HOUSE REPUBLICAN STAFF ANALYSIS

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1 HOUSE REPUBLICAN STAFF ANALYSIS Bill: HF 2406 (HSB 541) Committee: State Government Floor Manager: Rep. Vander Linden Date: March 3, 2016 Staff: Monica Young (1-3626) House Committee: House Floor: Senate Floor: Governor: School Elections PASSED 2/16/16 (12-10, 1 absent) This bill changes the date of regular school elections for local school districts, merged areas, and area education agency boards. This bill combines city and school elections on the same date. There are a variety of technical and administrative amendments to update the Iowa Code to reflect that city and school elections shall be held on the same date. Fiscal Note n/a Section by Section Analysis Section 1. school district or merged area election This section of the bill deals with special elections on public measures being limited to the specific dates. This section requires that for school districts or merged areas, their elections be held the first Tuesday in March, the first Tuesday in May, the first Tuesday in August, or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November during odd numbered years. During the even numbered years, this amendment requires the election for a school district or merged area be limited to the following dates: the first Tuesday in March, the first Tuesday in May, the first Tuesday in August, or the first Tuesday in December. Section 2. when the directors of the merged areas shall organize The directors of the merged areas shall organize in December following the regular school election in November. At this time they will appoint a secretary and treasurer. Section 3. when the board of a merged area may change the number of directors on the board This bill changes when the board of a merged area may change the number of directors on the board. Changes shall now be completed no later than August 1 st. Section 4. when notice of election shall be published and when a candidate must file This section makes changes to dates of other requirements to conform with the November election. Notice of election shall be published by the area education administrator no later than September 15 th. A candidate for the area education agency board must file a statement of candidacy with the area education secretary no later than October 15 th. When voting, for a ballot to be counted, the Secretary of State must receive ballots by November 30 th at the end of the business day or the ballot must be postmarked by November 29 th and received no later than noon the first Monday following November 30th. 1

2 Section 5. when the directors of the merged areas shall organize The directors of the merged areas shall organize in December following the regular school election in November. Section 6. when there can be a change in directors. The board of an area education agency may change the number of directors by September 1 st of the odd numbered year for the director district conventions held the following November. Section 7. when regular school district elections are held Regular school district elections shall be held biennially on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November if each odd numbered year in each school district for the election of officers of the district and merged areas. Section 8. canvassing returns This bill changes language from on the next Friday to after. After the regular school election, the county board of supervisors shall canvass the returns made to the county commissioner of elections. Section 9. effective date The effective date shall be July 1, Section 10. applicability of the bill This bill applies to regular school elections held after November 7, 2017 and to the terms of office of directors of local school districts, merged areas, and area education agencies commencing on or after that date. Elections previously scheduled for September of 2017 and 2019 shall now be held in November of 2017 and Section 11. combining elections This section allows special elections to be combined with school elections. Previously, this was not allowed. Section 12. combining elections This section does not allow a city, school district, or merged area election to coincide with the general election. Section 13. election dates for city elections For city elections must be held the first Tuesday in March, the first Tuesday in May, the first Tuesday in August, or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November during odd numbered years. During the even numbered years, this amendment requires the election for a school district or merged area be limited to the following dates: the first Tuesday in March, the first Tuesday in May, the first Tuesday in August, or the first Tuesday in December. Section 14 and 15. nominations The section strikes language in Iowa Code Section 44.4(1), which delineates the nominating process and filing process for elections. This removes the requirement that the county commissioner be responsible for collecting nominating papers for elections held in a city. These sections add that the city clerk will now be responsible for collecting nomination papers for the city election. Section 16 and 17. objections All objections to nomination shall now be considered by the county auditor, county attorney, and county treasurer. These objections shall be filed with the city clerk. Section 18. filing for school board elections Nomination papers shall be filed 42 days before the regular school election. This change makes the filing deadlines between city and school elections the same. Section 19. Vacancies filled. Nomination papers shall be filed 42 days before the election in the case of a vacancy. Section 20. controlling county commissioner 2

3 This section adds language concerning what the responsibility of the county commissioner is when elections spans across multiple counties and dictates that there will be a controlling county commissioner and his or her responsibilities. The controlling commissioner will come from the county having the greatest taxable income. Section 21. conflict between two elections This section eliminates language that a conflict between two elections exists only when one of the elections would require use of the precinct boundaries which differ from those to be used for the other election. Section 22. proper voting place This section requires that except as designated by a commissioner, a person shall not vote in any precinct but that of the person s residence. Section 23. proper voting place This section adds language that states whenever practical, a commissioner shall designate polling places so that an eligible voter will be assigned to vote at the same polling place at which the voter would be assigned to during the general election. However, if a city does not have a polling place designated for the general election precinct, the commissioner may designate an additional polling place for that city. Section 24 and 25. Candidates on ballots This section makes changes to to require that offices up for election shall be printed on the ballot in the following order: (1) those of a county, (2) those of a city, (3) those a school district, (4) those of a merged area, (5) any other political subdivision. Section 26. regular city and school election ballot This section adds a new paragraph to 49.31, which deals with the restrictions on arrangement of names on the ballot. This new paragraph details that that on the regular city and school election ballot the names of candidates shall be arranged by drawing lots for position. Section 27. regular city and school election ballot 49.31(3) is changed to eliminate city and school elections from the requirement that names be rotated on ballots when there are ballots in more than one precinct. Section 28. candidate for city office and school board office This section allows a candidate for city office also run for school board office at the same election. Section 29. commissioner to control printing 49.51, commissioner to control printing, is changed by this section to strike the that the commissioner may delegate his authority only to another commissioner who is conducting elections held in more than one county, with respect to the printing of the ballots. Section 30. voting hours 49.73(1)(a-b) are stricken. At all elections, except as otherwise permitted by this section, the polls shall be opened at 7:00 a.m. if at least one official from each of the political parties referred to in section is present. On the basis of voter turnout for recent similar elections and factors considered likely to so affect voter turnout for the forthcoming election as to justify shortened voting hours. Section 31. voting hours The following section is amended to provide that all polling places shall be opened at the same time and the hours that the voting precinct published cannot be changed. Polling places shall close at 9 for state primaries and the general election and other partisan elections. Any other election, the polls shall close at 8. This amendment allows for city and school election polling to be the same so that there are not different poll opening times within the same county. Section 32. proclamation of result 3

4 50.11 is changed for technical reasons and also adds that for an election for a political subdivision that is located in more than one county the commissioner shall communicate that county s election results to the controlling commissioner. The controlling commissioner must stay until such results are reported. Section 33. canvass This section adds a new subsection to that requires a second canvass be held on the second Monday or Tuesday after the election for a regular city election, if the city is part of more than one county. This subsection delineates canvassing requirements. This second canvass allows for Secretary of State to review and certify the results. This section also adds that if there is a county where the city council has chosen a run-off election instead of a primary and this city straddles a county line, the second canvass be on the first Monday or Tuesday after the day of the run-off election. The first canvass for the runoff election shall be held the first Thursday following the run-off. Section 34 and 35. canvass and are changed due to technicalities in section 34 and 35, respectively , as it is written, is unclear about which canvass triggers the 3 say window to request a recount. A recount should be requested after the first level canvass. The recount request deadline for cities with runoff provisions should be the day following the runoff city s canvass. Section 36. absentee ballots for all elections Section is changed by this section to strike the requirement that if an applicant requests ballots for all elections to be held that year, the commissioner must forward the absentee ballot application to the other commissioners. Section 37. director meeting for merged areas The directors for merged areas shall meet in December rather than October. Section 38, 39, 40. merged area filings 260C. 15 is changed by this section to require that candidates for a merged area file their nomination papers with the Secretary of State not earlier than 71 days and not later than 47 days prior to the election at which these candidates are to be elected. This section also changes the timing for objections to 42 days before the day of the election. The timing changed so that these dates would be consistent with city offices. This section addresses other technical changes that need to be made subsequent to previous amendments. Section 41 and 42. merged areas Technical changes are made to 260C.22 and 260C.28 about the responsibilities of a merged area s controlling county commissioner. Section 43. board of directors of area education agency The board of directors of area education agency are required to meet in December following the regular school election. Section 44. canvass and return This section is amended so that reflects that canvassing shall be conducted pursuant to Section 45, 46, and 47. Nomination papers and objections and canvassing Chapter 277 is updated to reflect that regular school elections candidates file their nomination papers with the Secretary of State not earlier than 71 days and not later than 47 days prior to the election at which these candidates are to be elected. This amendment also changes the timing for objections to 42 days before the day of the election. This section of code is also amended to reflect that canvassing shall be conducted pursuant to It also adds that the appropriate board of supervisors shall declare the results of voting for members of boards of directors of school corporations. Section 48 and 49. accept nomination papers This section makes changes to to reflect that a candidate for city election files their papers with the city clerk and that the city clerk can designate other employees to accept nomination papers if the city clerk is unavailable. Section 50. city s controlling commissioner of elections 4

5 The city clerk must certify to the city s controlling commissioner of elections the type of nomination process to be used no later than 90 days before the city election Section 51. runoff canvassing This section states that a runoff canvass shall be held according to and that for a city located in more than one county, the county board of supervisors shall transmit abstracts for the offices to the city s controlling commissioner within 24 hours of completing the canvass. Section 53. repeal is repealed. Section 53. effective date This section adds an effective date of July 1, Section 54. term of office transition provisions Terms of four years for members of a board of directors for a merged area and for a member of a board of directors for a regular school election Members elected on September 10, 2013 shall expire November 7, 2017 Members elected on September 8, 2015 shall expire November 5, 2019 Terms of four years for members of board of directors for an area education agency Members elected in September 2013 shall expire November 30, 2017 Members elected in September 2015 shall expire November 30, 2019 H-8061 by Hunter Amendment Analysis This amendment strikes everything after the enacting clause and states that the secretary of state shall convene an intergovernmental task force to investigate voter participation rates at regular and special school elections and to make recommendations for raising voter participation rates at such elections. Recommendations should be presented by December 15,

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