Bill Text: IA HF247 | 2017-2018 | 87th General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: A bill for an act relating to elections by providing for the registration of eligible electors upon review of electronic records received from state agencies, providing for ongoing absentee voter status, and including effective date provisions.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2017-02-09 - Subcommittee: Koester, Highfill and Hunter. H.J. 263. [HF247 Detail]

Download: Iowa-2017-HF247-Introduced.html

House File 247 - Introduced




                                 HOUSE FILE       
                                 BY  WESSEL=KROESCHELL

                                      A BILL FOR

  1 An Act relating to elections by providing for the registration
  2    of eligible electors upon review of electronic records
  3    received from state agencies, providing for ongoing absentee
  4    voter status, and including effective date provisions.
  5 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
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PAG LIN



  1  1                           DIVISION I
  1  2                  AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION
  1  3    Section 1.  Section 48A.7, Code 2017, is amended to read as
  1  4 follows:
  1  5    48A.7  Registration in person.
  1  6    An eligible elector may register to vote by appearing
  1  7 personally and completing a voter registration form at the
  1  8 office of the commissioner in the county in which the person
  1  9 resides, at a motor vehicle driver's license station, including
  1 10 any county treasurer's office that is participating in county
  1 11 issuance of driver's licenses under chapter 321M, or at any
  1 12 voter registration agency. A For paper registration forms,
  1 13 a separate voter registration form shall be signed by each
  1 14 individual registrant.
  1 15    Sec. 2.  Section 48A.8, subsection 1, Code 2017, is amended
  1 16 to read as follows:
  1 17    1.  An eligible elector may request that a voter registration
  1 18 form be mailed to the elector. The completed form may be
  1 19 mailed or delivered by the registrant or the registrant's
  1 20 designee to the commissioner in the county where the person
  1 21 resides or to the state commissioner of elections for a
  1 22 program participant, as provided in section 9E.6. A For paper
  1 23 registration forms, a separate voter registration form shall be
  1 24 signed by each individual registrant.
  1 25    Sec. 3.  Section 48A.18, subsections 1 and 3, Code 2017, are
  1 26 amended to read as follows:
  1 27    1.  Each state motor vehicle driver's license application,
  1 28 including any renewal application or application for a
  1 29 nonoperator's identification card, submitted to the office
  1 30 of driver services of the state department of transportation
  1 31 shall serve as an application for voter registration unless
  1 32 the commissioner of registration determines that the applicant
  1 33 is not an eligible elector or the applicant declines to
  1 34 register to vote after receiving notification under subsection
  1 35 4A.  A completed application or paper voter registration
  2  1 form submitted to the office of driver services of the state
  2  2 department of transportation shall be considered to update any
  2  3 previous voter registration by the registrant.
  2  4    3.  Information relating to the refusal decision of an
  2  5 applicant for a driver's license to apply decline to register
  2  6 to vote shall not be used for any purpose other than voter
  2  7 registration.
  2  8    Sec. 4.  Section 48A.18, subsection 4, Code 2017, is amended
  2  9 by striking the subsection and inserting in lieu thereof the
  2 10 following:
  2 11    4.  a.  The state voter registration commission shall
  2 12 establish schedules by which the department of transportation
  2 13 shall transmit to the state registrar of voters electronic
  2 14 records containing the legal name, age, residence, and
  2 15 citizenship information for, and the electronic signature of,
  2 16 each person submitting an application under this section.
  2 17    b.  The state voter registration commission shall establish
  2 18 schedules by which the state registrar of voters shall make
  2 19 accessible or transmit electronic records and electronic
  2 20 signatures received under paragraph "a" to the appropriate
  2 21 commissioner of registration.
  2 22    c.  The state voter registration commission shall establish
  2 23 schedules by which the department of transportation shall
  2 24 transmit any completed paper registration forms to the
  2 25 appropriate commissioner of registration.
  2 26    d.  The state commissioner of elections shall adopt rules,
  2 27 consistent with section 9E.6, for the registration of address
  2 28 confidentiality program participants.
  2 29    e.  The state voter registration commission shall adopt
  2 30 rules pursuant to chapter 17A to administer and interpret this
  2 31 section, including rules to establish electronic and paper
  2 32 forms and all procedures used by the office of driver services
  2 33 for voter registration purposes, rules to establish schedules
  2 34 for transmission of electronic records, electronic signatures,
  2 35 and completed paper voter registration forms, and rules and
  3  1 forms to decline being registered to vote.
  3  2    Sec. 5.  Section 48A.18, Code 2017, is amended by adding the
  3  3 following new subsection:
  3  4    NEW SUBSECTION.  4A.  a.  (1)  Upon receiving the electronic
  3  5 record for, and electronic signature of, a person under
  3  6 subsection 4, the state registrar of voters shall transmit or
  3  7 otherwise make accessible the electronic record and electronic
  3  8 signature of the person to the commissioner of registration
  3  9 of the county where the person resides. Upon reviewing the
  3 10 electronic record received from the state registrar of voters,
  3 11 along with any other relevant information, the commissioner of
  3 12 registration shall determine if a person is an eligible elector
  3 13 of the county. If the commissioner determines that a person is
  3 14 an eligible elector of the county and is not registered to vote
  3 15 in that county, the commissioner shall notify the person of the
  3 16 separate processes to decline being registered to vote or to
  3 17 declare a political party affiliation.
  3 18    (2)  If the person is registered to vote in the county, the
  3 19 commissioner shall use the electronic record and information to
  3 20 update the person's voter registration if appropriate.
  3 21    b.  If a person notified under paragraph "a" does not decline
  3 22 to be registered to vote within twenty=one calendar days after
  3 23 the commissioner of registration issues the notification, the
  3 24 person's electronic record and electronic signature shall
  3 25 constitute a completed voter registration form under section
  3 26 48A.11, and the commissioner of registration shall register the
  3 27 person to vote in that county. The commissioner shall send an
  3 28 acknowledgment pursuant to section 48A.26.
  3 29    c.  A commissioner of registration shall not add a person
  3 30 subject to registration under this subsection to a voter
  3 31 registration list until at least twenty=one calendar days
  3 32 after the commissioner has issued notification to the person
  3 33 as described in paragraph "a".
  3 34    d.  The electronic record and electronic signature, received
  3 35 under this subsection, of a person who does not qualify
  4  1 as an eligible elector shall not constitute a completed
  4  2 voter registration form under section 48A.11 and such a
  4  3 person's application for a driver's license or nonoperator's
  4  4 identification card shall not be considered to be a voter
  4  5 registration application for purposes of section 39A.2,
  4  6 subsection 1, paragraph "a".
  4  7    Sec. 6.  Section 48A.19, subsection 1, Code 2017, is amended
  4  8 by adding the following new paragraph:
  4  9    NEW PARAGRAPH.  d.  All state offices that have direct client
  4 10 contact that collect personal client information sufficient to
  4 11 complete a voter registration application, as determined by the
  4 12 state commissioner.
  4 13    Sec. 7.  Section 48A.19, subsection 4, paragraph a,
  4 14 unnumbered paragraph 1, Code 2017, is amended to read as
  4 15 follows:
  4 16    The A voter registration agency that does not collect
  4 17 personal client information sufficient to complete a voter
  4 18 registration application shall provide a form to applicants
  4 19 that includes all of the following:
  4 20    Sec. 8.  Section 48A.21, Code 2017, is amended to read as
  4 21 follows:
  4 22    48A.21  Transmission of forms from agencies and driver's
  4 23 license stations.
  4 24    1.  The state registrar of voters shall adopt administrative
  4 25 rules regulating the transmission of completed voter
  4 26 registration forms from voter registration agencies and from
  4 27 driver's license stations, including county treasurer's offices
  4 28 participating in county issuance of driver's licenses under
  4 29 chapter 321M.  All completed voter registration applications
  4 30 in the possession of a voter registration agency, a driver's
  4 31 license station, or a county treasurer's office that is
  4 32 participating in county issuance of driver's licenses at 5:00
  4 33 p.m. on the last workday of each week shall be transmitted
  4 34 to the location designated by the state registrar of voters
  4 35 by rule. Procedures or requirements for more frequent
  5  1 transmissions may be specified by rule.
  5  2    2.  a.  The state voter registration commission shall
  5  3 establish schedules by which the voter registration agencies
  5  4 pursuant to section 48A.19 that collect personal client
  5  5 information sufficient to complete a voter registration
  5  6 application shall transmit to the state registrar of voters
  5  7 electronic records containing the legal name, age, residence,
  5  8 and citizenship information for, and the electronic signature
  5  9 of, each client providing personal client information as
  5 10 described in this section.
  5 11    b.  The state voter registration commission shall establish
  5 12 schedules by which the state registrar of voters shall make
  5 13 accessible or transmit electronic records and electronic
  5 14 signatures received under paragraph "a" to the appropriate
  5 15 commissioner of registration.
  5 16    c.  The state voter registration commission shall establish
  5 17 schedules by which voter registration agencies shall transmit
  5 18 any completed paper registration forms to the appropriate
  5 19 commissioner of registration.
  5 20    d.  The state commissioner of elections shall adopt rules,
  5 21 consistent with section 9E.6, for the registration of address
  5 22 confidentiality program participants.
  5 23    e.  The state voter registration commission shall adopt
  5 24 rules pursuant to chapter 17A to administer and interpret this
  5 25 section, including rules to establish electronic and paper
  5 26 forms and all procedures used by voter registration agencies
  5 27 for voter registration purposes, rules to establish schedules
  5 28 for transmission of electronic records, electronic signatures,
  5 29 and completed paper voter registration forms, and rules and
  5 30 forms to decline being registered to vote.
  5 31    3.  a.  (1)  Upon receiving the electronic record for, and
  5 32 electronic signature of, a person under subsection 2, the state
  5 33 registrar of voters shall transmit or otherwise make accessible
  5 34 the electronic record and electronic signature of the person to
  5 35 the commissioner of registration of the county where the person
  6  1 resides. Upon reviewing the electronic record received from
  6  2 the state registrar of voters, along with any other relevant
  6  3 information, the commissioner of registration shall determine
  6  4 if a person is an eligible elector of the county. If the
  6  5 commissioner determines that a person is an eligible elector
  6  6 of the county and is not registered to vote in that county, the
  6  7 commissioner shall notify the person of the separate processes
  6  8 to decline being registered to vote or to declare a political
  6  9 party affiliation.
  6 10    (2)  If the person is registered to vote in the county, the
  6 11 commissioner shall use the electronic record and information to
  6 12 update the person's voter registration if appropriate.
  6 13    b.  If a person notified under paragraph "a" does not decline
  6 14 to be registered to vote within twenty=one calendar days after
  6 15 the commissioner of registration issues the notification, the
  6 16 person's electronic record and electronic signature shall
  6 17 constitute a completed voter registration form under section
  6 18 48A.11, and the commissioner of registration shall register the
  6 19 person to vote in that county. The commissioner shall send an
  6 20 acknowledgment pursuant to section 48A.26.
  6 21    c.  A commissioner of registration shall not add a person
  6 22 subject to registration under this subsection to a voter
  6 23 registration list until at least twenty=one calendar days
  6 24 after the commissioner has issued notification to the person
  6 25 as described in paragraph "a".
  6 26    d.  The electronic record and electronic signature, received
  6 27 under this subsection, of a person who does not qualify as
  6 28 an eligible elector shall not constitute a completed voter
  6 29 registration form under section 48A.11 and such a person shall
  6 30 not be considered to have submitted a voter registration
  6 31 application for purposes of section 39A.2, subsection 1,
  6 32 paragraph "a".
  6 33    Sec. 9.  Section 48A.26, subsection 1, paragraph b, Code
  6 34 2017, is amended to read as follows:
  6 35    b.  (1)  For a voter registration form or change of
  7  1 information in a voter registration record submitted at a
  7  2 precinct caucus, the commissioner shall send an acknowledgment
  7  3 within forty=five days of receipt of the form or change of
  7  4 information.
  7  5    (2)  For a voter registration application or change of
  7  6 information in a voter registration record completed pursuant
  7  7 to section 48A.18 or section 48A.19, the commissioner shall
  7  8 send an acknowledgment within seven working days of the person
  7  9 being registered under either section.
  7 10    Sec. 10.  Section 48A.26, subsection 8, Code 2017, is amended
  7 11 to read as follows:
  7 12    8.  An A completed voter registration application,
  7 13 improperly transmitted under section 48A.18, subsection
  7 14 4A, or under section 48A.21, subsection 2, or an improperly
  7 15 addressed or delivered registration form shall be transmitted
  7 16 or forwarded to the appropriate county commissioner of
  7 17 registration within two working days after it is received by
  7 18 any other official. The date of registration shall be the date
  7 19 the completed application or registration form was received by
  7 20 the first official. If the registration form was postmarked
  7 21 fifteen or more days before an election and the registration
  7 22 form was received by the first official after the close of
  7 23 registration, the registration form shall be considered on time
  7 24 for the election.
  7 25    Sec. 11.  Section 48A.36, subsection 1, Code 2017, is amended
  7 26 to read as follows:
  7 27    1.  Voter registration agencies and the office of driver
  7 28 services of the state department of transportation may
  7 29 electronically transmit registration data to the state
  7 30 registrar of voters, who shall distribute the information,
  7 31 electronically or otherwise, to the appropriate commissioner
  7 32 in accordance with rules of the state voter registration
  7 33 commission and the state registrar of voters.  The office of
  7 34 driver services of the state department of transportation
  7 35 and voter registration agencies that collect personal client
  8  1 information sufficient to complete a voter registration
  8  2 application shall electronically transmit registration data
  8  3 to the state registrar of voters as required pursuant to
  8  4 sections 48A.18 and 48A.21. The state agency originating
  8  5 the registration data shall permanently retain an electronic
  8  6 copy of the form completed by the registrant, including the
  8  7 registrant's signature, and shall develop procedures for the
  8  8 retrieval and printing of that electronic document. A printed
  8  9 copy of an electronic registration document shall be made only
  8 10 upon the agency's receipt of a court order.
  8 11    Sec. 12.  Section 331.557A, subsection 5, Code 2017, is
  8 12 amended to read as follows:
  8 13    5.  Participate in voter registration according to the
  8 14 terms of chapter 48A, and submit completed voter registration
  8 15 forms to the state registrar of voters appropriate county
  8 16 commissioner of registration.
  8 17    Sec. 13.  EMERGENCY RULES.  The state voter registration
  8 18 commission, in cooperation with the department of
  8 19 transportation and voter registration agencies, may adopt
  8 20 emergency rules under section 17A.4, subsection 3, and section
  8 21 17A.5, subsection 2, paragraph "b", to implement the provisions
  8 22 of this Act and the rules shall be effective immediately upon
  8 23 filing unless a later date is specified in the rules.  Any
  8 24 rules adopted in accordance with this section shall also be
  8 25 published as a notice of intended action as provided in section
  8 26 17A.4.
  8 27    Sec. 14.  IMPLEMENTATION OF ACT.  Section 25B.2, subsection
  8 28 3, shall not apply to this division of this Act.
  8 29    Sec. 15.  EFFECTIVE UPON ENACTMENT.  This division of this
  8 30 Act, being deemed of immediate importance, takes effect upon
  8 31 enactment.
  8 32                           DIVISION II
  8 33                     ONGOING ABSENTEE STATUS
  8 34    Sec. 16.  NEW SECTION.  53.4  Ongoing absentee voter.
  8 35    A registered voter applying for an absentee ballot
  9  1 under section 53.2 shall receive an absentee ballot for all
  9  2 subsequent elections in which that person is eligible to vote
  9  3 and qualifies under section 53.1, unless the registered voter
  9  4 requests not to receive an absentee ballot for subsequent
  9  5 elections.  The state commissioner shall provide a check box
  9  6 on the prescribed form for this purpose.  For all subsequent
  9  7 elections, the county commissioner of elections shall
  9  8 automatically mail an absentee ballot to the requesting voter,
  9  9 or automatically mail or deliver an absentee ballot if the
  9 10 requester is a person voting pursuant to section 53.22.  A
  9 11 voter's status as an ongoing absentee voter shall be terminated
  9 12 upon the request of the voter or by the county commissioner
  9 13 if the voter fails to qualify under section 53.1 or if the
  9 14 voter subsequently fails to vote in two consecutive general
  9 15 elections.
  9 16                           EXPLANATION
  9 17 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
  9 18 the explanation's substance by the members of the general assembly.
  9 19    This bill relates to elections by providing for the
  9 20 registration of eligible electors upon review of electronic
  9 21 records received from state agencies and providing for ongoing
  9 22 absentee voter status.
  9 23    Division I of the bill relates to voter registration by
  9 24 allowing registration of eligible electors to vote following
  9 25 review of electronic records received from driver's license
  9 26 and nonoperator's identification card applications by county
  9 27 commissioners of registration (county auditors).
  9 28    The bill requires that the office of driver services of the
  9 29 department of transportation transmit to the state registrar of
  9 30 voters (the secretary of state) electronic records containing
  9 31 the legal name, age, residence, and citizenship information
  9 32 for, and the electronic signature of, each person submitting
  9 33 an application for a driver's license or nonoperator's
  9 34 identification card, or any renewal application. Current Code
  9 35 section 321.182 requires that an application for a license
 10  1 or card include an applicant's full name, signature, current
 10  2 mailing address, current residential address, date of birth,
 10  3 social security number, and other information. Under current
 10  4 administrative rules of the state department of transportation,
 10  5 an applicant for a license or card is required to provide proof
 10  6 of lawful status in the United States. Also under current
 10  7 administrative rules, a person's signature for a driver's
 10  8 license or nonoperator's identification card application is
 10  9 required to be captured electronically. Under current law,
 10 10 a county treasurer's office participating in county issuance
 10 11 of driver's licenses is required to participate in voter
 10 12 registration to the same extent as a license facility of the
 10 13 state department of transportation.
 10 14    The bill requires the state registrar of voters to transmit
 10 15 the electronic records and electronic signatures to the county
 10 16 commissioner of registration of the county where the person
 10 17 resides. The bill requires that the county commissioner review
 10 18 the electronic record and any other relevant information to
 10 19 determine if a person is an eligible elector. If the county
 10 20 commissioner determines a person to be an eligible elector
 10 21 and the person is not registered to vote in the county, the
 10 22 county commissioner is required to notify the person of the
 10 23 separate processes to decline to register to vote or to declare
 10 24 a political party affiliation. If a notified person fails to
 10 25 decline voter registration within 21 days after the county
 10 26 commissioner issued the notification, the bill provides that
 10 27 the electronic record and electronic signature shall constitute
 10 28 a completed voter registration form for that person and the
 10 29 bill requires the county commissioner to register the person to
 10 30 vote in that county and send the person an acknowledgment as
 10 31 required by current law.
 10 32    The bill prohibits a county commissioner from adding a
 10 33 person's name to a voter registration list until at least 21
 10 34 days after the commissioner has issued notification to the
 10 35 person. The bill requires that a county commissioner send an
 11  1 acknowledgment of registration within seven business days of
 11  2 registering a person under the bill. The bill also provides
 11  3 that the electronic record and electronic signature of a person
 11  4 who does not qualify as an eligible elector does not constitute
 11  5 a completed voter registration form. Under the bill, such a
 11  6 person submitting an application for a license or card will
 11  7 not be subject to charges for voter registration fraud under
 11  8 section 39A.2 for submitting such an application.
 11  9    The bill also grants the state voter registration commission
 11 10 the authority to adopt rules to administer and interpret the
 11 11 provisions of the bill relating to voter registration at motor
 11 12 vehicle driver's license stations.  If interpretive rulemaking
 11 13 authority is clearly vested in the discretion of an agency by
 11 14 statute, the applicable judicial standard of review is whether
 11 15 the rules constitute an irrational, illogical, or wholly
 11 16 unjustifiable interpretation of law by the agency (Code section
 11 17 17A.19(10)(l)). If interpretive rulemaking authority is not
 11 18 clearly vested in the discretion of an agency, the applicable
 11 19 judicial standard of review is whether the rules constitute an
 11 20 erroneous interpretation of law (Code section 17A.19(10)(c)).
 11 21    The bill makes changes to current law related to address
 11 22 confidentiality program participants under Code chapter
 11 23 9E by requiring the state registrar to adopt rules for
 11 24 administration of registration for those participants. The
 11 25 bill maintains current law to allow for submission of a paper
 11 26 voter registration form through driver's license offices. The
 11 27 bill specifies that a requirement that separate registration
 11 28 forms be signed by each individual registrant only applies to
 11 29 paper registration forms. Under the bill, driver's license
 11 30 offices are required to transmit voter registration forms
 11 31 to the appropriate county commissioner and to transmit all
 11 32 electronic records and electronic signatures to the state
 11 33 registrar of voters.
 11 34    Under current law, the state registrar of voters is
 11 35 required to establish rules regulating transmission of voter
 12  1 registration forms from driver's license stations and voter
 12  2 registration agencies. Under the bill, such rules are required
 12  3 to be established by the state commission.
 12  4    The bill makes corresponding changes requiring automatic
 12  5 voter registration be completed by other state agencies with
 12  6 direct client contact that collect personal client information
 12  7 sufficient to complete a voter registration application.
 12  8    The bill provides that the state voter registration
 12  9 commission, in cooperation with the department of
 12 10 transportation and voter registration agencies, may adopt
 12 11 emergency rules to implement the provisions of the bill.
 12 12    Division I of the bill may include a state mandate as defined
 12 13 in Code section 25B.3.  The bill makes inapplicable Code
 12 14 section 25B.2, subsection 3, which would relieve a political
 12 15 subdivision from complying with a state mandate if funding for
 12 16 the cost of the state mandate is not provided or specified.
 12 17 Therefore, political subdivisions are required to comply with
 12 18 any state mandate included in the bill.
 12 19    Division I of the bill takes effect upon enactment.
 12 20    Division II of the bill requires that an absentee voter
 12 21 receive absentee ballots for all subsequent elections without
 12 22 having to reapply before each election unless the registered
 12 23 voter requests not to receive an absentee ballot for subsequent
 12 24 elections.  A person's status as an ongoing absentee voter can
 12 25 be terminated by that person, by the county commissioner of
 12 26 elections if the person fails to qualify as an absentee voter,
 12 27 or if the voter subsequently fails to vote in two consecutive
 12 28 general elections.
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