H.F. No. 978 is identical to the language in S.F. No. 919, First Engrossment.
H.F. No. 978 makes changes to election administration and districting procedures, including changes to: change in redistricting time line for cities with wards; combined polling place requirements; ballot boards for mail elections; individuals allowed near polling place equipment; timing for filing redistricting petitions; and timing to file redistricting plan.
Section 1 removes the reference to years ending in one or two in reference to redistricting city election wards. In first class cities that elect members by wards in a year ending in one, the wards may be reestablished no later than 14 days before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy. Current law requires that wards must be reestablished no later than 14 days.
Section 2 allows a single, combined polling place for contiguous precincts in the same municipality; the current requirement that two precincts that have a combined total of fewer than 500 voters is removed.
Section 3 makes reference to precinct boundaries of first class cities using the ward system to be consistent with changes made in section 1.
Section 4 provides that in an election by mail, one ballot board may accept and reject both mail ballots and absentee ballots for a precinct. The mail and absentee ballots are counted together and reported as one vote total.
Section 5 allows one ballot board to examine mail and abstentee ballots in elections by mail for questions. The mail and absentee ballots for a precinct must be counted together and reported as one vote total.
Section 6 provides that only an individual who is voting can be within six feet of a ballot counter or electronic voting equipment; current law only references voting booths. An additional exception to this rule is added so that election judges monitoring the operation of the ballot counter or electronic voting equipment are allowed within six feet.
Section 7 requires independent testing authorities that certify voting systems to be accredited by the Election Assistance Commission or appropriate federal agency. Conforming changes are made to the appropriate federal agency.
Section 8 changes the time for filing an application for revision of a redistricting plan seeking to affect elections held in a year ending in two. The application must be filed with the district court no later than one week before the first day to file for office in the year ending in two.
Section 9 requires that a redistricting plan cannot be effective for the next election of county commissioners unless the plan is filed with the county auditor not less than two weeks before the first date to file for office; current law provides it must be not less than 30 days.
A county commissioner may hold the office while remaining a resident of the county, but not the district, after the last day to file for office during a year ending in two; current law provides this may be done after June 15.
Section 10 provides that the bill is effective the day following final enactment.