HB 516-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2021 SESSION

21-0249

11/05

 

HOUSE BILL 516-FN

 

AN ACT allowing voters to vote by absentee ballot.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Rogers, Merr. 28; Rep. K. Murray, Rock. 24; Rep. Read, Rock. 17; Rep. Schultz, Merr. 18; Rep. Leishman, Hills. 24; Rep. Klein-Knight, Hills. 11; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18; Sen. Watters, Dist 4

 

COMMITTEE: Election Law

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill allows voters to vote by absentee ballot.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

21-0249

11/05

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT allowing voters to vote by absentee ballot.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Absentee Ballots.  Amend RSA 656:33 to read as follows:

656:33  Official [Absence, Religious Observance, and Disability] Absentee Ballots.  Prior to any state election, the secretary of state shall prepare, in such quantity as the secretary of state may deem necessary, [absence, religious observance, and disability] absentee ballots in the same form as nearly as practicable as the official ballot to be used at said election.  Said absentee ballots shall have the words "absentee ballot" printed on them and shall be similarly endorsed and printed on paper of the same color as that used for official ballots.

2  Absentee Voting.  Amend RSA 657:1 to read as follows:

657:1  [Absence, Religious Observance, and Disability] Absentee Voting.

[I.] Any person who [will be absent on the day of any state election from the city, town, or unincorporated place in which he or she is registered to vote or who cannot appear in public on any election day because of his or her observance of a religious commitment or who is unable to vote there in person by reason of physical disability] is qualified to vote at any state election may vote at such elections as provided in this chapter. [A person who is unable to appear at any time during polling hours at his or her polling place because of an employment obligation shall be considered absent for purposes of this chapter. For the purposes of this section, the term "employment" shall include the care of children and infirm adults, with or without compensation.

II. When the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning, blizzard warning, or ice storm warning for election day applicable to the city, town, or unincorporated place:

(a) A person who otherwise would have voted in person but has concerns for his or her safety traveling in the storm, shall be considered absent for purposes of this chapter and may vote absentee on the day immediately prior to the election.

(b) A person who cares for children or infirm adults who reasonably anticipates that school, child care, or adult care will be canceled, who otherwise would have voted in person but will be deterred from voting by the need to care for children or infirm adults, shall be considered absent for purposes of this chapter and may vote absentee on the day immediately prior to the election.

(c) As required by RSA 652:20, the clerk's office shall be open to receive applications for absentee ballots, to provide voters the opportunity to complete absentee ballots, and to receive returned ballots on the day immediately prior to an election at a minimum from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The clerk may designate a deputy clerk or assistant to provide this service, provided the individual has taken the oath of office and has been trained in the requirements for using an absentee ballot and the procedures for issuing and receiving absentee ballots.

(d) In the event an election is postponed pursuant to RSA 669:1, the provisions of subparagraph (c) shall apply to the day before the date of the originally scheduled election and the day before the date of the postponed election.]

3  Absentee Voting.  Amend RSA 657:4, I to read as follows:

I.  Prior to any state election, the secretary of state shall prepare the appropriate application forms for absentee ballots worded in substantially the following form.  The secretary of state shall insert the names of all parties qualified as set forth in RSA 652:11 in the list of parties on the application form.  The secretary of state shall prepare the application forms in such quantity as he or she deems necessary:

[Absence (Excluding Absence Due to Residence Outside the United States), Religious Observance, and Disability] Absentee Ballot Application:

I hereby declare that (check one):

_____ I am a duly qualified voter who is currently registered to vote in this town/ward.

_____ I am absent from the town/city where I am domiciled and will be until after the next election, or I am unable to register in person due to a disability, and request that the forms necessary for absentee voter registration be sent to me with the absentee ballot.

[I will be entitled to vote by absentee ballot because (check one):

_____ I plan to be absent on the day of the election from the city, town, or unincorporated place where I am domiciled.

_____ I am requesting a ballot for the presidential primary election and I may be absent on the day of the election from the city, town, or unincorporated place where I am domiciled, but the date of the election has not been announced.  I understand that I may only make such a request 14 days after the filing period for candidates has closed, and that if I will not be absent on the date of the election I am not eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

_____ I cannot appear in public on election day because of observance of a religious commitment.

_____ I am unable to vote in person due to a disability.

_____ I cannot appear at any time during polling hours at my polling place because of an employment obligation.  For the purposes of this application, the term "employment shall include the care of children and infirm adults, with or without compensation.  

For use only on the Monday immediately prior to the election: I cannot appear at my polling place on election day because the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning, blizzard warning, or ice storm warning for election day applicable to my city, town, or unincorporated place and either (check one):

______ I am elderly or infirm or I have a physical disability, and would otherwise vote in person but I have concerns for my safety traveling in the storm.

______ I anticipate that school, child care, or adult care will be canceled, and would otherwise vote in person but will need to care for children or infirm adults.]

Any person who votes or attempts to vote using an absentee ballot who is not entitled to vote by absentee ballot shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.  RSA 657:24.

I am requesting an official absentee ballot for the following election (check one):

_____ Presidential Primary to be held on ________________________________

(MM/DD/YYYY)

(The date may appear as blank when the date is not known.)

_____ State Primary to be held on_______________________________________

(MM/DD/YYYY)

_____ General Election