HD.5075 AN ACT ENSURING SAFE AND PARTICIPATORY 2020 STATE ELECTIONS IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Section-by-Section Summary

  1. This bill applies to the 2020 state primary and state election only.
  2. Because of the pandemic, finds that all voters may be physically disabled and so can vote by absentee ballot.
  3. The Secretary of State will mail absentee ballots to all voters, at least 19 days before the state election, with return postage pre-paid. All materials will be in the languages required by law. Ballots will be returned to local election officials as usual, and there will be a secure dropbox into which voters may deposit them.
  4. Voters who do not receive a ballot, or who wish to have their ballot mailed to a different address or to vote in person at the local election office, may continue to apply to their local election officials, who will count only the first non-rejected ballot received from any voter.
  5. There will be a statewide Internet portal through which voters may apply for absentee ballots from their local election officials. The portal will allow the voter to track the progress of the application and receipt of the ballot.
  6. For the state election only, absentee ballots mailed by Election Day, November 3, will be counted if received by November 13 (the current rule for ballots outside the US).
  7. The Secretary, after consulting the Department of Public Health, will adopt regulations requiring public health safeguards at early voting sites and polling places, including required distancing of voters and election officers, frequent use of sanitizers, appropriate clothing, and use of marking pens.
  8. Early voting in person for 2 weeks before the primary and 3 weeks before the state election under the usual rules.
  9. Exempts poll workers from requirements that they be local voters and be nominated by local party committees, so that (for example) college students can serve.
  10. Allows local election officials to dispense with the check-out table at the ballot box, to reduce the need for poll workers.
  11. Local election officials may decide to scan absentee and early voting ballots in the local election office before primary or election day. But results may not be determined or announced before the polls close.
  12. The last day to register to vote will be the tenth day before both the primary and the state election.
  13. The Secretary may adopt regulations to carry out this bill.
  14. Courts and the Secretary may enforce this bill like other election laws.

5/5/2020