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electionlineWeekly — September 29, 2016

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 V. Legislative Updates

California: Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed legislation that will allow convicted felons serving time in county jails to vote in California elections. "I wrote AB 2466 because I want to send a message to the nation that California will not stand for discrimination in voting,” Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) told The Los Angeles Times. The law takes effect January 1, 2017

Pennsylvania: Under House Bill 29, poll watchers would be allowed to observe anywhere in the state and not just the county where they are registered to vote. Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny) introduced the bill back in 2014, long before poll watchers became an issue in the 2016 election. The bill unanimously passed the House State Government Committee in June. The full House could take it up this week or this fall. Should it pass the House, it would move to the Senate, where its future is uncertain. The legislative session ends Nov. 30 and if it is not approved, the bill will die.

In other poll watching legislation news, Rep. David Maloney (R-130) said that he plans to introduce House Bill 148 which would make interfering with the elective franchise of a voter a serious offense that would merit a criminal penalty. “When an individual uses intimidation or duress to persuade a voter to cast his or her ballot in a certain way or to refrain from voting, such action affects one of the fundamental rights and privilege accorded to citizens of this nation – the right and privilege of casting a vote for the candidate or candidates of one’s choice,” Maloney told the Pocono Record.

Utah: According to the Salt Lake Tribune, lawmakers are showing little enthusiasm for changing the deadline for posting by-mail ballots, even though confusion prevented counting 70 ballots in the House District 53 GOP primary race that was decided by just nine votes. Government Operations Interim Committee Co-Chairman Jack Draxler, R-North Logan, polled members to see how many would like to pursue changing deadlines and found the vast majority opposed it.