HB1881: Absentee voting; ballot may be sent electronically, if voter requests so, if located outside State.


HOUSE BILL NO. 1881
House Amendments in [ ] February 9, 2009
A BILL to amend and reenact 24.2-706 of the Code of Virginia, relating to elections; absentee voting; response to applications.
Patron Prior to Engrossment--Delegate Miller, P.J.

Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That 24.2-706 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

24.2-706. Duty of general registrar and electoral board on receipt of application; statement of voter.

On receipt of an application for an absentee ballot, the general registrar shall enroll the name and address of each registered applicant on an absentee voter applicant list that shall be maintained in the office of the general registrar with a file of the applications of the listed applicants. The list and the applications shall be available for inspection and copying by any registered voter during regular office hours.

No list or application containing an individual's social security number, or any part thereof, or the individual's day and month of birth, shall be made available for inspection or copying by anyone. The State Board of Elections shall prescribe procedures for local electoral boards and general registrars to make the information in the lists and applications available in a manner that does not reveal social security numbers or parts thereof, or an individual's day and month of birth.

The completion and timely delivery of an application for an absentee ballot shall be construed to be an offer by the applicant to vote in the election.

The general registrar shall note on each application received whether the applicant is or is not a registered voter and notify the secretary of the electoral board. In reviewing the application for an absentee ballot, the general registrar and electoral board shall not reject the application of any individual because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to the application, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified to vote absentee.

If the application has been properly completed and signed and the applicant is a registered voter of the precinct in which he offers to vote, the electoral board shall immediately send to the applicant by mail, obtaining a certificate of mailing, or deliver to him in person in the office of the secretary or registrar, the following items and nothing else:

1. An envelope containing the folded ballot, sealed and marked "Ballot within. Do not open except in presence of a witness."

2. An envelope, with printing only on the flap side, for resealing the marked ballot, on which envelope is printed the following:


"StatementofVoter."
"Idoherebystate,subjecttofelonypenaltiesformakingfalse
statementspursuantto24.2-1016,thatmyFULLNAMEis..............
(last,first,middle);thatIamnoworhavebeenatsometimesincelast
November'sgeneralelectionalegalresidentof...............(STATE
YOURLEGALRESIDENCEINVIRGINIAincludingthehousenumber,streetname
orruralrouteaddress,city,zipcode);thatIreceivedtheenclosed
ballot(s)uponapplicationtotheregistrarofsuchcountyorcity;
thatIopenedtheenvelopemarked'ballotwithin'andmarkedtheballot(s)
inthepresenceofthewitness,withoutassistanceorknowledgeonthe
partofanyoneastothemannerinwhichImarkedit(orIamreturning
theformrequiredtoreporthowIwasassisted);thatIthensealedthe
ballot(s)inthisenvelope;andthatIhavenotvotedandwillnotvote
inthiselectionatanyothertimeorplace.
SignatureofVoter....................
Date....................
Signatureofwitness..................."

For elections held after January 1, 2004, instead of the envelope containing the above oath, an envelope containing the standard oath prescribed by the presidential designee under section 101 (b) (7) of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.) shall be sent to voters who are qualified to vote absentee under that Act.

3. A properly addressed envelope for the return of the ballot to the electoral board by mail or by the applicant in person.

4. Printed instructions for completing the ballot and statement on the envelope and returning the ballot.

For federal elections held after January 1, 2004, for any voter who is required by subparagraph (b) of 42 U.S.C.S. 15483 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to show identification the first time the voter votes in a federal election in the state, the printed instructions shall direct the voter to submit with his ballot: (i) a copy of a current and valid photo identification; or (ii) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other document that shows the name and address of the voter. Such individual who desires to vote by mail but who does not submit one of the forms of identification specified in this paragraph may cast such ballot by mail and the ballot shall be counted as a provisional ballot under the provisions of 24.2-653. The State Board of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to subsection B of 24.2-653 and this section.

5. For any voter entitled to vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.), information provided by the State Board specific to the voting rights and responsibilities for such citizens, or information provided by the registrar specific to the status of the voter registration and absentee ballot application of such voter, may be included. [ The electoral board may send the ballot and accompanying materials by electronic transmission to any such voter who resides or is stationed outside the Commonwealth, including instructions for returning the completed ballot by mail or in person. ]

The envelopes and instructions shall be in the form prescribed by the State Board.

If the applicant makes his application to vote in person under 24.2-701 at a time when the printed ballots for the election are available, the general registrar or the secretary of the electoral board, on the determination of the qualifications of the applicant to vote, shall provide to the applicant the items set forth in subdivisions 1 through 4, and no item shall be removed by the applicant from the office of the general registrar or the secretary of the electoral board. On the request of the applicant, made no later than 5:00 p.m. on the seventh day prior to the election in which the applicant offers to vote, the general registrar or the secretary may send the items set forth in subdivisions 1 through 4 to the applicant by mail, obtaining a certificate of mailing.

If the applicant states as the reason for his absence on election day any of the reasons set forth in subdivision 2 of 24.2-700, the electoral board shall mail or deliver in person to the applicant in the office of the secretary or general registrar, the items as set forth in subdivisions 1 through 4 and, if necessary, an application for registration. A certificate of mailing shall not be required. The electoral board shall send the blank ballot, the form for the envelope for returning the marked ballot, and instructions to the voter by electronic transmission if the voter so requests and if the applicant voter is [ residing or is stationed outside the continental borders of the United States located outside of the Commonwealth ] . The voted ballot shall be returned to the electoral board as otherwise required by this chapter.

When the statement prescribed in subdivision 2 has been properly completed and signed by the registered voter and witnessed, his ballot shall not be subject to challenge pursuant to 24.2-651.

HOUSE BILL NO. 1881
Offered January 14, 2009
Prefiled January 12, 2009
A BILL to amend and reenact 24.2-706 of the Code of Virginia, relating to elections; absentee voting; response to applications.
Patron-- Miller, P.J.

Committee Referral Pending

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 24.2-706 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

24.2-706. Duty of general registrar and electoral board on receipt of application; statement of voter.

On receipt of an application for an absentee ballot, the general registrar shall enroll the name and address of each registered applicant on an absentee voter applicant list that shall be maintained in the office of the general registrar with a file of the applications of the listed applicants. The list and the applications shall be available for inspection and copying by any registered voter during regular office hours.

No list or application containing an individual's social security number, or any part thereof, or the individual's day and month of birth, shall be made available for inspection or copying by anyone. The State Board of Elections shall prescribe procedures for local electoral boards and general registrars to make the information in the lists and applications available in a manner that does not reveal social security numbers or parts thereof, or an individual's day and month of birth.

The completion and timely delivery of an application for an absentee ballot shall be construed to be an offer by the applicant to vote in the election.

The general registrar shall note on each application received whether the applicant is or is not a registered voter and notify the secretary of the electoral board. In reviewing the application for an absentee ballot, the general registrar and electoral board shall not reject the application of any individual because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to the application, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified to vote absentee.

If the application has been properly completed and signed and the applicant is a registered voter of the precinct in which he offers to vote, the electoral board shall immediately send to the applicant by mail, obtaining a certificate of mailing, or deliver to him in person in the office of the secretary or registrar, the following items and nothing else:

1. An envelope containing the folded ballot, sealed and marked "Ballot within. Do not open except in presence of a witness."

2. An envelope, with printing only on the flap side, for resealing the marked ballot, on which envelope is printed the following:


"StatementofVoter."
"Idoherebystate,subjecttofelonypenaltiesformakingfalsestatements
pursuantto24.2-1016,thatmyFULLNAMEis..............(last,first,
middle);thatIamnoworhavebeenatsometimesincelastNovember'sgeneral
electionalegalresidentof...............(STATEYOURLEGALRESIDENCEIN
VIRGINIAincludingthehousenumber,streetnameorruralrouteaddress,city,
zipcode);thatIreceivedtheenclosedballot(s)uponapplicationtothe
registrarofsuchcountyorcity;thatIopenedtheenvelopemarked'ballot
within'andmarkedtheballot(s)inthepresenceofthewitness,without
assistanceorknowledgeonthepartofanyoneastothemannerinwhichI
markedit(orIamreturningtheformrequiredtoreporthowIwasassisted);
thatIthensealedtheballot(s)inthisenvelope;andthatIhavenotvoted
andwillnotvoteinthiselectionatanyothertimeorplace.
SignatureofVoter....................
Date....................
Signatureofwitness..................."

For elections held after January 1, 2004, instead of the envelope containing the above oath, an envelope containing the standard oath prescribed by the presidential designee under section 101 (b) (7) of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.) shall be sent to voters who are qualified to vote absentee under that Act.

3. A properly addressed envelope for the return of the ballot to the electoral board by mail or by the applicant in person.

4. Printed instructions for completing the ballot and statement on the envelope and returning the ballot.

For federal elections held after January 1, 2004, for any voter who is required by subparagraph (b) of 42 U.S.C.S. 15483 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to show identification the first time the voter votes in a federal election in the state, the printed instructions shall direct the voter to submit with his ballot: (i) a copy of a current and valid photo identification; or (ii) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other document that shows the name and address of the voter. Such individual who desires to vote by mail but who does not submit one of the forms of identification specified in this paragraph may cast such ballot by mail and the ballot shall be counted as a provisional ballot under the provisions of 24.2-653. The State Board of Elections shall provide instructions to the electoral boards for the handling and counting of such provisional ballots pursuant to subsection B of 24.2-653 and this section.

5. For any voter entitled to vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.), information provided by the State Board specific to the voting rights and responsibilities for such citizens, or information provided by the registrar specific to the status of the voter registration and absentee ballot application of such voter, may be included. The electoral board may send the ballot and accompanying materials by electronic transmission to any such voter who resides or is stationed outside the Commonwealth, including instructions for returning the completed ballot by mail or in person.

The envelopes and instructions shall be in the form prescribed by the State Board.

If the applicant makes his application to vote in person under 24.2-701 at a time when the printed ballots for the election are available, the general registrar or the secretary of the electoral board, on the determination of the qualifications of the applicant to vote, shall provide to the applicant the items set forth in subdivisions 1 through 4, and no item shall be removed by the applicant from the office of the general registrar or the secretary of the electoral board. On the request of the applicant, made no later than 5:00 p.m. on the seventh day prior to the election in which the applicant offers to vote, the general registrar or the secretary may send the items set forth in subdivisions 1 through 4 to the applicant by mail, obtaining a certificate of mailing.

If the applicant states as the reason for his absence on election day any of the reasons set forth in subdivision 2 of 24.2-700, the electoral board shall mail or deliver in person to the applicant in the office of the secretary or general registrar, the items as set forth in subdivisions 1 through 4 and, if necessary, an application for registration. A certificate of mailing shall not be required. The electoral board shall send the blank ballot, the form for the envelope for returning the marked ballot, and instructions to the voter by electronic transmission if the voter so requests and if the applicant voter is residing or is stationed outside the continental borders of the United States. The voted ballot shall be returned to the electoral board as otherwise required by this chapter.

When the statement prescribed in subdivision 2 has been properly completed and signed by the registered voter and witnessed, his ballot shall not be subject to challenge pursuant to 24.2-651.