State Senator Henry Stern’s Legislation on Voting Rights Passes Senate Floor

Effort to improve turnout by focusing on convenience and efficiency

April 20, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Today, State Senator Henry Stern presented his first bill, SB 286 on the Senate floor. The legislation aims to increase voter turnout and reduce the cost of elections. It passed the Senate on a 28-12 bi-partisan vote.

SB 286 will allow voters who misplace or do not receive their vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots to cast a regular ballot if it is certified that the ballot has not already been received.

“Last year, over 1 million voters (myself included!), were vote-by-mail voters who showed up on Election Day to vote in person instead.  By equipping poll workers with more accurate, up-to-date information, we can reduce provisional balloting and give Election Day voters more confidence about the ballots they cast, while saving taxpayer dollars by making vote tabulation more efficient,” said Senator Henry Stern, newly appointed Chair of the Senate Elections Committee.

Over 60% of all votes cast statewide use a VBM ballot. As counties begin to implement the vote center model for elections or otherwise utilize electronic poll books at regular polling places, this bill would reduce the reliance on expensive, time-consuming provisional ballots while still maintaining election integrity.

SB 286 is supported by Secretary of State Alex Padilla and the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials (CACEO). The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.