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§ 20879. Voter Challenges.

2 CA ADC § 20879Barclays Official California Code of RegulationsEffective: February 27, 2024

Barclays California Code of Regulations
Title 2. Administration
Division 7. Secretary of State
Chapter 8.2. Election Observation: Rights and Responsibilities
Effective: February 27, 2024
2 CCR § 20879
§ 20879. Voter Challenges.
(a) During the processing of vote-by-mail identification envelopes and vote-by-mail ballots, an elections observer shall have the right to make challenges as provided in Elections Code sections 15104(b) and (d).
(1) Election observers and the groups identified in Elections Code section 15104(b) shall be permitted to observe and challenge the manner in which the vote-by-mail ballots are handled, from the processing of vote-by-mail ballot identification envelopes through the counting and disposition of the ballots.
(2) Election observers may challenge whether those individuals handling vote-by-mail ballots are following established procedures, including all of the following:
(A) Verifying signatures on the vote-by-mail ballot identification envelopes by comparing them to the signature(s) in the voter's registration record in accordance with Elections Code section 3019 and Section 20960.
(B) Accurately duplicating damaged or defective ballots in accordance with Elections Code section 15210.
(C) Securing vote-by-mail ballots to prevent tampering with them before they are counted on Election Day.
(3) As provided in Elections Code section 15105, challenges to a vote-by-mail voter may be made for the same reasons as those made against a voter at a polling place. Additionally, a challenge may be entered on the grounds that the vote-by-mail ballot was not timely received, or that the voter is imprisoned for a conviction of a felony. These challenges shall be made prior to the opening of the identification envelope of the challenged vote-by-mail voter.
(b) As provided in Elections Code section 15106, because the voter is not present, the challenger shall have the burden of establishing extraordinary proof of the validity of the challenge at the time the challenge is made. An example of such proof would be if a challenger alleges that a vote-by-mail ballot was cast by a voter who was deceased before vote-by-mail ballots were issued by the elections official, and the challenger provided a copy of that voter's death certificate to the elections official showing that the voter was deceased prior to the time vote-by-mail ballots were issued. Any doubt in the interpretation of the Elections Code applicable to the challenge shall be resolved in favor of the challenged voter.
(c) The elections official shall have the discretion to halt challenges from a person or group if multiple challenges are being made by the same person or group, and those challenges are disrupting the processing of the vote-by-mail identification envelopes. However, that person or group shall have the right to submit written challenges for the elections official to review at a later time. The elections official shall document and resolve these challenges as provided in Section 20879(h).
(d) As provided in Elections Code section 14240, only a member of the precinct board has the authority to challenge a voter's right to vote. An election observer is not authorized to directly challenge a voter.
(e) An election observer requesting a challenge under Elections Code section 14240(c) has the burden of providing evidence to the elections official that establishes, at a minimum, probable cause for the requested challenge. Any doubt in the interpretation of the provisions of the California Elections Code shall be resolved in favor of the challenged voter.
(f) The elections official has the discretion as to whether a challenge made during the processing of vote-by-mail identification envelopes and vote-by-mail ballots can be made verbally or in writing.
(g) In the event the elections official determines that challenges appear frivolous or meritless, the elections official shall have the right to halt the challenge process-for those making the frivolous or meritless challenges in order to prevent interference with the conduct of the elections activity or process being undertaken. The elections official shall document these challenges as provided in Section 20879(h).
(h) The elections official shall develop written procedures for maintaining, reviewing, and determining the outcome of challenges made by elections observers. These procedures shall be made available to election observers where an elections activity or process is occurring and shall include:
(1) retaining the name and organization (if applicable) of the challenger,
(2) a description of the proposed issue,
(3) the date and time issue was reported,
(4) the type of election equipment used at the location/station where the problem was noted (identification number, make, model, and serial number),
(5) pictures of sufficient quantity depicting the right details and positions necessary to document the problem(s) associated with the challenge, and
(6) the ultimate resolution and disposition of the challenge.
(i) Upon the resolution of a challenge the elections official shall provide the election observer with an oral or written disposition of the challenge as soon as is reasonably practicable. The elections official must ensure that no confidential voter registration information is disclosed when providing the disposition of the challenge.


Note: Authority cited: Section 12172.5, Government Code; and Section 10, Elections Code. Reference: 3019, 14240, 14251, 15101, 15104, 15106 and 15210, Elections Code.
1. New section filed 2-27-2024; operative 2-27-2024 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2024, No. 9).
This database is current through 6/7/24 Register 2024, No. 23.
Cal. Admin. Code tit. 2, § 20879, 2 CA ADC § 20879
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