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SB 967: Election precincts (2007)

Summary

Senate Bill 967 is a good government measure that aims to give people easier access to the voting process.  The bill authorizes county elections officials to make voting precincts larger, where appropriate, by subtracting the number of permanent absentee voters from the total number of voters in a precinct.  There are currently close to four million (about 25%) voters registered as permanent absentee in California.  SB 967 will help make sure we don’t have empty polling places in one part of town while voters are waiting in long lines in another part of town and will also allow county elections officials to conduct the best possible elections with more trained poll workers available and better polling locations to choose from with a smaller number of total precincts.

After this bill passed the Legislature, Senator Simitian sent a letter to the Governor urging his signature on this bill.

For more information, you can read the SB 967 "Fact Sheet" prepared by a member of Senator Simitian's staff.

Final Status and Text

SB 967 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Vetoed by the Governor

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

SB 967 aims to give people easier access to the voting process.  The bill expands precinct sizes where appropriate by authorizing county elections officials to subtract the number of permanent absentee voters from the total number of voters in a precinct.  This good government measure will help make sure we don’t have empty polling places in one part of town while voters are waiting in long lines in another part of town.

There are currently close to four million (about 25%) voters registered as permanent absentee.  This growing trend needs to be taken into account when determining precinct size, as the way that polling places operate on election day changes substantially when a number of citizens do not physically vote at their designated polling place.

The state currently faces a tremendous shortage of suitable polling place locations.  Increasing the size of precincts alleviates this problem, as county elections officials will be able to overcome impediments such as a lack of safety, inadequate lighting or inaccessibility to disabled voters that some polling places have. 

California also lacks viable poll workers which in turn threatens the democratic process.  There simply are not enough volunteers to take on the large task of understanding the intricacies and nuance of staffing polling places.  Less polling places means more potential for quality candidates to work at these sites. 

SB 967 is of one of Senator Simitian’s 2007 Ought To Be A Law Contest winners.  Redwood City resident Dennis McBride is concerned that once you start splitting precincts, you split neighborhoods and residents are no longer able to vote at the same trusted site they have visited each election day.


News & Press Releases about SB 967

04/04/2007 - Winners Announced for Public Contest to Invent New Laws (audio)

04/04/2007 - 'There Oughta Be a Law' contest winners chosen

04/03/2007 - Senator Simitian Announces Winners of 2007 "There Oughta Be A Law" Contest