HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2015
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
Relating to elections by mail.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this Act is to establish voting by mail as the primary method of voting in this State by:
(1) Enabling the office of elections to establish voting by mail for federal, state, and county primary, general, and special elections; and
(2) Requiring that all elections be conducted by mail from the date of the 2016 primary election.
SECTION 2. Chapter 11, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"Part . election by mail
§11- Elections to be conducted by mail. (a) All elections shall be conducted by mail.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the chief election officer, or the county clerk in a county election, shall select not less than one location in each precinct or representative district, as provided in section 11-92.1, to be open on an election day to provide walk-in voting and to receive ballots.
§11- Procedures for conducting election by mail. (a) Ballot packages shall include:
(1) An official ballot;
(2) A pre-paid postage return identification envelope;
(3) A secrecy envelope; and
(b) Except as provided in subsections (c), (d), and (e), the county clerk shall mail by nonforwardable mail a ballot package to each registered voter between eighteen and fourteen days before the date of the election; provided that the deadlines established under chapter 15D shall apply to the covered voters, as that term is defined in section 15D-2.
(c) If the county clerk determines that a voter does not receive daily mail service from the United States Postal Service, the county clerk shall mail by nonforwardable mail a ballot package to the voter between twenty days and eighteen days before the date of the election.
(d) If the voter requests that a ballot package be mailed outside of the State, the county clerk shall mail by nonforwardable mail a ballot package to the voter not later than the twenty-ninth day before the election.
(e) Notwithstanding subsections (b), (c), and (d), ballot packages may be delivered or made available to voters who are unable to receive ballot packages by mail and who request a ballot package be delivered or made available for pick-up by the voter. A ballot package that is made available to a voter shall be made available in a manner and by a method that will ensure confidentiality as provided in section 11-14.5. The receipt of the ballot package by pick-up shall be available to the voter until three days before the election to enable the voter to vote on or before the date of the election.
(f) To complete the ballot package following receipt by mail, delivery, or pick-up, the voter shall:
(1) Mark the ballot;
(2) Sign the return identification envelope supplied with the ballot package; and
(3) Comply with the instructions provided with the ballot package.
The voter may return the marked ballot to the county clerk by the United States Postal Service or by depositing the ballot at any polling place designated by the chief election officer or county clerk no later than the time stated in section 11-131 on the date of the election.
§11- Instructions. (a) The instructions shall include directions on marking the ballot, inserting the marked ballot in the secrecy envelope, inserting the secrecy envelope with the marked ballot in the return identification envelope, and signing the return identification envelope before mailing or delivering the return identification envelope containing the secrecy envelope with the marked ballot.
(b) The instructions shall include information on election fraud and voter fraud as provided in sections 19-3(5) and 19-3.5, and state that a violation of either section may subject the voter, upon conviction, to imprisonment, fine, or both.
§11- Public notice of distribution. Public notice of the date or dates that ballot packages are mailed, delivered, or made available shall be given by the chief election officer and all county election offices when all ballot packages have been mailed, delivered, and made available to voters. Public notices required under this section shall be executed in accordance with sections 1-28.5 and 15D-15.
§11- Replacement ballots. (a) A voter may obtain a replacement ballot if the ballot is destroyed, spoiled, lost, or not received by the county clerk. To vote by replacement ballot, the voter shall complete and sign a replacement ballot request form. The request for a replacement ballot may be made by mail, in person, or by other means designated by the chief election officer according to rule.
(b) Upon receipt of a request for a replacement ballot, the county clerk or a designee appointed by the clerk shall:
(1) Verify the registration of the voter and ensure that another ballot has not been returned by the voter;
(2) Note on the list of registered voters that the voter has requested a replacement ballot;
(3) Mark the return identification envelope so that it may be identified as a replacement ballot; and
(4) Issue a replacement ballot.
§11- Counting of ballots. (a) The method of preparing ballots for counting may begin no sooner than the seventh day before the election. In the presence of official observers, counting center employees may start to count the ballots on the day of the election. All handling and counting of the mailed-in ballots shall be according to procedures provided by rule.
(b) A mailed ballot shall be counted if:
(1) It is received by the county clerk not later than the end of the period determined by the chief election officer;
(2) It is received in the return identification envelope;
(3) The envelope is signed by the voter to whom the ballot is issued; and
(4) The signature of the voter is verified pursuant to subsection (c).
(c) The county clerk, or a designee appointed by the county clerk, shall verify the signature on the return identification envelope according to procedures provided by rule.
(d) Upon receipt of a marked replacement ballot, the county clerk or a designated appointee shall verify that a completed and signed replacement ballot request form has been received by the county clerk or is included with the marked replacement ballot. If a request form has been completed and signed by the voter and received by the county clerk or included with the marked ballot, the county clerk or a designated appointee shall process the ballot. If the replacement ballot request form is not completed or signed by the voter or not received by the county clerk or included with the mailed ballot, the county clerk or a designated appointee shall not process the ballot.
§11- Uniformed and overseas citizens Absentee Voting Act; application. To the extent that this part and chapter 15D conflict with regard to the application of any requirement established pursuant to this part to a covered voter, as that term is defined in section 15D-2, chapter 15D shall govern."
SECTION 3. Section 11-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:
1. By adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read:
""Election by mail" means an election conducted principally by mail."
2. By amending the definition of "ballot" to read:
""Ballot", a ballot including a ballot used in an election by mail and an absentee ballot, is a written or printed, or partly written and partly printed paper or papers containing the names of persons to be voted for, the office to be filled, and the questions or issues to be voted on. A ballot may consist of one or more cards or pieces of paper, or one face of a card or piece of paper, or a portion of the face of a card or piece of paper, depending on the number of offices, candidates to be elected thereto, questions or issues to be voted on, and the voting system in use. It shall also include the face of the mechanical voting machine when arranged with cardboard or other material within the ballot frames, containing the names of the candidates and questions to be voted on."
3. By amending the definition of "voting system" to read:
""Voting system", the use of paper ballots, electronic ballot cards, voting machines, voting by mail, or any system by which votes are cast and counted."
SECTION 4. Section 11-4, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§11‑4 Rules [
The chief election officer may make, amend, and repeal [ such] rules [ and
regulations] governing elections held under this title, election
procedures, and the selection, establishment, use, and operation of all voting
systems now in use or to be adopted in the State, and all other similar matters
relating thereto as in the chief election officer's judgment shall be necessary
to carry out this title.
In making, amending, and repealing rules [
regulations] for voters who cannot [ vote at the polls in person] receive
or return ballots by mail and all other voters, the chief election officer
shall provide for voting by [ such] these persons in [ such]
a manner [ as] to [ insure] ensure secrecy of the
ballot and to preclude tampering with the ballots of these voters and other
election frauds. [ Such] These rules [ and regulations],
when adopted in conformity with chapter 91 and upon approval by the governor,
shall have the force and effect of law."
SECTION 5. Section 11-17, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) The clerk, not later than 4:30 p.m. on the sixtieth day after every general election, shall remove the name of any registered voter who did not vote in that general election, and also did not vote in the primary election preceding that general election, and also did not vote in the previous general election, and also did not vote in the primary election preceding that general election, and also did not vote in the regularly scheduled special elections held in conjunction with those primary and general elections, if any, with the exception of:
(1) Those who submitted written requests for absentee ballots as provided in section 15-4; or
(2) Anyone who preregistered pursuant to section 11-12(b).
If a person voted, at least once, in any of the above-mentioned elections, the person's name shall remain on the list of registered voters. For this purpose, "vote" means the depositing of the ballot in the ballot box whether the ballot is blank or later rejected for any reason. In the case of voting machines, "vote" means the voter has activated the proper mechanism and fed the vote into the machine. In the case of an election by mail pursuant to part , "vote" means the voter has returned the ballot to the chief election officer or county clerk by the United States Postal Service or by depositing the ballot at a precinct designated for ballot deposit by the chief election officer or county clerk."
SECTION 6. Section 11-92.1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending the title and subsection (a) to read as follows:
"§11-92.1 Election proclamation; [
of a new precinct.] precincts; polling places. (a) The chief
election officer shall issue a proclamation whenever a new precinct is
established in any representative district. The chief election officer, or
the county clerk in a county election, shall provide a suitable polling
place for each precinct[ .] in a general election, and for not less
than one location in each representative district in a primary election.
Schools, recreational halls, park facilities, and other publicly owned or
controlled buildings, whenever possible and convenient, shall be used as
polling places. The chief election officer, or the county clerk in a county
election, shall make arrangements for the rental or erection of suitable
shelter for this purpose whenever public buildings are not available and shall
cause these polling places to be equipped with the necessary facilities for
lighting, ventilation, and equipment needed for elections on any island. This
proclamation may be issued jointly with the proclamation required in section
SECTION 7. Section 11-184, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§11-184 Election expenses and responsibilities in combined state and county elections. Election expenses in elections involving both state and county offices shall be shared as set forth below:
(1) The State shall pay and be responsible for:
(A) Precinct officials;
(B) Instruction of precinct officials when initiated or approved by the chief election officer;
(C) Boards of registration;
(D) Polling place costs other than supplies: installation rentals, ballot boxes, voting booths, custodians, telephones, and maintenance;
(E) Other equipment such as ballot transport containers;
(F) Temporary election employees hired to do strictly state work; and
(G) Extraordinary voter registration and voter education costs when approved by the chief election officer.
(2) The county shall pay and be responsible for:
(A) Normal voter registration, voters list maintenance, and all printing connected with voter registration, including printing of the voters list;
(B) Temporary election employees hired to do strictly county work;
(C) Maintenance of existing voting machines, including parts, freight, storage, programming, and personnel;
(D) Maintenance and storage of voting devices and other equipment; and
(E) Employees assigned to conduct absentee or voting by mail polling place functions.
(3) The remaining election expenses shall be divided in half between the State and the counties. Each county will pay a proration of expenses as a proportion of the registered voters at the time of the general election. These expenses shall include but not be limited to:
(A) Polling place supplies;
(B) All printing, including ballots, but excluding printing connected with voter registration;
(C) Temporary election employees not including voting machine programmers doing work for both the State and county;
(D) Ballot preparation and packing; and
(E) All other costs for which the State or county are not specifically responsible relating to the operation of voting machines, electronic voting systems, and other voting systems except paper ballots to include but not be limited to real property rentals, equipment rentals, personnel, mileage, telephones, supplies, publicity, computer programming, and freight.
The responsibility for the above functions shall be determined by the chief election officer where the responsibility for such functions has not been assigned by the legislature.
Any future expenses not presently incurred under
any voting system now in use or to be used shall be assigned to [
paragraph (1), (2), or (3) [ above] by the chief election officer
upon agreement with the clerks or by the legislature."
SECTION 8. Section 19-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§19-6 Misdemeanors. The following persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanor:
(1) Any person who offers any bribe or makes any promise of gain, or with knowledge of the same permits any person to offer any bribe or make any promise of gain for the person's benefit to any voter to induce the voter to sign a nomination paper, and any person who accepts any bribe or promise of gain of any kind as consideration for signing the same, whether the bribe or promise of gain be offered or accepted before or after the signing;
(2) Any person who wilfully tears down or destroys or defaces any election proclamation or any poster or notice or list of voters or visual aids or facsimile ballot, issued or posted by authority of law;
(3) Any person printing or duplicating or causing to be printed or duplicated any ballot, conforming as to the size, weight, shape, thickness, or color to the official ballot so that it could be cast or counted as an official ballot in an election;
(4) Every person who is disorderly or creates a disturbance whereby any meeting of the precinct officials or the board of registration of voters during an election is disturbed or interfered with; or whereby any person who intends to be lawfully present at any meeting or election is prevented from attending; or who causes any disturbance at any election; and every person assisting or aiding or abetting any disturbance;
(5) Every person who, either in person or through another, in any manner breaks up or prevents, or endeavors to break up or prevent, the holding of any meeting of the board of registration of voters, or in any manner breaks up or prevents, or endeavors to break up or prevent, the holding of any election;
(6) Any person, other than those designated by section 11‑132, who remains or loiters within the area set aside for voting as set forth in section 11-132 during the time appointed for voting;
(7) Any person, including candidates carrying on any campaign activities within the area described in section 11-132 during the period of time starting one hour before the polling place opens and ending when the polling place closes for the purpose of influencing votes. Campaign activities shall include the following:
(A) Any distribution, circulation, carrying, holding, posting, or staking of campaign cards, pamphlets, posters and other literature;
(B) The use of public address systems and other public communication media;
(C) The use of motor caravans or parades; and
(D) The use of entertainment troupes or the free distribution of goods and services;
(8) Any person who opens a return envelope containing
(A) An absentee ballot voted under chapter 15 other than those persons authorized to do so under chapter 15; or
(B) A ballot voted by mail under part other than those persons authorized to do so under part ;
(9) Any unauthorized person found in possession of any voting machine or keys thereof; and
(10) Every person who wilfully violates or fails to obey any of the provisions of law, punishment for which is not otherwise in this chapter specially provided for."
SECTION 9. Section 11-91.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.
§11-91.5 Federal, state, and
county elections by mail. (a) Any federal, state, or county
election held other than on the date of a regularly scheduled primary or
general election may be conducted by mail. (b) The chief election officer shall
determine whether a federal or state election, other than a regularly scheduled
primary or general election, may be conducted by mail or at polling places. (c) The county clerk shall determine
whether a county election, held other than on the date of a regularly scheduled
primary or general election, may be conducted by mail or at polling places. An
election by mail in the county shall be under the supervision of the county
clerk. (d) Any ballot cast by mail under this
section shall be subject to the provisions applicable to absentee ballots under
sections 11-139 and 15-6. (e) The chief election officer shall adopt
rules pursuant to chapter 91 to provide for uniformity in the conduct of
federal, state, and county elections by mail."]
SECTION 10. Section 11-92.3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.
§11-92.3 Consolidated precincts;
natural disasters; postponement; absentee voting required; special elections.
(a) In the event of a flood, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, high
wind, or other natural disaster, occurring prior to an election, that makes a
precinct inaccessible, the chief election officer or county clerk in the case
of county elections may consolidate precincts within a representative
district. If the extent of damage caused by any natural disaster is such that
the ability of voters, in any precinct, district, or county, to exercise their
right to vote is substantially impaired, the chief election officer or county
clerk in the case of county elections may require the registered voters of the
affected precinct to vote by absentee ballot pursuant to section 15-2.5 and may
postpone the conducting of an election in the affected precinct for no more
than twenty-one days; provided that any such postponement shall not affect the
conduct of the election, tabulation, or distribution of results for those
precincts, districts, or counties not designated for postponement. The chief
election officer or county clerk in the case of county elections shall give
notice of the consolidation, postponement, or requirement to vote by absentee
ballot, in the affected county or precinct prior to the opening of the precinct
polling place by whatever possible news or broadcast media are available.
Precinct officials and workers affected by any consolidation shall not forfeit
their pay. (b) In the event the chief election officer
or the county clerk in a county election determines that the number of
candidates or issues on the ballot in a special, special primary, or special
general election does not require the full number of established precincts, the
precincts may be consolidated for the purposes of the special, special primary,
or special general election into a small number of special, special primary, or
special general election precincts. A special, special primary, or special
general election precinct shall be considered the same as an established
precinct for all purposes, including precinct official requirements provided in
section 11-71. Not later than 4:30 p.m. on the tenth day prior to the special,
special primary, or special general election, the chief election officer or the
county clerk shall give public notice, in the area in which the special,
special primary, or special general election is to be held, of the special,
special primary, or special general election precincts and their polling
places. Notices of the consolidation also shall be posted on election day at
the established precinct polling places, giving the location of the special,
special primary, or special general election precinct polling place."]
SECTION 11. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2015-2016 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 for the purpose of implementing and administering the election by mail program.
The sums appropriated shall be expended by the office of elections for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 12. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 13. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2015, and shall apply to the 2016 primary election and all elections conducted thereafter.
Elections; Voting by Mail
Establishes an election by mail voting system for all elections beginning with the 2016 primary election.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.