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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2044         FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 567

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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PRESENTED BY:

James M. Cantwell

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act expanding eligibility to vote by absentee ballot.

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

James M. Cantwell

4th Plymouth


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2044        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 567

By Mr. Cantwell of Marshfield, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 567) of James M. Cantwell relative to voting by absentee ballot.  Election Laws. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

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An Act expanding eligibility to vote by absentee ballot.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1.  Chapter 54 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out section 86 and inserting in place thereof the following section: -

              Section 86. Any voter whose application for an official absent voting ballot has been filed with the city or town clerk as provided in section eighty-nine, and certified under section ninety-one, may vote in accordance with sections eighty-seven to one hundred and three, inclusive. A voter who will be unable by reason of permanent physical disability to cast his vote in person at the polling place may file once with the city or town clerk a certificate executed by a registered physician who is personally acquainted with the voter and aware of his permanent physical disability, stating that it is reasonably certain because of permanent physical disability that the voter will be unable to cast his vote in person at the polling place on the day of the election. The city or town clerk shall maintain a list of such permanently disabled voters and such voters shall not be required to file any such certification thereafter with their applications for an absent voting ballot. Not later than twenty-eight days before every primary, preliminary election or election, the city or town clerk shall send to each voter whose name appears on the permanently disabled voters’ list an application for an absent voting ballot, which application said clerk shall complete so far as possible except for the voter’s signature.

              SECTION 2.  Said chapter 54 of the General Laws is hereby further amended by striking out section 91, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section: -

              Section 91. When an application for an official absent voting ballot is received by the clerk of a city or town, it shall be transmitted by him to the registrars, who shall examine it and, if they believe the signature thereon to be genuine and the person executing the signature to be a duly registered voter or a family member of a duly registered voter, shall execute the certificate thereon and return the application to said clerk. Notwithstanding the provisions of the first sentence, if an application for an official absent voting ballot is received by the registrar, assistant registrar, or clerk of a city or town, from the voter who requests to make application for an absent voting ballot and to vote in the presence of the registrar, assistant registrar, or clerk during the same visit, said registrar, assistant registrar, or clerk shall examine said application, and if he believes the signature thereon to be genuine and the person executing the signature to be a duly registered voter, shall execute the certification thereon and remain present while the voter marks the ballot as set forth in paragraph two of section ninety-two. The clerk shall cause to be placed on the voting lists prepared as required by section sixty of chapter fifty-one, opposite the name of each voter on whose application such certificate has been so executed, the letters in capitals A. V. If the registrars find the person signing the application not to be a duly registered voter, they shall send him written notice to that effect and shall preserve the application during the time fixed by law for the preservation of ballots cast in the coming election, after which time said application shall be destroyed. The clerk shall prepare lists, arranged by voting precincts, of the names and addresses of all voters on whose applications for absent voting ballots the certificate has been executed as provided in this section, and shall post copies of such lists for public inspection. An applicant for an absent voting ballot who has been furnished a certificate of supplementary registration, as authorized by section fifty-one of chapter fifty-one, shall submit such certificate with his application, and the clerk shall cause to be placed on such certificate opposite the name of the applicant the letters in capitals A. V. Every such certificate shall be securely affixed to the voting lists required by section sixty of chapter fifty-one to be transmitted to the polling place for the precinct where such applicant claims the right to vote and shall be considered a part thereof.

              Sections fifty-nine and fifty-nine A of chapter fifty-one shall apply to applications for absent voting ballots, but the certificate mentioned in section fifty-nine shall be issued by the city or town clerk.

              SECTION 3.  Said chapter 54 of the General Laws is hereby further amended by striking out section 96, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section: -

              Section 96. All ballots transmitted under any provision of sections eighty-six to one hundred and three, inclusive, shall be subject to challenge when and as cast for non-compliance with any provision of sections eighty-six to one hundred and three, inclusive, or for any other reason allowed by law, and if challenged shall be disposed of in accordance with section eighty-five, except that so much of said section as involves the administering of an oath shall not apply thereto, and the writing of the name and address of the voter on the ballot shall be performed by the officer charged with depositing the ballot in the ballot box.

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