In connection with the existing requirement that the county clerk and recorder (clerk) must ensure that any eligible applicant is registered to vote in an election in specified circumstances, the act adds a requirement that the applicant be mailed a ballot. The act specifies the following new procedures governing the administration of ballots mailed to an elector toward the end of the voting period:
- Commencing the 15th day before an election through the 8th day before an election, the act requires the clerk to process all voter registration applications and updates to a voter registration record that requires a new ballot to be sent to an elector within 2 business days of the receipt of the application or update by the county clerk.
- The act permits an eligible elector to obtain a replacement ballot if the ballot that was originally mailed to the elector was destroyed, spoiled, lost, or for some other reason not received by the elector. The act specifies the process by which the elector requests a replacement ballot.
- The act prohibits a clerk from mailing a replacement ballot to the elector making the request if the clerk has already received a ballot for the election from the elector making the request.
- The act requires the clerk to deliver any ballot that must be sent by mail to the United States postal service (USPS) within 2 business days after processing a registration application or update to a voter registration record that requires a new ballot to be sent to an elector.
- Commencing on the 8th day before an election, the county clerk and recorder must mail all mail ballots to the elector by first class mail.
- Commencing on the 8th day before an election, the clerk is required to deliver to the USPS any ballot that must be sent by mail within 2 business days after receiving a registration application or an update to a voter registration record that results in the issuance of an original or a replacement ballot to an elector.
- Any clerk who receives information from the USPS or any third party indicating that ballots have been lost, stolen, or will, for any reason, not be timely delivered to electors, must report the issue to the secretary of state.
- The act imposes a duty on any person responsible for preparing, issuing, transporting, or mailing ballots who has personal knowledge that mail ballots under that person's care have been either lost or stolen or will, for any reason, not be timely delivered to electors, to report the issue to the clerk. A violation results in a civil penalty not to exceed $50. The reporting and penalty provisions of the act do not apply to election judges, staff of the clerk, or individual United States postal workers.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)