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Minutes for SB310 - Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government

Short Title

Requiring all voting systems for elections to use individual voter-verified paper ballots.

Minutes Content for Wed, Feb 12, 2020

Chairperson Bowers opened the hearing on SB310.  Charles Reimer, staff revisor, presented a briefing on the bill.  After questions by the Committee were addressed, the hearing continued.

Senator Hilderbrand testified in support of SB310 stating at one time everything was paper ballots, but now Kansas currently has a mix.  Senator Hilderbrand indicated there are eight counties that use DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) systems without a paper trail.  Senator Hilderbrand explained that once you cast your ballot, there is no verification from the voter of how they voted.  Senator Hilderbrand responded to questions from the Committee.  (Attachment 1)

Jay Hall testified in opposition to SB310.  Mr. Hall indicated they are speaking in opposition not because they don't want elections to be fair and transparent, but this is simply about cost.  Mr. Hall responded to questions from the Committee.  (Attachment 2)

Mike Burgess testified in opposition to SB310.  Mr. Burgess stated their major concern is the language in the bill on Page 2, Line 20, (c) The use of poll books not requiring a hand-written signature shall be prohibited.  Mr. Burgess indicated their other concern is returning to just paper ballots, there would need to be either a DRE or a ballot marking device in those precincts.  Mr. Burgess responded to questions from the Committee.  (Attachment 3)

Katie Koupal provided neutral testimony for SB310.  Ms. Koupal stated many of the counties have been switching their election equipment that doesn't produce the verified paper trail.  Ms. Koupal indicated a lot of that equipment is ending its life cycle, and those eight counties that are left are in various stages of procurement for the new election equipment.  (Attachment 4)

Ms. Koupal and Jameson Beckner, Assistant Director of Elections, Kansas Secretary of State, responded to questions from the Committee.

Written testimony in opposition of SB310 was submitted by:

Rick Piepho Harvey County Clerk and Election Officer (Attachment 5)

Chairperson Bowers closed the hearing on SB310.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:24 a.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for February 18, 2020.