SB 786 Modifies the law relating to the prosecution of election offenses
Sponsor: Kraus
LR Number: 4093S.10T Fiscal Notes
Committee: Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections
Last Action: 7/7/2016 - Signed by Governor Journal Page: S2318
Title: CCS HCS SS SB 786 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2016
House Handler: Dugger

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Current Bill Summary


CCS/HCS/SS/SB 786 - This act modifies provisions relating to elections.

ELECTION CHALLENGERS AND WATCHERS (SECTIONS 115.105 AND 115.107)

Under current law, challengers are only permitted to remain present at a polling place during the hours of voting. This act permits challengers to be present at a polling place until all ballots are cast on the day of election.

The act further permits watchers to remain present at a polling place, or place at which absentee ballots are counted, until all closing certification forms are completed, all equipment is closed and taken down, the transportation case for the ballots is sealed, and election materials are returned to the election authority or to the designated collection place for a polling place.

This provision is identical to HB 2521 (2016) and similar to SB 787 (2016), HB 1380 (2016), HB 1826 (2016), SB 523 (2015), and HB 1016 (2015).

TAX AFFIDAVIT--POLITICAL PARTY COMMITTEE CANDIDATES

(SECTION 115.306)

Under current law, all candidates for public office are required to file a tax affidavit with the Department of Revenue as well as a copy with the declaration of candidacy submitted to the Secretary of State. Under this act, candidates for a county or city committee are exempt from this requirement.

This provision is identical to a provision in SS/HCS/HB 1477 (2016).

CANDIDATE FILING DEADLINES (SECTION 115.361)

Under current law, when a candidate files a statement of withdrawal within two working days prior to the deadline for the close of filing, the time of filing for the relevant office is extended until 5:00 p.m. of the first Friday following the close of deadline that is established under law. This act changes that so that when a candidate files a statement of withdrawal within two working days prior to the deadline, filing shall reopen on the first Tuesday following the established deadline and last until 5:00 p.m. on the next Friday.

This provision is identical to HB 1479 (2016).

POLITICAL PARTY COMMITTEES (SECTIONS 115.603-115.621)

The St. Louis City political party committee shall be designated as a city committee and not a county committee.

Under current law, if a member of a county committee of a political party ever becomes disabled, that member's seat becomes vacant. This act removes that provision.

The membership of legislative district committees is changed so that each committee is made up of the precinct, ward, or township committeemen and committeewomen from each precinct, ward, or township included in whole or in part of a legislative district.

The act also changes the membership of congressional, senatorial, or judicial district committees.

The act permits a political party to provide for proxy voting in any district committee. In the event that such provisions are not made, proxy voting is only allowed for legislative, congressional, senatorial, and judicial district committees. Persons who serve as a proxy voter must be legally permitted to vote in the district of the committee for which they intend to serve as a proxy voter.

The act changes the meeting times for district committees as follows:

1. County and city committees shall meet at some time between the second Tuesday and the third Saturday after each primary election, to be determined by the chair of such committee;

2. Legislative district committees shall meet at some time between the third Tuesday and the fourth Saturday after each primary election, to be determined by the chair of such committee;

3. Senatorial district committees shall meet at some time between the fourth Tuesday and the fifth Saturday after each primary election, to be determined by the chair of such committee;

4. Congressional district committees shall meet at some time between the fifth Tuesday and the sixth Saturday after each primary election, to be determined by the chair of such committee; and

5. Judicial district committees shall meet at some time between the sixth Tuesday and the seventh Saturday after each primary election, to be determined by the chair of such committee.

Any legislative, senatorial, or judicial district committee that is wholly contained within a county or a city not within a county is permitted to meet at the same date as the respective city or county committee.

These provisions have an emergency clause.

These provisions are identical to SS/HCS/HB 1477 (2016) and substantially similar to SCS/SB 730 (2016) and similar to SCS/HCS/HB 692 (2015).

INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF ELECTION OFFENSES (SECTION 115.642)

This act permits any person to file a complaint alleging an election offense with the Secretary of State and grants the Secretary the authority to investigate such claims. Within 30 days of receiving a complaint, the Secretary of State shall notify the complainant whether the complaint has been dismissed or if the Secretary will commence an investigation. In the event that the Secretary finds reasonable grounds that an election offense has been committed, the Secretary may issue a probable cause statement. If the Secretary issues a probable cause statement, he or she may refer the offense to the appropriate prosecuting attorney.

The act further permits the Secretary of State to assist any prosecuting attorney or circuit attorney in the prosecution of election offenses to the Secretary of State, when requested to do so by a prosecuting attorney or circuit attorney.

ELECTRONIC VOTER REGISTRATION (SECTION 115.960)

The act modifies the provisions relating to voter registration. Specifically, the act permits election authorities to accept voter registration applications with a signature submitted in accordance with the Uniform Electronic Transmissions Act. Further, the Secretary of State is required to maintain a system used to accept voter registration applications electronically subsequent to approval from a committee assembled for the purpose of approving and developing uniform standards, systems, and modifications to such a system. The committee shall be composed of 14 members appointed by the President of the Missouri Association of County Clerks. The committee shall further make recommendations regarding the purchase, maintenance, integration, and operation of electronic databases, software, and hardware used by election authorities and the Secretary of State's office. Such committee shall meet within 30 days of January 1, 2017.

The act delineates the persons who may register under the system maintained by the Secretary of State. It also sets forth additional restrictions and requirements for making such electronic transmissions.

This provision is identical to certain provisions in HB 1826 (2016) and HB 336 (2015).

ELECTRONIC FILING WITH THE MEC (SECTIONS 130.026 AND 130.057)

This act modifies provisions relating to the appropriate filing officers for the filing of reports under campaign finance laws. Currently, the appropriate filing officers are the Missouri Ethics Commission and the local election authority of the district of the candidate for all committees and for candidates for the following offices:

• state senator;

• state representative;

• county clerk;

• associate circuit court judges;

• circuit court judges;

• elective municipal offices in municipalities of more than 100,000 people; and

• county elective offices in counties of more than 100,000 people.

This act changes that so that the appropriate officer is only the Ethics Commission.

Current law permits candidates and certain committees to file certain financial disclosure reports in either electronic or paper format. This act requires electronic filing for such filings, as prescribed by the Ethics Commission.

Furthermore, current law requires continuing committees which make contributions totaling more than $15,000 in an applicable calendar year to file disclosure reports in an electronic format. All other continuing committees are given the option to file reports in electronic or paper format. This act repeals those requirements and instead requires all committees to file electronically.

The act further repeals obsolete language relating to the establishment of an electronic reporting system by the Ethics Commission.

This provision is identical to SCS/HCS/HB 1474 (2016).

SCOTT SVAGERA