Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

03/08/2018 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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03:32:54 PM Start
03:33:39 PM SB186
04:51:39 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        SB 186-VOTER REGISTRATION & PFD APP REGISTRATION                                                                    
3:33:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER  announced the consideration  of Senate Bill  186 (SB
3:34:20 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSIE BAHNKE,  Director, Alaska Division of  Elections, Office of                                                               
the  Lieutenant   Governor,  Juneau,   Alaska,  noted   that  she                                                               
testified  on SB  182 the  previous week.  She summarized  SB 182                                                               
would  allow  voters to  designate  their  residence and  mailing                                                               
addresses as  confidential. She specified  that SB 186 is  a bill                                                               
that  addresses   an  opt-out  of  voter   registration  when  an                                                               
individual applies for a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) and                                                                      
detailed as follows:                                                                                                            
     In  2016 Alaska  voters passed  Ballot Measure  1 which                                                                    
     stipulated   that    information   provided    on   PFD                                                                    
     applications  will  be  used to  register  to  vote  or                                                                    
     update  the  applicant's  existing  voter  registration                                                                    
     unless the applicant opts-out of voter registration.                                                                       
     The  intent of  Ballot Measure  1 was  to automatically                                                                    
     register voters  or update existing  voter registration                                                                    
     data with information provided  on the PFD application.                                                                    
     The ballot  measure became law effective  March 1, 2017                                                                    
     and in  the inaugural  year of implementation  the opt-                                                                    
     out  provision   in  Ballot  Measure  1   required  the                                                                    
     Division of Elections  to send a notice in  the mail to                                                                    
     the PFD  applicants giving them an  opportunity to opt-                                                                    
     out. If the applicant didn't  opt-out within 30 days of                                                                    
     receiving the  notice, the PFD  application information                                                                    
     was   used  to   register   or   update  the   existing                                                                    
     registration record.                                                                                                       
     The  administration is  100-percent  supportive of  the                                                                    
     intent of  Ballot Measure 1  in allowing voters  to use                                                                    
     information on  their PFD  application to  update their                                                                    
     existing  voter registration.  In  addition to  helping                                                                    
     register  Alaskan   voters,  the   administration  also                                                                    
     supports other  goals of the  ballot measure  which was                                                                    
     to  enhance accuracy  of voter  rolls and  to save  the                                                                    
     state money.                                                                                                               
3:36:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BAHNKE explained why SB 186 was introduced as follows:                                                                      
     The reason  why SB  186 was introduced  is so  that the                                                                    
     PFD  Automatic Voter  Registration process  established                                                                    
     with passage  of Ballot Measure  1 is  truly automated,                                                                    
     more  streamlined   and  cost  efficient   by  allowing                                                                    
     applicants   the  opportunity   to  opt-out   of  voter                                                                    
     registration at  the time they  are applying  for their                                                                    
     PFD. Adoption  of SB  186 would  allow the  Division of                                                                    
     Elections to more effectively  manage this new program,                                                                    
     would eliminate  the cost of  sending out  an expensive                                                                    
     mailing   every   year   and  would   register   voters                                                                    
     immediately,  eliminating  the  30-day  opt-out  period                                                                    
     required under current law.                                                                                                
She detailed that  the since 2015 and prior to  voter approval of                                                               
the PFD  Automatic Voter Registration, the  Division of Elections                                                               
made  several  technological   advancements  to  improve  access,                                                               
efficiency  and   voter  registration  rolls.  She   detailed  as                                                               
     The  division has  fully  implemented  an online  voter                                                                    
     registration  process, making  registering  to vote  or                                                                    
     updating  an  existing   voter  registration  easy  and                                                                    
     efficient.  When the  PFD Automatic  Voter Registration                                                                    
     petition   was    being   circulated,    online   voter                                                                    
     registration  was   not  yet  available.   Since  being                                                                    
     implemented in  November 2015, 49,000-plus  voters have                                                                    
     used  the Online  Voter Registration  System (OLVR)  to                                                                    
     either   register  or   update  their   existing  voter                                                                    
     The Division of Elections  has also fully automated the                                                                    
     process  of  receiving voter  registration  information                                                                    
     electronically  from  the  Division of  Motor  Vehicles                                                                    
     (DMV) when  Alaskans update  their driver's  license or                                                                    
     state  ID. When  the PFD  Automatic Voter  Registration                                                                    
     petition  was being  circulated,  the DMV  registration                                                                    
     process was not automated,  and registrations were sent                                                                    
     to    division    on    paper    applications.    Since                                                                    
     implementation,   63,000-plus    voters   have   either                                                                    
     registered  or had  their  existing voter  registration                                                                    
     updated through the DMV electronic process.                                                                                
3:39:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BAHNKE explained the changes that would occur if SB 186 is                                                                  
approved as follows:                                                                                                            
     If  SB   186  is   adopted  the  PFD   Automatic  Voter                                                                    
     Registration  process   will  closely  mimic   how  the                                                                    
     Division of Elections presently  receives and handles a                                                                    
     majority  of  voter  registrations; it  would  save  an                                                                    
     estimated $200,000-plus  annually in mailing  costs and                                                                    
     provide  for a  mechanism by  which voter  registration                                                                    
     transactions  performed  by   the  division  are  fully                                                                    
     automated and reduce paper transactions.                                                                                   
     Should SB 186 become law,  PFD applicants will have the                                                                    
     opportunity  to  decline  to register  to  vote  or  to                                                                    
     update  their registration  at the  time of  completing                                                                    
     their PFD application; this change  will provide a more                                                                    
     efficient  and user-friendly  mechanism  for voters  to                                                                    
     decide to opt-out by eliminating the opt-out notice in                                                                     
     the mail to reduce paper transactions and saving costs                                                                     
     in mailing the opt-out notice to eligible applicants.                                                                      
3:41:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  asked if  the  Division  of Elections  received                                                               
legal analysis  on whether the  bill is a significant  or minimal                                                               
change to the initiative.                                                                                                       
MS.   BAHNKE  answered   yes.  She   explained  that   the  legal                                                               
determination was  that the technical  fix to the bill  would not                                                               
change the intent of the ballot initiative.                                                                                     
SENATOR  COGHILL asked  to confirm  that in  the PFD  application                                                               
that  a  person  would  now  get  an  opt-out  "block"  on  their                                                               
application rather than a mailing.                                                                                              
MS. BAHNKE explained that the  online application would be a two-                                                               
step opt-out  process rather than strictly  an unsubscribe-box to                                                               
3:43:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL inquired if a  voter opt-in registration would be                                                               
a violation of the initiative.                                                                                                  
MS. BAHNKE replied that an  opt-in would significantly change the                                                               
intent of the initiative.                                                                                                       
SENATOR COGHILL asked her to explain the two-step process.                                                                      
MS.  BAHNKE  explained  that  the  applicant  during  the  online                                                               
process will have two opportunities to verify their action.                                                                     
SENATOR COGHILL  summarized that  a person  would have  to decide                                                               
before completing their PFD application.                                                                                        
MS. BAHNKE answered correct.                                                                                                    
3:45:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  EGAN asked  if the  state's "myAlaska"  system could  be                                                               
used because it seems that it would save a lot of money.                                                                        
MS. BAHNKE  answered that  the division  discussed that  idea and                                                               
found it would create a significant fiscal note.                                                                                
SENATOR  EGAN  asked  her  to   confirm  that  coordinating  with                                                               
myAlaska would create a significant fiscal note.                                                                                
MS. BAHNKE answered correct.                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER asked why using  myAlaska would create a large fiscal                                                               
note for.                                                                                                                       
MS. BAHNKE replied that she would  get back to the committee with                                                               
an answer.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR EGAN opined that using  myAlaska should save money rather                                                               
than cost more money because myAlaska is all set up.                                                                            
SENATOR GIESSEL  pointed out that  myAlaska is used to  apply for                                                               
the PFD online.                                                                                                                 
MS. BAHNKE suggested that Sarah  Race, director for the Permanent                                                               
Fund  Division,   should  be  able  to   address  Senator  Egan's                                                               
SENATOR EGAN  noted that he  uses myAlaska to file  Alaska Public                                                               
Offices Commission  (APOC) reports. He pointed  out that everyone                                                               
working at the capitol has a myAlaska account.                                                                                  
3:46:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SARAH RACE,  Director, Permanent  Fund Dividend  Division, Alaska                                                               
Department of  Revenue, Juneau, Alaska, pointed  out that signing                                                               
up online for  a PFD does not require a  person to have myAlaska.                                                               
She specified  that a person can  file for their PFD  online, but                                                               
they would have to print a signature page.                                                                                      
SENATOR EGAN  pointed out that  using the printed  signature page                                                               
requires the  use of  a facsimile machine.  He opined  that using                                                               
myAlaska is a lot easier.                                                                                                       
MS. RACE  conceded that she  wished she could  convince everybody                                                               
to use  myAlaska but  there are individuals  that choose  to file                                                               
online  with a  signature  page rather  than  using the  myAlaska                                                               
electronic signature feature.                                                                                                   
3:48:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL asked  if the opt-out option in  the bill changed                                                               
the one-step process to a two-step process.                                                                                     
MS. RACE answered  that the division is working  out the two-step                                                               
logistics.  She  detailed that  the  division  is considering  an                                                               
online opt-out  choice that  is followed  by a  paper application                                                               
that is mailed.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR  COGHILL noted  that the  two-step process  would end  up                                                               
with a  significant portion  of mail flowing  back and  forth. He                                                               
asked if the opt-out form would be prepaid and foldable.                                                                        
MS. RACE  replied that the  division has  not worked out  all the                                                               
logistics.  She  noted that  another  consideration  is to  first                                                               
follow up with  an e-mail to first verify before  mailing an opt-                                                               
out  form. She  concurred  that consideration  must  be given  to                                                               
handling paper.  She disclosed that  the division  still receives                                                               
100,000 to 120,000 paper PFD applications a year.                                                                               
SENATOR  COGHILL  pointed  out  that  verifying  an  individual's                                                               
identification  is self-qualifying  without a  witness. He  noted                                                               
that  in-person  voter  registration requires  an  affidavit.  He                                                               
asked what occurs if the division  finds out that a person is not                                                               
who they say they are.                                                                                                          
MS. BAHNKE answered that voter registration would be declined.                                                                  
3:51:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CAROL THOMPSON,  Absentee and  Petition Manager,  Alaska Division                                                               
of  Elections, Juneau,  Alaska,  explained that  the division  is                                                               
required to  verify voter proof  of identity. She  disclosed that                                                               
the  division  verifies  through  DMV  and  the  Social  Security                                                               
Administration.  She explained  that  if a  new voter's  identity                                                               
cannot be verified then a manual  review occurs through DMV and a                                                               
type  of Help  America Vote  Act  (HAVA) processes  to ensure  an                                                               
individual is identifiable.                                                                                                     
SENATOR COGHILL asked for an explanation of the review process.                                                                 
MS.  RACE  answered that  first-time  filers  go through  a  step                                                               
beyond checking  with DMV where  an individual is also  asked for                                                               
their  birth  certificate or  passport.  She  disclosed that  the                                                               
division matches information with DMV on an annual basis.                                                                       
SENATOR COGHILL  noted that DMV  has the social  security numbers                                                               
and birth certificates.  He said DMV applications  have an opt-in                                                               
to register to vote. He asked if the process is self-verified.                                                                  
3:53:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  THOMPSON  answered  that  DMV  does  have  requirements  for                                                               
verifying a  person's identity. She explained  that under federal                                                               
law,  the division  is required  to access  DMV to  verify if  an                                                               
individual has  a valid  driver's license on  file. She  said the                                                               
division accesses  the Social Security Department  database if an                                                               
individual does not  have a record in DMV. She  summarized that a                                                               
person is  specially coded in  the division's system if  they are                                                               
not verified  through DMV or  the Social  Security Administration                                                               
where  the person  must present  their  identification when  they                                                               
show up to vote.                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL  asked how  the Division  of Elections  checks to                                                               
ensure that felons do not vote.                                                                                                 
3:55:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. THOMPSON  replied that the  division receives the  felon list                                                               
from the court system that allows  people to be tagged as felons.                                                               
She added  that the PFD  list allows  the division to  compare to                                                               
their list  to locate any  known felons. She emphasized  that the                                                               
division checks the felony lists monthly.                                                                                       
SENATOR COGHILL  noted that his  work in criminal  justice reform                                                               
has shown him  that the Division of Elections, "has  holes in the                                                               
system." He continued as follows:                                                                                               
     That's  why I  was  interested in  the process  because                                                                    
     what we  have set  up here under  the initiative  was a                                                                    
     system that is  a little more open, but  it requires us                                                                    
     to actually be able to  tell who people are. So, that's                                                                    
     why I've  kind of snooped  down the opt-in  version and                                                                    
     even though  you think it is  unconstitutional, I'm not                                                                    
     convinced yet.  So, I  will probably  snoop in  there a                                                                    
     little further because I think  that might be a cleaner                                                                    
     way of getting  people to act, but I will  look at your                                                                    
     two-step process  because I see an  amendment here that                                                                    
     looks like that's going to be part of the discussion.                                                                      
3:57:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BAHNKE detailed that when  Congress passed the National Voter                                                               
Registration Act in  1993, Alaska became an  opt-in state through                                                               
the "Motor Voter  Law." She disclosed that the  division has been                                                               
processing  opt-in voter  registrations  since  1994 through  the                                                               
paper application process until 2016.                                                                                           
She  detailed that  people applying  for their  driver's licenses                                                               
are asked if they want to  register to vote or update their voter                                                               
information. She noted  that the changes from SB  186 would allow                                                               
the PFD  process to  mimic the DMV  process where  PFD applicants                                                               
are asked if they want to opt-out.                                                                                              
MS.  BAHNKE addressed  Senator  Coghill's  concern regarding  the                                                               
felon list and  detailed how the division has  made great strides                                                               
in improving  the quality of  the felon list. She  disclosed that                                                               
prior  to  the 2017  the  division  relied  on  a list  from  the                                                               
Department of Corrections,  but the report system  was changed in                                                               
coordination with  the court system  for weekly updates  to catch                                                               
those that may have fallen through the cracks.                                                                                  
3:59:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL asked  how long  the new  reporting process  has                                                               
been used.                                                                                                                      
MS. BAHNKE answered approximately six months.                                                                                   
SENATOR COGHILL  commented that he believed  the reporting change                                                               
is a good solution.                                                                                                             
He addressed voter opt-in and opt-out options as follows:                                                                       
     The principle  that I  think about  when I  think about                                                                    
     this is  one is,  the state has  the right  to register                                                                    
     unless  you say  "no." The  other  one is,  you get  to                                                                    
     register  if  you   say  "yes."  So,  one   is  on  the                                                                    
     responsibility of the individual  to say the government                                                                    
     shouldn't include me, the other  one says, "No, we want                                                                    
     you  included,"  and  I  prefer  that  methodology.  So                                                                    
     that's why you will probably  seeing me going down that                                                                    
     road, hunting down  that road, and I know  it's kind of                                                                    
     the question on  the initiative, I don't  know that's a                                                                    
     constitutional  question  other   than  the  initiative                                                                    
     timing, so I am going to look at it.                                                                                       
4:00:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR EGAN  asked why  the Division of  Elections does  not use                                                               
myAlaska. He said he cannot  imagine $200,000 being spent for the                                                               
implementation that  the division explained when  myAlaska can be                                                               
MS.  BAHNKE answered  that the  division has  had its  own portal                                                               
through its Online Voter Registration (OLVR) since 2015.                                                                        
SENATOR EGAN  inquired why the  division does not  consider using                                                               
myAlaska  as well.  He opined  that  using myAlaska  seems to  be                                                               
easier for the  filer since 90 percent of  the state's population                                                               
is using  myAlaska. He  remarked that  using myAlaska  will allow                                                               
people to avoid having to use multiple sites.                                                                                   
MS. BAHNKE explained that the  division embedded the registration                                                               
process into the PFD applications  three year ago and the process                                                               
has been very effective at no cost.                                                                                             
CHAIR MEYER  asked if  voter registration  could be  done through                                                               
MS.  THOMPSON  replied that  voter  registration  cannot be  done                                                               
through myAlaska. She  explained that a cost  would be associated                                                               
with  adding myAlaska,  but the  division would  get back  to the                                                               
CHAIR MEYER concurred  with Senator Egan that  using myAlaska was                                                               
the most logical way to go.                                                                                                     
4:05:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. RACE replied as follows:                                                                                                    
     I believe that was the  intent of the voter initiative,                                                                    
     to allow  individuals to apply  for their  dividend and                                                                    
     do exactly what you are speaking  to, to have kind of a                                                                    
     one-stop  shop,  "I  can  go ahead  and  apply  for  my                                                                    
     dividend and also be registered  to vote as well;" I do                                                                    
     believe  that was  a  big  part of  the  intent of  the                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER concurred  and asked the division to get  back to the                                                               
committee on using myAlaska.                                                                                                    
SENATOR EGAN suggested that the link could be changed.                                                                          
CHAIR MEYER commented as follows:                                                                                               
     It's concerning,  we had another  bill last  week about                                                                    
     folks  that  may  be  a victim  of  sexual  assault  or                                                                    
     domestic violence  and then making  sure that  they are                                                                    
     not included  in the voter registration  printouts that                                                                    
     people  can get  that right  now you  charge $20  and I                                                                    
     think  the sponsor  of that  bill wants  to up  that as                                                                    
     well. My  concern is, and especially  after we recently                                                                    
     heard that Alaska  is one of the seven  states that the                                                                    
     Russians   hacked  into,   how   can   we  assure   our                                                                    
     constituents that  the system  is secure and  that this                                                                    
     information now that we are  getting either through the                                                                    
     PFD or  DMV or  voter registration  is not  getting out                                                                    
     into the wrong hands?                                                                                                      
4:07:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BAHNKE asked if Chair Meyer was asking about voter                                                                          
registration and the division's election management security                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER answered correct.                                                                                                   
MS. BAHNKE replied as follows:                                                                                                  
     The NBC  report reported that  Alaska was one  of seven                                                                    
     states  that  had  a  part  of  their  election  system                                                                    
     compromised,  this  was   not  our  voter  registration                                                                    
     election  management  system.  We  had  an  IP  address                                                                    
     associated with these Russian  hackers that had visited                                                                    
     our public-facing  website and  the analogy was  like a                                                                    
     burglar  knocking on  the door  and  rattling the  door                                                                    
     knob and then moving on  from that, this did not occur.                                                                    
     We  have  many  layers   of  security  with  our  voter                                                                    
     registration   election    management   system.   We've                                                                    
     implemented  very robust  controls  to access  controls                                                                    
     and  have also  implemented  many  measures aside  from                                                                    
     collaborating  with [Department  of Homeland  Security]                                                                    
     (DHS)  to  conduct  some scans  and  doing  some  cyber                                                                    
     hygiene testing  with us,  so we have  a lot  of things                                                                    
     built into that.                                                                                                           
     I  think your  question is  a very  important question.                                                                    
     Election  security is  central to  the focus  of us  as                                                                    
     election administrators  and certainly  is worthy  of a                                                                    
     discussion that  we are happy  to follow up on,  but we                                                                    
     are very  confident in the  security of it, but  we are                                                                    
     also very vigilant  in the fact that  these threats are                                                                    
     out there  ongoing and taking  measures that we  can to                                                                    
     protect voter registration information.                                                                                    
4:09:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER asked if Alaska's election system was not                                                                           
MS. BAHNKE replied as follows:                                                                                                  
     This story is  the same from last September  is that we                                                                    
     were  one of  21 states  that  had a  known Russian  IP                                                                    
     address visit  our public information website  which is                                                                    
     totally   separate   than   our   election   management                                                                    
CHAIR  MEYER  noted that  the  NBC  report  said, "One  of  seven                                                               
SENATOR EGAN  emphasized that  the Russian  IP address  looked at                                                               
the website.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MEYER asked  if the  Russian IP  address visited  7 or  21                                                               
MS.  BAHNKE   clarified  that  the  previous   week's  NBC  story                                                               
mentioned seven.                                                                                                                
CHAIR MEYER  asked if she was  saying that the number  was really                                                               
MS. BAHNKE answered as follows:                                                                                                 
     Initially it  was, that was  the report last  week. DHS                                                                    
     has denied  that they  have anymore  information. We've                                                                    
     been in  direct contact  with DHS, our  contacts there.                                                                    
     We've been in direct contact  with the state [Office of                                                                    
     Information  Technology] (OIT)  office  and there's  no                                                                    
     proof supporting that.                                                                                                     
4:11:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER  asked how  people get  a PFD  versus those  that are                                                               
already registered to vote.                                                                                                     
MS. RACE  replied approximately  672,000 individuals  applied for                                                               
the PFD last year.                                                                                                              
CHAIR MEYER  asked how many  of those individuals  are registered                                                               
MS. THOMPSON  responded that there are  540,000 registered voters                                                               
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR  COGHILL remarked  that  the proper  question to  compare                                                               
apples-to-apples is how  many individuals that receive  a PFD are                                                               
of voting age.                                                                                                                  
MS. RACE  answered correct. She  said she  would get back  to the                                                               
committee with the number of  individuals that receive a PFD that                                                               
are over the age of 18.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  EGAN  asked how  often  the  division purges  its  voter                                                               
registration  list and  if purging  process is  based on  federal                                                               
MS.  THOMPSON   replied  that  the  division   purges  its  voter                                                               
registration  list on  an annual  basis. She  disclosed that  the                                                               
division  is part  of a  program  called Electronic  Registration                                                               
Information Center (ERIC)  and has started using  ERIC to compare                                                               
Alaska data with  other states. She detailed  that the department                                                               
now looks  at voters  that potentially may  be in  another state.                                                               
She  added that  ERIC provides  death notices  as well  and noted                                                               
that approximately  700 voters  were inactivated  in the  fall of                                                               
2017.   She  added   that  ERIC   provides  intrastate   movement                                                               
information  that the  division compares  with its  database. She                                                               
said the division is always  actively looking for ways to cleanup                                                               
and the  Permanent Fund automatic  voter registration  process is                                                               
another method for narrowing down the pool of people.                                                                           
4:14:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR EGAN noted  that his mothers  name remained  on the voter                                                               
registration list for two years after she passed.                                                                               
MS. THOMPSON disclosed that updating  the voter registration list                                                               
is dependent on  how fast the division  receives information from                                                               
other sources. She  noted that as a son, Senator  Egan could have                                                               
notified  the  division  and  asked that  her  mother's  name  be                                                               
4:15:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER opened public testimony.                                                                                            
4:16:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  COONS,  representing  self, Palmer,  Alaska,  testified  in                                                               
opposition of SB 186. He asserted the following:                                                                                
   • A felon that applies for a PFD may be able to register to                                                                  
   • Illegal aliens may use fraudulent forms of identification                                                                  
     that passes through the PFD application process and makes                                                                  
     it easier for voter fraud to occur.                                                                                        
   • SB 186   unnecessarily    adds   another   website   voter                                                                 
     registration avenue and layer.                                                                                             
   • SB 186 would require $283,000 in spending.                                                                                 
   • Additional eligible voters that ultimately do not vote may                                                                 
     decrease the state's currently low voter percentage turnout                                                                
MR. COONS noted that recent  data published by the Permanent Fund                                                               
Division showed  that LexisNexis software stopped  224 ineligible                                                               
dividend  payments in  2016 and  the state  is trying  to collect                                                               
another  $435,000  in  dividends  over  the  past  6  years  from                                                               
individuals   that  the   software   identified  as   ineligible,                                                               
including  another  111  in  2015.  He  said  LexisNexis  stopped                                                               
approximately 570  fraudulent applications  and pointed  out that                                                               
if  SB  186  was  currently  in effect  with  no  safeguard  like                                                               
LexisNexis, potentially 570 people would have voted illegally.                                                                  
4:20:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER closed public testimony.                                                                                            
SENATOR  COGHILL noted  that the  division uses  ERIC to  compare                                                               
with  other states  and  pointed  out its  need  due to  Alaska's                                                               
dynamic  population  changes from  the  military.  He recalled  a                                                               
discussion  on the  comparison  of mirror  images  rather than  a                                                               
transfer of data and asked if the issue was still true.                                                                         
MS. THOMPSON asked Senator Coghill to clarify.                                                                                  
SENATOR  COGHILL  asked how  long  the  division has  been  doing                                                               
state-to-state comparisons.                                                                                                     
MS. THOMPSON  replied that the  division has been using  the ERIC                                                               
process since 2017.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  COGHILL asked  if the  ERIC process  is a  comparison of                                                               
data rather than a transfer of data.                                                                                            
MS. THOMPSON answered correct.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  COGHILL   asked  if  the  initiative   has  changed  the                                                               
security, applications and flow of information for the PFD.                                                                     
4:22:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. RACE replied as follows:                                                                                                    
     2017 was our first go-around  at it. We had transferred                                                                    
     data over for the March filers  of 2017 and we did have                                                                    
     to  make  some  changes   to  the  certification  page.                                                                    
     Obviously, we wanted to make  it clear that individuals                                                                    
     by filling  out a  PFD application were  registering to                                                                    
     vote, so that  was really the biggest  change that they                                                                    
     saw in the application in 2017.                                                                                            
     If  this  bill  is  passed,  we  will  have  additional                                                                    
     changes  that will  be the  notification of  wanting or                                                                    
     offering to  opt-out and then any  additional follow up                                                                    
     that we have as the two-step process.                                                                                      
     As far as security, it hasn't changed the security. We                                                                     
     all are within the state's security system and behind                                                                      
     the state's security office.                                                                                               
4:24:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER opened public testimony.                                                                                            
4:24:13 PM                                                                                                                    
DEBORAH BROLLINI,  representing self, Anchorage, Alaska,  did not                                                               
provide  a position  on  SB  186. She  noted  that  an error  had                                                               
occurred where she  was registered to vote both  under her maiden                                                               
and married names.                                                                                                              
4:25:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER closed public testimony.                                                                                            
He pointed out  that the fiscal note is dependent  on a grant and                                                               
asked if the division is confident  it will receive the grant. He                                                               
inquired if  the grant is coming  from the [Center of  Secure and                                                               
Modern Elections].                                                                                                              
MS. BAHNKE replied  that the grant from the Center  of Secure and                                                               
Modern Elections is  no longer an option and the  cost would have                                                               
to be  absorbed by  the Permanent Fund  Dividend Division  for an                                                               
additional appropriation.                                                                                                       
CHAIR MEYER asked if that the cost is $35,000.                                                                                  
MS. RACE specified  that the cost is $29,700.  She explained that                                                               
the  amount  was  placed  in  the fiscal  note  as  an  estimated                                                               
supplemental cost if the grant did not go through.                                                                              
CHAIR MEYER  said the Senate  Finance Committee will  address the                                                               
supplemental cost.                                                                                                              
SENATOR GIESSEL  asked for  a sectional analysis  of SB  186. She                                                               
noted  that documents  were presented  to  committee members  and                                                               
inquired where the documents came from.                                                                                         
SENATOR COGHILL pointed  out that the fiscal note  is without the                                                               
amendment for the two-step process.  He said the two-step process                                                               
adds  a little  complication. He  assumed that  the cost  for the                                                               
change  is minimal.  He asked  what the  cost is  for the  Alaska                                                               
Permanent Fund  auto registration. He  noted that a  mailing cost                                                               
will  be  involved, something  that  the  division is  trying  to                                                               
4:28:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BAHNKE  explained that the  PFD Automatic  Voter Registration                                                               
Law became  effective on March  1, 2017 and detailed  the process                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
   • 158,000 PFD applicants were processed between March 1 and                                                                  
     March 31, 2017.                                                                                                            
   • 76,000 mailers were sent out.                                                                                              
   • 27,000-plus mailers were manually processed.                                                                               
She said the aim of SB 186 is  to eliminate the need for a costly                                                               
mailer to go  out to every new voter or  existing voter to update                                                               
their information,  because the division  has many other  ways to                                                               
address new and existing voters.                                                                                                
She  explained  that  the  $200,000 cost  would  not  only  cover                                                               
sending the  mailers out, but  also includes the  printing costs,                                                               
reply mail, producing and mailing a  new voter card. She said the                                                               
division  still  envisions  having  the staff  time  required  to                                                               
process paper applications, approximately 100,000.                                                                              
She  explained that  the Division  of  Election does  not have  a                                                               
fiscal  note because  implementation  is not  going  to cost  the                                                               
division  and asserted  that the  division is  going to  save the                                                               
state  money.  She  disclosed  that   under  the  initiative  the                                                               
division did  not receive an  appropriation to implement  the PFD                                                               
Automatic   Voter  Registration;   however,  since   passage  the                                                               
division  is  required  to  invest in  changes  to  its  software                                                               
program to  create a 30-day hold  period for applicants to  be in                                                               
the division's system and eventually  to import some of them, not                                                               
all  of  them. She  explained  that  the  other costs  have  been                                                               
associated with the  direct mailing in addition to  staff time to                                                               
process. She said  the division does not see  the staff-time cost                                                               
to process  going away; however,  the division does see  the cost                                                               
going away with the mailing.                                                                                                    
She addressed Senator  Giessel's question regarding documentation                                                               
and noted  that the  numbers in the  documents were  estimated on                                                               
the  division's actual  implementation of  voter registration  in                                                               
4:31:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL commented as follows:                                                                                           
     This is  one of the  reasons why initiatives  are tough                                                                    
     to  work   through  because   they  deliver   not  only                                                                    
     complicated  laws, but  sometimes unworkable,  and then                                                                    
     they  can't make  appropriations, so  they force  on us                                                                    
     ways to spend money and  quite often they are trying to                                                                    
     save  money, but  this  is  one of  the  reasons why  I                                                                    
     struggle with initiatives.                                                                                                 
CHAIR MEYER asked for a sectional analysis.                                                                                     
4:32:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BAHNKE reviewed the sectional analysis as follows:                                                                          
     Section 1:                                                                                                             
     Establishes  the voter  registration requirements  that                                                                    
     an applicant  must provide in their  PFD application to                                                                    
     register to vote.                                                                                                          
     Section 2:                                                                                                             
     Establishes  that the  Division of  Elections will  use                                                                    
     the  application   information  provided  on   the  PFD                                                                    
     application to register eligible  applicants to vote or                                                                    
     update  their  voter  registration   if  they  did  not                                                                    
     decline  voter registration  when completing  their PFD                                                                    
     Section 3                                                                                                              
     Establishes  that   the  Division  of   Elections  will                                                                    
     process   eligible   voter  registration   applications                                                                    
     received from  the PFD and send  voters notification of                                                                    
     their  registration  status  which  would  not  be  the                                                                    
     mailer,  it would  actually be  the voter  registration                                                                    
     card.  This section  also  removes  the requirement  to                                                                    
     send a paper opt-out notice  to voters who are targeted                                                                    
     as new voter registrations or updated registrations.                                                                       
     Section 4:                                                                                                             
     Removes the  requirement for  the applicant  to respond                                                                    
     to the opt-out notice within 30 days.                                                                                      
     Section 5:                                                                                                             
     Establishes  that   PFD  will  only  submit   data  for                                                                    
     applicants that did not decline to register to vote.                                                                       
     Section 6:                                                                                                             
     Establishes that changes in this law will be effective                                                                     
     for PFD applications starting on January 1, 2019.                                                                          
4:34:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER  pointed out  that section 7  through section  9 were                                                               
not addressed.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR GIESSEL asked who wrote the sectional analysis.                                                                         
MS.  BAHNKE  replied  that  the Division  of  Elections  did  the                                                               
sectional analysis.                                                                                                             
SENATOR GIESSEL  remarked that the sectional  analysis is usually                                                               
a bit more thorough.                                                                                                            
MS.  BAHNKE  explained  that  sections  7  through  9  allow  the                                                               
Department  of  Revenue and  the  division  to adopt  regulations                                                               
necessary to implement the changes.                                                                                             
SENATOR  GIESSEL  asked  how  long  it will  take  to  write  the                                                               
MS. THOMPSON replied approximately six months.                                                                                  
SENATOR GIESSEL  remarked that public  notice and  public comment                                                               
generally  takes more  than  six months.  She  remarked that  the                                                               
January 1, 2019 effective date  will be called into question. She                                                               
asked when the last day is to apply for a PFD.                                                                                  
4:36:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. THOMPSON replied March 31.                                                                                                  
SENATOR GIESSEL  opined that  the window is  narrow for  folks to                                                               
apply for  a PFD and apply  to vote. She asked  if alternate ways                                                               
to register will be in place as well.                                                                                           
MS. RACE  answered that the plan  is to maintain the  same method                                                               
for the 2018  application. She noted that the  change would occur                                                               
on the 2019 application where an opt-out would be allowed.                                                                      
SENATOR GIESSEL commented as follows:                                                                                           
     My point was that starting  on January 1, 2019 now have                                                                    
     until  March 31,  2019  to apply  for  a PFD  therefore                                                                    
     registering to vote.  So, after March 31  you must have                                                                    
     a backup plan in place.                                                                                                    
MS. RACE explained that the  Division of Elections has its online                                                               
voter registration that people are currently using.                                                                             
SENATOR  GIESSEL  asked if  the  online  voter registration  that                                                               
people are currently using will still be maintained.                                                                            
MS. BAHNKE answered correct.                                                                                                    
MS.  THOMPSON   confirmed  that   the  division's   online  voter                                                               
registration  plus DMV  will still  be an  option. She  explained                                                               
that applicants will  be able to submit forms to  the division in                                                               
any manner.                                                                                                                     
4:38:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER asked if the option  will be available after March 31                                                               
but not on myAlaska.                                                                                                            
MS.  THOMPSON replied  that the  division  will get  back to  the                                                               
committee on myAlaska.                                                                                                          
SENATOR  GIESSEL   addressed  the  document  that   the  division                                                               
presented, "Improving Alaskan Elections  2018 and Beyond." Noting                                                               
that the  document stated  that the  lieutenant governor  in 2015                                                               
convened an  election-policy workgroup,  she asked who  served on                                                               
the workgroup.                                                                                                                  
MS.  BAHNKE  detailed   that  the  ad  hoc   group  included  the                                                               
   • Former lieutenant governors:                                                                                               
        o Fran Ulmer,                                                                                                           
        o Craig Campbell,                                                                                                       
        o Mead Treadwell.                                                                                                       
   • Representatives from the Senate and House:                                                                                 
        o Senator Gary Stevens,                                                                                                 
        o Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins.                                                                               
   • Municipal and borough clerks from:                                                                                         
        o Ketchikan,                                                                                                            
        o Juneau,                                                                                                               
        o Kenai Peninsula Borough,                                                                                              
        o Municipality of Anchorage,                                                                                            
        o Fairbanks North Star Borough,                                                                                         
        o City of Bethel,                                                                                                       
        o City of Sitka.                                                                                                        
   • Advocacy groups:                                                                                                           
        o League of Women's Voters,                                                                                             
        o Get Out the Native Vote,                                                                                              
        o Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN),                                                                                   
        o First Alaskans Institute,                                                                                             
        o Native American Rights Fund.                                                                                          
MS. BAHNKE said she would send a roster to committee members.                                                                   
4:41:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  asked Ms. Bahnke  to include information  on the                                                               
Center for Election Innovation and  Research (CEIR). She inquired                                                               
where CEIR gets its funding, where  are they located, and what is                                                               
the  bio of  David  Becker  who is  the  executive director.  She                                                               
remarked that  there is  virtually no  information about  CEIR in                                                               
the document that was presented to the committee.                                                                               
SENATOR  EGAN noted  that the  documents showed  that the  Alaska                                                               
Association  of Municipal  Clerks  supported House  Bill 352  (HB
MS. BAHNKE  explained that  HB 352  is the  companion bill  to SB
CHAIR MEYER  referenced page 4  of the memo that  Senator Giessel                                                               
addressed and  noted that the  last paragraph on that  page calls                                                               
attention to  voter trust in  elections. He asked  the division's                                                               
systems administrator  to assure members that  the state's voting                                                               
system is secure,  even with the inclusion of  the different ways                                                               
for  voter  registration now  with  DMV  and the  Permanent  Fund                                                               
Dividend Division. He noted that  there is an amendment and asked                                                               
if it came from the Division of Elections.                                                                                      
MS. BAHNKE answered yes.                                                                                                        
CHAIR MEYER asked what the amendment proposes to do.                                                                            
4:44:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BAHNKE replied  that the amendment makes  simple changes that                                                               
deals  with   eligibility,  statutory  conformity,   and  opt-out                                                               
standards, current  registered voters, and allowing  the division                                                               
director to adopt regulations. She detailed as follows:                                                                         
   • The first one deals with eligibility, the word "eligible"                                                                  
     was deleted to provide an area of clarity and to streamline                                                                
     the voter registration process with regards to PFD                                                                         
     applicants and registered voters.                                                                                          
   • The second is for conformity by adding reference to the PFD                                                                
   • The third sets opt-out standards and allows the director to                                                                
     come up with procedures including this idea of a two-step                                                                  
   • The fourth, we are adding back in already registered to                                                                    
     vote because the Division of Elections will want to provide                                                                
     newly registered  voters a voter card,  it's not eliminating                                                               
     that part of the mailing, so they receive their voter card.                                                                
   • The fifth, allows the division director to adopt                                                                           
CHAIR MEYER referenced an NBC  news report that stated Alaska was                                                               
one of  seven states that  had its website or  voter registration                                                               
system  compromised by  Russian-backed  hackers  during the  2016                                                               
election. He asked if the  division can assure the committee that                                                               
the state's  system is safe  while allowing folks to  register to                                                               
vote  via  the   Alaska  Permanent  Fund.  He   inquired  if  the                                                               
additional  voter   registration  processes  create  more   of  a                                                               
security risk.                                                                                                                  
4:46:25 PM                                                                                                                    
PHILLIP  MALANDER,  Systems  Administrator,  Alaska  Division  of                                                               
Elections, Juneau, Alaska, replied as follows:                                                                                  
     I can assure you that  to date there's been no evidence                                                                    
     provided to us that any  breach of a nature that should                                                                    
     in  anyway diminish  folks' trust  in the  election has                                                                    
     occurred.  DHS  has come  out  and  discussed that  NBC                                                                    
     report and  they have asserted  that they also  have no                                                                    
     information that  any of  our systems  were compromised                                                                    
     in any way that would be material to anything.                                                                             
     Again,  the scanning  of a  site is  a somewhat  common                                                                    
     practice  to  occur   for  public-facing  websites  and                                                                    
     scanning a  site that only contains  public information                                                                    
     also was  of little concern  in relation to it  being a                                                                    
     threat; that  said, we do take  all scanning seriously,                                                                    
     so  we are  watching who  scans our  sites, and  DHS is                                                                    
     watching  and the  state OIT  office  is watching.  So,                                                                    
     there are many layers to  the security that is in place                                                                    
     on these subjects.                                                                                                         
CHAIR MEYER asked what DHS stands for.                                                                                          
MR. MALANDER answered the Department of Homeland Security.                                                                      
4:48:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER asked Ms. Bahnke if she had any parting remarks.                                                                    
MS. BAHNKE summarized as follows:                                                                                               
     A  lot of  times  with these  ballot initiatives,  they                                                                    
     haven't gone through the  legislative process and there                                                                    
     is  a  need  to  make clarifying  amendments,  to  make                                                                    
     harmonizing amendments  to make  the law solid,  and we                                                                    
     saw this  as an avenue to  do that and then  also as an                                                                    
     opportunity  to  optimize  the   idea  of  the  opt-out                                                                    
     process of voter registration.                                                                                             
     The   Division  of   Elections  did   not  receive   an                                                                    
     appropriation to  implement this, we have  absorbed the                                                                    
     cost of  this implementation  for the first  year, this                                                                    
     is  not something  that  we  are going  to  be able  to                                                                    
     continue to every election  cycle without an additional                                                                    
     In the  interest of saving  cost to the state  and also                                                                    
     to create a more efficient  process, this is the reason                                                                    
     for the bill,  this is pretty straight  forward, and we                                                                    
     would  like  to as  a  division,  because of  absorbing                                                                    
     those costs,  we have not  been able to focus  on other                                                                    
     projects that  we would like  to do to innovate  and to                                                                    
     modernize Alaska's  election system,  and also  to keep                                                                    
     it secure.  So, we  see this as  a cost  saving measure                                                                    
     and  also as  a way  to  clean up  the bill  as it  was                                                                    
4:50:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL asked  Ms. Bahnke to look at the  fiscal note and                                                               
include  the cost  of the  regulation package  that the  division                                                               
will  put  forth. She  asserted  that  there  is  a cost  to  the                                                               
regulation package.                                                                                                             
CHAIR MEYER held SB 186 in committee.                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 186 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Version A.PDF SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Supporting Document - DOE bullets points.pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Supporting Document - Election Policy Work Group Report.pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Supporting Document - Excerpt from 2017 DOE Fiscal Policy Challenges Report.pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Fiscal Note Elections OMB21.pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Fiscal Note PFD OMB981.pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Amendment 1.pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Supporting Document - Letter of Support AAMC.pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186
SB 186 Opposition Testimony (revised 3.8.2018).pdf SSTA 3/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 186