View Amendment Current Amendment: 6 to Bill 4919

Senator MASSEY proposed the following amendment (JUD4919.016):

Amend the bill, as and if amended, by striking Section 7-15-420 and inserting:

/ "Section 7-15-420. (A)The county board of voter registration and elections, municipal election commission, or executive committee of each municipal party in the case of municipal primary elections is responsible for the tabulation and reporting of absentee ballots.

(B) At 9:00 a.m. Beginning no earlier than 7:00 a.m. on the second day immediately preceding election day, the managers appointed pursuant to Section 7-13-72 7-5-10, and in the presence of any watchers who have been appointed pursuant to Section 7-13-860, may begin the process of examining the return-addressed envelopes that have been received by the county board of voter registration and elections making certain that each oath has been properly signed and witnessed and includes the printed name, signature and address of the witness. All return-addressed envelopes received by the county board of voter registration and elections before the time for closing the polls must be examined in this manner. A ballot may not be counted unless the oath is properly signed and witnessed nor may any ballot be counted which is received by the county board of voter registration and elections after time for closing of the polls. The printed instructions required by Section 7-15-370(2) to be sent each absentee ballot applicant must notify him that his vote will not be counted in either of these events. If a ballot is not challenged, the sealed return-addressed envelope must be opened by the managers, and the enclosed envelope marked 'Ballot Herein' removed, and placed in a locked box or boxes, and kept secure.

(C)After all return-addressed envelopes have been emptied in this manner, but no earlier than 7:00 a.m. on election day, the managers shall remove the ballots contained in the envelopes marked 'Ballot Herein', placing each one in the ballot box provided for the applicable contest.

(D)Beginning no earlier than at 9:00 7:00 a.m. on election day, the absentee ballots may be tabulated, including any absentee ballots received on election day before the polls are closed. If any ballot is challenged, the return-addressed envelope must not be opened, but must be put aside and the procedure set forth in Section 7-13-830 must be utilized; but the absentee voter must be given reasonable notice of the challenged ballot.

(E)Results of the absentee ballot tabulation must not be publicly reported until after the polls are closed. An election official, election worker, candidate, or watcher who intentionally violates the prohibition contained in this subsection is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years.

(F) The processes of examining the return-addressed envelopes, opening the sealed return-addressed envelopes to remove the 'Ballot Herein' envelopes, and removing the ballots from the 'Ballot Herein' envelopes for tabulation must be conducted in the presence of any candidate who elects to be present, and of any watchers who have been appointed pursuant to Section 7-13-860. Provided, any candidates or watchers present must be located a reasonable distance in order to maintain both the right to observe and the secrecy of the ballots." /

To further amend the bill, by adding an appropriately numbered SECTION to read:

/SECTION __. Section 7-13-35 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"Section 7-13-35.The authority charged by law with conducting an election must publish two notices of general, municipal, special, and primary elections held in the county in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality, as appropriate. Included in each notice must be a reminder of the last day persons may register to be eligible to vote in the election for which notice is given, notification of the date, time, and location of the hearing on ballots challenged in the election, a list of the precincts involved in the election, the location of the polling places in each of the precincts, and notification that the process of examining the return-addressed envelopes containing absentee ballots may begin at 2:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. on the second day immediately preceding election day at a place designated in the notice by the authority charged with conducting the election. The first notice must appear not later than sixty days before the election and the second notice must appear not later than two weeks after the first notice." /