Senate Bill 1001 – Absentee ballots

Matt Tobeck 2020 Special Session Leave a Comment

BILL DESCRIPTION: Senate Bill 1001a modifies the time frame for issuing absentee ballots; it also modifies the procedures for counting and securing absentee ballots and will sunset on Dec. 31, 2020.  

RATING: +1

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?

Senate Bill 1001a amends Senate Bill 1001 to establish more thorough and transparent procedures for securing absentee ballots. Whereas Senate Bill 1001 stated that absentee ballots “shall be maintained in a secure place in the clerk’s office and be boxed and secured each day after being opened or scanned,” Senate Bill 1001a establishes considerably more transparency. It does this by requiring twenty-four hour livestreamed video surveillance of all ballots opened before election day, by requiring such footage be archived for at least ninety days following the election, by requiring that such absentee ballots be stored in electronically controlled rooms, and by requiring at least two election officials to be present whenever absentee ballots are accessed. Such measures will help increase government transparency and accountability by helping to ensure a fair and accurate counting of absentee ballots.  

Note: IFF updated this analysis after the Senate amended the measure. This bill previously held a 0 rating.