Under existing law, specified election materials, including voted ballots, vote by mail voter identification envelopes, and spoiled ballots, must be kept by county elections officials for 22 months for elections involving a federal office or for 6 months for all other elections. Existing law requires the packages containing these materials to remain unopened for the 22-month or 6-month period, as applicable. Under existing law, if a contest or criminal prosecution involving fraudulent use, marking or falsification of ballots, or forgery of vote by mail voters' signatures is not commenced within the 22-month period for federal elections or within the 6-month period for all other elections, the county elections official must destroy or recycle those specified election materials.
This bill would add, among other things, paper cast vote records, completed forms issued to the precinct board and machine reports used to account for ballots delivered to the polling place, and completed forms issued to the counting board and machine reports used for the One Percent Manual Tally to the list of materials that county elections officials are required to keep. The bill would also provide that if the materials that a county elections official is required to keep are destroyed or damaged due to natural disaster or other unforeseeable and unavoidable circumstances before the applicable retention period, the county elections official must take all reasonable steps to prevent further damage to those materials. The bill would provide that if a county elections official cannot prevent further damage to the election materials without inspecting the inside of damaged packages, the official must seek a writ of mandate authorizing the official to inspect the inside of the packages and notify the Secretary of State of their intent to do so.
By imposing additional duties on county elections officials, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

Statutes affected:
AB2249: 17300 ELEC, 17301 ELEC, 17302 ELEC, 17303 ELEC, 17304 ELEC, 17305 ELEC, 17306 ELEC
02/08/24 - Introduced: 17300 ELEC, 17301 ELEC, 17302 ELEC, 17303 ELEC, 17304 ELEC, 17305 ELEC, 17306 ELEC
03/21/24 - Amended Assembly: 17300 ELEC, 17301 ELEC, 17302 ELEC, 17303 ELEC, 17304 ELEC, 17305 ELEC, 17306 ELEC
06/05/24 - Amended Senate: 17300 ELEC, 17301 ELEC, 17302 ELEC, 17303 ELEC, 17304 ELEC, 17305 ELEC, 17306 ELEC
AB 2249: 17300 ELEC, 17301 ELEC, 17302 ELEC, 17303 ELEC, 17304 ELEC, 17305 ELEC, 17306 ELEC