submitting the question.
6 ( 45) The secretary of state is authorized to provide such assistance as
7 necessary, and to prescribe any needed rules or interpretations for the con-
8 duct of elections authorized under the provisions of this section.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
This legislation provides an option for county commissioners to
adopt a vote-by-mail election system in their county that would
apply to all primary, general, and special elections. Ballots
would be mailed to all registered voters. However, some polling
locations would be available for those wishing to make a physical
appearance at the polls, or for those exercising same day
registration. Mail-in-ballots would contain a ballot, a return
signature verification envelope, and a secrecy envelope. The
signature on the return envelope will be verified with the
signature on the elector's registration card. No ballots will be
counted until Election Day. Vote-by-mail would be available to
all taxing districts, except school districts, upon approval of
their respective governing boards. If taxing districts contract
with a vote-by-mail county for their election, it will be
conducted by mail.
Currently, all counties utilize absentee voting and nine (9)
counties utilize the mail ballot precinct law. Voter
participation is greater in these precincts as compared to the
turnout county-wide. To date, no complaints of fraud in the mail
ballot precincts have been filed in Idaho.
There will be no fiscal impact to the General Fund. The impact
to local government will be determined on a county-by-county
basis for those counties who choose the vote-by-mail option.
Names: Daniel G. Chadwick, Idaho Association of Counties
Kerry Ellen Elliott
Phone: (208) 345-9126
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE H 94