Amendment #3 to H.3772
Pre-Registration, Same Day Registration, Post-Election Audits
Representatives Lewis of Winchester, Andrews of Orange, Sciortino of Medford and Livingstone of Boston move that the bill be amended by adding the following sections:-
SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 51 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- A person otherwise qualified to vote for national or state officers shall not, by reason of a change of residence within the commonwealth, be disqualified from voting for such national or state officers in the city or town from which he has removed his residence until the expiration of 6 months from such removal , provided further, that a person having changed his residence shall be eligible to register under section 34A.
SECTION 2. Section 3 of said chapter 51, as so appearing, is hereby amended, by inserting, after the word, “registration” in lines 7 and 16, the following words:- , or in accordance with the provisions of section 34A.
SECTION 3. Section 26 of said chapter 51, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 9 and 10, the words “eight o’clock in the evening” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following figure:- 5:00 pm .
SECTION 4. Said chapter 51 is hereby further amended by striking out section 28, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 28. Registrars shall hold a continuous session from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm on the last day for registration prescribed under section 26. For those towns having less than 1,500 voters, such session shall be sufficient if it includes the time from 9:00 until 11:00 am and from 2:00 until 5:00pm .
SECTION 5. Said chapter 51 is hereby further amended by striking out section 34, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 34. Except as otherwise provided in section 34A, after 5:00 pm of a day on which registration is to cease, the registrars shall not register any person to vote in the next election, except that they shall furnish, or cause to be furnished, to each person waiting in line at the hour of 5:00 pm for the purpose of being registered, a card or slip of identification bearing such person’s name and shall, before registration ceases, permit such person to register. The registrars may, however, enter or correct on the registers the names of persons who have registered as voters between December 31st preceding and the close of registration.
SECTION 6. Said chapter 51 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 34 the following section:-
Section 34A. (a) An individual who is eligible to vote may register on the day of an election by appearing in person at the polling place, during the hours it is open for voting, for the precinct in which the individual maintains residence, by completing a registration application in a form prescribed by the state secretary which complies with identity requirements of 42 U.S.C. section 15483, by presenting to the appropriate election official proof of residency and by making a written oath which shall be as follows: I certify that I: am a citizen of the United States; am at least 18 years old; am not under guardianship or otherwise prohibited from voting; am not temporarily or permanently disqualified by law because of corrupt practices in respect to elections; have read and understand this statement: I further understand that giving false information is a felony punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment or a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
(b) For purposes of this section, the term “proof of residence ” shall mean 1 of the following, so long as it includes the name of the applicant and the address from which he or she is registering:
(i) a valid photo identification including, but not limited to, a Massachusetts ’ driver’s license or other state -issued identification card; or
(ii) other documentation demonstrating the name and address where the applicant maintains residence and seeks to register including, but not limited to, a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, residential lease agreement , wireless telephone statement, paycheck, other government document or correspondence , a current student fee statement or other document from a post-secondary educational institution that verifies the student’s current address .
(c) Upon meeting the identity requirements of subsection (a), production of proof of residence, and the making of an oath sufficient to support registration, the ballot clerk or his designee shall permit the applicant to vote on the day of an election and the registrar or his or he r designee shall place the applicant’s name and address on the annual register of voters as soon as reasonably practicable following the date of the election as prescribed by the state secretary. Any person who registers to vote on the day of an election in accordance with this section shall, absent disqualification, be registered to vote at all subsequent primaries and elections.
(d) The state secretary shall make available, to the election officers, to the extent possible, at each polling place, access to the central registry of voters set forth in section 47C. For the purposes of this section, a printed copy of all voters registered to vote in that precinct as of the last day of the registration period, as required by sections 55 and 60, shall be suffi cient.
(e) This section shall not apply to an individual seeking to register to vote in any town for the purposes of voting at annual town meeting or special town meeting.
(f) A registered voter shall not re- register on the day of an election for the ex clusive purpose of altering his party affiliation.
(g) The state secretary shall adopt regulations to implement the relevant provisions of this chapter.
(h) Upon credible information or allegation of illegal voter registration, or credible information or allegation of illegal multiple voting, there shall be an investigation upon the merits of said information or allegation by the attorney general, or by the district attorney having jurisdiction over the municipality in which the alleged illegal registratio n or illegal multiple voting occurred. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as excluding enforcement of this section by any means otherwise provided by law.
(i) Violations of this section shall be punishable under sections 8, 26 and 27, of chapte r 56.
SECTION 7. There shall be an advisory committee on the implementation of election day registration. Among other issues it may consider, the advisory committee shall study the resources necessary for, costs associated with, and feasibility of providing every polling location with real-time electronic access to the central registry of voters. The advisory committee shall be comprised of the secretary of state, or a designee, who shall chair the advisory committee, the attorney general, or a designee, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on election laws, or their designees, 2 representatives of the Massachusetts Town Clerks Association, at least 1 of whom shall be a town clerk from a town of under 5,000 residents, and 2 representatives of the Massachusetts City Clerks Association. The advisory committee shall complete its study on the implementation of election day registration and submit an interim report and recommendations for improving administration of election day registration, in writing, to the joint committee on election laws and the senate and house committees on ways and means on or before June 30, 2011, and the advisory committee shall submit its final report in writing to the joint committee on election laws and the senate and house committees on ways and means on or before June 30, 2013.
SECTION 1. Chapter 54 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 109 the following section:-
Section 109A. (a) For the purposes of this section, “audited precinct” shall mean any precinct selected in accordance with subsection (c) for the purpose of conducting audits as provided in this section.
(b) An audit shall be conducted pursuant to this section following any biennial state election, presidential primary, or special general election for senator in Congress or representative in Congress.
(1) Following a biennial state election in which the office of governor is contested, each
precinct selected pursuant to subsection (c) shall conduct a hand-counted audit of votes cast on the day of election of: (i) races for the following offices in which more than 1candidate’s name appears on the ballot: governor, representative in Congress, senator in Congress, if such office appears on the ballot, and 2 of the following offices chosen by random drawing: representative in the general court, senator in the general court, state secretary, attorney general, auditor, treasurer, and lieutenant governor, if such office appears on the ballot; and (ii) one statewide ballot question, if any appear on the ballot, chosen by random drawing.
(2) Following a biennial state election in which the candidates of each party for president and vice president appear on the ballot, each precinct selected pursuant to subsection (c) shall conduct a hand-counted audit of votes cast on the day of election of: (i) races for the following offices in which more than 1 candidate’s name appears on the ballot: president and vice president, representative in Congress, senator in Congress, if such office appears on the ballot, representative in the general court, and senator in the general court; and (ii) statewide ballot question, if any appear on the ballot, chosen by random drawing.
Following a presidential primary or special general election for representative in
Congress or senator in Congress, each precinct selected pursuant to subsection (c) shall conduct a hand-counted audit of each race in which more than 1 candidate’s name appears on the ballot in that precinct.
(4) If a valid petition for a recount is made pursuant to section 135 for a race subject to audit by this section, then the votes for that race shall not be audited in any precinct named in the petition; provided, however, that if an audit is has commenced in a precinct when the valid petition for a recount is made, the audit in said precinct shall be suspended. The audit of the race in question shall proceed in any precinct selected pursuant to subsection (c) not included in the petition for a recount.
(5) Any random drawing required by this subsection shall be conducted by the state secretary. Such drawing will occur at the same time and place as the drawing required by subsection (c).
(c) The precincts to be audited shall be chosen in a random, publicly verifiable, non
-computerized drawing supervised by the state secretary within 48 hours after polls are closed. The drawing shall be fully observable to the public and representatives of each political party and shall use a procedure that can be easily understood to be random by members of the public. Notice of the time and place of the drawing shall be given at least 10 days in advance of the election on the electronic website of the state secretary. The number of precincts selected to be audited in this drawing shall be equal to 3 per cent of all precincts in the commonwealth, rounded up to the next highest whole number; provided, however, that if the audit is prompted by a special general election for representative in congress, the number of precincts selected to be audited in this drawing shall be equal to 3 per cent of all precincts subject to that special election, rounded up to the next highest whole number.
(d) (1) The board of registrars or election commission in each municipality where 1 or more precincts selected to be audited are located shall conduct the audit. The board of registrars or election commission may employ tally clerks for the purpose of counting the ballots. Audits shall commence not later than 2 business days following the random drawing of precincts supervised by the state secretary and shall continue on each successive business day or other day at the discretion of the board or commission in each municipality. The time and place of the audits in each municipality where 1 or more precincts selected to be audited are located shall be publicly announced in advance. The audits shall be performed in full public view and conducted pursuant to the procedures for hand counts of ballots in sections 135 and 135A.
(2) The state secretary shall issue uniform written training materials for audit personnel to each municipality in the commonwealth at least 10 days prior to any election that will be audited pursuant to this section.
(3) Notwithstanding any general or special law or rule or regulation to the contrary, for the purpose of conducting the audit the board or commission shall unseal the envelopes or containers containing the ballots. The board or commission shall, when the audit is complete, enclose all the ballots in their proper envelopes or containers, seal each envelope or container with a seal provided therefore, and certify upon each envelope or container that it has been opened and again
sealed in conformity to law.
(4) Voter intent shall be the standard for counting votes. Individuals charged with tabulating votes during the audit shall disregard the omission or inaccuracy of initials, the omission, inaccuracy or misspelling of given names, and the misspelling of surnames, if the intent of the voter to express a preference for any particular individual can be ascertained. Such statements of voters shall be counted, tabulated and entered, together with any other votes cast, on official audit report forms provided by the state secretary.
(e) Upon completion of the audit in each municipality, the board of registrars or election commission shall record each race audited in each precinct on a separate audit report form provided by the state secretary. The registrars shall submit the completed audit report forms to the state secretary no later than the fourteenth day following the election. An audit report form shall provide for the entry of:
(1) the number of votes for each candidate, or each yes and no vote and the blank votes and over votes as recorded in the audit hand count;
(2) the election night tallies reported for each candidate or each yes and no vote and the blank votes and over-votes for the same ballots that were counted in the audit;
(3) the differences between the audit hand count results and the election night tallies for each candidate, yes and no question and blank votes;
(4) The number of votes for each contest for which voter intent is discernible but that are not marked by the voter according to the instructions provided to the voters under section 48 and any explanatory notes related thereto; and
(5) Any additional notes on perceived causes of discrepancies.
(f) Upon receipt of the results of the audit, the state secretary shall calculate the total number of votes for each candidate and ballot question as recorded in the audit hand count and shall compare this total to the sum of the originally reported votes for each candidate and ballot question in the audited precincts. When such comparison reveals a discrepancy between the hand-counted audit and the originally reported tally of the audited precincts, the discrepancy shall be analyzed to ascertain its cause. The state secretary shall oversee the analysis and shall publish the findings and make the findings available online, along with the factual information on which such findings were based, within 180 days.
(g) If there is a discrepancy between the results reached pursuant to an audit and originally reported tallies, the hand count of the official paper ballots conducted pursuant to the audit shall be the official vote of record and the board of registrars or election commission shall amend each precinct tally sheet, official return book and check list delivered to the office of the registrars.
(h) If there is a discrepancy between the results reached in a precinct pursuant to an audit and the originally reported tallies in that precinct in any audited race or any audited ballot question that reasonably leads to doubt about the accuracy of election results, the state secretary may order audits of such additional precincts, offices, or ballot questions as shall be necessary to ensure that the election results are accurate.
(i) (1) Upon receipt of the results of the audit, the state secretary shall make information in the audit reports publicly available on a precinct - by - precinct basis as soon as practicable, but no later than 10 days after receipt of the audit report form, in both human and machine readable formats, such as a spreadsheet or comma- separated - value file. This information shall also be posted on the electronic website of the state secretary.
(2) The state secretary shall publish the results of the audit in the report required by section 133 or in some other document in which the resultsof the audit can easily be compared with the 8 number of votes received by each candidate for nomination and for election for a state and federal office.
(3) The audit and publication of the results thereof shall be completed prior to the time the Commonwealth shall make a final determination concerning the appointment of its presidential electors.
(j) The state secretary shall promulgate rules and regulations to implement the requirements of this section.
SECTION 2. Costs incurred under section 5 shall be paid by the state using funds available to the commonwealth pursuant to sections 101 to 106, inclusive, and in sections 251 to 258, inclusive, of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, 42 U.S.C. sections 15301 to 15306, inclusive, as it may be amended, and 42 U.S.C. sections 15401 to 15408, inclusive, as it may be amended. The state secretary shall amend the state plan required under section 253(b) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, 42 U.S.C. section 15403(b) to include post election audits.
Section 1. Section 42 of said chapter 51, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “chapter”, in line 2, the following words:-by any person at least 16 years of age or older.
Section 2. Section 47A of said chapter 51, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:-If such person is at least 16 years of age and has not attained the qualification of age, the affidavit of registration shall be re-examined by the registrar until such person will, on or before the day of the next preliminary, primary, special or general election or town meeting, attain full age, at which time the registrar shall enter such person’s name in the current annual register of voters.
Carl M. Sciortino, Jr.