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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE VIII ELECTIONS
  • CHAPTER 54 ELECTIONS
  • Section 95 Duties of election officers; deposit of absent voting ballots; receipt and counting of federal write-in absentee ballots

Section 95. The city or town clerk, on the day of the election, but no later than one hour after the hour for the closing of the polls, shall transmit all envelopes purporting to contain official absent voting ballots received on or before the close of business on the day preceding the day of the election and which have not been marked “Rejected as Defective”, as provided in section ninety-four or “Rejected as Voted in Person”, as provided in section one hundred, to the election officers in the several precincts where the voters whose names appear on such envelopes assert the right to vote. The warden or his deputy shall forthwith, after receipt of any such envelopes, distinctly announce the name and residence of each such voter and check his name on the voting lists referred to in section sixty of chapter fifty-one, or on his certificate of supplementary registration attached to such lists, as provided in section fifty-one of chapter fifty-one, or on the copy of the lists of specially qualified voters, disposition list required by section ninety-one A, as the case may be, if it has not already been so checked. He shall open the envelopes in which the ballot is enclosed in such a manner as not to destroy the affidavit thereon, take the ballot therefrom without opening it or permitting it to be examined and deposit it in the ballot box. 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.

Envelopes purporting to contain official absent voter ballots which are received on the day of the election, or in the case of ballots from outside the United States, after the day of a state or city final election in accordance with section ninety-nine, shall be processed in the office of the registrars. Said envelopes shall be processed in the same manner as those received on or before the close of business on the day preceding the day of the election. Said ballots may be counted at the office of the registrars after the hour of the closing of the polls and after the canvass and the count has been completed said registrars shall amend each precinct tally sheet, official return book and check list delivered to the office of the registrars. Such ballots from outside the United States, received on or after the day of a state election in accordance with section ninety-nine, and which are counted at the office of the registrars, shall be counted at a public meeting of the board of registrars of voters. The registrars may hold this meeting as soon as they have received all absent voting ballots mailed to such voters outside the United States, but shall hold it in any event after five o’clock in the afternoon on the tenth day following such state election. Written notice of such meeting shall be given by said board to the chairman of the city or town committee of each political party at least three days before such meeting.

Federal write-in absentee ballots shall be received and counted as provided in section 103 of the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. section 1973ff-2, for any preliminary, primary or general election for federal, state, city, town, county or district office or any ballot question. Federal write-in absentee ballots received for state and city final elections shall be counted only at the public meeting of the registrars held under the preceding paragraph, and only if no valid state ballot has been received from the same voter, but shall be counted even if the voter has not applied for a state absent voter ballot or if the voter’s application was received after the thirtieth day before the election.

Federal write-in absentee ballots from absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters as defined in section 107 of said Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act that are transmitted by email or facsimile as permitted by this section, shall be counted for federal, state, city, town, county or district offices at any preliminary, primary or general election or any ballot question so long as they are received by the city or town clerk before the hour fixed for closing the polls as provided in section 93, but only if no valid state ballot has been received from the same voter; provided, however, that section 99 shall apply to federal write-in absentee ballots sent by mail; and provided further, that a federal write-in absentee ballot shall be counted even if the voter has not applied for a state absent voter ballot or if the voter’s application was received after the thirtieth day before the election. Federal write-in absentee ballots received for preliminary, primary, county, district, city and town elections shall be processed in the office of the registrars after the hour of the closing of the polls and the registrars shall amend each precinct tally sheet to include the counted federal write-in absentee ballots.

Absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters may mail, email or send by facsimile, a completed federal write-in absentee ballot directly to local election officials or use transmission services provided and administered through the Federal Voting Assistance Program, or any successor program. Email or facsimile transmissions of a federal write-in absentee ballot shall include a completed form approved by the Federal Voting Assistance Program, or any successor program, declaring that the voter voluntarily waives the right to a secret ballot. Failure to include such form shall not invalidate the ballot.

The secretary of state shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this section to establish procedures for electronic transmission, including email and facsimile transmissions, of election materials.