SB968: Absentee ballots; officers of election shall not reject ballot if middle name is not on envelope.


Offered January 9, 2013
Prefiled January 8, 2013
A BILL to amend and reenact 24.2-711 of the Code of Virginia, relating to duties of officers of election; absentee ballots.
Patron-- Ebbin

Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That 24.2-711 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

24.2-711. Duties of officers of election.

Before the polls open, the officers of election at each precinct shall mark, for each person on the absentee voter applicant list, the letters "AB" (meaning absentee ballot) in the voting record column on the pollbook. The pollbook may be so marked prior to election day by the general registrar, the secretary of the electoral board, or staff under the direction of the general registrar or the secretary, or when the pollbook is produced by the State Board pursuant to 24.2-404. If the pollbook has been marked prior to election day, before the polls open the officers of election at each precinct shall check the marks for accuracy and make any additions or corrections required.

The chief officer of election shall keep the copy of the absentee voter applicant list in the polling place as a public record open for inspection upon request at all times while the polls are open.

If a voter, whose name appears on the absentee voter applicant list, has not returned an unused ballot and offers to vote in his precinct, the officers of election in the precinct shall determine the matter pursuant to 24.2-653.1 and 24.2-708.

After the close of the polls, the container of absentee ballots shall be opened by the officers of election. As each ballot envelope is removed from the container, the name of the voter shall be called and checked as if the voter were voting in person. If the voter is found entitled to vote, an officer shall mark the voter's name on the pollbook with the first or next consecutive number from the voter count form, or shall enter that the voter has voted if the pollbook is in electronic form. The ballot envelope shall then be opened, and the ballot deposited in the ballot container without being unfolded or examined. If the voter is found not entitled to vote, the unopened envelope shall be rejected. A majority of the officers shall write and sign a statement of the cause for rejection on the envelope or on an attachment to the envelope. The officers of election shall not reject an unopened envelope containing an absentee ballot solely on the basis that the voter failed to include a middle name or initial on the envelope if such failure is not material in determining whether such individual is entitled to vote absentee.

When all ballots have been accounted for and either voted or rejected, the officers shall place the empty ballot envelopes, the return envelopes, and any rejected ballot envelopes, in one envelope provided for the purpose and seal and deliver it with the ballots cast at the election as provided in this title.