HOUSE BILL No. 4214

 

February 17, 2015, Introduced by Rep. Lyons and referred to the Committee on Elections.

 

      A bill to amend 1954 PA 116, entitled

 

"Michigan election law,"

 

by amending sections 759a and 761 (MCL 168.759a and 168.761), as

 

amended by 2012 PA 523.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

 

 1        Sec. 759a. (1) An absent uniformed services voter or an

 

 2  overseas voter who is not registered, but possessed the

 

 3  qualifications of an elector under section 492, may apply for

 

 4  registration by using the federal postcard application. The

 

 5  department of state, bureau of elections, is responsible for

 

 6  disseminating information on the procedures for registering and

 

 7  voting to an absent uniformed services voter and an overseas

 

 8  voter.

 


 1        (2) Upon the request of an absent uniformed services voter

 

 2  or an overseas voter, the clerk of a county, city, township, or

 

 3  village shall electronically transmit a blank voter registration

 

 4  application or blank absent voter ballot application to the

 

 5  voter. The clerk of a county, city, township, or village shall

 

 6  accept a completed voter registration application or completed

 

 7  absent voter ballot application electronically transmitted by an

 

 8  absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter. A voter

 

 9  registration application or absent voter ballot application

 

10  submitted by an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter

 

11  shall contain the signature of the voter.

 

12        (3) A spouse or dependent of an overseas voter who is a

 

13  citizen of the United States, is accompanying that overseas

 

14  voter, and is not a qualified and registered elector anywhere

 

15  else in the United States, may apply for an absent voter ballot

 

16  even though the spouse or dependent is not a qualified elector of

 

17  a city or township of this state.

 

18        (4) An absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter,

 

19  whether or not registered to vote, may apply for an absent voter

 

20  ballot. Upon receipt of an application for an absent voter ballot

 

21  under this section that complies with this act, a county, city,

 

22  village, or township clerk shall forward to the applicant the

 

23  absent voter ballots requested, the forms necessary for

 

24  registration, and instructions for completing the forms. If the

 

25  ballots are not yet available at the time of receipt of the

 

26  application, the clerk shall immediately forward to the applicant

 

27  the registration forms and instructions, and forward the ballots

 


 1  as soon as they are available. provided in this section. If a

 

 2  federal postcard application or an application from the official

 

 3  United States department of defense website is filed, the clerk

 

 4  shall accept the federal postcard application or the application

 

 5  from the official United States department of defense website as

 

 6  the registration application and shall not send any additional

 

 7  registration forms to the applicant. If the ballots and

 

 8  registration forms are received before the close of the polls on

 

 9  election day and if the registration complies with the

 

10  requirements of this act, the absent voter ballots shall be

 

11  delivered to the proper election board to be tabulated. If the

 

12  registration does not comply with the requirements of this act,

 

13  the clerk shall retain the absent voter ballots until the

 

14  expiration of the time that the voted ballots must be kept and

 

15  shall then destroy the ballots without opening the envelope. The

 

16  clerk may retain registration forms completed under this section

 

17  in a separate file. The address in this state shown on a

 

18  registration form is the residence of the registrant.

 

19        (5) Not later than 45 Forty-five days before an election, a

 

20  county, city, township, or village clerk shall electronically

 

21  transmit or mail as appropriate an absent voter ballot to each

 

22  absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter who applied for

 

23  an absent voter ballot 45 days or more before the election.

 

24        (6) Upon the request of an absent uniformed services voter

 

25  or overseas voter, the clerk of a county, city, township, or

 

26  village shall electronically transmit an absent voter ballot to

 

27  the voter. The voter shall print the absent voter ballot and

 


 1  return the voted ballot by mail to the appropriate clerk.

 

 2        (7) The secretary of state shall prescribe electronic absent

 

 3  voter ballot formats and electronic absent voter ballot

 

 4  transmission methods. Each county, city, township, or village

 

 5  clerk shall employ the prescribed electronic ballot formats to

 

 6  fulfill an absent voter ballot request received from an absent

 

 7  uniformed services voter or overseas voter who wishes to receive

 

 8  his or her absent voter ballot through an electronic

 

 9  transmission. The secretary of state shall establish procedures

 

10  to implement the requirements in this section and for the

 

11  processing of a marked absent voter ballot returned by an absent

 

12  uniformed services voter or overseas voter who obtained his or

 

13  her absent voter ballot through an electronic transmission.

 

14        (8) The secretary of state shall modify the printed

 

15  statement provided under section 761(4) and the absent voter

 

16  ballot instructions provided under section 764a as appropriate to

 

17  accommodate the procedures developed for electronically

 

18  transmitting an absent voter ballot to an absent uniformed

 

19  services voter or overseas voter. A statement shall be included

 

20  in the certificate signed by the absent voter who obtained his or

 

21  her absent voter ballot through an electronic transmission that

 

22  the secrecy of the absent voter ballot may be compromised during

 

23  the duplication process. The absent voter ballot instructions

 

24  provided to an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter

 

25  shall include the proper procedures for returning the absent

 

26  voter ballot to the appropriate clerk.

 

27        (9) The size of a precinct shall not be determined by

 


 1  registration forms completed under this section.

 

 2        (10) An absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter

 

 3  who submits an absent voter ballot application is eligible to

 

 4  vote as an absent voter in any local, state, or federal election

 

 5  occurring in the calendar year in which the election is held for

 

 6  that ballot requested if the absent voter ballot application is

 

 7  received by the county, city, village, or township clerk not

 

 8  later than 2 p.m. of the Saturday before the election. A county,

 

 9  city, or township clerk receiving an absent voter ballot

 

10  application from an absent uniformed services voter or overseas

 

11  voter shall transmit to a village clerk and the school district

 

12  election coordinators, where applicable, the necessary

 

13  information to enable the village clerk and school district

 

14  election coordinators to forward an absent voter ballot for each

 

15  applicable election in that calendar year to the absent voter. A

 

16  village clerk receiving an absent voter ballot application from

 

17  an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter shall

 

18  transmit to the township clerk and the school district election

 

19  coordinators, where applicable, the necessary information to

 

20  enable the city or township clerk and school district election

 

21  coordinators to forward an absent voter ballot for each

 

22  applicable election in that calendar year to the absent voter. If

 

23  the local elections official rejects a voter registration

 

24  application or absent voter ballot application submitted by an

 

25  absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter, the election

 

26  official shall notify the voter of the rejection.

 

27        (11) An electronic mail address provided by an absent

 


 1  uniformed services voter or overseas voter for the purposes of

 

 2  this section is confidential and exempt from disclosure under the

 

 3  freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.

 

 4        (12) Under the uniformed and overseas citizens absentee

 

 5  voting act, the state director of elections shall approve a

 

 6  ballot form and registration procedures for absent uniformed

 

 7  services voters and overseas voters.

 

 8        (13) An absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter

 

 9  may use the federal write-in absentee ballot, in accordance with

 

10  the provisions of the uniformed and overseas citizens absentee

 

11  voting act, at a regular election or special election to vote for

 

12  a local, state, or federal office or on a ballot question. An

 

13  absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter who uses the

 

14  federal write-in absentee ballot shall return his or her voted

 

15  federal write-in absentee ballot by mail to the appropriate

 

16  clerk. The state bureau of elections shall do both of the

 

17  following:

 

18        (a) Make the ballot format for each election available to

 

19  absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters by

 

20  electronic mail or on an internet website maintained by the

 

21  department of state.

 

22        (b) Make the ballot information, including the offices,

 

23  names of candidates, and ballot proposals, for each election

 

24  available to absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters

 

25  on an internet website maintained by the department of state.

 

26        (14) The clerk of a city, village, or township shall submit

 

27  to the county clerk of the county in which that city, village, or

 


 1  township is located a written statement no later than 45 days

 

 2  before each election indicating whether absent voter ballots were

 

 3  issued to absent uniformed services voters or overseas voters in

 

 4  compliance with this section and the uniformed and overseas

 

 5  citizens absentee voting act. The city, village, or township

 

 6  clerk shall provide to the county clerk a written explanation

 

 7  describing remedial actions taken by the city, village, or

 

 8  township clerk if the city, village, or township clerk fails to

 

 9  comply with this section and the uniformed and overseas citizens

 

10  absentee voting act. Not later than 42 days before each election,

 

11  each county clerk shall submit to the state bureau of elections a

 

12  written report compiled from the written statements submitted by

 

13  the city, village, and township clerks. The written report shall

 

14  identify the cities, villages, and townships that complied with

 

15  the 45-day deadline under this subsection, the cities, villages,

 

16  and townships that did not comply with the 45-day deadline under

 

17  this subsection, but provided a written explanation, and those

 

18  cities, villages, and townships that did not comply with the 45-

 

19  day deadline under this subsection and that did not provide a

 

20  written explanation. The state bureau of elections may require

 

21  the clerk of a city, village, or township that did not comply

 

22  with the 45-day deadline under this subsection, but provided a

 

23  written explanation, to provide additional information. The state

 

24  bureau of elections shall require the clerk of a city, village,

 

25  or township that did not comply with the 45-day deadline and that

 

26  did not provide a written explanation to file a written

 

27  explanation, describing the remedial actions taken by the city,

 


 1  village, or township clerk, within 1 business day after the state

 

 2  bureau of elections notifies the clerk of that city, village, or

 

 3  township.

 

 4        (15) For a presidential primary election, the secretary of

 

 5  state shall prescribe procedures for contacting an elector who is

 

 6  an absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter, as

 

 7  described in this section, and who is eligible to receive an

 

 8  absent voter ballot or who applies for an absent voter ballot for

 

 9  the presidential primary election, offering the elector the

 

10  opportunity to select a political party ballot for the

 

11  presidential primary election.

 

12        (16) The secretary of state shall order a city, village, or

 

13  township clerk to extend the ballot receipt deadline for any

 

14  absentee voter ballots under this section that were not

 

15  transmitted to an absent uniformed services voter or overseas

 

16  voter in compliance with subsection (5). The extension shall

 

17  equal the total number of days beyond the deadline as provided in

 

18  subsection (5) that the city, village, or township clerk

 

19  transmitted the requested absentee voter ballots. These absentee

 

20  voter ballots received during the extension time shall be counted

 

21  and tabulated for the final results of the election provided that

 

22  the absentee voter ballots are executed and sent by the close of

 

23  the polls on election day. The election may be formally certified

 

24  before the end of the extension time if the number of outstanding

 

25  absentee voter ballots under this subsection will not alter the

 

26  outcome of the election.

 

27        (17) As used in this section:

 


 1        (a) "Absent uniformed services voter" means any of the

 

 2  following:

 

 3        (i) A member of a uniformed service on active duty who, by

 

 4  reason of being on active duty, is absent from the place of

 

 5  residence where the member is otherwise qualified to vote.

 

 6        (ii) A member of the merchant marine who, by reason of

 

 7  service in the merchant marine, is absent from the place of

 

 8  residence where the member is otherwise qualified to vote.

 

 9        (iii) A spouse or dependent of a member referred to in

 

10  subparagraph (i) or (ii) who, by reason of the active duty or

 

11  service of the member, is absent from the place of residence

 

12  where the spouse or dependent is otherwise qualified to vote.

 

13        (b) "Member of the merchant marine" means an individual,

 

14  other than a member of a uniformed service or an individual

 

15  employed, enrolled, or maintained on the Great Lakes or the

 

16  inland waterways, who is either of the following:

 

17        (i) Employed as an officer or crew member of a vessel

 

18  documented under the laws of the United States, a vessel owned by

 

19  the United States, or a vessel of foreign-flag registry under

 

20  charter to or control of the United States.

 

21        (ii) Enrolled with the United States for employment or

 

22  training for employment, or maintained by the United States for

 

23  emergency relief service, as an officer or crew member of a

 

24  vessel documented under the laws of the United States, a vessel

 

25  owned by the United States, or a vessel of foreign-flag registry

 

26  under charter to or control of the United States.

 

27        (c) "Overseas voter" means any of the following:

 


 1        (i) An absent uniformed services voter who, by reason of

 

 2  active duty or service, is absent from the United States on the

 

 3  date of an election.

 

 4        (ii) A person who resides outside of the United States and is

 

 5  qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was

 

 6  domiciled before leaving the United States.

 

 7        (iii) A person who resides outside of the United States and

 

 8  who, but for such residence outside of the United States, would

 

 9  be qualified to vote in the last place in which he or she was

 

10  domiciled before leaving the United States.

 

11        (d) "Uniformed services" means the army, navy, air force,

 

12  marine corps, coast guard, the commissioned corps of the public

 

13  health service, the commissioned corps of the national oceanic

 

14  and atmospheric administration, a reserve component of a

 

15  uniformed service, or the Michigan national guard as defined in

 

16  section 105 of the Michigan military act, 1967 PA 150, MCL

 

17  32.505.

 

18        Sec. 761. (1) If Except as otherwise provided in section

 

19  759a, if the clerk of a city, township, or village receives an

 

20  application for an absent voter ballot from a person registered

 

21  to vote in that city, township, or village and if the signature

 

22  on the application agrees with the signature for the person

 

23  contained in the qualified voter file or on the registration card

 

24  as required in subsection (2), the clerk shall immediately upon

 

25  receipt of the application, or, if the application is received

 

26  before the printing of the absent voter ballots, as soon as the

 

27  ballots are received by the clerk, shall but not earlier than 30

 


 1  days before the election, forward by mail, postage prepaid, or

 

 2  shall deliver personally 1 of the ballots or set of ballots if

 

 3  there is more than 1 kind of ballot to be voted to the applicant.

 

 4  Subject to this subsection and the identification requirement in

 

 5  subsection (6), absent voter ballots may be delivered to an

 

 6  applicant in person at the office of the clerk.

 

 7        (2) The qualified voter file shall be used to determine the

 

 8  genuineness of a signature on an application for an absent voter

 

 9  ballot. Signature comparisons shall be made with the digitized

 

10  signature in the qualified voter file. If the qualified voter

 

11  file does not contain a digitized signature of an elector, or is

 

12  not accessible to the clerk, the city or township clerk shall

 

13  compare the signature appearing on the application for an absent

 

14  voter ballot to the signature contained on the master card.

 

15        (3) Notwithstanding section 759, providing that no absent

 

16  voter applications shall be received by the clerk after 2 p.m. on

 

17  the Saturday before the election, and subject to the

 

18  identification requirement in subsection (6), a person qualified

 

19  to vote as an absent voter may apply in person at the clerk's

 

20  office before 4 p.m. on a day before the election except Sunday

 

21  or a legal holiday to vote as an absent voter. The applicant

 

22  shall receive his or her absent voter ballot and vote the ballot

 

23  in the clerk's office. All other absent voter ballots, except

 

24  ballots delivered pursuant to an emergency absent voter ballot

 

25  application under section 759b, shall be mailed or delivered to

 

26  the registration address of the applicant unless the application

 

27  requests delivery to an address outside the city, village, or

 


 1  township or to a hospital or similar institution, in which case

 

 2  the absent voter ballots shall be mailed or delivered to the

 

 3  address given in the application. However, a clerk may mail or

 

 4  deliver an absent voter ballot, upon request of the absent voter,

 

 5  to a post office box if the post office box is where the absent

 

 6  voter normally receives personal mail and the absent voter does

 

 7  not receive mail at his or her registration address.

 

 8        (4) Absent voter ballots shall be issued in the same order

 

 9  in which applications are received by the clerk of a city,

 

10  township, or village, as nearly as may be, and each ballot issued

 

11  shall bear the lowest number of each kind available for this

 

12  purpose. However, subject to subsection (1), this provision does

 

13  not prohibit a clerk from immediately issuing an absent voter

 

14  ballot to an absent voter who applies in person in the clerk's

 

15  office for absent voter ballots. The clerk shall enclose with the

 

16  ballot or ballots a return envelope properly addressed to the

 

17  clerk and bearing upon the back of the envelope a printed

 

18  statement in substantially the following form:

 

 

19                          TO BE COMPLETED

20                            BY THE CLERK

21 ______________________________      ____________________________

22      Name of Voter                    Street Address or R.R.

23 ______________________________      ____________________________

24   City, Township or Village                   County

25 Ward ________  Precinct _______  Date of Election  _____________

26 =================================================================

27               TO BE COMPLETED BY THE ABSENT VOTER

 

 


 1        I assert that I am a United States citizen and a qualified

 

 2  and registered elector of the city, township, or village named

 

 3  above. I am voting as an absent voter in conformity with state

 

 4  election law. Unless otherwise indicated below, I personally

 

 5  marked the ballot enclosed in this envelope without exhibiting it

 

 6  to any other person.

 

 7        I further assert that this absent voter ballot is being

 

 8  returned to the clerk or an assistant of the clerk by me

 

 9  personally; by public postal service, express mail service,

 

10  parcel post service, or other common carrier; by a member of my

 

11  immediate family; or by a person residing in my household.

 

 

12      DATE: ______________   SIGN HERE:  X_________________________

13                                         Signature of Absent Voter

14 The above form must be signed or your vote will not be counted.

15 AN ABSENT VOTER WHO KNOWINGLY MAKES A FALSE STATEMENT IS GUILTY

16 OF A MISDEMEANOR.

17 =================================================================

18        TO BE COMPLETED ONLY IF VOTER IS ASSISTED IN VOTING

19                          BY ANOTHER PERSON

 

 

20        I assisted the above named absent voter who is disabled or

 

21  otherwise unable to mark the ballot in marking his or her absent

 

22  voter ballot pursuant to his or her directions. The absent voter

 

23  ballot was inserted in the return envelope without being

 

24  exhibited to any other person.

 

 

25 _______________________  __________________   ___________________

26   Signature of Person      Street Address      City, Twp., or

27     Assisting Voter            or R.R.             Village


_________________________________________________________________

Printed Name of Person Assisting Voter

A PERSON WHO ASSISTS AN ABSENT VOTER AND WHO KNOWINGLY MAKES A

FALSE STATEMENT IS GUILTY OF A FELONY.

=================================================================

                             WARNING

 

 

 7        PERSONS WHO CAN LEGALLY BE IN POSSESSION OF AN ABSENT VOTER

 

 8  BALLOT ISSUED TO AN ABSENT VOTER ARE LIMITED TO THE ABSENT VOTER;

 

 9  A PERSON WHO IS A MEMBER OF THE ABSENT VOTER'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY

 

10  OR RESIDES IN THE ABSENT VOTER'S HOUSEHOLD AND WHO HAS BEEN ASKED

 

11  BY THE ABSENT VOTER TO RETURN THE BALLOT; A PERSON WHOSE JOB IT

 

12  IS TO HANDLE MAIL BEFORE, DURING, OR AFTER BEING TRANSPORTED BY A

 

13  PUBLIC POSTAL SERVICE, EXPRESS MAIL SERVICE, PARCEL POST SERVICE,

 

14  OR COMMON CARRIER, BUT ONLY DURING THE NORMAL COURSE OF HIS OR

 

15  HER EMPLOYMENT; AND THE CLERK, ASSISTANTS OF THE CLERK, AND OTHER

 

16  AUTHORIZED ELECTION OFFICIALS OF THE CITY, TOWNSHIP, VILLAGE, OR

 

17  SCHOOL DISTRICT. ANY OTHER PERSON IN POSSESSION OF AN ABSENT

 

18  VOTER BALLOT IS GUILTY OF A FELONY.

 

19        (5) An absent voter who knowingly makes a false statement on

 

20  the absent voter ballot return envelope is guilty of a

 

21  misdemeanor. A person who assists an absent voter and who

 

22  knowingly makes a false statement on the absent voter ballot

 

23  return envelope is guilty of a felony.

 

24        (6) If an elector obtains his or her absent voter ballot in

 

25  person from the clerk of the city, township, or village in which

 

26  he or she is registered, the clerk of the city, township, or

 

27  village shall not provide an absent voter ballot to that elector


 

 1  until the elector identifies himself or herself to the clerk by

 

 2  presenting an official state identification card issued to that

 

 3  elector under 1972 PA 222, MCL 28.291 to 28.300, an operator's or

 

 4  chauffeur's license issued to that elector under the Michigan

 

 5  vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.1 to 257.923, or other

 

 6  generally recognized picture identification card. If an elector

 

 7  does not have an official state identification card, operator's

 

 8  or chauffeur's license, or other generally recognized picture

 

 9  identification card, the elector may sign an affidavit to that

 

10  effect before the clerk of the city, township, or village and be

 

11  allowed to obtain his or her absent voter ballot in person from

 

12  the clerk. The clerk of the city, village, or township shall

 

13  indicate to each elector who obtains his or her absent voter

 

14  ballot in person from the clerk that the elector may sign an

 

15  affidavit indicating that the elector does not have an official

 

16  state identification card, operator's or chauffeur's license, or

 

17  other generally recognized picture identification card in order

 

18  to obtain his or her absent voter ballot in person from the

 

19  clerk. However, if an elector obtains his or her absent voter

 

20  ballot in person from the clerk and votes by absent voter ballot

 

21  without providing the identification required under this

 

22  subsection, the absent voter ballot of that elector shall be

 

23  prepared as a challenged ballot as provided in section 727 and

 

24  shall be counted as any other ballot is counted unless determined

 

25  otherwise by a court of law under section 747 or 748 or any other

 

26  applicable law.

 

27        Enacting section 1. This amendatory act takes effect 90 days


 

 1  after the date it is enacted into law.