SENTRI Act Analysis

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Election Legislation 2014
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SENTRI Act – Cornyn & Schumer
• Summary:
Introduced in Senate (11/19/2013)
• Safeguarding Elections for our Nation's
Troops through Reforms and
Improvements (SENTRI) Act - Amends
the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens
Absentee Voting Act, with respect
to the regularly scheduled general
election for federal office held in
November 2014 and thereafter, to:
SENTRI Act - Summary
• require the chief election official of a
state to report, not later than 43 days
before any federal election held in the
state, on the number of absentee
ballots validly requested by absent
uniformed services and overseas
voters whose requests were received
by the 46th day before the election,
and whether such ballots were timely
transmitted;
SENTRI Act - Summary
• eliminate the hardship waiver allowed
for states from the requirement to
provide absent members of the
uniformed services and overseas
voters abstentee ballots 45 days prior
to an election;
SENTRI Act - Summary
• require express delivery of an absentee
ballot that is not timely transmitted;
• allow an absentee voter to use a single
abstentee ballot application for
subsequent elections;
• make such Act applicable to the
Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands;
SENTRI Act - Summary
• modify reporting requirements to
require a biennial report on the
effectiveness of the federal voting
assistance program; and
• require the Comptroller General (GAO)
to review and report on such biennial
reports for elections occurring in
calendar years 2014 through 2020.
SENTRI Act - Summary
• Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD), in coordination with
the Secretary of each military department, to:
• (1) affirmatively offer, on an annual basis, each
member of the Armed Forces on active duty
(other than active duty for training) the
opportunity, through an online system, to
register to vote in a federal election, update voter
registration information, or request an absentee
ballot;
• (2) implement an online system for such
purpose; and
• (3) implement a system to track a change of
address or duty status of a member of the Armed
Forces on active duty to provide an automatic
notice to such member of voter registration
requirements.
SENTRI Act - Summary
• Repeals the demonstration project
allowing absent members of the
uniformed services to vote in the
regularly scheduled general election for
federal office for November 2002
through an electronic voting system.
SENTRI Act - Summary
• Amends the Servicemembers Civil
Relief Act to permit dependents of an
absent member of the Armed Forces to
retain residency status in their state
for voting purposes.
Bill sections: Section 101
• Section 101: Matters to be included:
• ‘‘(i) Specific information about ballot transmission,
including the total numbers of ballot requests
received from such voters and ballots transmitted to
such voters by the 46th day before the election
from each unit of local government that will
administer the election.
• ‘‘(ii) If the chief State election official has
incomplete information on any items required to be
included in the report, an explanation of what
information is incomplete information and efforts
made to acquire such information.
Bill Sections
• ‘‘(2) POST ELECTION REPORT ON NUMBER OF ABSENTEE
BALLOTS TRANSMITTED AND RECEIVED.—Not later than 90
days’’.
• [NOTE: DoJ has distributed a sample of what they
want reported and it is very short. But they don’t
tell you that they can then request more
information or that the reports may not be the same
from election to election.
• First option is to NOT require reports: having
10,000 jurisdictions report is unreasonable.
• 2nd: change should be a restriction on what DoJ can
require so the lawyers don’t go on “fishing
expeditions”.
• 3rd: if reports get Congressional support then
recommendation is that we should ask Congress to
SUNSET the reports after 8 years]
Bill Sections: Section 102
• ‘‘(g) BALLOT TRANSMISSION
REQUIREMENTS.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of subsection
(a)(8), in the case in which a valid request
for an absentee ballot is received at least 46
days before an election for Federal office,
the following rules shall apply:
‘‘(A) TRANSMISSION DEADLINE.—The State
shall transmit the absentee ballot not
later than 46 days before the election.
[Note: by this language if the request comes
on the 46th day, you must also transmit on
the 46th day.]
Bill Sections: Section 102
• ‘‘(B) SPECIAL RULES IN CASE OF FAILURE
TO TRANSMIT ON TIME.—
‘‘(i) IN GENERAL.—If the State fails to transmit
any absentee ballot by the 46th day before
the election as required by subparagraph (A)
and the absent uniformed services voter or
overseas voter did not request electronic
ballot transmission pursuant to subsection
(f), the State shall transmit such ballot by
express delivery.
Bill Sections: Section 102
• ‘‘(ii) EXTENDED FAILURE.—If the State fails
to transmit any absentee ballot by the 41st
day before the election, in addition to
transmitting the ballot as provided in clause
(i), the State shall—
‘‘(I) in the case of absentee ballots requested by
absent uniformed services voters with respect to
regularly scheduled general elections, notify such
voters of the procedures established under
section 103A for the collection and delivery of
marked absentee ballots; and
‘(II) in any other case, provide for the return of
such ballot by express delivery.
Bill Sections: Section 102
• ‘‘(iii) COST OF EXPRESS DELIVERY.—
In any case in which express delivery
is required under this subparagraph,
the cost of such express delivery—
• ‘‘(I) shall not be paid by the voter, and
• ‘‘(II) may be required by the State to be
paid by a local jurisdiction if the State
determines that election officials in such
jurisdiction are responsible for the failure
to transmit the ballot by any date required
under this paragraph.
Bill Sections: Section 102
• ‘‘(iv) ENFORCEMENT.—A State’s
compliance with this subparagraph
does not bar the Attorney General from
seeking additional remedies necessary
to effectuate the purposes of this Act.
• [NOTE: This leaves it wide open for AG
and DoJ to require anything they
desire. Likely that this is too open
ended and gives DoJ too much
latitude]
Bill Sections: Section 102
• ‘‘(2) REQUESTS RECEIVED AFTER 46TH
DAY BEFORE ELECTION.—For purposes
of subsection (a)(8), in the case in
which a valid request for an absentee
ballot is received less than 46 days but
not less than 30 days before an
election for Federal office, the State
shall transmit the absentee ballot not
later than 3 business days after such
request is received.’’.
Bill Sections: Section 103
SEC. 103. TECHNICAL CLARIFICATIONS
TO CONFORM TO 2009 MOVE ACT
AMENDMENTS RELATED TOTHE
FEDERAL WRITE-IN ABSENTEE BALLOT.
• (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 102(a)(3) of the
Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee
Voting Act (42U.S.C. 1973ff–1(a)(3)) is
amended by striking ‘‘general elections’’ and
inserting ‘‘general, special, primary, and
runoff elections’’.
Bill Sections: Section 104
• SEC. 104. TREATMENT OF BALLOT
REQUESTS.
(a) APPLICATION OF PROHIBITION OF
REFUSAL OF APPLICATIONS ON
GROUNDS OF EARLY SUBMISSION TO
OVERSEAS VOTERS.—Section 104 of
the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens
Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C.
1973ff–3) is amended—
Bill Sections: Section 104
‘‘(b) APPLICATION TREATED AS VALID FOR SUBSEQUENT ELECTIONS.—
• ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—If a State accepts and processes a request
for an absentee ballot by an absent uniformed services voter
or overseas voter and the voter requests that the application
be considered an application for an absentee ballot for each
subsequent election for Federal office held in the State through
the next regularly scheduled general election for Federal office
(including any runoff elections which may occur as a result of
the outcome of such general election) and any special elections
for Federal office held in the State through the calendar year
following such general election, the State shall provide an
absentee ballot to the voter for each such subsequent election.
• [NOTE: This is the one that gets confusing to
explain to young voters and leads to mailing to outof-date addresses. The language is confusing and
can mean either 2 or 3 years depending on when
elections are held.]
Bill Sections: Section 104
• ‘‘(2) EXCEPTIONS.—Paragraph (1)
shall notapply with respect to either of
the following:
• ‘‘(A) VOTERS CHANGING
REGISTRATION.— A voter removed
from the list of official eligible due to
NVRA or
• (B) Undeliverable ballots (mail or
email)
Bill Sections: Section 106
• SEC. 106. BIENNIAL REPORT ON THE
EFFECTIVENESS OF ACTIVITIES OF THE
FEDERAL VOTING ASSISTANCE
PROGRAM AND COMPTROLLER GENERAL
REVIEW.
• ‘‘(C) The number of completed official
postcard forms prescribed under section
101(b)(2) that were completed by absent
uniformed services members and accepted
and transmitted.
• ‘‘(D) The number of absent uniformed
services members who declined to register
to vote under such sections.’’.
Bill Sections: Section 201
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Defense
shall carry out the following activities:
• ‘‘(1) In coordination with the Secretary of
each military department—
• ‘‘(A) affirmatively offer, on an annual basis,
each member of the armed forces on active
duty (other than active duty for training) the
opportunity, through the online system
developed under paragraph (2), to—
Bill Sections: Section 201
• ‘‘(i) register to vote in an election for
Federal office;
• ‘‘(ii) update the member’s voter
registration information; or
• ‘‘(iii) request an absentee ballot;
• [NOTE: This is the section that election
officials believe establishes Federal VR
and CRS also states it does so;]
Notes of Concerns:
• If the intent is simply to allow the Federal
government to develop a web portal that DEFERS to
the state's registration process and laws, then the
language needs to say that. As written, the
implication is that the DoD system becomes a VR
system of its own and even supplants state VR
systems especially if there is no electronic VR in
that state.
• Even if the state has its own electronic VR system
the legislation defines the limitation of items that
can be used to those of the Federal NVRA form (see
Page 17 Lines 18-24 and page 18) States now
require a DMV match
Notes of Concerns
 [For sometime now, there has been a
consistent attempt by some Congressional
staffers to establish the Federal NVRA form
as the standard for voter registration; it
appears to be an effort to say that no state
can establish any requirements for
registration that go beyond what appears on
the Federal NVRA form. And since the EAC
is the only agency that can change the form,
and it would take 3 votes to do, then EAC
essentially sets VR for all states.]
Notes of Concerns
• The concern here is that the language needs
to be very clear to show that any Federal
system is simply providing UOCAVA voters a
method to more easily access a state's
registration procedure and NOT a substitute
for that state's laws.
• It should not retain aggregated data on
voters as a VR system and it should be
imposed on DoD that it cannot, on its own,
establish what data will be retained or
populate fields: that data needs to come
from the state itself and be under that
specific state’s requirements for VR.
Section 201
• ‘‘(2) Implement an online system that,
to the extent practicable, is integrated
with the existing systems of each of
the military departments and that—
• ‘‘(A) provides an electronic means for
carrying out the requirements of
paragraph (1);
Section 201
• ‘‘(B) in the case of an individual
registering to vote in a State that
accepts electronic voter registration
and operates its own electronic voter
registration system using a form that
meets the requirements for mail voter
registration forms under section 9(b)
of the National Voter Registration Act
of 1993 to register to vote and request
an absentee ballot—
Section 201
• ‘‘(i) pre-populates such official postcard form
with the personal information of such
individual, and
• ‘‘(ii)(I) produces the pre-populated form and
a pre-addressed envelope for use in
transmitting such official postcard form; or
‘‘(II) transmits the completed official postcard
form electronically to the appropriate State
or local election officials.
Section 201
• ‘‘(3) Implement a system (either
independently or in conjunction with the
online system under paragraph (2)) by
which any change of address by a member
of the armed forces on active duty who is
undergoing a permanent change of station,
deploying overseas for at least six months,
or returning from an overseas deployment of
at least six months automatically triggers,
through the Defense Enrollment and
Eligibility Registration System or related
systems, a notification via electronic means
to such member that—
Section 201
• ‘‘(A) indicates that such member’s
voter registration or absentee mailing
address should be updated with the
appropriate State or local election
officials; and
• ‘‘(B) includes instructions on how to
update such voter registration using
the online system developed under
paragraph (2).
Bill Sections: Section 301
SEC. 301. REPEAL OF ELECTRONIC
VOTING DEMONSTRATION
PROJECT.
• Section 1604 of the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002
(42 U.S.C. 1973ff note) is repealed.
• [NOTE: Kills off the provision allowing
DoD and FVAP to experiment with
electronic methods of voting for
UOCAVA voters.]
Bill Sections: Section 401
• SEC. 401. EXTENDING GUARANTEE
OF RESIDENCY FOR VOTING
PURPOSES TO FAMILY MEMBERS
OF ABSENT MILITARY PERSONNEL.
• [NOTE: Amends the
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to
permit dependents of an
absent member of the Armed
Forces to retain residency status in
their state for voting purposes.]
HR775: Uninterrupted Elections Act
• Sponsor: Rep Griffith, H. Morgan [VA-9] (introduced
2/15/2013) Cosponsors (8)
• Uninterrupted Elections Act - Amends the federal
judicial code to exempt an election and registration
official, if named as a prospective juror under a
random jury selection plan, from starting service as
a juror during any election period (the period
beginning 60 days before and ending 30 days after
an election with respect to which the official has
specified election duties).
• Defines "election or registration official" as an
appointed or elected local election administrator, or
a permanent full-time employee of such an
administrator, whose duties include theregistration
of voters or the administration of elections.
HR2115: Voter Registration Efficiency Act
Sponsor: Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] (introduced 5/22/2013)
Cosponsors (3)
• Voter Registration Efficiency Act - Amends the NVRA to require
a state motor vehicle authority to require each individual
applying for a motor vehicle driver's license in the state to:
• (1) indicate whether the individual resides in another state
or resided in another state before applying for the license,
and, if so, to identify the state involved; and
• (2)indicate whether the individual intends for the new
state to serve as the individual's residence for federal voter
registration purposes.
• Requires the motor vehicle authority, if an individual indicates
an intention for the new state to serve as the individual's
residence for federal voter registration purposes, to notify the
motor vehicle authority of the former state of residence, which
shall notify the chief state election official of that state that the
individual no longer intends for it to serve as the individual's
residence for federal voter registration purposes.
S2017: LINE Act of 2014
• Updated version of S58 introduced in 2013.
• Lines Interfere with National Elections Act of
2014 or LINE Act of 2014 - Amends the Help
America Vote Act of 2002 to require each
jurisdiction where a substantial number of
voters waited more than 30 minutes to cast
a vote in the federal election held on
November 6, 2012, or any federal election
held after that date, to comply with a state
remedial plan to minimize voter waiting
times.
• Hearing on bill in Senate Rules on March
12
What Happens To EAC?
• Several bills introduced to kill the EAC
• Changes to Senate Rules means
Commissioners likely to be appointed
this year.
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