Bill Text: CA SB35 | 2021-2022 | Regular Session | Amended

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Elections.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Enrolled) 2021-09-17 - Enrolled and presented to the Governor at 1:30 p.m. [SB35 Detail]

Download: California-2021-SB35-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Senate  March 09, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  February 24, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 35


Introduced by Senator Umberg

December 07, 2020


An act to amend Sections 319.5, 18370, and 18541 18370, 18541, and 18568 of, and to add Sections 18372, 18504, and 18579 to, 18372 and 18504 to, the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 35, as amended, Umberg. Elections: prohibited activities.
Existing law makes it a crime to conduct certain political activities, including electioneering, within 100 feet of a polling place, an election official’s office, or a satellite voting location, as defined. Existing law defines electioneering as displaying visible or disseminating audible information that advocates for or against any candidate or measure on the ballot in specified locations. Existing law makes it a crime to conduct certain activities that constitute corruption of the voting process, including certain activities within 100 feet of a polling place with the intent of dissuading another person from voting.
This bill would extend the distance within which such activities are prohibited to 200 feet. feet of the following: 1) the entrance to a building that contains a polling place, an elections official’s office, or satellite voting location, as defined; 2) an outdoor site at which a voter may cast or drop off a ballot; 3) a ballot box for the collection of ballots; and 4) a voter who is in line to cast a ballot or drop off a ballot. The bill would also require notice regarding prohibitions on electioneering and activity related to corruption of the voting process to be provided to the public. The bill would require the Secretary of State to promulgate regulations specifying the manner in which such notice would be given.

Existing law imposes various penalties for violating procedures related to the conduct of elections.

This bill would provide that it is a felony offense, punishable by imprisonment for 2, 3, or 4 years, for a person to provide, or aid or abet the providing of, an unofficial ballot box, and for a person to encourage or solicit voters to place their ballots in an unofficial ballot box. The bill would provide that it is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that increases the penalties for operating a polling place that falsely purports to be a location established by an elections official.

Existing law imposes, for specified acts of interference with the placement, collection, or counting of ballots, a fine not exceeding $1000, or imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years, or both.
This bill would also impose this penalty on a person who provides, or aids or abets in the provision of, an unofficial ballot box for the collection of ballots, including by marking or placing the word “official” on an unofficial ballot box, or a person who encourages or solicits a voter to place a ballot in an unofficial ballot box.
Because this bill would change or expand the definition of certain crimes related to elections, it would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that increases the penalties for operating a polling place that falsely purports to be a location established by an elections official.

SEC. 2.SECTION 1.

 Section 319.5 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

319.5.
 (a) “Electioneering” means the visible display or audible dissemination of information that advocates for or against any candidate or measure on the ballot within 200 feet of a polling place, a vote center, an elections official’s office, or a satellite location under Section 3018. the 200 foot limit specified in subdivision (b). Prohibited electioneering information includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

(a)

(1) A display of a candidate’s name, likeness, or logo.

(b)

(2) A display of a ballot measure’s number, title, subject, or logo.

(c)

(3) Buttons, hats, pencils, pens, shirts, signs, or stickers containing electioneering information.

(d)

(4) Dissemination of audible electioneering information.

(e)

(5) At vote by mail ballot drop boxes, loitering near or disseminating visible or audible electioneering information.
(b) The activities described in subdivision (a) are prohibited within 200 feet of any of the following:
(1) The entrance to a building that contains a polling place, an elections official’s office, or a satellite location specified in Section 3018.
(2) An outdoor site at which a voter may cast or drop off a ballot.
(3) A ballot box for the collection of ballots.
(4) A voter who is in line to cast a ballot or drop off a ballot.

SEC. 3.SEC. 2.

 Section 18370 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

18370.
 No person, (a) A person shall not, on election day, or at any time that a voter may be casting a ballot, shall, within 200 feet of a polling place, a satellite location under Section 3018, or an elections official’s office: the 200 foot limit specified in subdivision (b), do any of the following:

(a)

(1) Circulate an initiative, referendum, recall, or nomination petition or any other petition.

(b)

(2) Solicit a vote or speak to a voter on the subject of marking the voter’s ballot.

(c)

(3) Place a sign relating to voters’ qualifications or speak to a voter on the subject of the voter’s qualifications except as provided in Section 14240.

(d)

(4) Do any electioneering as defined by Section 319.5.

As used in this section, “200 feet of a polling place, a satellite location under Section 3018, or an elections official’s office” means a distance 200 feet from the room or rooms in which voters are signing the roster and casting ballots.

(b) The activities described in subdivision (a) are prohibited within 200 feet of any of the following:
(1) The entrance to a building that contains a polling place, an elections official’s office, or a satellite location specified in Section 3018.
(2) An outdoor site at which a voter may cast or drop off a ballot.
(3) A ballot box for the collection of ballots.
(4) A voter who is in line to cast a ballot or drop off a ballot.
(c) Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

SEC. 4.SEC. 3.

 Section 18372 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

18372.
 Notice regarding the prohibitions on electioneering set forth in this article shall be provided to the public. The Secretary of State shall promulgate regulations specifying the manner in which such notice shall be provided.

SEC. 5.SEC. 4.

 Section 18504 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

18504.
 Notice regarding the prohibitions on activity related to corruption of the voting process set forth in this chapter shall be provided to the public. The Secretary of State shall promulgate regulations specifying the manner in which such notice shall be provided.

SEC. 6.SEC. 5.

 Section 18541 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

18541.
 (a) No person shall, A person shall not, with the intent of dissuading another person from voting, within 200 feet of a polling place, the 200 foot limit specified in subdivision (c), do any of the following:
(1) Solicit a vote or speak to a voter on the subject of marking the voter’s ballot.
(2) Place a sign relating to voters’ qualifications or speak to a voter on the subject of the voter’s qualifications except as provided in Section 14240.
(3) Photograph, video record, or otherwise record a voter entering or exiting a polling place.
(b) Any violation of this section is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 12 months, or in the state prison. Any person who conspires to violate this section is guilty of a felony.

(c)For purposes of this section, 200 feet means a distance of 200 feet from the room or rooms in which voters are signing the roster and casting ballots.

(c) The activities described in subdivision (a) are prohibited within 200 feet of any of the following:
(1) The entrance to a building that contains a polling place, an elections official’s office, or a satellite location specified in Section 3018.
(2) An outdoor site at which a voter may cast or drop off a ballot.
(3) A ballot box for the collection of ballots.
(4) A voter who is in line to cast a ballot or drop off a ballot.

SEC. 7.Section 18579 is added to the Elections Code, to read:
18579.

Every person is guilty of a felony, and on conviction shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for two, three or four years, who at any election does both of the following:

(a)Provides, or aids or abets in the provision of, an unofficial ballot box for the collection of ballots.

(b)Encourages or solicits a voter to place a ballot in an unofficial ballot box.

SEC. 6.

 Section 18568 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

18568.
 Every person is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, who:
(a) Aids in changing or destroying any poll list or official ballot.
(b) Aids in wrongfully placing any ballots in the ballot container or in taking any therefrom.
(c) Adds or attempts to add any ballots to those legally polled at any election by fraudulently putting them into the ballot container, either before or after the ballots therein have been counted.
(d) Adds to or mixes with, or attempts to add to or mix with, the ballots polled, any other ballots, while they are being counted or canvassed or at any other time, with intent to change the result of the election, or allows another to do so, when in his or her the person’s power to prevent it.
(e) Carries away or destroys, attempts to carry away or destroy, or knowingly allows another to carry away or destroy, any poll list, ballot container, or ballots lawfully polled or who willfully detains, mutilates, or destroys any election returns.
(f) Removes any unvoted ballots from the polling place before the completion of the ballot count.
(g) Provides, or aids or abets in the provision of, an unofficial ballot box for the collection of ballots, including by marking or placing the word “official” on an unofficial ballot box.
(h) Encourages or solicits a voter to place a ballot in an unofficial ballot box.

SEC. 8.SEC. 7.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
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