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Senate | February 19, 2016 | Committee Room | Senate Redistricting Committee

Full MP3 Audio File

[BLANK_AUDIO] [SOUND] Could we have the committee come back to order please and will all the members please take their seats? >> It for real this time? >> It's for real, really real Members of the committee, we're here to take up house bill number two which is 2016 US House of representative primary. Now this bill is required of us to take action because we've not heard from the Supreme court yet And to comply with the Federal court's ruling we need to be prepared to have an election for the U.S. House of Representatives under the new map that was drawn and today. Representative Jones will be delighted to explain to you House Bill , 2 we probably will have an amendment to it but Representative Jones welcome and nice to have you here. >> Thank you very much Mr. Chairman, members of the senate committee it's always a pleasure to be with you. We have before us today house bill two and I would be pleased to walk you through it section by section briefly. This has to do with our 2016 congressional primary section 1A establishes that primary election. 1B establishes the primary election date as Tuesday, June 7 2016. Section 1C establishes the filing period which will begin Wednesday March 16, I'd point out of course that that would be the day after the March 15 primary, and would close at 12 noon Friday March 25th. Section 1D speaks of the eligibility to file, you must be affiliated with the political party with which you're running for at least 75 days, section A speaks to the situation of running for two offices at the same time, state law does not allow that. In this particular election because we are having a later congressional primary, this would say that if you are a current nominee for your party for any office in the state, you would have the opportunity to file and run for congress. However if you win that congressional primary and you become the congressional nominee you would be required to withdraw from one of those offices within a week. So you could not run for two separate offices at the same time in the general election. Section 1F returns the filing fee for any candidate that had filed previously to run for Congress in the current March 15th election that would be replaced with this June seventh election we'd return the following faith to those candidates. Section 2A says that there would be no second primary for either the March 15th election or the June seventh election this year, that certainly makes things much simpler as far as the administration for the board of elections with this condensed timeline. It also takes into account that generally the tall books would be closed after such an election in this case will remain open because of the congressional primary and if you didn't do this you could certainly have the case whereas now in order to vote in the second primary you must be eligible to vote in the first primary. This takes care of that because you wouldn't want people necessarily to vote in the second primary that could not vote in the first. People could change parties to run, to vote in the second primary and so forth. This does away with the second primary A primary only for the 2016 primary elections for both March 15th and June 7th elections. Section 2B repeals language that has to do with second Primary for this election cycle. Section 2C, says that any election that is authorized by statute that is set for the date of the second primary would be on the ballot at the same time of this special congressional primary election on June the seventh. Section three, there is going to be an amendment offered a friendly amendment which shall we certainly support that would eliminate section 3, so we'll skip that for now unless anyone has questions, and I'm sure they'll come up at the time of the amendment. Section 4, speaks of the temporary orders to commendate the scheduling the primary state board of elections, may issue such temporary orders as necessary The rest of section 4,

just to scratch what those orders are, they're not rules, they do expire at the end of this election. And order is defined in section 4D. Section 5 says that any ballots that are cast in the current election, in the March 15th congressional primary that has already started, because we are replacing it with a brand new election. Any of those votes that are cast on the March 15th ballot for congress, the state board of elections will be directed not to certify, that that election and those results would remain confidential, would not be a public record, section six makes this act effective when it becomes law. It applies only to the 2016 election cycle. Unless prior to March 16th the United States Supreme Court reverses or states the decision that has brought us all here this week. So ladies and gentlemen I'm certainly happy to answer any questions you may have. >> Members of the committee Representative you did a wonderful job in explaining this. We're going to go point by point, and if anybody that has a question, please direct it and give us some idea of where you're talking from, as far as the bill is concerned. And just as a reminder, all of these extenuating and Extra steps that we're having to do in the election process, is a means of trying to put some order and reduce the uncertainty of the primary election as a result of having to meet the federal orders dealing with redistricting issue. All right, I've got Senator Blue is the first person. >> Thank you Mr. Chairman. Representative Jones, the revision on Section 1C, the no run for two officers, the mechanics of Withdraw from the office that you've been nominated that the provisions that the feeling then that vacant nomination would be the same as it exists in another law. >> Thank you Senator [UNKNOWN] Yes sir, that is correct. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> One other question. Follow up. >> And that relates to the provision on Section 4A. Temporary Orders. Yeah. All of it election laws relate to and affect the 2016 Congressional Primaries. This does not contemplate that the State Board can basically change any election law they want to under the pretext that it affects the 2016 Congressional race. I am saying all election rules affect all races, even the aspects of it not. Pertaining directly to the Congressional Primary. But what this contemplates is just there is some election law the conflicts of the conduct of this Primary for congressional races that will eligible to be changed by the state board not willy nilly any election law. That is correct Senator Blue. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Okay, I got Senator McKissick. Good morning Senator McKissick, good to see you today. >> Always good to see you Mr. Chair. A couple of quick questions. In terms of the process here for. Revealing ballots to determine how someone voted, that over enduring can we have one ballot that everybody is on. So I take it what's gonna have to happen now, or is it being read by a computer for those ballots that have already been cast, someone would have to. Manually go through there and eliminate the votes for people that were for congressional races and then count the votes that were otherwise on that ballot. Is that the mechanics in terms of the way it's gonna be down? And perhaps I should ask one for the state board of elections that question. But I'm just trying to understand how. About doing it. >> Senator McKissick I'll be happy just based on my understanding that there are simply directed not to count those votes, but certainly not to certify the results and that if those machines I suppose do count out the votes, I know our machines do, that those would be sealed and confidential would not be made public record. Record and would not be certified. >> I will ask Ms. Trac to come forward and please identify yourself and Representative Jones explained it that we'll give Senator McKissick an opportunity to [INAUDIBLE] Please identify yourself. >> Trac at State Board of Elections. And I can explain that. That because it is a electronic and a voting equipment,

what we can do is hide those results. So it will be counted, but they will be hidden so that they would not be able to be seen. >> I see. >> The whole ballot will be counted by the machine, but those races will be hidden so that you won't be able to see those results. >> Got it. Does that answer your question? >> Yes it does. I guess the other thing I was curious about is the cost of doing this particular additional primary, I mean, How much is it estimated to cost us? And is there any increase in what we already paid? Obviously there would have been potentially some run offs that would have occurred but not uniformly. Across the entire State Senate. We know what the additional cost is gonna be and are we going to be trying the whole harmless this counties that are absorbing >> Miss. Trac would you help us with that cost? >> Yes. I'll count. Counties should have budgeted for a second primary. because they have to anticipate not only do they have a second primary but that second primary could be a state wide primary. So they will have budgeted for that, now there might be other cost that they wold have to incur as well but they do have budgeted for a second primary without. I mean without having the second primary just we'd have taken that play. Hopefully they will have will have enough budget to do that >> Okay. >> Thank you and I think there's one last question I had >> Follow up >> Yes. I gather when it comes to this section 3, I understand that there's some amendment to eliminate that completely. Okay. If that's gonna eliminate it completely it will answer some of the questions I would have had about that particular provision. Thank you. >> Thank you. Okay. Well, just to go along with the Representative McKissick's question, the cost of the state I guess it's pretty clear but the untold cost of all the. The ball of members, all the folks that are running for candidates and spending all that money and unfortunately in districts that had to be changed because of the court case, you know that would be lost forever. Plus all the time and energy so the voters have been disenfranchised because of this action. What we are trying to do is help minimize that disenfranchisement, Senator Clark. >> Thank you Mr. Chairman, my question relates to page 1 line 17, in here we're reducing. It is so the party of Affiliation and duration requirement from 90 days to 75 days. Why is that required? [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Ms. Trac can you help us with that question please. And you might wanna repeat that again so she can pick it up. [BLANK_AUDIO] That I found out line 17 of the Bill on the first page, the party affiliation to racial requirement is being reduced from 90 days down to 75 days. Why is that? >> Ms. Trac. >> That is not a requirement. That's just definitely a policy decision for pretty well. That's not a. It's not a requirement. >> That apparently is done to try to make it more available for candidates, so people that wanna participate in the e election that can do that. >> And it is consistent with what was done when the primary was moved to March 15th, this was also the same. Time line as well has moved down from 90 to 75 as well so this is consistent with that. >> Can I get Senator Heist. >> Thank you Mr. Chairman question I wanna ask is in regards to the courts issuing a stay we are staying here. Early morning still haven't had anything and as I read this bill at any time there is a stay we automatically go back to the previous issues, so I guess what I am asking is if some has an absentee ballot now, or even has an absentee ballot after we leave here, They should mark that ballot as they would choose to vote, even though we might saying it won't be counted because if any time there is a stay even two weeks from now it certainly will count, so I am currently trying to get a handle what is this flexibility and when it counts and when It doesn't, or what if we get a ruling or stay say even after March or after we have programmed these machines to say don't count the ballots for you to stay at that point how do you deal with those? >> Senator Hays, Ms. Churchill has a comment to help you answer your question. Ms. Churchill Mr. Chair, I just wanted to clarify that the discussion is, if the stay

occurs prior to March 15th 2016. >> Okay. Go ahead. >> So this is kind of a rhetorical question, but up until the day of the primary, anybody that Get's that ballot or anybody who comes in on election day should vote for Congress as they would have voted for Congress for those seats with the potential of any stay out there but if it comes after that date once we say we're not counting it, we're not counting it. Ms. Mitchell >> Is there a rise? The language in section 6 of the bill on page 26 through 30, does specifically kinda come down to this, if the stay or the reversal occurs prior to March 16th 2015, which will be on or before, 2016 sorry On or before the primary date, this bill becomes null and void, which means the March 15th primary would occur as it is currently constituted today, without this bill being enacted. Which kinda comes around to those ballots will be counted as cast between now and March 15th if this day or the reversal occurs prior to March 16th. >> Representative Jones? >> Yes Senator Hays I'd agree that absolutely people need to cast their ballot with the assumption that those ballots absolutely could count. As Ms. Track earlier said, they won't be counted, they'll just be hidden and kept confidential under this law assuming there is no stay but if there is a stay, they are on the ballot, they will be counted, and people definitely need to vote. >> Senator Hays you okay with that? >> All right, and just to make that clear, anybody that receives a ballot should be voting in that congressional race because otherwise if you don't then you've lost the opportunity to vote and therefore you will be disenfranchised. I've got Senator Blue. >> One last question Representative Jones, I'm intrigued by this idea that counties have already budgeted for this second primary and it's something that I've been interested in a long time would you consider an amendment to permanently ban second primaries, a friendly amendment? > Thank you for that question and with all due respect Representative Blue I believe we're here just to address the 2016 election cycle, that's the purpose of this special session so no we could not do that. >> Thank you Representative Jones. All right I've got Senator Floyd. >> Thank you Mr. chairman, quick question, Mr. Chairman for the set board of elections as it relates to, what is their plan to communicate what we've just articulated to the voters of North Carolina about that potential of a Of a stay and if not a stay then they need to continue to cast their ballots as normal. I think there's a lot of information out there and I would be real curious if you would allow it for the state board to educate us on how they're gonna educate our citizens on how to conduct themselves during this election. >> Ms. Stack/g would you help us with that so Senator Floyd can be enlightened? >> Absolutely. That's what we've tried to do as soon as we have this information we've been trying to get that message out, because we don't know what will happen, we wanna make sure that people are getting ballots that have these rights on them, we do not want people to be confused, that is why we're not trying to tell people not to vote for certain races because they may not count, we want voters to vote their entire ballot, and then we would figure out what needs to be counted and what doesn't need to be counted so that we have, we try to lessen voter confusion, but that's been our message, and that's a message that we're gonna continue to try to get out. >> Senator Floyd. >> Follow up. With a little bit more clarity, and a little bit more detail, how How? >> I think she explained it pretty clearly. Thank you. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Senator Smith. >> Thank you Mr. Chairman. Do we know how many races are gonna be affected in the state by not having the second primary, or how many have more than two people [INAUDIBLE] >> You'll get your answer. Miss [UNKNOWN] >> There are 13 potential races. I actually have those if you're interested in those. There are 13 races that have more than two candidates. >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Sorry, excuse me. Do you by chance have a list of those please? >> [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] And I did need to clarify that. There's 13 at the state level. There could be counter races, local races that have primaries. There are 13 at the state level. >> [BLANK_AUDIO] So we wouldn't have a way of knowing follow up, excuse me. >> Follow up. >> We'd have a way of knowing what the county races, how this would affect. >> I guess you would need to probably check that out with the county

level boards of elections, okay? Excuse me, Ms. Track do you have anything else you wanna add? >> Did you want those or just- >> Does any one like to hear those races on the state wide, okay, please go ahead. >> It's a NC Commissioner Of Insurance, republican, NC Governor, republican, NC House of Representatives District 6, Republican, NC House District 28, Republican, NC House District 33 Democrat and see how district 44 Republican, and see how district 81 Republican, and see how district 91 Republican. Lieutenant Governor, Democrat. State Senate 31, Republican. State Senate 36, Republican. Republican State Senate 48. Republican and Super-indent of Public Instruction Republican. >> Thank you. Any questions on that specific point? Okay. Senator McKissick. >> [COUGH] I was wondering if any thought or consideration. had been given. Rather than keeping all of these kinda in a state of flux up to March 15th, I guess say that if the court does not [UNKNOWN] five days, the effective date that is built, that we have a new plans in place. A new congressional district is in place the following periods in place. I hate to see somebody running, having to spend money continually in one of these districts and then finding out say March 10th to March 12th through them, that there's now a stay or Supreme Court's reversed them. I mean why not just go. go ahead and say that if it's not done within five or seven days of the day the bill was passed or ratified or something that this is what we are doing, it would seem to eliminate a lot of the chaos and confusion for the candidates and voters. Just come up of the right period might be. The same five seven days out, that's it. It hadn't happened by then, let's just say we're going with this new district and new plans, and begin the process, because otherwise it seems to be potentially chaotic and expensive for candidates. Chaotic for voters expensive for candidates. >> [INAUDIBLE_AUDIO] hold on [INAUDIBLE AUDIO] >> Senator McKissick, that discussion can be heard for a future time, we're going ahead with the way the law presently is and how we're trying to expedite it based on previous times you can talk about that during the short session or something of that sort but the fact of the matter is what we're doing is complying with what the court wanted us to do, and then taking the necessary step so that we can try to eliminate the uncertainty and the disenfranchisement of the voters. And so that's why we're going forward with this bill. Senator Blue. >> One last one that's precipitated by Michaux/g answer of the 13 state races of races affecting sate kind of candidates. And the uncertainty at the local level County commission races and others, if we have to and I hate second primaries but if we have to conduct this primary on June seventh in its state wide every precinct would be open because you got all 13 districts there is no monetary reason for not piggy backing on the second primary for this folks who have organized their campaigns some of them in anticipation of the second primaries. >> Yes sir, please do. >> Thank you, Senator Blue we did contemplate different options. So as far as the second primary and one option would have been to have the second primary for the March 15th election on June seventh with congressional primary, however in looking at all of the parts of that just to complexity for the board of elections and the fact that iii will remain open and that would perhaps wreck some havoc in these second primaries, people being that would have not been eligible to vote in the first primary would have been to be able to vote in the second primary.

We try to look at all the options and felt like this was the best one. So, we elected to discontinue it's the primary for this primary circle. >> Okay any additional clots of questions. Senator Mckissick/g >> And this is question raised by senator Bryant like he had apart of the committee and that is this we could perhaps have Eric, Kelly explain to us what the effectiveness is of this bill what it changes effectively and how it changes it because I think he had concerns similar along the lines that I had about what proceduraly will happen if the court issues we know what happened to court issues a stay I guess the other thing is what will happen At the state court level, if they don't reprove the plans, all of these contingencies. And perhaps Mr. Carrey/g if you wanna recognize a Brian for asking a question. Yesterday we did the last nine committing members to ask questions, but I considered Brian specifically has Questions about this? >> Yes we do. >> That probably isn't an accurate statement we allowed to talk. >> That's what I was saying, that you did. Let's first- >> Change the rule. [LAUGH] >> That may have not expressed her thought as well as- >> One second This one everyone knows Senator Apodaca, we'll send a message over to the session and we will move that time back to upto 11:30 so Members of the Committee, there's no reason to leave until we can finish our business. >> Staff, within If your knowledge to try to explain what the changes have meant to the existing law and what president has been established in the past as to why we went ahead and made these changes in an effort to try to simplify the process and Minimize the confusion which one would like to have that opportunity. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Kelly Turner legislative analysis, so this bill would in effect if the stay is not granted before prior to March 16, 2016 would move the prior date to June seventh for the US House of Representatives primary would change the filing date accordingly it would eliminate second primaries otherwise the session law 2015-258 which moved the primary to March 15th would still be in effect [BLANK_AUDIO] Senator McKissick. >> Yeah, Quick call. What would happen then if the middle district court didn't approve of plan or did not feel that it was sufficient or took actions that were inconsistent with what was being proposed here. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Ms Churchill. >> Senator Mckissick I think it's hard to anticipate if this is going to go back to the courts what courts would say to understand whether The general assembly or what the voters would have in front of them until you actually know what the courts say. So it's kind of hard to answer that question because we don't know what's going to happen post enactment and post adjournment. We don't know what the courts are going to do if anything. So You can't anticipate what's going to iii. >> The courts will have to answer that question to give us the direction. >> I understand I think we could add certainty if we should push that date seven to ten days and know what's going to happen is going to happen. >> Okay, any additional questions Senator Heiss/g? Senator Heiss/g has an amendment. Has it been passed out? Excuse me, hold on. Senator Brown. >> Just a quick comment, I just wanna question. When voting starts, the existing ticket is what we're voting on and I thin that's important that message gets out, because I am concerned that, you know because of this some people will say, why should I vote for congressional race when things are gonna change?" But that be the case. And I so it is important that during early voting that people check their ballot and vote as if they wanna vote, and those ballots be available The voter would be counted if they should be, so that message does and gotten out as possible. >> Okay, Senator Heinz, you have an opportunity here to explain your amendment.

>> Thank you Mr. President, this will simply eliminate section 3, which we'll leave under current law the assignment of electoral delegates to the rules that exist. >> Okay, Representative Jones, do you have a comment? >> Mr. Chair the bill's sponsor supports this amendment. >> Okay, staff if you'd be kind enough, would someone present explain the present electoral law so that we can understand it and in essence that'll help us better judge this. >> Thank you Mr. chair, I would carry on this by saying professionally we are not electoral college experts, I'm being helped by Bob Joyce at the school of government, he has a great blog post blog post on this, so i'll just sort of summarizes his thought so first each party in a state wide convention nominates 15 electors, one from each congressional district and two at large and then two alternate, and un-affiliated candidates nominate their own, the names of those nominated electors have thought with the secretary of State then the general election is held. The name of the electors of course will not appear on the ballot and then after that the State board of election gets the election results and those results are certified the secretary of State Ben notifies the Governor of the names of those electors to the electoral college and then the electors. [BLANK_AUDIO] Okay, I'm gonna skip that part [LAUGH]. The governor issues a proclamation setting forth the name of those electors Electors and then they're procedures for how the electors are chosen and the use of the alternates in filling vacancies. At the meeting of the electors, each elector votes separately for their president and vice president and after voting the electors count the votes and make up certificates and then count the votes of all the electors. >> Okay, Represent Committee in essence I spoke with Senator Blue earlier about this issue and he. It could affect both parties similarly. So by eliminating any language on this, it is the opinion of our attorneys that whatever happens in regards to the districts, whatever districts the candidates run in on June 7th or March 15th will be how the parties will actually choose their electors, am I correct? Okay So that being said, any additional questions or discussions on Senator Heists's amendment? Seeing none, all in favor please say aye.>> Aye. >> All opposed neigh? Ayes have it. No that was unanimous Okay, so there we are in regard to the bill as amended. Senator Apedaca/g. >> Mr. Chairman, I move that house bill two as amended be given a favorable report enrolled into a committee substitute. >> Members of the committee you have a motion for favor report on house bill two to be rolled into a committee substitute and unfavorable to the original bill. Any questions or comments? Seeing none All in favor please say aye. >> Aye. >> All oppose nay. The ayes have it and I think that concludes our meeting. Thank you for your attention. [SOUND]