Election Bill Signed into Law

Sunday, October 15, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 840 by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), that changes how unsigned vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots are returned and clarifies current ballot counting, has been signed into law.


Under current law, if a voter forgets to sign his VBM, the voter has until eight days after the election to submit a signed ballot statement in person or via fax. AB 840 will allow a voter to submit electronically.


Under current law, Election Officials are directed to do a 1% manual tally of the votes to ensure ballots are properly counted and voting machines are reporting results accurately. AB 840 clarifies that the 1% manual tally can be done during the semifinal official canvas.


“In California, we work to ensure every ballot is counted properly and every ballot is accounted for,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “AB 840 provides a practical solution for voters who may have forgotten to sign their vote-by-mail ballot envelopes. With voting by mail only increasing in popularity, this is a commonsense voter-friendly reform. AB 840 also ensures that counties can effectively continue their 1% manual tally of ballots to audit the results of each election. Protecting the integrity of the vote count is critical to our democracy.”


"AB 840 appropriately prioritizes efforts to allow voters expanded options for ensuring their vote by mail ballots count. Additionally, it resolves ambiguity in existing language concerning post-election audits. It affirms practices consistent with the Secretary of State's advisory and clears the path to advance risk limiting audit policies moving forward," stated Dean Logan, President of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials.


“A missing signature is one of the main reasons why ballots are rejected. Governor Brown’s signature will streamline this process and ultimately lead to a lower number of ballots being rejected because of an oversight. Additionally, this bill corrects ambiguity regarding the 1% manual tally of votes. This will allow Election Officials to identify any errors prior to certifying the election,” explained Assemblymember Quirk upon learning his bill was signed into law.


AB 840 goes into effect January 1, 2018.