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CAPITOL UPDATE #15 April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

California Federation of Republican Women
Sue Blair, President

        Submitted by the CFRW Legislative Analyst Committee        
  Gretchen Cox, Elaine Freeman, Lou Ann Flaherty, Val Emick

PDF Version


An omnibus bill is a single document that is accepted in a single vote by a legislature but packages together several measures into one or combines diverse subjects; because of their large size and scope, omnibus bills limit opportunities to debate and scrutinize. There are two omnibus bills in this week’s recap.


-AB 486- Elementary and secondary education: omnibus bill. The existing AB 486 Bill establishes a system of public elementary and secondary education in this state. Under that system, various persons have specified duties and powers relating to the operation of elementary, secondary schools including among others, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, county superintendent, county auditor, city distract, deputy or assistant superintendents etc. This bill would replace gendered terms with nongendered terms and make various other non-substantive changes to provisions related to those persons.


SB 503-Voting: ballots and signature verification. -Set for hearing March 22 – Existing law requires an elections official, upon receiving a vote by mail ballot, to verify the signature on the identification envelope by comparing it with the signature on specified records within the voter’s registration record, and outlines various methods of verification. This bill would (1) apply a presumption, for purposes of the comparison of signatures in the voter’s registration record, that the signature on an identification envelope, signature verification statement, unsigned ballot statement, or provisional ballot envelope, is the voter’s signature; (2) specify that an exact signature is not required for an elections official to determine that the signature is valid and the fact that signatures share similar characteristics is sufficient to determine the signature is valid; (3) permit an elections official to reject a ballot only if the official determines beyond a reasonable doubt that a voter’s signature does not compare to a signature in the voter’s registration record. This bill would delete verifying addresses on the vote by mail ballot return envelopes from the procedures that the observers may observe and challenge. In essence, this bill reduces the requirements to verify signatures on ballots. Why?

AB 1591– Elections Omnibus Bill- There are many parts to this bill. (1 ) This bill would require the verification process to confirm the identity of a voter who requests to opt-out of receiving the county voter information guide, state voter information guide, a notice of polling place and associated materials by mail, and instead obtain them electronically by telephone or in-person, upon confirmation of the voter’s date of birth, residence address, and California driver’s license number, California identification number, or a partial social security number. (2) This bill would revise the notice required if an electronic poll book is used to state that only a member of the precinct board may operate the device and that it is a misdemeanor to tamper with, manipulate, or otherwise operate or interact with the device with the intent to falsify or prevent others from ascertaining specified information about the voter. (3) This law would specify that if an electronic poll book is used, a copy of the electronic data file may be preserved in lieu of preserving a paper copy of the rosters or combined rosters and voter lists, if applicable (4) This bill would eliminate the elections official’s duty to preserve a copy of the roster used as the voting record or if an electronic poll book is used, a copy of the electronic data file.

The More We Know…

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