SB 29 – AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE
SENATE BILL 29
SPONSORS: Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Barnes, Dist 17; Sen. Boyce, Dist 4; Sen. Burling, Dist 5; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 24; Sen. Clegg, Dist 14; Sen. Flanders, Dist 7; Sen. Foster, Dist 13; Sen. Gallus, Dist 1; Sen. Gottesman, Dist 12; Sen. Hassan, Dist 23; Sen. Johnson, Dist 2; Sen. Kenney, Dist 3; Sen. Larsen, Dist 15; Sen. Letourneau, Dist 19; Sen. Martel, Dist 18; Sen. Odell, Dist 8; Sen. Roberge, Dist 9; Rep. Craig, Hills 9
This bill modifies the timing of and procedures for processing and counting absentee ballots.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
02/17/05 0064s 05-0918
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Five
AN ACT relative to processing absentee ballots.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Processing Absentee Ballots. Amend RSA 659:49 to read as follows:
659:49 Processing Absentee Ballots.
I. Processing of previously received absentee ballots [
shall] may begin [ at 1:00 p.m.] no earlier than one hour following the opening of the polls. The processing of the absentee ballots shall not unnecessarily interfere with normal voting procedures, nor shall the polls be closed at any time during the processing of such ballots. Absentee ballots which are received [ after 1:00 p.m. and prior] to 5:00 p.m. shall be processed as soon after receipt as possible. Under no circumstances shall absentee ballots be counted prior to the closing of the polls.
II. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph I, upon the written challenges of 10 or more voters who are present at the polls no later than [
1:00 p.m.] one hour following the opening of the polls, the moderator shall postpone the processing of all absentee ballots until after the polls close and prior to the counting of all ballots cast in the election.
2 Announcement by Moderator. Amend RSA 659:50 to read as follows:
659:50 Announcement by Moderator.
I. The moderator shall begin processing absentee ballots by clearly announcing that he or she is about to open the envelopes which were delivered to [
him] the moderator. The moderator shall then remove the affidavit envelope containing the ballots of each absentee voter and shall compare the signature on the affidavit envelope with the signature on the application for the ballot. If:
I.] (a) The name of the voter is on the checklist; and
II.] (b) The affidavit on the envelope appears to be properly executed; and
III.] (c) The signature on the affidavit appears to be executed by the same person who signed the application; and
V.] (d) The signatures appear to be the signatures of a duly qualified voter who has not voted at the election; then the moderator shall publicly announce the name of the absentee voter.
II. If [
these] the conditions of paragraph I are not met, the moderator shall follow the procedure provided in RSA 659:53. If the conditions of paragraph I are met, the moderator shall then have a checkmark placed beside the name of the absentee voter on the checklist and write therewith the letters “A.V.” in red ink. The ballot shall remain in the affidavit envelope subject to challenge until one hour prior to the time the polls are closed, at which time the affidavit envelope shall be opened and the ballot deposited in the ballot box, as provided in RSA 659:52, prior to the counting of the votes.
3 Challenges. Amend RSA 659:51 to read as follows:
659:51 Challenges. All absentee ballots are subject to challenge after the moderator publicly announces the name of the absentee voter until one hour prior to the time the polls are closed but not after the ballot is removed from the envelope. A person who makes a challenge shall state the reason for the challenge. If the ballot is challenged, the moderator shall write on the affidavit envelope containing the ballot the word “challenged” and the name and address of the person who makes the challenge and the basis of the challenge. The moderator shall also number each challenged envelope consecutively by marking, for example, the first challenged ballot “Challenged Ballot No. 1”. The moderator shall then determine if the challenge to the ballot is well grounded. If the moderator decides the challenge is well grounded, [
he] the moderator shall not open the envelope but shall preserve it with the other ballots cast at the election as provided in RSA 659:101. The moderator shall then have the word “challenged” placed beside the name of the absentee voter on the checklist in ink. If the moderator decides that the challenge is not well grounded, [ he] the ballot shall remain in the affidavit envelope until one hour prior to the time the polls are closed at which time the moderator shall open the affidavit envelope so the affidavit thereon is not destroyed and proceed first to mark on the reverse of the folded ballot the corresponding challenge number as previously marked on the envelope. [ He] The moderator shall then proceed to deposit the ballot as provided in RSA 659:52.
4 Opening Envelope; Depositing Ballot. Amend RSA 659:52 to read as follows:
659:52 Opening Envelope; Depositing Ballot. If the absentee ballot is not challenged, the moderator shall, [
after announcing the name of the voter] one hour prior to the time the polls are closed, open the affidavit envelope containing the ballot so the affidavit on the envelope is not destroyed. [ He] The moderator shall then take the ballot out of the envelope [ without unfolding the ballot or] without permitting the ballot to be examined, and he or she shall preserve the affidavit envelope with the ballots cast at the election as provided in RSA 659:101. The moderator [ shall then have a checkmark placed beside the name of the absentee voter on the checklist and write therewith the letters “A.V.” in red ink and] shall then deposit the ballot in the ballot box.
5 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.