SECTION 1. Notwithstanding section 25B of chapter 54 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary for the 2020 state primary scheduled for September 1, 2020 and the 2020 state election scheduled for November 3, 2020 and any annual or special municipal or state election held on such dates any person taking precaution related to COVID-19 in response to a declared state of emergency or from guidance from a medical professional, local or state health official, or any civil authority shall be deemed to be unable by reason of physical disability to cast their vote in person at a polling location.
SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be early voting for the 2020 state primary, scheduled for September 1, 2020. The election officers and registrars of every city or town shall allow any qualified voter under section 1 of chapter 51 of the General Laws to cast a ballot for the 2020 state primary during the early voting period. The early voting period shall begin on Monday, August 24, 2020 and end on Friday, August 28, 2020. Early voting shall also apply to any city or town election held at the same time as the state primary. Early voting under this section shall comply to the extent applicable with the provisions of section 25B of chapter 54.
SECTION 3. (a) Notwithstanding section 25B of chapter 54 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, any eligible voter may vote early by mail for the 2020 state primary scheduled for September 1, 2020 and the 2020 state election scheduled for November 3, 2020 and any annual or special municipal or state election held on such dates.
(b) Any qualified voter wanting to early vote by mail may file with their local election official an application for an early voting ballot. Any form of written communication evidencing a desire to have an early voting ballot be sent for use for voting at an election shall be given the same effect as an application made in the form prescribed by the state secretary. Local election officials shall send early voting by mail ballots to those who have applied as soon as ballots are available. No application shall be deemed to be seasonably filed unless it is received in the office of the local election official before noon on the last business day before the date on which the election is held.
(c) Local election officials may substitute absentee ballots for early voting ballots for those voters requesting to vote early by mail. An early voting ballot or absentee ballot substituted for an early voting ballot, along with an envelope bearing an affidavit as set forth in section 25B of chapter 54 of the General Laws, shall be provided to each qualified voter who participates in early voting by mail.
(d) The local election officials shall cause to be placed on the voting lists opposite the name of a qualified voter who participates in early voting the letters “EV” designating an early voter.
(e) The counting of early voting ballots shall be consistent with section 25B of chapter 54 of the General Laws and implemented regulations to the extent practicable. All envelopes referred to in this section shall be retained with the ballots cast at the election and shall be preserved and destroyed in the manner provided by law for the retention, preservation or destruction of official ballots.
(f) All early voting ballots voted by mail shall be received by the town clerk before the hour fixed for closing the polls on the date on which the election is held. Early voting ballots cast under the authority of this section shall be processed at the polls in a manner consistent with that set forth in said section 25B of said chapter 54.
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