SB 592 Modifies several provisions relating to elections
Sponsor: Hegeman
LR Number: 4850S.08T Fiscal Notes
Committee: Local Government and Elections
Last Action: 7/5/2018 - Signed by Governor Journal Page: S2501
Title: SS SCS SB 592 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: Varies
House Handler: Shaul

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Current Bill Summary


SS/SCS/SB 592 - This act modifies several provisions relating to elections.

BALLOT QUESTION ON ABOLISHING TOWNSHIP FORM OF GOVERNMENT (SECTIONS 65.610 65.620)

This act specifies that ballot questions to abolish the township form of government in a county shall also provide for a countywide tax for road and bridge purposes.

This provision is identical to SB 940 (2018) and provisions in SCS/HB 1442 (2018) and the truly agreed to CCS/SS/SCS/HB 1291 (2018).

MUNICIPALLY-OWNED UTILITIES (SECTION 88.770)

Currently, cities of the fourth classification may only sell their interest in a municipally-owned utility when ratified by a 2/3 vote. This act lowers the voter-approval threshold for the sale of a water or wastewater system, or a gas plant, by such cities to a majority vote. The Board of Aldermen shall hold a public meeting at least 30 days prior to any such vote. The municipality in question shall notify its customers of the meeting through radio, TV, newspaper, regular mail, e-mail, or any other combination thereof at least 15 days prior to the meeting.

This provision is substantially similar to SCS/SB 658 (2018) and provisions contained in SCS/HB 1442 (2018), HCS/HB 1947 (2018), the perfected HCB 23 (2018), CCS/HCS/SCS/SB 11 (2017), HCS/HB 247 (2017), and HCS/SB 30 (2017).

ELECTIONS TO AUTHORIZE SALES TAXES FOR PUBLIC SAFETY

(SECTION 94.900)

This act adds the City of Centralia and the City of Lebanon to the list of cities authorized to propose a sales tax for the purposes of improving public safety. Such sales tax, if approved by the voters, would be at a rate of 0.5%.

This provision is identical to SCS/SB 885 (2018) and provisions contained in SCS/HB 1442 (2018) and the truly agreed to CCS/SS/SCS/HB 1291 (2018). The provision is additionally similar to HCS/HB 2186 (2018), HB 2712 (2018), and a provision contained in the perfected HCB 23 (2018).

ELECTION COSTS (SECTIONS 115.061, 115.063, 115.065, 115.077)

Payment of Election Costs

Current law provides that the state shall not be liable for any costs of a general or primary election held in an even-numbered year. This act repeals that provision. (Section 115.063.3). This provision is identical to a provision in HB 1284 (2018).

The definition of "election costs" is modified to include the rental of any electronic voting machine or electronic poll book. (Section 115.065.4)

The act modifies the process for how costs for elections for which the state is liable are determined and deposited with election authorities. For such elections, the SOS shall pay a reasonable estimate of the costs of the election no later than the 7th Tuesday prior to the election. The reasonable estimate of the costs shall be determined by the SOS in consultation with the LEA using a method determined by the SOS in consultation with the LEA. (Section 115.077.2)

Within two weeks of receipt of the actual cost and required documentation of actual expenses from the LEA, the state, political subdivision, or special district shall approve for payment the difference between the amount deposited and the cost of conducting the election. The SOS shall notify the LEA no later than 11 weeks prior to any election for which the state is required to pay election costs what documentation will be required to show the costs that have been incurred in conducting such an election. (Section 115.077.5)

The state is not liable for, and shall not be considered to have willfully failed to make payment of, an election cost if there is not sufficient cash or appropriation authority to make payment. (Section 115.077.7)

OVERPAYMENT OR UNDERPAYMENT OF ELECTION COSTS (Section 115.077.4)

Under current law, whenever the amount paid to an LEA to conduct an election by the state, political subdivision, or special district exceeds the cost of conducting the election the LEA shall "promptly" repay the excess amount. This act requires excess election costs to be repaid not later than the 10th Tuesday following an election.

Current law requires that when the amount paid to an LEA to conduct an election for the state, political subdivision, or special district is less than the cost of conducting the election, the state, political subdivision, or special district shall pay the LEA the difference no later than the 5th Tuesday following the election. This act requires LEA's to submit, no later than the 10th Tuesday following the election, a request for the state, political subdivision, or special district to pay the difference.

RENTING AND LEASING OF ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES (SECTION 115.077.9)

The act permits an LEA to rent or lease out any electronic voting machines purchased by the LEA.

STATE ELECTION FUNDS (Section 115.077.8 and Section 115.078)

The act transfers all unobligated funds of the State Election Subsidy Fund to the Election Administration Improvement Fund on January 1, 2019. Furthermore, the responsibility for making payments of election costs to LEAs as required under this act, is transferred from the State Election Subsidy Fund to the Election Administration Improvement Fund.

These provisions have an effective date of January 1, 2019.

NON-ELECTIONS (SECTION 115.124)

Under current law, any municipality with less than 1,000 inhabitants may adopt a proposal allowing for the waiver of any election to a nonpartisan office if the number of candidates for the office is equal to the number of positions available and if no ballot measure is placed on the ballot. This act increases the population threshold to 2,000.

This provision is identical to SB 876 (2018) and provisions contained in SCS/HB 1442 (2018) and the truly agreed to SS/SCS/HB 1446 (2018).

NOTICE OF ELECTION AND BALLOTS (SECTIONS 115.125 AND 115.127)

Current law provides that the officer or agency calling a special election to fill a vacancy shall certify a sample ballot to the election authorities responsible for conducting the election no later than the 4th Tuesday prior to the election. This act changes that to the 6th Tuesday prior to the election.

Current law allows for a late notice of election by the political subdivision or special district no later than the 6th Tuesday before the election, with certain qualifications. This act permits late notice no later than the 8th Tuesday prior to an election.

Current law prohibits a court from ordering an individual or issue to be placed on a ballot less than 6 weeks prior to an election. This act extends that prohibition to 8 weeks prior to the election.

Current law provides that no candidate's name or ballot issue that appears on the sample ballot or official printed ballot shall be stricken or removed from the ballot except on death of a candidate or by court order. This act adds to that prohibition by stipulating that in no case shall a candidate or issue be removed less than 8 weeks prior to the election.

PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF ABSENTEE VOTER RECORDS (SECTION 115.157)

Under this act, the Secretary of State shall furnish records of absentee ballot applications to a candidate, the duly authorized representative of a campaign committee, or a political party committee upon request. The records shall show the names, addresses, and voter identification numbers of voters within the jurisdiction of the election authority who requested an absentee ballot in any specific election involving a ballot measure or an office required to file the declaration of candidacy with the Secretary of State. The records shall be in an electronic format unless specifically requested in printed form.

A fee shall be charged by the Secretary of State for the records. The fee may be determined by the Secretary of State but may not exceed the amount permitted by law relating to fees for copying public records.

This provision is identical to a provision in the truly agreed to SS/SCS/HB 1446 (2018) and substantially similar to SCS/SB 702 (2018).

COMPLAINTS - ELECTIONS DIVISION (SECTIONS 115.155, 115.287, AND 115.429)

The act permits complaints to be filed with the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office by the following persons:

• A person who has been determined by an election authority to not be entitled to register to vote;

• A person who has been deemed not entitled to vote by absentee ballot by an election authority; and

• A person who has not been permitted to vote by the election judges because of doubt as to his or her identity or qualifications to vote.

ABSENTEE VOTING (SECTIONS 115.279, 115.284, 115.287, 115.299, AND 115.910)

The act permits election authorities to accept applications for absentee ballots by email.

Current law requires an application for absentee ballot not made in person or an application for military-overseas ballot be made by 5 PM on the Wednesday immediately prior to the election. This act requires such applications to be made by 5 PM on the 2nd Wednesday immediately prior to the election.

Current law permits any voter who has become hospitalized or otherwise confined to a specified health care facility on the Wednesday prior to an election, to cast an absentee ballot upon delivery by the election authority. This act extends that provision to the 2nd Wednesday prior to the election.

SPECIAL ELECTIONS - STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND STATE SENATOR (SECTIONS 115.329 AND 115.373)

The act provides that when a special election to fill a vacancy is called to fill an unexpired term for state representative or state senator, the secretary of state shall not accept any petition for the formation of a new party or for the nomination of an independent candidate after 5:00 PM on the 21st day after the writ of election is issued. Furthermore, political party nominating committees are required to file the name of its nominee for such election no later than 5 PM on the 21st day after the issuance of the writ of election.

PETITIONS FOR NEW PARTIES AND INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES

(SECTION 115.335)

Under current law, when the Secretary of State verifies signatures on a petition for the formation of a new party or for an independent candidate, copies of the petition pages may be sent to the appropriate election authorities and communication between the Secretary of State and the election authority must be by certified mail. This act repeals the certified mail requirement.

Furthermore, current law stipulates that the Secretary of State may not designate a deadline for returning verification of a petition less than 10 or more than 40 days. This act changes that provision so that the Secretary shall not designate a deadline which is less than 7 days after the petition has been received by the election authority.

WITHDRAWAL OF CANDIDACY (SECTIONS 115.359 AND 115.361)

Current law permits a candidate who has filed for an office or who has been nominated for an office to withdraw as a candidate under certain circumstances no later than 6 weeks prior to the election. This act permits withdrawal no later than 8 weeks prior to the election.

Under current law, if a candidate for nomination to an office in which the candidate is the incumbent or the only candidate dies, withdraws, or is disqualified after 5:00 p.m. on the last day in which a person may file as a candidate for nomination, and at or before 5:00 p.m. on the 8th Tuesday prior to any primary election, filing for the office shall be reopened for a period of 5 working days. This act moves that deadline up to 5 PM on the 10th Tuesday prior to the election.

Under current law, if a candidate for nomination to an office in which the candidate is the only candidate dies, withdraws, or is disqualified after 5:00 p.m. on the 6th Tuesday prior to a primary election, the election and canvass shall not proceed, and a vacancy shall exist on the general election ballot. This act extends that deadline to the 10th Tuesday prior to the election.

POLITICAL PARTY NOMINATING COMMITTEE PROCEDURES (SECTION 115.363)

The act provides that if there are no candidates for a primary, general, or special election due to death, disqualification, or withdrawal of a candidate after the last day for filing, the political party nominating committees may appoint a candidate at or before 5 PM on the 10th Tuesday prior to the election.

DEATH AND DISQUALIFICATION OF CANDIDATES

(SECTIONS 115.373 AND 115.379)

The act stipulates that whenever a candidate for nomination or election to an office at a primary, general, or special election to fill a vacancy dies or is disqualified after 5:00 p.m. on the 8th Tuesday, rather than the 4th or 6th Tuesday, prior to the election, his or her name shall be printed on the ballot.

ELECTION OFFENSES (SECTION 115.637)

Under current law, it is a class 4 election offense to conduct exit polling, surveying, sampling, electioneering, distributing election literature, posting signs, or placing vehicles bearing signs with respect to any candidate or question to be voted on at an election on election day inside the building in which a polling place is located or within twenty-five feet of the building's outer door closest to the polling place. This act extends that requirement to within 100 feet of the building's outer door closest to the polling place.

INVESTIGATION OF ELECTION OFFENSES (SECTION 115.642)

The act requires any person making a compliant regarding violation of election offenses to do so under penalty of perjury.

Furthermore, the act requires the SOS to dismiss any frivolous complaint alleging an election offense. Any person who makes frivolous complaints shall be liable for actual and compensatory damages to the alleged violator for holding the alleged violator before the public in a false light.

ATTACHMENT OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS (SECTION 162.441)

Under current law, in order for a school district to become attached to a community college district, a petition must be submitted to the school board of the school district signed either by voters of the district equal in number to ten percent of those voting in the last school election at which school board members were elected or by a majority of the voters of the district, at which point an election must be called. This act provides that a community college district may, by a majority vote of its board of trustees, propose a plan to the voters of the school district to attach the school district to the community college district, levy a tax rate equal to the rate applicable to the community college district at the time of the vote of the board of trustees, and call an election upon the question of such plan. The community college district shall be responsible for the costs associated with the election.

This provision is identical to provisions contained in the truly agreed to SS/HB 1744 (2018), the truly agreed to CCS/HCS/SCS/SBs 807 & 577 (2018), and the truly agreed to SCS/SB 990 (2018). It is substantially similar to a provision in the truly agreed to CCS/SS/SCS/HB 1291 (2018).

MISCELLANEOUS

The act repeals numerous obsolete provisions and erroneous intersectional references.

Several provisions in this act are identical or substantially similar to those found in HCS/HB 1857 (2018).

This act has varying effective dates.

SCOTT SVAGERA