Bill Text - SB31 (2021)

Relative to voter checklists and modifying the absentee ballot affidavit.


Revision: Feb. 4, 2021, 1:20 p.m.

SB 31 - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

02/04/2021   0159s

2021 SESSION

21-1043

11/04

 

SENATE BILL 31

 

AN ACT relative to voter checklists and modifying the absentee ballot affidavit.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Gray, Dist 6; Sen. Ward, Dist 8; Rep. Lang, Belk. 4

 

COMMITTEE: Election Law and Municipal Affairs

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill modifies the actions required to be taken by supervisors of the checklist upon adding applicants to the checklist, requires the secretary of state to provide certain voter information to chief elections officers in other states, and modifies the absentee ballot affidavit.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

02/04/2021   0159s 21-1043

11/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT relative to voter checklists and modifying the absentee ballot affidavit.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  General Voter Registration; Action by Supervisors.  Amend RSA 654:13 to read as follows:

654:13 Action by Supervisors.  

I. If the supervisors decide to add the name of the applicant to the checklist, then they shall retain the original of the registration form for their own file, which shall be retained in accordance with RSA 33-A:3-a[, forward one copy to the supervisors of the checklist of the city or town of the applicant's last voting address if said address is in the state of Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island, and send another copy to the clerk of their town or city]. If the applicant entered a place last registered to vote on the voter registration form, the supervisors shall enter that data into the statewide centralized voter registration database.  Upon entry of the voter record in the statewide centralized voter registration database, the supervisors of the checklist in another New Hampshire city or town will receive notice through the statewide centralized voter registration database that the voter has moved.

II. If the supervisors decide not to add the name of the applicant to the checklist, they shall send notification in writing to the applicant within 7 days stating the reason for the denial. They shall write the word "REJECTED" and the date of rejection across the registration form. They shall retain the original registration form and a copy of the denial notification in accordance with RSA 33-A:3-a.

III.  The secretary of state shall provide information on individuals who report being previously registered to vote out of state to the chief elections officer of that state.  The secretary of state may use secure electronic information transfer.  The secretary of state shall pursue establishing routine secure electronic transfers of this information between states.  When electronic information transfer from another state occurs the supervisors of the checklist where the person is registered in New Hampshire will receive notice through the statewide centralized voter registration database that the voter has registered in another state.  Unless the supervisors possess evidence that the notice is inaccurate, they shall remove the voter from the checklist as provided in RSA 654:36.

2  Absentee Affidavit Envelopes.  Amend RSA 657:7, II to read as follows:

II.  Affidavit envelopes of sufficient size to contain the ballots on which shall be printed the following:

[(a)  Absence from City or Town.  A person voting by absentee ballot because of absence from the city or town in which he or she is entitled to vote shall fill out and sign the following certificate:

I do hereby certify under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below that I am a voter in the city or town of _______________, New Hampshire, in ward __________; that I will be unable to appear at any time during polling hours at my polling place because I will be working on election day, or I am voting on the Monday immediately prior to the election, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning, blizzard warning, or ice storm warning, and I am elderly or infirm, have a physical disability, or have to care for children or infirm adults, or I will be otherwise absent on election day from said city or town and will be unable to vote in person; that I have carefully read (or had read to me because I am blind) the instructions forwarded to me with the ballot herein enclosed, and that I personally marked the ballot within and sealed it in this envelope (or had assistance in marking the ballot and sealing it in this envelope because I am blind).  For the purposes of this certification, the term "working" shall include the care of children and infirm adults, with or without compensation.

(Signature) ____________________

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposefully providing false information when registering to vote or voting is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $2,000.  Fraudulently registering to vote or voting is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.

(b)  Absence Because of Religious Observance or Physical Disability.  A person voting by absentee ballot because of religious observance or physical disability shall fill out and sign the following certificate:

I do hereby certify under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below that I am a voter in the city or town of ____________, New Hampshire, in ward ____________; that I will be observing a religious commitment which prevents me from voting in person or that on account of physical disability I am unable to vote in person; that I have carefully read (or had read to me because I am blind) the instructions forwarded to me with the ballot herein enclosed, and that I personally marked the ballot within and sealed it in this envelope (or had assistance in marking the ballot and sealing it in this envelope because I am blind).

(Signature) ____________________

The signature on this affidavit must appear to be executed by the same person who signed the absentee ballot application.]

 

YOUR COMPLTED ABSENTEE BALLOT MUST BE SEALED IN THIS ENVELOPE

 

I do hereby certify under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below that:

I am a voter in the city or town of ___________, New Hampshire.  

One of the following applies to me:

1) I will be absent on election day.  Absence includes:

a) I will be out-of-town on election day.

b) I will be unable to vote in person because I will be working.

c) I will be unable to vote in person because I will be caring for children or infirm adults, with or without compensation.

d) I am voting absentee on the Monday immediately before the election, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning, blizzard warning, or ice storm warning that applies to my town/ward, and I have concerns for traveling in the storm.

2) I am unable to vote in person due to disability.  Disability includes medical conditions that pose a risk of infection to others or where infection from others carries significant health risk.

3) I am unable to vote in person due to observance of a religious commitment, which prevents me from voting in person.

I have carefully read or had read to me the absentee voting instructions.  I personally marked the absentee ballot enclosed in this envelope or, due to a disability, I had assistance in marking the absentee ballot.

 

Voter Signature__________________

A person assisting a [disabled or blind] voter with a disability shall [make and] sign [a] this statement on this envelope [in the space provided] acknowledging the assistance.  [The moderator will not compare the voter's signature on this affidavit with the signature on the absentee ballot application when a person assisting the voter has signed the statement on the affidavit that assistance was provided.]

I attest that I assisted (print voter name) ________________________ because the voter is a person with a disability.  I marked the ballot and/or this form as instructed by the voter.

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposefully providing false information when registering to vote or voting is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $2,000.  Fraudulently registering to vote or voting is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.

3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

SB 31 - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

02/04/2021   0159s

2021 SESSION

21-1043

11/04

 

SENATE BILL 31

 

AN ACT relative to voter checklists and modifying the absentee ballot affidavit.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Gray, Dist 6; Sen. Ward, Dist 8; Rep. Lang, Belk. 4

 

COMMITTEE: Election Law and Municipal Affairs

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

ANALYSIS

 

This bill modifies the actions required to be taken by supervisors of the checklist upon adding applicants to the checklist, requires the secretary of state to provide certain voter information to chief elections officers in other states, and modifies the absentee ballot affidavit.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

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.

02/04/2021   0159s 21-1043

11/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT relative to voter checklists and modifying the absentee ballot affidavit.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  General Voter Registration; Action by Supervisors.  Amend RSA 654:13 to read as follows:

654:13 Action by Supervisors.  

I. If the supervisors decide to add the name of the applicant to the checklist, then they shall retain the original of the registration form for their own file, which shall be retained in accordance with RSA 33-A:3-a[, forward one copy to the supervisors of the checklist of the city or town of the applicant's last voting address if said address is in the state of Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island, and send another copy to the clerk of their town or city]. If the applicant entered a place last registered to vote on the voter registration form, the supervisors shall enter that data into the statewide centralized voter registration database.  Upon entry of the voter record in the statewide centralized voter registration database, the supervisors of the checklist in another New Hampshire city or town will receive notice through the statewide centralized voter registration database that the voter has moved.

II. If the supervisors decide not to add the name of the applicant to the checklist, they shall send notification in writing to the applicant within 7 days stating the reason for the denial. They shall write the word "REJECTED" and the date of rejection across the registration form. They shall retain the original registration form and a copy of the denial notification in accordance with RSA 33-A:3-a.

III.  The secretary of state shall provide information on individuals who report being previously registered to vote out of state to the chief elections officer of that state.  The secretary of state may use secure electronic information transfer.  The secretary of state shall pursue establishing routine secure electronic transfers of this information between states.  When electronic information transfer from another state occurs the supervisors of the checklist where the person is registered in New Hampshire will receive notice through the statewide centralized voter registration database that the voter has registered in another state.  Unless the supervisors possess evidence that the notice is inaccurate, they shall remove the voter from the checklist as provided in RSA 654:36.

2  Absentee Affidavit Envelopes.  Amend RSA 657:7, II to read as follows:

II.  Affidavit envelopes of sufficient size to contain the ballots on which shall be printed the following:

[(a)  Absence from City or Town.  A person voting by absentee ballot because of absence from the city or town in which he or she is entitled to vote shall fill out and sign the following certificate:

I do hereby certify under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below that I am a voter in the city or town of _______________, New Hampshire, in ward __________; that I will be unable to appear at any time during polling hours at my polling place because I will be working on election day, or I am voting on the Monday immediately prior to the election, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning, blizzard warning, or ice storm warning, and I am elderly or infirm, have a physical disability, or have to care for children or infirm adults, or I will be otherwise absent on election day from said city or town and will be unable to vote in person; that I have carefully read (or had read to me because I am blind) the instructions forwarded to me with the ballot herein enclosed, and that I personally marked the ballot within and sealed it in this envelope (or had assistance in marking the ballot and sealing it in this envelope because I am blind).  For the purposes of this certification, the term "working" shall include the care of children and infirm adults, with or without compensation.

(Signature) ____________________

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposefully providing false information when registering to vote or voting is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $2,000.  Fraudulently registering to vote or voting is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.

(b)  Absence Because of Religious Observance or Physical Disability.  A person voting by absentee ballot because of religious observance or physical disability shall fill out and sign the following certificate:

I do hereby certify under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below that I am a voter in the city or town of ____________, New Hampshire, in ward ____________; that I will be observing a religious commitment which prevents me from voting in person or that on account of physical disability I am unable to vote in person; that I have carefully read (or had read to me because I am blind) the instructions forwarded to me with the ballot herein enclosed, and that I personally marked the ballot within and sealed it in this envelope (or had assistance in marking the ballot and sealing it in this envelope because I am blind).

(Signature) ____________________

The signature on this affidavit must appear to be executed by the same person who signed the absentee ballot application.]

 

YOUR COMPLTED ABSENTEE BALLOT MUST BE SEALED IN THIS ENVELOPE

 

I do hereby certify under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below that:

I am a voter in the city or town of ___________, New Hampshire.  

One of the following applies to me:

1) I will be absent on election day.  Absence includes:

a) I will be out-of-town on election day.

b) I will be unable to vote in person because I will be working.

c) I will be unable to vote in person because I will be caring for children or infirm adults, with or without compensation.

d) I am voting absentee on the Monday immediately before the election, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning, blizzard warning, or ice storm warning that applies to my town/ward, and I have concerns for traveling in the storm.

2) I am unable to vote in person due to disability.  Disability includes medical conditions that pose a risk of infection to others or where infection from others carries significant health risk.

3) I am unable to vote in person due to observance of a religious commitment, which prevents me from voting in person.

I have carefully read or had read to me the absentee voting instructions.  I personally marked the absentee ballot enclosed in this envelope or, due to a disability, I had assistance in marking the absentee ballot.

 

Voter Signature__________________

A person assisting a [disabled or blind] voter with a disability shall [make and] sign [a] this statement on this envelope [in the space provided] acknowledging the assistance.  [The moderator will not compare the voter's signature on this affidavit with the signature on the absentee ballot application when a person assisting the voter has signed the statement on the affidavit that assistance was provided.]

I attest that I assisted (print voter name) ________________________ because the voter is a person with a disability.  I marked the ballot and/or this form as instructed by the voter.

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposefully providing false information when registering to vote or voting is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $2,000.  Fraudulently registering to vote or voting is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.

3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.