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SENATE BILL NO. 140
INTRODUCED BY L. NELSON
BY REQUEST OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
AN ACT REMOVING CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS ON ABSENTEE VOTING; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 13-13-201, 13-13-211, 13-13-222, 13-13-225, 13-13-229, AND 13-13-232, MCA.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 13-13-201, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-13-201. Voting by absentee ballot --
qualifications -- procedures. (1) A qualified registered elector is entitled to
vote by absentee ballot , as provided for in this part , if the elector: (a) expects to be absent from the county or precinct and unable to vote in person at the time of holding the election; (b) is physically incapacitated and unable to go to the polls on election day; (c) suffers from chronic illness or general ill health; or (d) is prevented from voting at the polls as a result of an illness or health emergency occurring between 5 p.m. on the
Friday preceding the election and noon on election day. The health emergency must arise from unforeseen circumstances
that require the elector to seek health care or medical assistance.
(2) The elector may vote the absentee ballot by:
(a) marking the ballot in the manner specified;
(b) placing the marked ballot in the secrecy envelope, free of any identifying marks;
(c) placing the secrecy envelope containing one ballot for each election being held in the return and verification envelope;
(d) executing the affidavit printed on the return and verification envelope; and
(e) returning the return and verification envelope with the secrecy envelope containing the ballot or ballots enclosed, as provided in 13-13-221."
Section 2. Section 13-13-211, MCA, is amended to read:
Application of absentee, chronically ill, elderly, or physically incapacitated elector or elector with a
disability for ballot -- special absentee ballot application Time period for application. (1) Except as provided in
13-2-214, An application for an absentee ballot must be made during a period beginning 75 days before the day of election
and ending at noon on the day before the election , an individual may apply to the election administrator for an absentee
ballot if the individual is: (a) an elector expecting to be absent from the county in which the elector's voting precinct is situated; (b) an elector who is chronically ill or in general ill health; (c) an elector with a disability or an elderly elector who has been assigned to an inaccessible polling place; or (d) an elector who will be unable to go to the polls because of physical incapacity. However, a qualified elector who is
prevented from voting at the polls as a result of illness or health emergency occurring between 5 p.m. of the Friday
preceding the election and noon on election day may request to vote by absentee ballot. (2) A qualified elector who is prevented from voting at the polls as a result of an illness or health emergency occurring
between 5 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election and noon on election day may request to vote by absentee ballot. The
election administrator shall honor a request received up to and including noon on election day. The election administrator is
not required to comply with a request by an elector who is absent from the county."
Section 3. Section 13-13-222, MCA, is amended to read:
Voting Marking ballot before election day by prospective absentee, chronically ill, or physically
incapacitated elector. (1) As soon as the official ballots are available, the election administrator shall permit an elector
who is present in his county and who has reason to believe that he will be absent from the county, ill, or physically
incapacitated on election day to vote mark the ballot before election day before the election administrator.
(2) The provisions of this chapter apply to
such voting under this section.
(3) If the ballot is marked before the election administrator,
he the election administrator shall deal with it in the same
manner as if it had come by mail."
Section 4. Section 13-13-225, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-13-225. Special absentee election boards -- members -- appointment. (1) The election administrator shall
designate and appoint a number of special absentee election boards as needed to serve in various places to deliver ballots to
electors who are entitled to vote by absentee ballot as
a result of illness or health emergency under 13-13-201 provided in
(2) In a partisan election, each special absentee election board
shall must consist of two members, one from each of the
two political parties receiving the highest votes in the state during the last preceding general election. Board members shall
reside in the county in which they serve.
(3) A member of a special absentee election board may not be a candidate or a spouse, ascendant, descendant, brother, or sister of a candidate or of a candidate's spouse or the spouse of any one of these if the candidate's name appears on a ballot in the county."
Section 5. Section 13-13-229, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-13-229. Voting performed before special absentee election board. (1)
As provided in 13-13-201, a qualified
elector who becomes ill or is prevented from voting at the polls because of a health emergency may vote by absentee ballot.
Pursuant to 13-13-212(3), the elector may request that a special absentee election board personally deliver a ballot to the
(2) The manner and procedure of voting by use of an absentee ballot under this section must be the same as provided in 13-13-221, except that the elector shall hand the marked ballot in the sealed return envelope to the special absentee election board, and the board shall deliver the sealed return envelope to the election administrator or to the election judges of the precinct in which the elector is registered.
(3) An absentee ballot cast by a qualified elector pursuant to this section may not be rejected by the election administrator if the ballot was in the possession of the board before the time designated for the closing of the polls.
(4) An elector who needs assistance in marking the elector's ballot because of physical incapacity or inability to read or write may receive assistance from the special absentee election board appointed to personally deliver the ballot. Any assistance given an elector pursuant to this section must be provided in substantially the same manner as required in 13-13-119."
Section 6. Section 13-13-232, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-13-232. Delivery of ballots, secrecy envelopes, and return envelopes to election judges -- ballots to be rejected. (1) If the absentee ballot is received prior to delivery of the official ballots to the election judges, the election administrator shall deliver the unopened return envelope to the judges at the same time that the ballots are delivered. The return envelopes must be opened and the ballots processed according to the procedures described in 13-13-241.
(2) If absentee ballots are received after the ballots are delivered to the election judges but prior to the close of the polls, the election administrator shall immediately deliver the unopened return envelopes to the judges. The return envelopes must be opened and the ballots processed according to the procedures described in 13-13-241.
(3) If the election administrator receives an absentee ballot for which an application or request was not made or received
as required by
13-13-211 or if an absentee ballot is received by the election administrator after the close of the polls and was
not issued to an elector pursuant to 13-13-201(1)(d) this part, the election administrator shall endorse upon the elector's
envelope the date and exact time of receipt and the words "to be rejected". Absentee ballots endorsed in this manner must
be retained by the election administrator and placed with the proper records when they are returned to the election
- END -
Latest Version of SB 140 (SB0140.ENR)
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