Today the State Senate may consider a veto override vote on Senate Enrolled Act 209, an act approved by the General Assembly but vetoed by Governor Daniels last summer. The bill would have made changes to state laws related to vote center elections and provisional ballots. The veto is on the Senate’s Tuesday calendar.
SEA 209 was approved 48-0 in the Senate and 55-43 in the House on the last day of the 2009 regular session. The governor vetoed the bill on May 11, 2009.
In his veto message, Governor Daniels stated,
While this bill contains provisions that would make the act of voting more convenient, it does not contain sufficient safeguards against fraud and abuse and removes long-standing bipartisan checks and balances in the conduct of elections.
According to the Indiana Constitution Article 5, Section 14, should SEA 209 become law, it will become effective the year the General Assembly initially passed it. In order to become law, the veto override must receive a majority vote in the Senate and House during the 2010 regular session.
SEA 209 (2009) – Summary of provisions
Vote Centers: Under the act voters in a vote center county would have been entitled to cast an absentee ballot by mail. The act would have removed the requirement that a county election board may establish satellite offices only by the unanimous vote of the board’s members. Vote center pilot counties would have been required to establish at least one satellite office for absentee voting. Johnson County would have become a vote center pilot county if it meets all the other requirements to be a vote center county. The act would have repealed P.L.108-2008, SECTION 4, which authorizes the Secretary of State to designate an additional vote center county.
Provisional Ballots: With regard to provisional ballots, election material related to provisional ballots, excluding the provisional ballots themselves, would be subject to the public records in the same manner as other election material. In the case of a recount or contest, material related to provisional ballots would remain confidential for six months after the completion of the recount or contest.
Information in material related to provisional ballots that identifies an individual, except for the individual’s name, address, and birth date, remains confidential. When a provisional ballot is cast, the act would have required a precinct election officer or absentee voter board to provide both orally and in writing an explanation of the steps the voter must take in order to have the voter’s ballot counted. Further, the circuit court clerk would have been required to notify the voter not later than three days after election day concerning the reasons that the voter’s ballot is being treated as a provisional ballot; what actions, if any, that the voter must take in order to have the voter’s ballot counted; the deadline by which the voter must act; and certain contact information. County election boards would have been required to provide a list of the name and addresses of all voters who cast a provisional ballot to a candidate whose name was on the ballot or the county chairman of a political party in the county not later than 72 hours after a request.