Governor Signs Senator Hill's Vote-By-Mail Verification Bill

September 09, 2013

Governor Signs Senator Jerry Hill’s Bill Allowing Mail-In Voters to Confirm Their Vote was Counted

SB 589 Was Suggested By The Winner Of Hill’s Annual “Oughta Be a Law … or Not” Contest

SACRAMENTO – Senator Jerry Hill’s legislation allowing voters to confirm their mail-in ballot was counted was signed today by the governor.

SB 589 will create a “free access system” and provide county registrars with flexibility to determine how they want to comply with the legislation by notifying voters on a walk-in basis, over the phone, or online. “The 2012 general election was the first time a majority of voters in California cast their ballots by mail,” said Hill, D-San Mateo. “As more voters chose this option, it’s critical that they be able to confirm their vote was counted.”

SB 589 was supported by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials and Common Cause California.

“Millions of Californians have turned to vote-by-mail voting for its ease and convenience, and they deserve to know the fate of their ballots so they can fix any problems before future elections,” Bowen said.

SB 589, which was unanimously approved by the Senate, was suggested by the winner of Hill’s annual “Oughta Be a Law … or Not” contest.

“I’ve voted by mail for over a decade, but do not know if my vote counts because the registrar does not acknowledge my vote,” said the contest winner, who requested anonymity.

Hill’s bill – co-sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco -- will require county election officials to establish a system allowing vote-by-mail voters to learn if their ballot was counted and, if it was not, why it wasn’t.

During the 2012 General Election, more than 60,000 vote-by-mail ballots were rejected by county registrars throughout the state.

“This legislation will ensure that voters whose ballots were rejected have the ability to fix the problem for future elections,” Hill said.