Contributed by the Office of Jerry Hill:
What: Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo County/Santa Clara County, honors a longtime Menlo Park resident as the winner of Hill’s annual “Oughta Be a Law…Or Not” contest and the inspiration behind Hill’s legislation, Senate Bill 589, which enables voters who cast their ballots by mail to confirm that their votes were counted. Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation on Sept. 9.
Until now, the contest winner has chosen to be anonymous, but has agreed to be recognized publicly by Hill on Friday, during the senator’s “Java with Jerry” community coffee meeting in Menlo Park. Hill will present a copy of the legislation and a certificate of recognition to the winner of the “Oughta Be a Law…Or Not” contest.
The public is invited to the event. Hill also will provide a legislative update. The event is free. No RSVPs necessary.
When: 8 to 9 a.m., Friday, Oct. 11
Where: Café Zoë, 1929 Menalto Avenue, Menlo Park
Senate Bill 589 requires county election officials to establish a system allowing individuals who vote by mail to learn if their ballot was counted and, if it was not, why it wasn’t. It also provides county registrars with flexibility to determine how they want to comply with the legislation by notifying voters on a walk-in basis, over the phone, or online.
The legislation — co-sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco — was inspired by the winner of Hill’s annual “Oughta Be a Law…Or Not” contest, which invites ideas for new legislation and suggestions about laws that no longer serve a good purpose and should be taken off the books.
In submitting his entry, the contest winner wrote: “I’ve voted by mail for over a decade, but do not know if my vote counts because the registrar does not acknowledge my vote.”
Secretary of State Debra Bowen, the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials and Common Cause California supported SB 589.
The bill unanimously cleared the Senate and the Assembly in August. Governor Brown signed the legislation on Sept. 9. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.