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Minutes for SB130 - Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government

Short Title

Permit persons voting an advance ballot to correct a signature deficiency prior to the final canvass.

Minutes Content for Wed, Feb 20, 2019

Chairperson Bowers opened the hearing on SB130.  Chuck Reimer, staff revisor, presented a briefing on the bill.

Senator Faust-Goudeau testified in support of SB130, stating this would allow every vote to count.  Senator Faust-Goudeau indicated after the November election, she watched advanced ballots put in the stack that couldn't be counted because it was missing that signature on the outside of the envelope.  (Attachment 7)

After questions by the Committee were addressed, the hearing continued.

Rick Piepho testified in support of SB130 speaking on behalf of the KCCEOA, indicating this bill was part of their Legislative Policy.  Mr. Piepho suggested and explained some requested changes: replacing "shall contact" to "shall attempt" or "make a reasonable effort" on Page 2, Line 15; and changing "final canvass" to "county canvass" on Page 2, Line 19.  Mr. Piepho also requested the revisor consider putting this language into KSA 25-1124 which deals more with the advance application process instead of KSA 25-1124 which is more about the ballot and voting process.  (Attachment 8)

After questions by the Committee were addressed, the hearing continued.

Tabitha Lehman testified in support of SB130 stating this is an issue they would like to have further authority to take care of.  Ms. Lehman addressed some of the questions the Committee had with the previous testimony.  Ms. Lehman explained they do their best to balance the fiscal responsibility and the constraints of their budget and how many staff they have with getting the ballots signed.  (Attachment 9)

After questions by the Committee were addressed, the hearing continued.

Jason Watkins testified stating Sedgwick County is neutral on SB130, but would ask to consider amending SB129-Allow voters to vote at any polling place within a county if approved by the county election officer, which is before this Committee, into SB130.  Mr. Watkins stated a lot of people advance vote, however, on Election Day they can only vote at their polling location.  Mr. Watkins indicated this would increase people's ability and convenience to vote.  Mr. Watkins noted it is at the option of the county election officer, so if counties have the equipment, the technology and the county election officer is comfortable, you can do it.  Mr. Watkins stated he has talked with Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, he's comfortable with the legislation so long as it's optional.  (Attachment 10)

Chairperson Bowers closed the hearing on SB130.