42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-1 : US Code - Section 1973FF-1: State responsibilities

Search 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-1 : US Code - Section 1973FF-1: State responsibilities

    (a) In general
      Each State shall - 
        (1) permit absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters
      to use absentee registration procedures and to vote by absentee
      ballot in general, special, primary, and runoff elections for
      Federal office;
        (2) accept and process, with respect to any election for
      Federal office, any otherwise valid voter registration
      application and absentee ballot application from an absent
      uniformed services voter or overseas voter, if the application is
      received by the appropriate State election official not less than
      30 days before the election;
        (3) permit absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters
      to use Federal write-in absentee ballots (in accordance with
      section 1973ff-2 of this title) in general elections for Federal
      office;
        (4) use the official post card form (prescribed under section
      1973ff of this title) for simultaneous voter registration
      application and absentee ballot application;
        (5) if the State requires an oath or affirmation to accompany
      any document under this subchapter, use the standard oath
      prescribed by the Presidential designee under section
      1973ff(b)(7) of this title;
        (6) in addition to any other method of registering to vote or
      applying for an absentee ballot in the State, establish
      procedures - 
          (A) for absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters
        to request by mail and electronically voter registration
        applications and absentee ballot applications with respect to
        general, special, primary, and runoff elections for Federal
        office in accordance with subsection (e);
          (B) for States to send by mail and electronically (in
        accordance with the preferred method of transmission designated
        by the absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter under
        subparagraph (C)) voter registration applications and absentee
        ballot applications requested under subparagraph (A) in
        accordance with subsection (e); and
          (C) by which the absent uniformed services voter or overseas
        voter can designate whether the voter prefers that such voter
        registration application or absentee ballot application be
        transmitted by mail or electronically;

        (7) in addition to any other method of transmitting blank
      absentee ballots in the State, establish procedures for
      transmitting by mail and electronically blank absentee ballots to
      absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters with respect
      to general, special, primary, and runoff elections for Federal
      office in accordance with subsection (f);
        (8) transmit a validly requested absentee ballot to an absent
      uniformed services voter or overseas voter - 
          (A) except as provided in subsection (g), in the case in
        which the request is received at least 45 days before an
        election for Federal office, not later than 45 days before the
        election; and
          (B) in the case in which the request is received less than 45
        days before an election for Federal office - 
            (i) in accordance with State law; and
            (ii) if practicable and as determined appropriate by the
          State, in a manner that expedites the transmission of such
          absentee ballot;

        (9) if the State declares or otherwise holds a runoff election
      for Federal office, establish a written plan that provides
      absentee ballots are made available to absent uniformed services
      voters and overseas voters in manner (!1) that gives them
      sufficient time to vote in the runoff election;

        (10) carry out section 1973ff-2a(b)(1) of this title with
      respect to the processing and acceptance of marked absentee
      ballots of absent overseas uniformed services voters; and
        (11) report data on the number of absentee ballots transmitted
      and received under subsection (c) and such other data as the
      Presidential designee determines appropriate in accordance with
      the standards developed by the Presidential designee under
      section 1973ff(b)(11) of this title.
    (b) Designation of single State office to provide information on
      registration and absentee ballot procedures for all voters in
      State
      (1) In general
        Each State shall designate a single office which shall be
      responsible for providing information regarding voter
      registration procedures and absentee ballot procedures to be used
      by absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters with
      respect to elections for Federal office (including procedures
      relating to the use of the Federal write-in absentee ballot) to
      all absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters who wish
      to register to vote or vote in any jurisdiction in the State.
      (2) Recommendation regarding use of office to accept and process
        materials
        Congress recommends that the State office designated under
      paragraph (1) be responsible for carrying out the State's duties
      under this Act, including accepting valid voter registration
      applications, absentee ballot applications, and absentee ballots
      (including Federal write-in absentee ballots) from all absent
      uniformed services voters and overseas voters who wish to
      register to vote or vote in any jurisdiction in the State.
    (c) Report on number of absentee ballots transmitted and received
      Not later than 90 days after the date of each regularly scheduled
    general election for Federal office, each State and unit of local
    government which administered the election shall (through the
    State, in the case of a unit of local government) submit a report
    to the Election Assistance Commission (established under the Help
    America Vote Act of 2002 [42 U.S.C. 15301 et seq.]) on the combined
    number of absentee ballots transmitted to absent uniformed services
    voters and overseas voters for the election and the combined number
    of such ballots which were returned by such voters and cast in the
    election, and shall make such report available to the general
    public.
    (d) Registration notification
      With respect to each absent uniformed services voter and each
    overseas voter who submits a voter registration application or an
    absentee ballot request, if the State rejects the application or
    request, the State shall provide the voter with the reasons for the
    rejection.
    (e) Designation of means of electronic communication for absent
      uniformed services voters and overseas voters to request and for
      States to send voter registration applications and absentee
      ballot applications, and for other purposes related to voting
      information
      (1) In general
        Each State shall, in addition to the designation of a single
      State office under subsection (b), designate not less than 1
      means of electronic communication - 
          (A) for use by absent uniformed services voters and overseas
        voters who wish to register to vote or vote in any jurisdiction
        in the State to request voter registration applications and
        absentee ballot applications under subsection (a)(6);
          (B) for use by States to send voter registration applications
        and absentee ballot applications requested under such
        subsection; and
          (C) for the purpose of providing related voting, balloting,
        and election information to absent uniformed services voters
        and overseas voters.
      (2) Clarification regarding provision of multiple means of
        electronic communication
        A State may, in addition to the means of electronic
      communication so designated, provide multiple means of electronic
      communication to absent uniformed services voters and overseas
      voters, including a means of electronic communication for the
      appropriate jurisdiction of the State.
      (3) Inclusion of designated means of electronic communication
        with informational and instructional materials that accompany
        balloting materials
        Each State shall include a means of electronic communication so
      designated with all informational and instructional materials
      that accompany balloting materials sent by the State to absent
      uniformed services voters and overseas voters.
      (4) Availability and maintenance of online repository of State
        contact information
        The Federal Voting Assistance Program of the Department of
      Defense shall maintain and make available to the public an online
      repository of State contact information with respect to elections
      for Federal office, including the single State office designated
      under subsection (b) and the means of electronic communication
      designated under paragraph (1), to be used by absent uniformed
      services voters and overseas voters as a resource to send voter
      registration applications and absentee ballot applications to the
      appropriate jurisdiction in the State.
      (5) Transmission if no preference indicated
        In the case where an absent uniformed services voter or
      overseas voter does not designate a preference under subsection
      (a)(6)(C), the State shall transmit the voter registration
      application or absentee ballot application by any delivery method
      allowable in accordance with applicable State law, or if there is
      no applicable State law, by mail.
      (6) Security and privacy protections
        (A) Security protections
          To the extent practicable, States shall ensure that the
        procedures established under subsection (a)(6) protect the
        security and integrity of the voter registration and absentee
        ballot application request processes.
        (B) Privacy protections
          To the extent practicable, the procedures established under
        subsection (a)(6) shall ensure that the privacy of the identity
        and other personal data of an absent uniformed services voter
        or overseas voter who requests or is sent a voter registration
        application or absentee ballot application under such
        subsection is protected throughout the process of making such
        request or being sent such application.
    (f) Transmission of blank absentee ballots by mail and
      electronically
      (1) In general
        Each State shall establish procedures - 
          (A) to transmit blank absentee ballots by mail and
        electronically (in accordance with the preferred method of
        transmission designated by the absent uniformed services voter
        or overseas voter under subparagraph (B)) to absent uniformed
        services voters and overseas voters for an election for Federal
        office; and
          (B) by which the absent uniformed services voter or overseas
        voter can designate whether the voter prefers that such blank
        absentee ballot be transmitted by mail or electronically.
      (2) Transmission if no preference indicated
        In the case where an absent uniformed services voter or
      overseas voter does not designate a preference under paragraph
      (1)(B), the State shall transmit the ballot by any delivery
      method allowable in accordance with applicable State law, or if
      there is no applicable State law, by mail.
      (3) Security and privacy protections
        (A) Security protections
          To the extent practicable, States shall ensure that the
        procedures established under subsection (a)(7) protect the
        security and integrity of absentee ballots.
        (B) Privacy protections
          To the extent practicable, the procedures established under
        subsection (a)(7) shall ensure that the privacy of the identity
        and other personal data of an absent uniformed services voter
        or overseas voter to whom a blank absentee ballot is
        transmitted under such subsection is protected throughout the
        process of such transmission.
    (g) Hardship exemption
      (1) In general
        If the chief State election official determines that the State
      is unable to meet the requirement under subsection (a)(8)(A) with
      respect to an election for Federal office due to an undue
      hardship described in paragraph (2)(B), the chief State election
      official shall request that the Presidential designee grant a
      waiver to the State of the application of such subsection. Such
      request shall include - 
          (A) a recognition that the purpose of such subsection is to
        allow absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters
        enough time to vote in an election for Federal office;
          (B) an explanation of the hardship that indicates why the
        State is unable to transmit absent uniformed services voters
        and overseas voters an absentee ballot in accordance with such
        subsection;
          (C) the number of days prior to the election for Federal
        office that the State requires absentee ballots be transmitted
        to absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters; and
          (D) a comprehensive plan to ensure that absent uniformed
        services voters and overseas voters are able to receive
        absentee ballots which they have requested and submit marked
        absentee ballots to the appropriate State election official in
        time to have that ballot counted in the election for Federal
        office, which includes - 
            (i) the steps the State will undertake to ensure that
          absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters have
          time to receive, mark, and submit their ballots in time to
          have those ballots counted in the election;
            (ii) why the plan provides absent uniformed services voters
          and overseas voters sufficient time to vote as a substitute
          for the requirements under such subsection; and
            (iii) the underlying factual information which explains how
          the plan provides such sufficient time to vote as a
          substitute for such requirements.
      (2) Approval of waiver request
        After consulting with the Attorney General, the Presidential
      designee shall approve a waiver request under paragraph (1) if
      the Presidential designee determines each of the following
      requirements are met:
          (A) The comprehensive plan under subparagraph (D) of such
        paragraph provides absent uniformed services voters and
        overseas voters sufficient time to receive absentee ballots
        they have requested and submit marked absentee ballots to the
        appropriate State election official in time to have that ballot
        counted in the election for Federal office.
          (B) One or more of the following issues creates an undue
        hardship for the State:
            (i) The State's primary election date prohibits the State
          from complying with subsection (a)(8)(A).
            (ii) The State has suffered a delay in generating ballots
          due to a legal contest.
            (iii) The State Constitution prohibits the State from
          complying with such subsection.
      (3) Timing of waiver
        (A) In general
          Except as provided under subparagraph (B), a State that
        requests a waiver under paragraph (1) shall submit to the
        Presidential designee the written waiver request not later than
        90 days before the election for Federal office with respect to
        which the request is submitted. The Presidential designee shall
        approve or deny the waiver request not later than 65 days
        before such election.
        (B) Exception
          If a State requests a waiver under paragraph (1) as the
        result of an undue hardship described in paragraph (2)(B)(ii),
        the State shall submit to the Presidential designee the written
        waiver request as soon as practicable. The Presidential
        designee shall approve or deny the waiver request not later
        than 5 business days after the date on which the request is
        received.
      (4) Application of waiver
        A waiver approved under paragraph (2) shall only apply with
      respect to the election for Federal office for which the request
      was submitted. For each subsequent election for Federal office,
      the Presidential designee shall only approve a waiver if the
      State has submitted a request under paragraph (1) with respect to
      such election.
    (h) Tracking marked ballots
      The chief State election official, in coordination with local
    election jurisdictions, shall develop a free access system by which
    an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter may determine
    whether the absentee ballot of the absent uniformed services voter
    or overseas voter has been received by the appropriate State
    election official.
    (i) Prohibiting refusal to accept applications for failure to meet
      certain requirements
      A State shall not refuse to accept and process any otherwise
    valid voter registration application or absentee ballot application
    (including the official post card form prescribed under section
    1973ff of this title) or marked absentee ballot submitted in any
    manner by an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter
    solely on the basis of the following:
        (1) Notarization requirements.
        (2) Restrictions on paper type, including weight and size.
        (3) Restrictions on envelope type, including weight and size.