Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

03/03/2020 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SJR 18 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
Moved SB 137 Out of Committee
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
               HB 83-PROHIBIT VOTING BY FACSIMILE                                                                           
3:50:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   REVAK   reconvened   the  meeting   and   announced   the                                                               
consideration of CS  FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 83(STA)  am(efd del), "An                                                               
Act  relating to  voting by  electronic transmission  in a  state                                                               
3:50:48 PM                                                                                                                    
ERIN HARRINGTON,  Staff, Representative  Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,  introduced HB  83 on                                                               
behalf  of  the  sponsor,  speaking   to  the  following  sponsor                                                               
       HB 83 prohibits the return of absentee ballots by                                                                        
     Currently, fax  is an  allowable means  for a  voter to                                                                    
     return a  completed absentee ballot to  the Division of                                                                    
     Elections. Most election  security experts caution that                                                                    
     the  electronic transmission  of  ballots  (such as  by                                                                    
     fax) presents cybersecurity risks.                                                                                         
     HB 83 seeks to strengthen election security in Alaska.                                                                     
MS. HARRINGTON  explained that the legislation  was drafted based                                                               
on  recommendations  by  national election  security  experts  to                                                               
fortify the integrity  of the state's election  system. She noted                                                               
that the  Division of  Elections has  made some  security changes                                                               
through  regulation but  HB 83  addresses security  vulnerability                                                               
that resides in statute.                                                                                                        
She  said  HB  83  specifically addresses  electronic  return  of                                                               
ballots via  fax to the  Division of Elections because  this type                                                               
of transmission is  susceptible to tampering. She  noted that the                                                               
division has stopped accepting ballots  through its online system                                                               
for the  same reason.  However, absentee  voters may  continue to                                                               
request their ballots  be delivered by fax.  She highlighted that                                                               
the bill was amended on the  House floor to exempt members of the                                                               
military who  are voting  absentee; they  may continue  to return                                                               
their voted ballots by fax.                                                                                                     
3:55:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK asked  if the bill allows people to  receive a ballot                                                               
by fax  but only military  members voting absentee would  be able                                                               
to return the ballot that way.                                                                                                  
MS. HARRINGTON  answered that is  correct. The reasoning  is that                                                               
the voter is able to ascertain  the validity of the ballot on the                                                               
receiving end,  but that  opportunity is  not available  when the                                                               
ballot is returned.                                                                                                             
SENATOR COGHILL  asked if there  is a  way to ascertain  that the                                                               
number of returned absentee ballots  is roughly equivalent to the                                                               
number that are sent out. He  commented that this is an area that                                                               
chain of custody can be very important.                                                                                         
MS.  HARRINGTON explained  that  every voted  absentee ballot  is                                                               
reviewed by  a bipartisan  ballot review  board. She  deferred to                                                               
Gail Fenumiai to discuss the specifics of chain of custody.                                                                     
3:58:20 PM                                                                                                                    
GAIL  FENUMIAI, Director,  Division of  Elections, Office  of the                                                               
Lieutenant  Governor, Anchorage,  Alaska,  explained that  before                                                               
somebody can receive a ballot by  mail or fax, they must complete                                                               
an  absentee by  mail application.  This requires  the person  to                                                               
provide their  voter identification number, the  last four digits                                                               
of  their  Social  Security  number  or  their  driver's  license                                                               
number, and  their date of birth.  The ballot is not  sent to the                                                               
voter  until their  identity has  been verified.  When the  voted                                                               
ballot  is returned,  the division  first  checks to  see if  the                                                               
voter  applied  for  a  ballot  and then  it  is  reviewed  by  a                                                               
bipartisan board to  ensure that the ballot has  all the required                                                               
information. It  has to be  posted on  or before Election  Day or                                                               
received by fax by the close of  polls on Election Day; it has to                                                               
be signed  by the voter  and have  an identifier; and  the ballot                                                               
must be witnessed.                                                                                                              
3:59:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL asked  what the current process  is for receiving                                                               
absentee ballots from members of the military.                                                                                  
MS.  FENUMIAI replied  the  only  option right  now  to return  a                                                               
ballot  electronically is  by fax.  Under HB  83, only  uniformed                                                               
overseas military members  may return their voted  ballot by fax.                                                               
Everybody else who receives a  ballot through the online delivery                                                               
system or by  fax would be required to return  their voted ballot                                                               
by mail. She  said the same verification process is  in place for                                                               
ballots received either way.                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL asked  if  using  other electronic  transmission                                                               
would require unique identifiers and verification                                                                               
MS. FENUMIAI  answered yes; the  same information is  required on                                                               
an application for either type of voting.                                                                                       
4:01:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON asked  how many voted ballots have come  in by fax                                                               
in the last few elections and which communities they came from.                                                                 
MS. FENUMIAI replied  the division tracks how the  ballot is sent                                                               
to the  voter, but  the method  of return is  not logged.  In the                                                               
2018 election year, seven voters  received a ballot by fax; three                                                               
were  military domestic  and four  were  overseas citizens.  That                                                               
same  year  there  were 2,628  Uniformed  and  Overseas  Citizens                                                               
Absentee  Voting Act  (UOCAVA) voters  who applied  to receive  a                                                               
ballot  online; 181  were military  overseas  voters, 1,459  were                                                               
military domestic, and 988 were overseas voters.                                                                                
4:03:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON  asked if this legislation  would disenfranchise a                                                               
small population of voters.                                                                                                     
MS. FENUMIAI replied  she did not believe so  because voters will                                                               
have the  opportunity to return  their ballots by mail.  She said                                                               
that  is  best  practices  according to  agencies  that  work  on                                                               
security issues.                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WILSON   questioned  why  the  administration   did  not                                                               
introduce legislation to fix this.                                                                                              
MS.  FENUMIAI replied  the administration  did not  introduce the                                                               
bill,  but the  Division  of  Elections is  willing  and able  to                                                               
implement it.                                                                                                                   
4:05:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HARRINGTON informed  the committee that the  bill was amended                                                               
on the House floor and the body  did not catch that it repeals AS                                                               
15.20.066(b), which  is a  set of attestations  and oaths  that a                                                               
voter  makes   when  they  return   a  ballot   using  electronic                                                               
transmission.  She   explained  that   initially  there   was  no                                                               
exclusion  for  UOCAVA  voters  so no  ballots  would  have  been                                                               
returned  electronically.  Now  there  is an  exclusion,  so  the                                                               
repealed verifiers need  to be addressed either  in regulation or                                                               
in the bill. She noted that  the 2/17/20 memo from Legal Services                                                               
in the packets addresses the issue.                                                                                             
4:07:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK opened public testimony  on HB 83. After ascertaining                                                               
that none who wished to testify, he closed public testimony.                                                                    
CHAIR  REVAK held  HB 83  in committee  and encouraged  people to                                                               
submit testimony to ssta@akleg.gov.                                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 165 Highlights Doc 1.27.2020.pdf SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 165
SB 165 Sectional Analysis v. A 1.27.2020.pdf SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 165
SB 165 Transmittal Letter 1.27.2020.pdf SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 165
SB 165 Hearing Request 1.31.2020.pdf SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 165
HB83 Explanation of Changes Feb 14 2020.pdf SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
HB 83
HB83 Sectional Analysis Feb 14 2020.pdf SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
HB 83
HB83 Sponsor Statement Feb 14 2020.pdf SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
HB 83
SJR 18 - Letter of Support - League of Women Voters 2.28.20.pdf SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
SJR 18
SJR 18 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
SJR 18
SJR 18 Backup document HB 2 from 3.21.1913.jpg SSTA 3/3/2020 3:30:00 PM
HB 2
SJR 18