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H.B. 390 Enrolled

             1     

ABSENTEE BALLOT AMENDMENTS

             2     
2009 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: John G. Mathis

             5     
Senate Sponsor: Kevin T. Van Tassell

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill modifies the Election Code to amend the date that absentee ballots may be
             10      applied for and cast in person at the office of the election officer.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    requires that applications for absentee ballots be applied for no later than the Friday
             14      before the election date, regardless of whether the absentee ballot will be voted by
             15      mail or in person;
             16          .    requires that in-person absentee ballots be cast no later than the Friday before the
             17      election date; and
             18          .    makes technical changes.
             19      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             20          None
             21      Other Special Clauses:
             22          None
             23      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             24      AMENDS:
             25          20A-3-304, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2004, Chapter 195
             26          20A-3-306, as last amended by Laws of Utah 1997, Chapter 24
             27          20A-3-408.5, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapter 382
             28     
             29      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:


             30          Section 1. Section 20A-3-304 is amended to read:
             31           20A-3-304. Application for absentee ballot -- Time for filing and voting.
             32          (1) Any registered voter who wishes to vote an absentee ballot may either:
             33          (a) file an absentee ballot application with the appropriate election officer for an
             34      official absentee ballot as provided in this section; or
             35          (b) vote in person at the office of the appropriate election officer as provided in
             36      Section 20A-3-306 .
             37          (2) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (2)(b), each election officer shall prepare
             38      blank applications for absentee ballot applications in substantially the following form:
             39          "I, ____, a qualified elector, residing at ____ Street, ____ City, ____ County, Utah
             40      apply for an official absentee ballot to be voted by me at the election.
             41          Date ________ (month\day\year) Signed ___________________________
             42                                      Voter"
             43          (b) Each election officer shall prepare blank applications for absentee ballot
             44      applications for regular primary elections and for the Western States Presidential Primary in
             45      substantially the following form:
             46          "I, ____, a qualified elector, residing at ____ Street, ____ City, ____ County, Utah
             47      apply for an official absentee ballot for the _______________ political party to be voted by
             48      me at the primary election.
             49          I understand that I must be affiliated with or authorized to vote the political party's
             50      ballot that I request.
             51          Dated _________ (month\day\year) ____ Signed ___________________________
             52                                          Voter"
             53          (c) If requested by the applicant, the election officer shall:
             54          (i) mail or fax the application blank to the absentee voter; or
             55          (ii) deliver the application blank to any voter who personally applies for it at the office
             56      of the election officer.
             57          (3) (a) [(i)] Except as provided in [Subsections (3)(a)(ii) and (iii), the voters]


             58      Subsection (3)(b), a voter who wishes to vote by absentee ballot shall file the application for
             59      an absentee ballot with the appropriate election officer no later than the Friday before election
             60      day.
             61          [(ii)] (b) Overseas applicants shall file their applications with the appropriate election
             62      officer no later than 20 days before [the day of] election day.
             63          [(iii) Voters applying for an absentee ballot for the Western States Presidential
             64      Primary shall file the application for an absentee ballot with the appropriate election officer
             65      not later than the Tuesday before election day.]
             66          [(b) Persons voting an absentee ballot at the office of the election officer shall apply
             67      for and cast their ballot no later than the day before the election.]
             68          (4) (a) A county clerk may establish a permanent absentee voter list.
             69          (b) The clerk shall place on the list the name of any person who:
             70          (i) requests permanent absentee voter status; and
             71          (ii) meets the requirements of this section.
             72          (c) (i) Each year, the clerk shall mail a questionnaire to each person whose name is on
             73      the absentee voter list.
             74          (ii) The questionnaire shall allow the absentee person to verify the voter's residence.
             75          (iii) The clerk may remove the names of any voter from the absentee voter registration
             76      list if:
             77          (A) the voter is no longer listed in the official register; or
             78          (B) the voter fails to verify the voter's residence and absentee status.
             79          (d) The clerk shall provide a copy of the permanent absentee voter list to election
             80      officers for use in elections.
             81          Section 2. Section 20A-3-306 is amended to read:
             82           20A-3-306. Voting ballot -- Returning ballot.
             83          (1) (a) To vote a mail-in absentee ballot, the absentee voter shall:
             84          (i) complete and sign the affidavit on the envelope;
             85          (ii) mark his votes on the absentee ballot;


             86          (iii) place the voted absentee ballot in the envelope;
             87          (iv) securely seal the envelope; and
             88          (v) attach postage and deposit the envelope in the mail or deliver it in person to the
             89      election officer from whom the ballot was obtained.
             90          (b) To vote an absentee ballot in person at the office of the election officer, the absent
             91      voter shall:
             92          (i) complete and sign the affidavit on the envelope;
             93          (ii) mark his votes on the absent-voter ballot;
             94          (iii) place the voted absent-voter ballot in the envelope;
             95          (iv) securely seal the envelope; and
             96          (v) give the ballot and envelope to the election officer.
             97          (2) An absentee ballot is not valid unless [it is]:
             98          (a) [received] in the case of an absentee ballot that is voted in person, it is applied for
             99      and cast in person at the office of the appropriate election officer [before the closing of polls
             100      on] no later than the Friday before election day; or
             101          (b) in the case of an absentee ballot that is returned by mail or transmitted
             102      electronically under Section 20A-3-408.5 , it is:
             103          [(b)] (i) clearly postmarked or electronically transmitted before election day; and
             104          (ii) received in the office of the election officer before noon on the day of the official
             105      canvass following the election.
             106          Section 3. Section 20A-3-408.5 is amended to read:
             107           20A-3-408.5. Electronic registration and voting by military and overseas citizen
             108      voters in a hostile fire zone -- Procedures for accepting and processing a federal
             109      postcard application form -- Returned ballot.
             110          (1) A military voter, an overseas citizen voter, or other voter covered under the federal
             111      Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) shall be allowed to
             112      transmit their federal postcard application form electronically to the county clerk in their
             113      county of residence if the voter is currently deployed in:


             114          (a) a hostile fire zone; or
             115          (b) other area where the mail service is unreliable and not sufficient to accommodate
             116      timely mail service.
             117          (2) A voter covered under Subsection (1), shall file the federal postcard application
             118      form no later than 20 days before the day of the election in accordance with Subsection
             119      20A-3-304 (3)[(a)(ii)](b).
             120          (3) Upon receiving a federal postcard application form under this section a county
             121      clerk shall review the federal postcard application form to verify:
             122          (a) compliance with this section; and
             123          (b) that the form has been properly completed and signed.
             124          (4) Upon a determination of compliance under Subsection (3), a county clerk shall:
             125          (a) register the voter, unless the voter is already registered;
             126          (b) process the absentee ballot request; and
             127          (c) electronically transmit a ballot to the voter who filed the federal postcard
             128      application form.
             129          (5) A voter who receives a ballot under this section may transmit the ballot
             130      electronically to the county clerk in their county of residence if the voter:
             131          (a) agrees to waive the right to a secret ballot in accordance with this section; and
             132          (b) affirms in writing that the voter is currently deployed in:
             133          (i) a hostile fire zone; or
             134          (ii) other area where the mail service is unreliable and not sufficient to accommodate
             135      timely mail service.
             136          (6) The electronically transmitted ballot shall be accompanied by the following
             137      statements: "I understand that by electronically transmitting my voted ballot I am voluntarily
             138      waiving my right to a secret ballot. Signature of voter ________________ Date _______";
             139      and
             140          "I affirm that I am currently deployed in a hostile fire zone" or
             141          "I affirm that I am currently deployed in an area where mail service is unreliable and


             142      not sufficient to accommodate timely mail service."
             143          (7) Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsections (5) and (6), the completed ballot
             144      transmitted under this section is considered a private record under Title 63G, Chapter 2,
             145      Government Records Access and Management Act.
             146          (8) A ballot transmitted under Subsection (5) shall be:
             147          (a) transmitted no later than the date that is one day before the election day in
             148      accordance with Section 20A-3-406 ; and
             149          (b) received by the county clerk before the date of the official canvass in accordance
             150      with Subsection 20A-3-306 (2)(b).
             151          (9) Upon the receipt of an electronically transmitted ballot under this section, a county
             152      clerk shall:
             153          (a) verify the voter's signature from the federal postcard application form and ensure
             154      that it matches the voter's signature on the return ballot;
             155          (b) duplicate the electronically transmitted ballot onto a regular ballot used by the
             156      county for resident voters; and
             157          (c) maintain the electronically transmitted ballot for 22 months in accordance with
             158      Subsection 20A-4-202 (2).


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