BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Carol Liu, Chair
                           2013-2014 Regular Session
                                        

          BILL NO:       SB 240
          AUTHOR:        Yee
          AMENDED:       April 11, 2013
          FISCAL COMM:   Yes            HEARING DATE:  April 17, 2013
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:    Lynn Lorber

            NOTE  :   This bill has been referred to the Committees on  
                 Education and 
           Elections and Constitutional Amendments.  A "do pass"  
                 motion should include 
           referral to the Committee on Elections and Constitutional  
                 Amendments.

           SUBJECT :  Polling places: higher education campuses.
          
           SUMMARY  

          This bill requires county elections officials to establish  
          at least one polling place on every campus of the  
          California State University and the University of  
          California, and consider establishing at least one polling  
          place on each community college campus.

           BACKGROUND  

          Current law requires:

          1)   An elections official to, among other things,  
               establish a convenient number of election precincts  
               within the affected jurisdiction, define the precinct  
               boundaries, and designate a polling place for each  
               precinct at least 29 days prior to the election.   
               (Elections Code  12286)

          2)   An elections official to undertake necessary measures  
               in the locating of polling places to ensure that  
               polling places meet the guidelines promulgated by the  
               Secretary of State for accessibility by the physically  
               handicapped.  (Elections Code  12280)

          3)   A precinct boundary to be fixed in a manner so that  




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               the number of voters in the precinct does not exceed  
               1.000 on the 88th day prior to the day of election.   
               Elections officials are authorized to subtract the  
               number of permanent vote by mail voters from the total  
               number of voters to reach the threshold of 1,000  
               voters.  (Elections Code  12223)

          4)   Requires school districts to allow the use of school  
               buildings for polling places if a city or county  
               elections official makes such a request.  
               (Elections Code  12283)

          5)   County elections officials to offer conditional voter  
               registration and provisional voting, and authorizes  
               county elections officials to offer conditional voter  
               registration and provisional voting on election day.   
               (Elections Code  2170)

           ANALYSIS
           
           This bill  requires county elections officials to establish  
          at least one polling place on every campus of the  
          California State University and the University of  
          California, and consider establishing at least one polling  
          place on each community college campus.  Specifically, this  
          bill:

          1)   Requires, for each statewide general and primary  
               election, the county elections official to do both of  
               the following:

                    a)             Establish at least one polling  
                    place within each campus of the California State  
                    University (CSU) and the University of California  
                    (UC) within the county.

                    b)             Consider establishing at least one  
                    polling place within each community college (CCC)  
                    within the county, and establish that polling  
                    place if the elections official determines a  
                    polling place at the college would be convenient  
                    for voters.

          2)   Exempts from the provisions of this bill counties with  
               a population of fewer than 150,000 people.





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          3)   Requires the CSU and CCC to provide access for use of  
               their campuses as polling places, and requests the UC  
               to do the same.  This bill provides that it does not  
               apply to a campus of the UC if the campus refuses a  
               request for access to the campus as a polling place.

           STAFF COMMENTS  

           1)   Need for the bill  .  According to the author, "In 2011,  
               Senate Bill 397 was passed to allow citizens to  
               register to vote via the internet or mobile device.   
               On September 19, 2012, California launched its online  
               voter registration system and saw immediate success.   
               SB 240 ensure that young voters' voices are heard at  
               the ballot box by placing at least one polling place  
               at every University of California and California State  
               University campus.  While in college, many students  
               will be voting for the first time.  Together with  
               online voter registration, students can effortlessly  
               register to vote, and on Election Day have convenient  
               and easy access to a p9olling place on their  
               university or college campus."

           2)   What's the problem  ?  According to information provided  
               by the author's office, nine of the ten campuses of  
               the University of California, and 16 of 23 campuses of  
               the California State University, had polling places in  
               the November 2012 election.  According to a news  
               article quoting the registrar of voters for Riverside  
               County relative to the reason a polling place was not  
               placed on the UC Riverside campus, "One of the reasons  
               for not selecting the college as a polling place was  
               due to the high number of commuter students.  Commuter  
               college students who live in a different county or  
               city are required to cast a provisional ballot.   
               Parking issues for voters who do not attend the  
               college was also a concern."

           3)   Removes discretion of county elections officials  .   
               This bill requires elections officials to locate a  
               polling place on public college campuses regardless of  
               a determination by county elections officials as to  
               the best location (makes sense for voters in area and  
               accessible to voters) for polling places.  This bill  
               requires the placement of polling places without a  
               link to the number of people who are registered to  




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               vote within that precinct or to the number of people  
               who live on a campus.  Many students are registered to  
               vote at their permanent residence (e.g., their  
               parents' residence).  The committee and the author may  
               wish to consider amending this bill to exclude  
               counties that do not have a public college with an  
               adequate number of students residing on campus that  
               are registered to vote at that campus address.

           4)   Primary elections  .  This bill requires elections  
               officials to locate a polling place on public college  
               campuses for each statewide general and primary  
               election.  Is it prudent to require polling places on  
               college campuses at times when few students may be on  
               campus?  The committee and the author may wish to  
               consider amending this bill to exclude state elections  
               scheduled for June or any other time (special state  
               elections) when these campuses are on summer or other  
               types of breaks.

           5)   Not just for students  .  This bill requires polling  
               places on each campus of the CSU and UC, but does not  
               limit voting at those polling places to students of  
               that campus.  Access to parking and navigation on  
               college campuses can be difficult, which could impede  
               the ability of the off-campus community to access the  
               polling place.

           6)   Small County Exemption  .  This bill exempts counties  
               that have a population under 150,000, which appear to  
               include Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte,  
               Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa,  
               Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Napa, Nevada, Plumas, San  
               Benito, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity,  
               Tuolumne, and Yuba.  

           7)   Fiscal impact  .  According to the Assembly  
               Appropriations Committee analysis of prior  
               legislation, "there are 40 counties in California with  
               a UC, CSU, and/or CCC campus.  Assuming an average  
               cost of $1,300 to establish and operate a polling  
               place, annual reimbursable General Fund costs would be  
               $52,000.  Some counties currently locate polling  
               places on college campuses.  This bill creates a  
               mandate that requires the state to reimburse counties  
               for these costs for one college within each county."




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           8)   Prior legislation  .  AB 346 (Atkins, 2011) would have  
               required county elections officials to establish at  
               least one polling place for each state election on a  
               campus of a CCC, CSU and UC within their respective  
               counties.  AB 346 failed passage in the Senate  
               Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee on  
               2-3 vote on June 21, 2011.

           SUPPORT  

          Cal Berkeley Democrats
          California College Democrats
          Service Employees International Union, California State  
          Council

           OPPOSITION

           None on file.