The act modifies the "Uniform Election Code of 1992" (code), the law regarding initiatives and referendums, the "Fair Campaign Practices Act", and the law regarding public official disclosures.
The act modifies the code as follows:
- Allows any form of identification currently specified in the code to be presented in digital format;
- Repeals a criterion for determining a voter's residence;
- Facilitates voter registration for people who live on Indian reservations;
- Modifies the self-affirmation that is required when an elector registers or preregisters to vote to conform to the elimination by constitutional amendment of the right of an individual who is 17 years old but will turn 18 before a general election to vote in the primary election that precedes the general election;
- Modifies the meeting dates on which a judicial district central committee holds its organizational meetings;
- Eliminates the option for all active electors in a county who have not declared an affiliation to specify a party preference and specifies that all such electors will receive a mailing that contains the ballots of all of the major political parties;
- Conforms provisions regarding presidential electors to federal law;
- Clarifies who can challenge a candidate's eligibility for office;
- Modifies notice requirements for candidates for designation for nomination by assembly;
- Modifies the standards for a petition entity to operate in the state;
- Creates a process for a candidate to protest when the secretary of state (secretary) has determined that a petition is insufficient;
- Requires voter service and polling centers (VSPC) and drop boxes to be located on campuses of private institutions of higher education and increases the number of VSPCs and drop boxes on campuses of private and state institutions of higher education;
- Clarifies the number of in-person voting days at a VSPC on an Indian reservation;
- Allows drop boxes to be located at places of worship;
- Allows a VSPC to be located in a multi-use building where alcohol is served so long as the VSPC is in a separate part of the building;
- Increases the state's reimbursement to counties for the cost of conducting elections beginning in July of 2024;
- Clarifies the secretary's authority to determine conditions of use for voting systems;
- Updates provisions regarding the use of voting systems to align with current practice;
- Clarifies that a clerk and recorder or designated election official (clerk) is required to submit a plan regarding voting to the secretary before every election;
- Allows counties with fewer than 15,000 active voters to have 2, rather than 3, election judges at each VSPC;
- Eliminates references to precincts;
- Clarifies the number of watchers allowed in certain locations for primary, general, and congressional vacancy elections;
- Modifies who may appoint an election watcher;
- Specifies the circumstances under which a clerk is required to revoke the certificate of a watcher for the use of a mobile phone in a polling location;
- Specifies that an election watcher may use a phone to send or receive text messages while watching election activities so long as the watcher is not in view of personally identifiable information;
- Specifies the conditions under which an elector may take a mobile phone into a VSPC;
- Clarifies the duty of election judges to inspect voting machines;
- Requires that a bipartisan team of election judges make a duplicate copy of a ballot that is damaged or defective;
- Specifies that the secretary is required to retain election setup records as election records;
- Allows a voting system provider under contract to provide a voting system to a political subdivision in the state to place any changes to election software in escrow with either the secretary or an independent escrow agent;
- Specifies when a clerk must update the voter registration system after an eligible elector (elector) has cured deficient identification or a missing or deficient signature;
- Specifies how often a clerk must collect ballots from each drop box;
- Specifies when a clerk must begin counting ballots in counties with over 10,000 electors;
- In counties that have issued electronic tablets to or made electronic tablets available to confined eligible electors, directs the clerk and the sheriff to determine and include in the mail ballot election plan the process by which they will facilitate voter registration, ballot delivery, and ballot return using electronic tablets issued to confined eligible electors;
- Modifies deadlines and the process for testing voting systems in connection with a mandatory recount of votes cast;
- Modifies recount timelines and payment requirements;
- Updates requirements regarding lists of presidential electors to conform with federal law;
- Clarifies how the date of a recall election is determined;
- Repeals an obsolete provision regarding voting in an incorrect polling location; and
- Specifies that it is not electioneering for a person to incidentally display apparel that supports political issues on the campus of any institution of higher education, rather than just a state institution of higher education, where a VSPC is located.
The act modifies the law regarding initiative and referendum by prohibiting allowing the secretary of state to prohibit a petition entity from circulating ballot petitions if the entity or a principal of the entity has been convicted of certain crimes and by increasing penalties for petition entities that violate state law regarding petition circulation.
The act modifies the "Fair Campaign Practices Act" as follows:
- Clarifies the definition of "independent expenditure committee";
- Prohibits a candidate committee from knowingly accepting contributions from certain entities and making contributions to certain entities;
- Specifies time frames for the termination of candidate committee accounts;
- Limits the amount of unexpended campaign contributions that may be transferred from one candidate committee to another for a different office sought by the same candidate;
- Clarifies that an elected official may use unexpended campaign contributions for child care costs;
- Clarifies when a referred measure is submitted to the voters by the general assembly;
- Requires the electronic filing of candidate disclosure statements; and
- States that a candidate may be disqualified if the secretary finds that the candidate willfully filed a false or incomplete disclosure statement.
The act modifies the law regarding public official disclosure by specifying that the information included in the public disclosures filed by certain public officials must include information for the previous calendar year under certain circumstances and by requiring the person making the disclosure to include certain information about the sources of compensation the person received.
The act prohibits a clerk who is administering an election and the department of state from using an appropriation of state or federal money to pay for advertising expenses that feature a person who is a declared candidate for a federal, state, or local office.
The act extends the department of state's spending authority by 2 fiscal years for an appropriation that was originally made for the 2021-22 state fiscal year and available for expenditure through the 2022-23 state fiscal year for the implementation of a law that the general assembly enacted in 2019 to facilitate automatic voter registration.
For the 2023-24 state fiscal year, the act appropriates $469,201 from the department of state cash fund to the department of state for the implementation of the act.
APPROVED by Governor June 6, 2023
PORTIONS EFFECTIVE June 6, 2023
PORTIONS EFFECTIVE January 1, 2024
PORTIONS EFFECTIVE July 1, 2024
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)