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SECTION 9-209
Canvass of absentee, military and special ballots and ballots cast by voters with registration poll records missing on days of election o...
Election (ELN) CHAPTER 17, ARTICLE 9, TITLE 2
§ 9-209. Canvass of absentee, military and special ballots and ballots
cast by voters with registration poll records missing on days of
election or voters who have not had their identity previously verified
or who have moved after registering. Before completing the canvass of
votes cast in any primary, general, special, or other election at which
voters are required to sign their registration poll records before
voting, the board of elections shall proceed in the manner hereinafter
prescribed to cast and canvass any absentee, military, special
presidential, special federal or other special ballots and any ballots
voted by voters who moved within the state after registering, voters who
are in inactive status, voters whose registration was incorrectly
transferred to another address even though they did not move, voters
whose registration poll records were missing on the day of such
election, voters who have not had their identity previously verified,
voters who submitted a voter registration application through the
electronic voter registration transmittal system but did not provide the
required exemplar signature, and voters whose registration poll records
did not show them to be enrolled in the party in which they claimed to
be enrolled and voters incorrectly identified as having already voted.
Each such ballot shall be retained in the original envelope containing
the voter's affidavit and signature, in which it is delivered to the
board of elections until such time as it is to be cast and canvassed.

1. (a) The board of elections shall designate itself or such of its
employees as it shall deem appropriate as a set of poll clerks to cast
and canvass such ballots, and fix a time and place for their meeting for
such purpose, provided that such meeting shall be no more than fourteen
days after a general or special election and no more than eight days
after a primary election at which such ballots are voted. The board may
designate additional sets of poll clerks and if it designates more than
one such set shall apportion among all such sets the election districts
from which such ballots have been received, provided that all such
ballots from a single election district shall be assigned to a single
set of clerks, and that each such set shall be divided equally between
representatives of the two major political parties. Each such set of
clerks shall be deemed a central board of inspectors for purposes of
this section.

(b) At least five days prior to the time fixed for such meeting, the
board shall send notice by first class mail to each candidate, political
party, and independent body entitled to have had watchers present at the
polls in any election district in the board's jurisdiction. Such notice
shall state the time and place fixed by the board for such canvass.

(c) Each such candidate, political party, and independent body shall
be entitled to appoint such number of watchers to attend upon each
central board of inspectors as such candidate, political party, or
independent body was entitled to appoint at such election in any one
election district for which such central board of inspectors is
designated to act.

2. (a) (i) Upon assembling at the time and place fixed for such
meeting, each central board of inspectors shall examine, cast, and
canvass the envelopes and the ballots therein contained as nearly as
practicable in the following manner:

(A) If a person whose name is on an envelope as a voter has already
voted in person at such election, or if his or her name and residence as
stated on the envelope are not on a registration poll record, or the
computer generated list of registered voters or the list of special
presidential voters, or if there is no name on the envelope, or if the
envelope is not sealed, such envelope shall be laid aside unopened.

(B) If there is more than one ballot envelope executed by the same
voter, the one bearing the later date of execution shall be accepted and
the other rejected. If it cannot be determined which envelope bears the
later date, then all such envelopes shall be rejected.

(C) If such person is found to be registered and has not voted in
person, an inspector shall compare the signature, if any, on each
envelope with the signature, if any, on the registration poll record,
the computer generated list of registered voters or the list of special
presidential voters, of the person of the same name who registered from
the same address. If the signatures are found to correspond, such
inspector shall certify thereto by placing his or her initials in the
space provided in the computer generated list of registered voters.

(D) If such person is found to be registered and has not voted in
person, and if no challenge is made, or if a challenge made is not
sustained, the envelope shall be opened, the ballot or ballots withdrawn
without unfolding, and the ballot or ballots deposited in the proper
ballot box or boxes, or envelopes, provided however that, in the case of
a primary election, the ballot shall be deposited in the box only if the
ballot is of the party with which the voter is enrolled according to the
entry on the back of his or her registration poll record or in the
computer generated registration list; if not, the ballot shall be
rejected without inspection or unfolding and shall be returned to the
envelope which shall be endorsed "not enrolled." At the time of the
deposit of such ballot or ballots in the box or envelopes, the
inspectors shall enter the words "absentee vote" or "military vote" in
the space reserved for the voter's signature on the aforesaid list or in
the "remarks" space as appropriate, and shall enter the year and month
of the election on the same line in the spaces provided therefor.

(E) As each envelope is opened, if one or more of the different kinds
of ballots to be voted at the election are not found therein, the
clerks, or inspectors, shall make a memorandum showing what ballot or
ballots are missing. If a ballot envelope shall contain more than one
ballot for the same offices, all the ballots in such envelope shall be
rejected. When the casting of such ballots shall have been completed
the clerks or inspectors shall ascertain the number of such ballots of
each kind which have been deposited in the ballot box by deducting from
the number of envelopes opened the number of missing ballots, and shall
make a return thereof. The number of absentee voters' ballots deposited
in the ballot box shall be added to the number of other ballots
deposited in the ballot box, in order to determine the number of all
ballots of each kind to be accounted for in the ballot box.

(ii) If the board of inspectors determines that a person was entitled
to vote at such election it shall cast and canvass such ballot if such
board finds that ministerial error by the board of elections or any of
its employees caused such ballot envelope not to be valid on its face.

(iii) If the board of elections determines that a person was entitled
to vote at such election, the board shall cast and canvass such ballot
if such board finds that the voter appeared at the correct polling
place, regardless of the fact that the voter may have appeared in the
incorrect election district.

(iv) If the board of elections finds that a voter submitted a voter
registration application through the electronic voter registration
transmittal system and signed the affidavit ballot, the board shall cast
and canvass such ballot.

(v) If the board of elections determines that a person was entitled to
vote at such election, the board shall cast and canvass such ballot if
such board finds that the voter substantially complied with the
requirements of this chapter. For purposes of this subparagraph,
substantially complied shall mean the board can determine the voter's
eligibility based on the statement of the affiant or records of the
board.

(vi) If the board of elections finds that the statewide voter
registration list supplies sufficient information to identify a voter,
failure by the voter to include on the envelope the address where such
voter was previously registered shall not be a fatal defect and the
board shall cast and canvass such ballot.

* (vii) If the board of elections finds that the voter registered (or
pre-registered) to vote for the first time pursuant to title nine of
article five of this chapter at least twenty-five days before a primary,
appeared at such primary election, and indicated on the affidavit ballot
envelope the intent to enroll in such party, the affidavit ballot shall
be cast and counted if the voter is otherwise qualified to vote in such
election.

* NB Effective January 1, 2023

(b)(i) Such board of inspectors shall also cast and canvass any
federal write-in absentee ballots validly cast by an absentee voter, a
military voter or a special federal voter for the offices of president
and vice-president, United States senator and representative in
congress. Such board of inspectors shall also cast and canvass any
federal write-in absentee ballots validly cast by a military voter for
all questions or proposals, public offices or party positions for which
a military voter is otherwise eligible to vote as provided in section
10-104 of this chapter.

(ii) Federal write-in absentee ballots shall be cast and canvassed
only if: (A) an application for an absentee, military or special federal
ballot was received from the absentee, military or special federal voter
at least thirty days before election day; (B) the federal write-in
absentee ballot was submitted from inside or outside the United States
by a military voter or was submitted from outside the United States by a
special federal voter; (C) such ballot is received by the board of
elections not later than thirteen days following the day of election or
seven days after a primary election; and (D) the absentee, military or
special federal ballot which was sent to the voter is not received by
the board of elections by the thirteenth day following the day of a
general or special election or the seventh day after a primary election.

(iii) If such a federal write-in absentee ballot is received after
election day, the envelope in which it is received must contain: (A) a
cancellation mark of the United States postal service or a foreign
country's postal service; (B) a dated endorsement of receipt by another
agency of the United States government; or (C) if cast by a military
voter, the signature and date of the voter and one witness thereto with
a date which is ascertained to be not later than the day of the
election.

(iv) If such a federal write-in absentee ballot contains the name of a
person or persons in the space provided for a vote for any office, such
ballot shall be counted as a vote for such person or persons. A vote for
a person who is the candidate of a party or independent body either for
president or vice-president shall be deemed to be a vote for both the
candidates of such party or independent body for such offices. If such a
ballot contains the name of a party or independent body in the space
provided for a vote for any office, such ballot shall be deemed to be a
vote for the candidate or candidates, if any, of such party or
independent body for such office. In the case of the offices of
president and vice-president a vote cast for a candidate, either
directly or by writing in the name of a party or independent body, shall
also be deemed to be votes for the electors supporting such candidate.
Any abbreviation, misspelling or other minor variation in the form of
the name of a candidate or a party or independent body shall be
disregarded in determining the validity of the ballot, if the intention
can be ascertained.

(c) The following provisions shall apply to casting and canvassing of
all such ballots which are counted by machine and all other provisions
of this chapter with respect to casting and canvassing such ballots
which are not inconsistent with this paragraph shall be applicable to
such ballots.

(i) Such ballots may be separated into sections before being placed in
the counting machine.

(ii) Any write-in ballots and any ballots which cannot be counted by
the machine shall be counted manually subject to all the applicable
provisions of this chapter with respect to counting of ballots.

(iii) The record of the vote counted by machine for each candidate and
for and against each ballot proposal, printed by election district,
shall be preserved in the same manner and for the same period as the
returns of canvass for the election.

(d) Any person lawfully present may object to the refusal to cast or
canvass any ballot on the grounds that the voter is a properly qualified
voter of the election district, or in the case of a party primary duly
enrolled in such party, or to the casting or canvassing of any ballot on
the grounds that the voter is not a properly qualified voter of the
election district, or in the case of a party primary not duly enrolled
in such party, or otherwise not entitled to cast such ballot. When any
such objection is made, the central board of inspectors shall forthwith
proceed to determine such objection and reject or cast such ballot
according to such determination. If the board cannot agree as to the
validity of the ballot it shall set the ballot aside, unopened, for a
period of three days at which time the ballot envelope shall be opened
and the vote counted unless otherwise directed by an order of the court.

(e) Upon completing the casting and canvassing of ballots as
hereinabove provided for any election district, the central board of
inspectors shall thereupon, as nearly as practicable in the manner
provided in this chapter for absentee ballots, verify the number of
ballots so cast, tally the votes so cast, add such tally to the previous
tally of all votes cast in such election district, and announce the
result.

3. (a) Upon the board of elections determination at or before the time
of canvass that an absentee ballot affirmation envelope is unsigned or
that an affirmation ballot envelope signature does not correspond to the
registration signature or there is no required witness to a mark or that
the envelope is returned without an affirmation envelope in the return
envelope, the board shall, within one day of such determination, send to
the absentee voter's address indicated in the registration records and,
if different, the mailing address indicated on the absentee ballot
application, a notice explaining the reason for such rejection and the
procedure to cure the rejection. The board shall also contact the voter
by either electronic mail or telephone, if such information is available
to the board in the voter's registration information, in order to notify
the voter of the deficiency and the opportunity and the process to cure
the deficiency.

(b) The voter may cure the aforesaid defects by filing a duly signed
affirmation attesting to the same information required by the
affirmation envelope and attesting that the signer of the affirmation is
the same person who submitted such absentee ballot envelope. The board
shall include a form of such affirmation with the notice to the voter.
The affirmation shall be in a form prescribed by the state board of
elections.

(c) Such cure affirmation shall be filed with the board no later than
seven business days after the board's mailing of such curable rejection
notice. Provided the board determines that such affirmation addresses
the curable defect, the rejected ballot shall be reinstated and duly
canvassed. If the board of elections is split as to the sufficiency of
the cure affirmation, such envelope shall be set aside for three days
and then canvassed unless the board is directed otherwise by court
order.

(d) When the board of elections invalidates a ballot envelope and the
defect is not curable, the voter shall be notified by mail sent within
three business days of such rejection.

3-a. If an absentee ballot affirmation envelope is received by the
board of elections prior to the election and is found to be unsealed and
thus invalid, the board shall forthwith notify the voter of such defect
and notify the voter of other options for voting, and, if time permits,
provide the voter with a new absentee ballot.