Maine LD 585: An Act Regarding the Processing of Absentee Ballots Prior to Election Day

LD 585 (subjects: ELECTIONS , ABSENT VOTING )

Official bill page at mainelegislature.org: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=585&PID=1456&snum=127


Sponsors | Actions | Bill Text | Patterns of Support


Sponsors

Principal Sponsor: Rep. John Picchiotti of Fairfield: (R – District 108) — e-mail | Twitter | Facebook

6 Cosponsors:

Actions

Chamber

Action
2/26/2015 House Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs suggested and ordered printed.
The Bill was REFERRED to the Committee on VETERANS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS.
Sent for concurrence. ORDERED SENT FORTHWITH.
2/26/2015 Senate On motion by Senator Cyrway of Kennebec, REFERRED to the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs, in concurrence.
5/14/2015 Senate Pursuant to Joint Rule 310.3 Placed in Legislative Files (DEAD)

Bill Text

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An Act Regarding the Processing of Absentee Ballots Prior to Election Day

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 21-A MRSA 760-B, as amended by PL 2013, c. 457, 4, is further amended to read:

760-B. Procedures when clerk processes absentee ballots prior to election day

Any municipality or jurisdiction that conducts its own elections may opt to process absentee ballots on the 3rd day prior to election day or the day immediately prior to election day , or both. The clerk shall use the following procedure when processing the absentee ballots during this time.

1. Time for processing. In a municipality that has opted to process absentee ballots on the 3rd day prior to election day or the day immediately prior to election day , or both, the municipal clerk or the clerk’s designees may process absentee ballots at the times designated by the clerk, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., except that if an inspection is requested pursuant to subsection 3, processing may not begin until after the inspection period has concluded.
2. Notice of early processing. The clerk must shall give notice of the municipality’s intent to process absentee ballots prior to election day using the notice of election under section 621-A, stating the time that the clerk intends to begin processing absentee ballots and the inspection period provided in subsection 3. At least 60 days before election day, the clerk shall provide a copy of the notice of election to the Secretary of State and the chairs of each political party of the municipality indicating that early processing of absentee ballots will occur. The notice to the political parties must be considered sufficient as long as it is mailed to the last address of each municipal chair that is known to the clerk. The notice to the Secretary of State may be delivered by mail or facsimile or as a scanned attachment to an e-mail address established by the Secretary of State. If the notice is not received by the Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. on the 60th day before election day, the municipality may not process absentee ballots prior to election day.
3. Inspection of absentee envelopes before processing. A member of the public may make a written request of the clerk to inspect absentee ballot applications and envelopes before they are processed if the request is made by 9:00 a.m. on the day immediately that the clerk will be processing the absentee ballots as specified on the notice of election prior to election day. If the clerk will be processing on 2 days, the request must be made by 9:00 a.m. on the first day of processing. The clerk shall make the absentee ballot applications and envelopes received by that time available for public inspection for one hour before the starting time specified in the notice of election for processing the absentee ballots. The clerk may immediately proceed to process the ballots after the one-hour inspection time has elapsed.
4. Processing and other procedures. The clerk shall use the procedure described in this section when processing the absentee ballots during the designated times. Procedures for handling full ballot boxes, pollwatching and challenging ballots are conducted in the same manner as election day or as close as practicable.
5. Counting and results prohibited before the polls close. The absentee ballots may not be counted, voter intent may not be determined and election results may not be obtained or released until after the polls have closed on election day, and all election day ballots have been cast and all absentee ballots have been processed.
6. Security of processed ballots and tabulating equipment. At the conclusion of absentee ballot processing on the 3rd day prior to election day or the day immediately prior to election day , or both, the clerk shall ensure that the early processed absentee ballots are locked and sealed in the ballot box, automatic tabulating equipment ballot box or tamper-proof containers provided by the Secretary of State and secured in a vault or other locked secure location, until the voting resumes on election day or until the ballots are counted after the polls close. The Secretary of State shall publish uniform guidelines for securing ballots and other materials under this section.

summary

Under current law, municipal clerks are authorized to process absentee ballots on the Monday before the election as long as established notice, inspection, processing and security procedures are followed. This bill allows municipal clerks to process absentee ballots on the Saturday or Monday before the election, or both, as long as all these procedures are followed.

Patterns of Support

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Region:

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Gender:

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Party:

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Campaign Finance Classification:

Note: Maine Clean Elections Act (MCEA) Qualified candidates only accept a small dollar value of initial contributions early in their campaigns, pledge not to accept further campaign contributions from private sources, and receive public funding for their campaigns. MCEA Non-Qualified candidates choose not to obtain public funding and instead are free to accept campaign contributions from individuals, party committees, political action committees and business sources.


This information about LD 585 was last updated on 2016-05-12.
The Open Maine Politics website is in a beta release and results should not be taken as definitive. Please visit the official website of the Maine State Legislature for entirely verifiable information.

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