CHAPTER 301

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 316

AS AMENDED BY

SENATE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 AND 2

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 55, TITLE 15 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE REQUIREMENTS FOR AND PROCEDURE APPLICABLE TO ABSENTEE VOTING.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend §5502(2), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code by deleting the words ", Society of Friends".

Section 2. Amend §5502(3), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new subsection to read as follows:

"(3) Because of the nature of such person's business or occupation; or"

Section 3. Amend §5503, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new §5503 to read as follows:

"§5503. Affidavits required of Persons Applying for Absentee Ballots.

Any voter desiring to receive an absentee ballot because he qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in Section 5502 of this title shall file an affidavit with the Department of Elections for that county, subscribed and sworn to by him before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths; provided, however, that the affidavit of any voter desiring to receive an absentee ballot because he qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in section 5502(1) or 5502(2) of this Title may be subscribed and sworn to before a commissioned officer of the Armed Forces; and provided further that the affidavit of any voter desiring to receive an absentee ballot because he is physically disabled may be self-administered. The affidavit shall be dated during the calendar year in which the election is to be held. The affidavit shall state the reason why he cannot appear at the regular polling place for his election district on the day of the election, his birth date, his social security number, his expected location, including his address and a telephone number (if available) to be used for the purpose of challenge on election day and, if sick or disabled, the name and address of a physician or Christian Science practitioner who can attest to the voter's inability to go to his polling place on the day of election. The department shall mail or deliver the official ballot, envelopes and instructions to the voter as soon as possible after receiving the affidavit."

Section 4. Amend §5506, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu a new Section 5506 to read as follows:

"§5506. Affidavit of Eligibility on Voucher Envelope; Form.

There shall be printed on the face of each voucher envelope a self-administered affidavit in substantially the following form:

I do solemnly swear (affirm) that I am a resident of the State of Delaware and that my voting address is

in or near

Street Address City

Election District, of the Representative District

of County.

I do also solemnly swear (affirm) under penalty of perjury that I have not received or accepted, or offered to receive or accept any money or other item of value as compensation, inducement or reward for the giving or withholding of a vote at this election, nor that I am acting under duress or threat of duress or harm.

Date Sign name here

Print name here

Section 5. Amend §5509, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by striking said section in its entirety and substituting a new §5509 to read as follows:

"§5509. Voting Procedure; Return of Ballot.

The absentee voter who qualified for his ballot under any of the reasons set forth in section 5502 of the Title shall mark his ballot and deposit the ballot in the official envelope. The voter shall then deposit the official envelope containing the ballot in the voucher envelope and securely seal the voucher envelope. The voter shall then execute the self—administered affidavit on the voucher envelope. Thereupon the voter shall enclose the voucher envelope containing the marked ballot in the mailing envelope received by the voter from the department and after the voter has enclosed the voucher envelope containing the marked ballot in the mailing envelope, he shall securely seal the mailing envelope and mail it, postage prepaid, to the department of the county issuing the ballot or deliver it to the department before 12:00 noon of the day before the election and not thereafter; provided, however, that ballot received after 12:00 noon of the day before the election shall be counted to the extent required under federal law."

Section 6. Amend §5510, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by striking said section in its entirety and substituting a new Section 5510 to read as follows:

"§ 5510. Time Limit for Return of Ballot; Late Ballots.

The absentee voter shall return his marked ballot enclosed in the voucher envelope to the Department of Elections of the county where the voter resides before 12:00 noon of the day before the election; and any absentee ballot received by any Department of Elections after 12:00 noon of the day before the election shall not be forwarded to the polls; provided, however, that any absentee ballot received by any Department of Elections after 12:00 noon of the day before the election but before 8:00 p.m. of the day of the election shall be forwarded to a polling place designated by the Department of Elections of the county where the voter resides to be counted to the extent required under federal law. The department shall endorse the time of receipt on the voucher envelope of all ballots received after 12:00 noon of the day before the election and shall retain the unopened voucher envelopes containing all ballots received after 8:00 p.m. on the day of the election until the last day of February next after the election, and longer if directed by proper authority."

Section 7. Amend §5511(a), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by

striking the words "by the elector in his affidavit thereon." and substituting in lieu thereof the words "on the voucher envelope or as designated by the Department of Elections."

Section 8. Amend §5512, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by striking the words "while said polls are open".

Section 9. Amend §5513, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by inserting the words "; provided, however, that any ballot received after 12:00 noon of the day before the election but before 8:00 p.m. of the day of the election shall be forwarded to a polling place designated by the Department of Elections of the county where the voter resides to be counted to the extent required under federal law" after the words "the absentee voter is a resident".

Section 10. Amend §5513, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by inserting the words "; provided, however, that voucher envelopes received after 12:00 noon of the day before the election but before 8:00 p.m. of the day of the election shall be forwarded to a polling place designated by the Department of Elections of the county where the voter resides to be counted to the extent required under federal law" after the words "4 hours before the closing of the polls".

Section 11. Amend §5515, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by deleting the word "only" and inserting the words "containing all ballots received before 12:00 noon of the day before the election" after the words "open the outer or carrier envelope".

Section 12. Amend §5515, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by deleting the word "executed" and inserting the word "self-administered" after the words "ascertain the name of the absentee voter as appears by the".

Section 13. Amend §5515, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by inserting the word "self-administered", after the words "deface or destroy the number thereof, or the ".

Section 14. Amend §5515, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by inserting a new paragraph at the end of existing Section 5515 to read as follows:

"The same procedure shall be followed in voting any absentee ballot received after 12:00 noon but before 8:00 p.m. of the day of the election to the extent to which it is required to be counted under federal law at a polling place designated by the Department of Elections of the county where the voter resides except that such ballot may be voted after the polls close. In the event that there is no polling place for the election of federal offices, only, the several Departments of Election are hereby empowered to open, record and vote any absentee ballot received after 12:00 noon of the day before the election and before 8:00 P.M. of the day of the election, to the extent required by federal law. Such counting of federal absentee ballots shall be certified in exactly the same manner as the absentee ballots are certified in the normal polling places, with representatives of both major political parties certifying the total voted counted."

Section 15. Amend §5520, Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by deleting it in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"Any notarized affidavit required under this chapter may be taken before any person with authority to administer oaths and affirmations in the place where such affidavits may be taken, and whenever taken outside this state, the authority of such person shall be conclusively presumed."

Section 16. Amend §5521 (a), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code by

deleting the words "executing affidavits for such and disabled persons" and inserting the words "or Christian Science practitioner who can attest to a sick or disabled voter's inability to go to the polling place on the day of the election".

Section 17. Amend §5522 (a), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by deleting the words "to the end that there shall• be extended to the absentee voters listed in subsection (b) of this section full opportunity to receive and return a marked ballot to the department for delivery to the poll of his

residence on election day to be acted upon and counted as other votes personally cast at such poll".

Section 18. Amend §5522 (a), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by

adding a new sentence to the end of the existing §5522 (a) to read as follows:

"Such changes shall be uniform for absentee voting throughout this State."

Section 19. Amend §5522 (b), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by

deleting it in its entirety.

Section 20. Amend §5522 (c), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by

deleting the words "and instructions" and inserting the words "instructions or other election forms".

Section 21. Amend §5522 (c), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by

inserting at the end of §5522 (c) the words "; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall invalidate any votes duly cast during the election year when such changes are made using the ballots, envelopes, instructions or other election forms distributed prior to such changes."

Section 22. Amend §5522 (c), Chapter 55, Title 15, Delaware Code, by

renumbering §5522 (c) to be §5522 (b).

Approved July 2, 1992.