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House | April 16, 2015 | Committee Room | Elections

Full MP3 Audio File

Ladies and gentlemen at this time the house committee on elections will come to order, the committee's Sergeants-at-arms today are Warren Hawkins, Dag Harris, David Layton Corry Braison. Our pagers today that are with us, if you would stand if I call your name, we have Chris McCain, from Alamos County, sponsored by Representative Reddeo[sp?] and Roman Billan from Pitt County, sponsored by Representative Brian Brown. So gentlemen we're glad to have you with us today, hope you've had a good week here at the General Assembly. Most of the members probably know but I we would like recognize the Chairman Louise's mother passed away last night, so if you didn't know that already, I would ask that you would remember David Louise and their family in thoughts and prayers today, we'd appreciate that. We're going to start with the house bill forward to, is Representative Ford here? Representative Ford. This is a not a PCS, is that right? So you're recognized to present your bill. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, this is a steady bill, we got some information from the state board of elections where the state had turn-out for municipal election last year, was just a little over 14% and that's what we're trying is improve is voter participation and we haven't got the figures back yet, but we know it's costing local taxpayers millions of dollars across our state and this is just simply a study bill to look into this to see if there are ways of improving it may be by moving it to the even years, so we can help the folks be better represented. I notice some of the turn outs were low, low single digits across the state some of them were pretty good, not too bad nobody was over 50%, but some of them were actually 3-5%, and I know there are some towns that have to extend the following period just so they can get enough people to run, we had to get a couple of towns home that happens every, every time any questions? Representative Warren. Thank you Mr. Chair just want to be recognized at appropriate time to make a motion. Okay representative Fair Kroff Thank you Mr Chairman, I applaud what Representative Ford is doing here, however, I think you'll find, I know you've probably found it already our state. There are differences of opinion as to which year works best. And we've seen cities, mount city switching back and forth trying to find a formula gets people out to vote. I don't think we've it yet, I wish you luck with this but it is a problem. Other comments from the committee members, Representative Graham Yes Mr Chair, like this just simply say again this is a local issue and could best be handled at local level. There's no need at this level. Other comments for members of the committee? Not, Representative Warren, you're recognized for motion. Thank you Mr Chair, I'd like to move for a favorable report on house bill 402, and I don't see a referral. Representative Warren moves for a favorable report for house bill 402, all members in favor signify by saying aye? Aye. All opposed no? The opinion of the chair, the Is have it the Is do have it. Bill is given a favorable report. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Yes sir. House bill 421 Representative Reeves[sp?] Representative Reeds[sp?] welcome to the elections committee, you're recognized to present your bill. Thank you Mr. Chair Good morning everybody? Hey we have questions from [xx]. Representative Floyd[sp?] At the appropriate time. OK. Think that's my signal to keep this short. Alright thank you for having me, as you see from the bill summary this may be one of the few that's going to qualify this session as a very simple bill, exactly. Chatham County wants to join the other 42 counties in our state when it comes down to appointment to our commissioners board as most people probably find out, Chatham County found out when we had an appointment that need to be made to our commissioners board that we weren't in line with the rest of the counties that surrounded Chatham County. And so what this would do is it would have the position that is open to be filled by the executive committee of whatever party that is that had the vacancy and at that point in time

if the county executive committee does not give a recommendation within 30 days of a vacancy, then it would revert back to what you what see is 153A-27. So just ask for you support and I'll be happy to take any questions. Representative Ford Thank you Mr. Chairman. How many own the Board of Commissions there? We have presently five on the Board of Commissions. Thank you. Was just for the motion Representative Floyd or do you have a comment? No comment. Any further comments members of the committee, questions. not Representative Floyd you're recognized for motion. Move for favorable report for House Bill 421 [xx] [xx] Representative Floyd moves for a favorable report House Bill 421. All those in favor will signify by saying I, I, all oppose No the I's have it the bill has given favorable report congratulations Representative Reeves. Thank you very much. Thank you Mr. Chair. Now we have House Bill 373 we do have a proposed committee substitute without objection we will hear the proposed committee substitute. Representative Radel[sp?] you are recognize to present your bill. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Members what you have before you is a bill that's going to extend the deadline imposed by session of 2013 when we did the election reform one of the components was that the D. R. E, the touchscreen machines that are used by over 24 counties in our State would become obsolete by January 1 2018. What this bill is seeking to do is give a little remedy to those 24 counties to extend the deadline to January 1 2020, a two year period. I believe Mr Chairman we can have a friendly amendment that will change that date implementation to September 1 2019, so that will ensure these machines will be in place for the [xx] elections and do a trial run before the next presidential election year. So the 24 counties, I just want to point out, nine of them are tier one counties, 10 of them are tier two counties and the remaining five are tier three counties. We do a lot of things in the Legislature here to try and help counties, we had a debate on the bill yesterday that was going to set aside some monies for tier one tier two counties. This is something you can do, will not cost the state a dime, just given another, almost two year period for these counties who are suffering through the same kind of economic downturn that the state has had to deal with to allow them another almost two years to put in place the money, the funds to go out and purchase the new machines again this is going from the paper ballots which the majority of the counties in the state have it's going to become state law every county has to do that. There are 24 plus counties that don't have that capability right now and I'd like to turn it over to my colleagues here, primary sponsors to address whatever issues they might have on this bill for you Representative Whitmire you are recognize to speak on the bill. I'll be brief for those of you have done acquisitions process for things that can be very complex, think about sole source certified provider, cost effectiveness when your net situation also, if you don't get it right, look at what you're effecting, so buying this time I have three candidates that are affected out of 24, so I'm hearing it from all directions, and there are some very very substantive reasons to extend this and I ask you for support Representative Radell's bill please. Spot representative Brotman, recognize, speak on the bill? Thank you Mr. Chair, thank you committee members. This is a good part person bill and I ask for your support, it's pretty self-explanatory. Thank you. Representative Iler, would you like your turn to speak on the bill? Yes, please I'm on the bill mainly because I had concerns with the whole idea when we originally passed the bill, and my county is investing well over $1 million in this and then they need to be able to spread it out as much as possible and have some time to put it into effect. That means in touchscreens very successfully vote for a while but state of a $1 million to go back to paper ballots. Okay, we have some members with questions, so we'll go in the order I saw Representative Conrad. Just want some clarification, after such county we've been using the electronic machines just for early voting, but we have for a long time used the optical scan machines I think since the hanging chads for election day. So this means even for early voting we won't have to use the optical scan by 2020, is that correct? Both election day and early? I'm going to ask Erica to address that please, just make sure you get that. Miss Churchill, do you like to speak? I believe under the current law it would be 2018, and I do not believe for Guilford County who was only using it for early one-stop voting, they still would

have to have theirs changed out of paper ballots by 2018. That means? Yes Ma'am. Representative Mitchell you're recognized. I think it's a good deal so you won't get any arguement out of me no hinderance today. I just want to know if anybody is here from, who can tell us whether there are any harbor funds still available to these counties that can't afford them. Can you take that? Okay, staff says they'll look into that they don't have the answer to that right now, so. But I just wonder, Mr. Chairman if I could? You may proceed. When we got into that initially there were funds available, there were hell of funds available, and I seem to think or remember and that's why I want them to check did you all took them away from them last year, so I just want to be sure. Representative Gill do you recognized. Thank you Mr. Chair, I was just wondering where is the amendment. It is forth coming, I have a copy and you should have one soon. They have not made copies, would you like to have a copy basically the amendment will change the date from January 1st 10 to September 1st, 2019. Mr. Chair, I trust just there; In that case I move that we approve the amendment. Well, Okay; This time we will recognize Representative Burr to send forth an amendment; Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members just heard an explanation of the amendment, and it's just moving the effective date from January 1st 2020 to September 1st 2019 when this provision was originally enacted it was the date of 2018 was selected I believe to prevent this from taking place on a presidential election year to get it off from a presidential election year, just to make sure it's done a different elections cycle so if there any issues that come up whether it's not as a will not be a serious of an issue to address, I think there is still will address the bill sponsors concerns and give them a little additional time but it will also make sure that it's not taking place after the first time in a presidential election cycle. I was just checking when staff question was arising of whether any municipalities hold their municipal elections prior to September the 1st, so they're checking on that, if we may need to update the amendment later. Make sure that's fine see we originally said we discuss November but pushed it back realizing there are some that hold theirs I know in October. Ive got some of my community that hold them in October, but if we need to move back another month or two, that's fine with me, but I know the bill sponsors might get a little [xx] about that. We can certainly go with this date for now and we found out otherwise perhaps there might be amendable to a couple of more minutes but we'll see. R reading Representative [xx] amendment since you don't have it in front of you if you look at the bill, it moves to amend the bill page one line three by deleting 2020 and substituting September 1st 2019. And on page one line 10 by deleting January 1st 2010 and substituting September 1st 2019. And on page one line 16, deleting January 1st 2018 and making that January 1st 2020 and then substituting September 1st 2019 instead of January 2018. So does that make sense for basically just backing out September 1st 2019. Any questions on the amendment from any members of the committee? Representative Lordel[sp?] you're recognized. Thank you Mr Chairman, just to clarify that this is for the counties that use the DRE machines only, it's not for those that use the ADAs on early voting or anything that, correct. Representative Burr, do you? I think he addressing that question to you. I'm just really making a statement or maybe a question to staff to confirm that before we go any further. I'm sorry. Lisa Howell is here

and she can answer Representative Michaux's question regarding the Harbour Funds I recognize Miss Highwell[sp?]. Mr. Chairman and Members, in last year's Budget Bill not the current 14/15, but in 13/15's budget the funds were appropriated to match the Hover[sp?] funds for this current fiscal year to begin the re-write of the voter elections data system. So those funds are committed and there's no additional funds to help those counties with moving from their electronic systems to the paper ballots. That's what I thought basically Are there any other further questions regarding the Borough amendment? Representative Radel, did you have a comment?   I will in just a minute. I think we're good with the amendment thank you. Okay, see no other comments so Representative Mitchell. Representative Radel has my copy of the amendment. Mr. Chairman may I read that? Yes. Representative Mitchell this is on page one line 16 deleting January 1 2018, splashed through 2020 and substituting September 1 2019. So it does change the effective dates in both paragraphs to September 1 2019. Representative Mitchell does that satisfy your question? Any other comments, questions on the amendment? Seeing none, all in favor of the [xx] amendment signify by saying I, I all oppose no the I's have it we are back on the bill Representative Riddel One thing I wanted to share with you we have checked with North Carolina State board of election they have no problem with this kind of setback for the counties that have this machines, thank you Mr. Chair Representative Warren you are next in the key for question Just for motion pappy time Representative Torbett you are recognized Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you general for bringing forward on behalf of the respective communities I just got one question the bill have those communities relay to you their seriousness about prioritizing this so they understand stand perhaps we get that deadline there no another extension Representative Riddel Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you Representative Torbett for the question and the comment I'll speak for [xx] county a let the my primary speak for their counties we are very aware of the deadline and and the need to get this done right Representative Whitmire I will add this mainframesis[sp?] all out going directive elections see who is outstanding had a significant role in the acquisition various voting machines that our state uses now and understand that complexity of that acquisition process and all the things such as defense acquisition and that is crystal clear to the three counties I have because she is in the one of the counties they certainly collaborated they understand the need time, and they have been working on they just knew they could get from here Further comments Representative Martin. Thank you Mr. Chair, my District Wilson is also impacted by this and when they were just talking about the bill, Representative Riddell came to me and I reached out to my Board of Elections folks and they wanted to do some research to say, Was this? Did that we need this deadline in order to make it move forward and we feel like it would be a safe and effective election if we didn't move forward? And in his research, he came back and said that this would be great for them, not because they weren't trying to move forward, but he understands that there are additional vendors coming out, that there will be a lot more choices. So hopefully there'll be lower prices, and that they are actively seeking that, so we appreciate your efforts on this and we think it will benefit those counties. Thank you. Further comments, if not recognize Representative Warren for a motion. I'd like to make a motion we give the PCS for 373 as amended a favorable report. OK, so Representative Warren moves for the House Committee Substitute with the amendment rolled into a new Committee Substitute for House Bill 373. All those in favor signify by saying Aye. Aye. All opposed No. The Ayes have it, and congratulations gentlemen. and no further business before the committee, we are adjourned. We thank the committee.