HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1829

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2020

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO BALLOT HARVESTING.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that ballot harvesting, also called vote harvesting, is the collecting and submitting of multiple absentee or mail-in voter ballots by volunteers or workers. It occurs in some areas of the United States where voting by mail is common but is illegal or restricted in most other states to prevent fraud. Hawaii is one of the thirteen states where the law does not address ballot harvesting.

The legislature also finds that fraud and other issues associated with ballot harvesting have occurred in other states. Stolen absentee ballots, in a North Carolina congressional race, left voters without a say in the democratic process. Other irregularities such as unsealed or partially filled out ballots are often issues which can skew election results in tight races. A Hawaii race in 2018 was marred with the appearance of impropriety after a complaint was filed due to a surge in last minute absentee ballots that pushed an incumbent to reelection.

The legislature further finds that Hawaii voter turnout is historically low. The state will transition to vote by mail in the upcoming 2020 election cycle. It is hoped that vote by mail will improve voter turnout, however voters need reassurance that the system will be fair and transparent. To prevent voter fraud and increase public trust rules must be developed to restrict ballot harvesting. Anyone violating the rules will be deemed guilty of election fraud. The purpose of this act is to prohibit ballot harvesting and clarify when an authorized agent is required to turn in a ballot on behalf of another.

SECTION 2. Section 11-139, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

" 11-139 Voting assistance. (a) Except as otherwise provided, any voter who requires assistance may be given assistance by a [person of the voter's choice] designated agent. A voter may designate an agent to pick up and deliver a ballot, provided that, an agent of the voter under this section: shall be a person who is caring for the applicant because of the applicant's illness or physical disability, including but not limited to, a licensed physician or a registered or practical nurse; a member of the applicant's family; or if no such person

consents or is available, then a police officer, chief election officer or their designee; shall be designated in a writing signed by the voter under penalty of perjury; and shall execute an affidavit under penalty of perjury that the ballot was: delivered to the voter who submitted the application; marked and placed in an envelope by the voter, or with assistance as allowed by regulation, in the agent's presence; and returned to the counting center by the agent.

A person with disabilities may be provided assistance at a voter service center pursuant to any state or federal law relating to persons with disabilities. The voter's employer or agent of that employer, agent of the voter's labor union, or a candidate for any office that is listed on the ballot shall not provide assistance. Written or oral instructions delivered via telephone, electronic means, or mail shall not be deemed assistance prohibited by this section; provided that the voter's employer or agent of that employer, agent of the voter's labor union, or a candidate for any office listed on the ballot is not physically present with the voter when the instructions are delivered.

(b) Violation of this section by an employer or agent of that employer, agent of the voter's labor union, or a candidate shall constitute election fraud as provided under section 19-3.

SECTION 3. Section 19-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:"

"19-3 Election frauds. The following persons shall be deemed guilty of an election fraud:

(1) Every person who, directly or indirectly, personally or through another, gives, procures, or lends, or agrees or offers to give, procure, or lend, or who endeavors to procure, any money or office or place of employment or valuable consideration to or for any elector, or to or for any person for an elector, or to or for any person in order to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting, or to vote or refrain from voting for any particular person or party, or who does any such act on account of any person having voted or refrained from voting for any particular person at any election;

(2) Every person who advances or pays, or causes to be paid, any money to, or to the use of, any other

person, with the intent that the money, or any part thereof, shall be expended in bribery at any election, or for any purpose connected with or incidental to any election; or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid any money to any person in the discharge or repayment of any money wholly or partly expended in bribery at any election, or for any purpose connected with or incidental to any election;

(3) Every elector who, before, during, or after any election, directly or indirectly, personally or through another, receives, agrees, or contracts for any money, gift, loan, or valuable consideration, office, place, or employment for oneself or any other person for voting or agreeing to vote, or for refraining to vote or agreeing to refrain from voting, or for voting or refraining to vote for any particular person or party;

(4) Every person who, directly or indirectly, personally or through another, makes use of, or threatens to make use of, any force, violence, or restraint; or inflicts or threatens to inflict any injury, damage, or loss in any manner, or in any way practices intimidation upon or against any person in order to induce or compel the person to vote or refrain from voting, or to vote or refrain from voting for any particular person or party, at any election, or on account of the person having voted or refrained from voting, or voted or refrained from voting for any particular person or party; or who by abduction, distress, or any device or contrivance impedes, prevents, or otherwise interferes with the free exercise of the elective franchise;

(5) Every person who, at any election, votes or attempts to vote in the name of any other person, living or dead, or in some fictitious name, or who, having once voted, votes or attempts to vote again, or knowingly gives or attempts to give more than one ballot for the same office at one time of voting;

(6) Every person who, before or during an election, knowingly publishes a false statement of the withdrawal of any candidate at the election;

(7) Every person who induces or procures any person to withdraw from being a candidate at an election in

consideration of any payment or gift or valuable consideration; or of any threat; and every candidate who withdraws from being a candidate in pursuance of such inducement or procurement;

(8) Every public officer by law required to do or perform any act or thing with reference to any of the provisions in any law concerning elections who wilfully fails, neglects, or refuses to do or perform the same, or who is guilty of any wilful violation of any of the provisions thereof;

(9) Any person wilfully tampering or attempting to tamper with, disarrange, deface, or impair in any manner whatsoever, or destroy any voting machine while the same is in use at any election, or who, after the machine is locked in order to preserve the registration or record of any election made by the same, tampers or attempts to tamper with any voting machine;

(10) Every person who, directly or indirectly, personally or through another, wilfully designs, alters, accesses, or programs any electronic voting system to

cause the system to inaccurately record, tally, or report votes cast on the electronic voting system;

(11) Every person who assists a voter in the completion of a ballot in violation of section 11-139; [and]

(12) Every person that picks up or delivers an absentee ballot that is not a designated agent under 11-139;

(13) Every person designated to return a vote by mail ballot that receives any form of compensation based on the number of ballots that the person returns and an individual, group, or organization that provides compensation on this basis; and

[(12)] (14) Every person who knowingly broadcasts, televises, circulates, publishes, distributes, or otherwise communicates, including by electronic means or advertisement, false information about the time, date, place, or means of voting with the purpose of impeding, preventing, or otherwise interfering with the free exercise of the elective franchise. "

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon its approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Vote harvesting; Ballot harvesting; Voter Fraud; Felony

 

Description:

Prohibits ballot harvesting. Clarifies that only a designated agent can deliver a ballot on behalf of another. Prohibits ballot harvesting. Violators will be punishable under felony voter fraud statutes.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.