Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 92 of chapter 54 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the first paragraph, as most recently amended by section 2 of chapter 84 of the acts of 1976, and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
A voter who has received by mail an official absent voting ballot as provided in section eighty-nine may vote by mailing the same to the city or town clerk. A voter within the United States shall mark said ballot in the presence of an official authorized by law to administer oaths, and, except as provided in section ninety-eight, of no other person. Before marking the ballot he shall exhibit it to said official, who shall satisfy himself that it is unmarked, but he shall not allow said official to see how he marks it. Except as provided in section ninety-eight, said official shall hold no communication with the voter, nor he with said official, as to how he is to vote. Thereafter the voter shall enclose and seal the same in the envelope provided for by subsection (c) of section eighty-seven. He shall then execute before said official the necessary affidavit on said envelope as set forth in said subsection (c) and shall enclose and seal the envelope provided for in subsection (d) of said section, and mail the same within the time prescribed in section ninety-three, postage prepaid. A voter outside the United States shall mark the ballot in the presence of no person, except as provided in section ninety-eight, enclose and seal it in the envelope provided for in subsection (c) of section eighty-seven, execute the affidavit on that envelope, and enclose and seal that envelope in the envelope provided for in subsection (d) of that section. The voter shall mail the envelope within the time prescribed in section ninety-three, postage prepaid.
SECTION 2. Section 95 of said chapter 54, as most recently amended by chapter 267 of the acts of 1975, is hereby further amended by striking out the second paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
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 election in accordance with section ninety-nine, shall be processed in the office of the registrars by two election officers appointed pursuant to the provisions of section eleven to eleven B, inclusive. 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.
SECTION 3. Said chapter 54 is hereby further amended by striking out section 99, as appearing in the Tercentenary Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 99. All envelopes received by clerks of cities and towns after the hour fixed for closing of the polls on the day of election shall be retained by them unopened until the time set by law for the destruction of ballots cast, at which time the envelopes shall likewise be destroyed, unopened and unexamined; provided, however, that such envelopes received within ten days following only a state election and mailed on or before the day of election, from a location outside the United States, shall be processed in accordance with the second paragraph of section ninety-five. A postmark, if legible, shall be evidence of the time of mailing.
SECTION 4. Said chapter 54 is hereby further amended by striking out section 112, as most recently amended by section 2 of chapter 94 of the acts of 1982, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 112. The clerk of each city and town and in Boston the Board of Election Commissioners, within fifteen days after the day of any election therein for a senator in congress, representative in congress, governor, lieutenant governor, councillor, state secretary, state treasurer, state auditor, attorney general, clerk of courts, register of probate, sheriff, district attorney, senator or representative in the general court, or for presidential electors, shall transmit to the state secretary copies of the records of votes cast for such officers, together with copies of the records of votes cast on any constitutional amendment, law or proposed law, and on any question submitted to them by statute in any senatorial or representative district or in two or more cities or towns. Said record shall be certified, attested, and sealed by the city or town clerk or election commissioners. The city or town clerk shall within fifteen days after an election for county treasurer or register of deeds, transmit to the county commissioners, and within fifteen days after an election for county commissioners, transmit to the clerk of the courts the records of votes for such officers, certified, attested and sealed as aforesaid; except that in Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop the records of votes for register of deeds shall be transmitted to the election commissioners of Boston. Such copies shall be transmitted in envelopes, upon which shall be stated the offices for, questions on which and districts in which the votes were cast.