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PRINTER'S NO. 1125
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
818
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY SCHWANK, SANTARSIERO, BOSCOLA, FONTANA, FARNESE,
KEARNEY, COSTA, HUGHES, MUTH, YUDICHAK, HAYWOOD AND BREWSTER,
AUGUST 7, 2019
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, AUGUST 7, 2019
AN ACT
Amending the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), entitled
"An act concerning elections, including general, municipal,
special and primary elections, the nomination of candidates,
primary and election expenses and election contests; creating
and defining membership of county boards of elections;
imposing duties upon the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
courts, county boards of elections, county commissioners;
imposing penalties for violation of the act, and codifying,
revising and consolidating the laws relating thereto; and
repealing certain acts and parts of acts relating to
elections," in preliminary provisions, further providing for
definitions; and, in voting by qualified absentee electors,
further providing for qualified absentee electors, for
applications for official absentee ballots, for date of
application for absentee ballot, for approval of application
for absentee ballot, for absentee electors files and lists,
for delivering or mailing ballots, for voting by absentee
electors, for assistance in voting by certain absentee
electors and for canvassing of official absentee ballots.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 102(z.5)(3) of the act of June 3, 1937
(P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election Code, is
amended to read:
Section 102. Definitions.--The following words, when used in
this act, shall have the following meanings, unless otherwise
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clearly apparent from the context:
* * *
(z.5) The words "proof of identification" shall mean:
* * *
(3) For a qualified absentee elector under section 1301:
(i) in the case of an elector who has been issued a current
and valid driver's license, the elector's driver's license
number;
(ii) in the case of an elector who has not been issued a
current and valid driver's license, the last four digits of the
elector's Social Security number;
(iii) in the case of an elector who has a religious
objection to being photographed, a copy of a document that
satisfies paragraph (1); [or]
(iv) in the case of an elector who has not been issued a
current and valid driver's license or Social Security number, a
copy of a document that satisfies paragraph (2)[.]; or
(v) for the purposes of this paragraph, "driver's license"
shall mean either a driver's license issued by the Department of
Transportation, a nondriver photo identification card or a
document described in paragraph (1).
Section 2. Section 1301 of the act is amended by adding a
subsection to read:
Section 1301. Qualified Absentee Electors.--The following
persons shall be entitled to vote by an official absentee ballot
in any primary or election held in this Commonwealth in the
manner hereinafter provided:
* * *
(o) Any qualified elector who desires to vote by absentee
ballot.
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Section 3. Section 1302(b), (c), (d), (e), (e.1) and (i) of
the act are amended and the section is amended by adding
subsections to read:
Section 1302. Applications for Official Absentee Ballots.--*
* *
(b) The application shall contain the following information:
Home residence [at the time of entrance into actual military
service or Federal employment, length of time a citizen, length
of residence in Pennsylvania], date of birth, [length of time a
resident of voting district,] voting district if known, party
choice in case of primary, name and, for a military elector, his
stateside military address, FPO or APO number and serial number.
Any elector [other than a military elector] shall in addition
specify [the nature of his employment, the address to which
ballot is to be sent, relationship where necessary, and] such
other information as may be determined and prescribed by the
Secretary of the Commonwealth. When such application is received
by the Secretary of the Commonwealth it shall be forwarded to
the proper county board of election.
(c) [The application of any qualified elector, as defined in
section 1301(a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) and (h), for an
official absentee ballot in any primary or election may not be
made over the signature of any person, other than the qualified
elector or an adult member of his immediate family, as required
in the preceding subsection.] A qualified absentee military or
overseas elector, as defined by the Uniformed and Overseas
Citizens Absentee Voting Act (Public Law 99-410, 100 Stat. 924),
may submit his application for an official absentee ballot by
[facsimile] electronic transmission method. [if the original
application is received prior to the election by the county
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election office. The absentee ballot of the qualified military
or overseas elector shall not be counted unless the elector's
original application is received prior to the election by the
county election office.] The [facsimile] electronic transmission
method shall not be acceptable for the official absentee ballot.
As used in this subsection, "electronic transmission method"
means any technology that can transmit a document or an image of
a document via electronic or electro-mechanical means,
including, but not limited to, facsimile method. An elector
entitled to submit an application for an official absentee
ballot under a method authorized under 25 Pa.C.S. Ch. 35
(relating to uniform military and overseas voters) may submit an
application using a method authorized under the act, in addition
to the methods authorized in this article.
(d) The application of any qualified elector, as defined in
preceding section 1301, subsections [(b)] (a) to (h), inclusive,
for an official absentee ballot in any primary or election shall
be signed by the applicant[.], except that for electors, as
defined in section 1301(a), an adult member of the applicant's
immediate family may sign the application on the elector's
behalf.
(e) Any qualified bedridden or hospitalized veteran absent
from the municipality of his residence and unable to attend his
polling place because of such illness or physical disability,
regardless of whether he is registered or enrolled, may apply at
any time before any primary or election for an official absentee
ballot on any official county board of election form addressed
to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the
county board of elections of the county in which his voting
residence is located.
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The application shall contain the following information:
Residence at the time of becoming bedridden or hospitalized,
[length of time a citizen, length of residence in Pennsylvania,
date of birth, length of time a resident in voting district,]
voting district if known, party choice in case of primary, name
and address of present residence or hospital at which
hospitalized. When such application is received by the Secretary
of the Commonwealth, it shall be forwarded to the proper county
board of elections.
The application for an official absentee ballot for any
primary or election shall be made on information supplied over
the signature of the bedridden or hospitalized veteran as
required in the preceding subsection. Any qualified registered
elector, including a spouse or dependent referred to in
subsection (l) of section 1301, who expects to be or is absent
from the municipality of his residence because his duties,
occupation or business require him to be elsewhere on the day of
any primary or election and any qualified registered elector who
is unable to attend his polling place on the day of any primary
or election because of illness or physical disability and any
qualified registered bedridden or hospitalized veteran in the
county of residence, or in the case of a county employe who
cannot vote due to duties on election day relating to the
conduct of the election, or in the case of a person who will not
attend a polling place because of the observance of a religious
holiday, may apply to the county board of elections of the
county in which his voting residence is located for an Official
Absentee Ballot. Such application shall be made upon an official
application form supplied by the county board of elections. Such
official application form shall be determined and prescribed by
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the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
(1) The application of any qualified registered elector,
including spouse or dependent referred to in subsection (l) of
section 1301, who expects to be or is absent from the
municipality of his residence because his duties, occupation or
business require him to be elsewhere on the day of any primary
or election, or in the case of a county employe who cannot vote
due to duties on election day relating to the conduct of the
election, or in the case of a person who will not attend a
polling place because of the observance of a religious holiday,
shall be signed by the applicant and shall include the surname
and given name or names of the applicant, proof of
identification, his occupation, date of birth, [length of time a
resident in voting district,] voting district if known, place of
residence, post office address to which ballot is to be mailed,
the reason for his absence, and such other information as shall
make clear to the county board of elections the applicant's
right to an official absentee ballot.
(2) The application of any qualified registered elector who
is unable to attend his polling place on the day of any primary
or election because of illness or physical disability and the
application of any qualified registered bedridden or
hospitalized veteran in the county of residence shall be signed
by the applicant and shall include surname and given name or
names of the applicant, proof of identification, his occupation,
date of birth, residence at the time of becoming bedridden or
hospitalized, [length of time a resident in voting district,]
voting district if known, place of residence, post office
address to which ballot is to be mailed, and such other
information as shall make clear to the county board of elections
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the applicant's right to an official ballot. In addition, the
application of such electors shall include a declaration stating
the nature of their disability or illness, and the name, office
address and office telephone number of their attending
physician: Provided, however, That in the event any elector
entitled to an absentee ballot under this subsection be unable
to sign his application because of illness or physical
disability, he shall be excused from signing upon making a
statement which shall be witnessed by one adult person in
substantially the following form: I hereby state that I am
unable to sign my application for an absentee ballot without
assistance because I am unable to write by reason of my illness
or physical disability. I have made or have received assistance
in making my mark in lieu of my signature.
.............................. ....................(Mark)
(Date)
(Complete Address of Witness) (Signature of Witness)
(e.1) Any qualified registered elector[, including any
qualified bedridden or hospitalized veteran,] who is unable
because of illness or physical disability to attend his polling
place on the day of any primary or election or operate a voting
machine and state distinctly and audibly that he is unable to do
so as required by section 1218 of this act may, with the
certification by his attending physician that he is permanently
disabled, and physically unable to attend the polls or operate a
voting machine and make the distinct and audible statement
required by section 1218 appended to the application
hereinbefore required, be placed on a permanently disabled
absentee ballot list file. An absentee ballot application shall
be mailed to every such person [for each primary or election]
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otherwise eligible to receive one, by the first Monday in
February each year, so long as he does not lose his voting
rights by failure to vote as otherwise required by this act.
Such person shall not be required to file a physician's
certificate of disability with each application as required in
subsection (e) of this section [but such person must submit a
written statement asserting continuing disability every four
years in order to maintain his eligibility to vote under the
provisions of this subsection]. Should any such person lose his
disability he shall inform the county board of elections of the
county of his residence. An absentee ballot application mailed
to a voter under this section, which is completed and timely
returned by the voter, shall serve as an application for any and
all primary, general or special elections to be held in the
remainder of that calendar year, and for all special elections
to be held before the third Monday in February of the succeeding
year.
* * *
(e.3) (1) Any qualified elector applying under section
1301(o) who desires to vote by absentee ballot may apply to the
county board of elections located in the applicant's county of
residence for an official absentee ballot. The application shall
be made upon an official application form determined and
prescribed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth which shall be
supplied by the county board of elections.
(2) The application form prescribed by the Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall include the surname and given name or names
of the applicant, proof of identification, date of birth, voting
district if known, place of residence, post office address to
which ballots are to be mailed, applicant's signature and other
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information as shall make clear to the county board of elections
the applicant's right to an official absentee ballot.
(3) As an alternative to the official application form
described in subsections (a) and (b) above, a qualified elector
applying to vote by absentee ballot under section 1301(o) may
make an application for an absentee ballot by mail by sending a
letter to the county board of elections in the county of the
applicant's residence. The letter shall contain the applicant's
full legal name, place of residence, proof of identification and
signature.
(4) In the event an elector is unable to write due to a
disability or an illness, or in the case of a uniformed-service
voter, the elector need not sign the application or letter
personally, but may have an adult member of the applicant's
immediate family sign the application or letter at the
applicant's direction. For the purposes of this paragraph, the
term "uniformed-service voter" shall have the same meaning as in
25 Pa.C.S. § 3502 (relating to definitions).
* * *
(i) (1) Application for official absentee ballots shall be
on forms prescribed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The
application shall state that a voter who receives and votes an
absentee ballot pursuant to section 1301 [and who, on election
day, is capable of voting at the appropriate] shall not be
eligible to vote at a polling place [must void the absentee
ballot and vote in the normal manner at the appropriate voting
place] on election day. Such forms shall be made freely
available to the public at county board of elections, municipal
buildings and at such other locations designated by the
secretary. No written application or personal request shall be
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necessary to receive the application forms. Copies of all
completed applications for official absentee ballots shall be
retained by the county board of elections.
(2) Nothing in this act shall prohibit a private
organization or individual from printing blank voter
applications for absentee ballots, or shall prohibit the use of
such applications by another individual, provided the form,
content and paper quality have been approved by the Secretary of
the Commonwealth.
* * *
(k) The Secretary of the Commonwealth may develop an
electronic system through which all qualified electors may apply
for an absentee ballot and request permanent absentee voter
status under this section, provided the system is able to
capture a digitized or electronic signature of the applicant. A
county board of elections shall treat any application or request
received through the electronic system as if it had been
submitted on a paper form or any other format used by the
county.
Section 4. Sections 1302.1, 1302.2(a), (b), (c) and (e),
1302.3(b) and (c), 1305, 1306, 1306.1 and 1308(a), (b.1), (e),
(f) and (g) of the act are amended to read:
Section 1302.1. Date of Application for Absentee Ballot.--
(a) Except as provided in [subsections (a.1) and] subsection
(a.2), applications for absentee ballots shall be received and
processed in the office of the county board of elections not
earlier than fifty (50) days before the primary or election [and
not], except that if a county board of elections determines that
it would be desirable and consistent with operation needs, any
applications for absentee ballots received more than fifty (50)
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days before the primary or election may be processed.
Applications for absentee ballots may be processed if received
no later than five o'clock P.M. of the first Tuesday prior to
the day of any primary or election.
(a.1) [Except as provided in subsection (a.2), in the event
any elector otherwise qualified who is so physically disabled or
ill on or before the first Tuesday prior to any primary or
election that he is unable to file his application or who
becomes physically disabled or ill after the first Tuesday prior
to any primary or election and is unable to appear at his
polling place or any elector otherwise qualified who because of
the conduct of his business, duties or occupation will
necessarily be absent from the municipality of his residence on
the day of the primary or election, which fact was not and could
not reasonably be known to said elector on or before the first
Tuesday prior to any primary or election, the elector shall be
entitled to an absentee ballot at any time prior to five o'clock
P.M. on the first Friday preceding any primary or election upon
execution of an Emergency Application in such form prescribed by
the Secretary of the Commonwealth.] (1) The following
categories of electors may apply for an absentee ballot under
this subsection, if otherwise qualified:
(i) Any elector whose physical disability or illness
prevented the elector from applying for an absentee ballot
before five o'clock P.M. on the first Tuesday prior to the day
of the primary or election.
(ii) Any elector whose business, duties or occupation
prevented the elector from applying for an absentee ballot
before five o'clock P.M. on the first Tuesday prior to the day
of the primary or election.
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(iii) Any elector who, for good cause, was unable to apply
for an absentee ballot before five o'clock P.M. on the first
Tuesday prior to the day of the primary or election. For the
purposes of this subparagraph, "good cause" means a circumstance
or event causing a similar level of disruption as the
circumstances described in subparagraphs (i) and (ii).
(2) Any elector described in paragraph (1) may submit an
application for an absentee ballot at any time until the closing
of the polls on the day of the primary or election. The
application shall be accompanied by a statement from the elector
describing the circumstances that prevented an earlier
application and which provision of paragraph (1) the elector
qualifies. This statement shall be made subject to the penalties
of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to
authorities).
(3) If the county board of elections determines that the
elector meets the requirements of this section, the elector
shall be issued an absentee ballot without delay.
(a.2) [In the event any elector otherwise qualified who
becomes so physically disabled or ill between five o'clock P.M.
on the first Friday preceding any primary or election and eight
o'clock P.M. on the day of any primary or election that he is
unable to appear at his polling place or any elector otherwise
qualified who because of the conduct of his business, duties or
occupation will necessarily be absent from the municipality of
his residence on the day of the primary or election, which fact
was not and could not reasonably be known to said elector prior
to five o'clock P.M. on the first Friday preceding any primary
or election, the elector shall be entitled to an absentee ballot
if the elector completes and files with the court of common
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pleas in the county in which the elector is qualified to vote an
Emergency Application or a letter or other signed document,
which includes the same information as is provided on the
Emergency Application. Upon a determination that the elector is
a qualified absentee elector under section 1301, the judge shall
issue an absentee ballot to the elector.] If the elector is
unable to appear [in court] at the office of the county board of
elections to receive the ballot, the [judge] board shall give
the elector's absentee ballot to an authorized representative of
the elector who is designated in writing by the elector. The
authorized representative shall deliver the absentee ballot to
the elector and return the completed absentee ballot, sealed in
the official absentee ballot envelopes, to the office of the
county board of elections, who shall [distribute] retain the
ballot, unopened, [to the absentee voter's election district]
until the canvassing of all absentee ballots. If the elector is
unable to appear [in court] at the office of the county board of
elections or unable to obtain assistance from an authorized
representative, [the] a judge of the court of common pleas, in
which the elector is qualified to vote, shall direct a deputy
sheriff of the county to deliver the absentee ballot to the
elector if the elector is at a physical location within the
county and return the completed absentee ballot, sealed in the
official absentee ballot envelopes, to the county board of
elections, who shall distribute the ballots, unopened, to the
absentee voter's respective election district. If there is no
authorized representative and a deputy sheriff is unavailable to
deliver an absentee ballot under this section, the judge may
direct a constable to make such delivery in accordance with the
provisions of this section. In the case of an elector who
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requires assistance in marking the elector's ballot, the elector
shall designate in writing the person who will assist in marking
the ballot. Such person shall be otherwise eligible to provide
assistance to electors eligible for assistance, and such person
shall declare in writing that assistance was rendered. Any
person other than the designee who shall render assistance in
marking a ballot or any person rendering assistance who shall
fail to execute a declaration shall be guilty of a violation of
this act. [No] Any absentee ballot received under this
subsection shall be counted [which is received in the office of
the county board of elections later than eight o'clock P.M. on
the day of the primary or election] as provided under section
1308(g).
(b) In the case of an elector whose application for an
absentee ballot is received by the office of the county board of
elections earlier than fifty (50) days before the primary or
election, the application shall be held and processed upon
commencement of the fifty-day period, or at such earlier time as
the county board of elections determines may be appropriate.
[(c) In the case of an elector who is physically disabled or
ill on or before the first Tuesday prior to a primary or
election or becomes physically disabled or ill after the first
Tuesday prior to a primary or election, such Emergency
Application, letter or other signed document shall contain a
supporting affidavit from his attending physician stating that
due to physical disability or illness said elector was unable to
apply for an absentee ballot on or before the first Tuesday
prior to the primary or election or became physically disabled
or ill after that period.
(d) In the case of an elector who is necessarily absent
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because of the conduct of his business, duties or occupation
under the unforeseen circumstances specified in subsections
(a.1) and (a.2), such Emergency Application, letter or other
signed document shall contain a supporting affidavit from such
elector stating that because of the conduct of his business,
duties or occupation said elector will necessarily be absent
from the municipality of his residence on the day of the primary
or election which fact was not and could not reasonably be known
to said elector on or before the first Tuesday prior to the
primary or election.]
Section 1302.2. Approval of Application for Absentee
Ballot.--
(a) The county board of elections, upon receipt of any
application filed by a qualified elector not required to be
registered under preceding section 1301, shall ascertain from
the information on such application, district register or from
any other source that such applicant possesses all the
qualifications of a qualified elector other than being
registered or enrolled. If the board is satisfied that the
applicant is qualified to receive an official absentee ballot,
the application shall be marked approved such approval decision
shall be final and binding except that challenges may be made
only on the ground that the applicant did not possess
qualifications of an absentee elector. Such challenges must be
made to the county board of elections prior to [5:00 o'clock
P.M. on the first Friday prior to the election] the applicable
deadline for the absentee ballots to be received, as provided in
section 1308(g). When so approved, the county board of elections
shall cause the applicant's name and residence (and at a
primary, the party enrollment) to be inserted in the Military,
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Veterans and Emergency Civilians Absentee Voters File as
provided in section 1302.3, subsection (b): Providing, however,
That no application of any qualified elector in military service
shall be rejected for failure to include on his application any
information if such information may be ascertained within a
reasonable time by the county board of elections.
(b) The county board of elections, upon receipt of any
application filed by a qualified elector who is entitled, under
the provisions of the Permanent Registration Law as now or
hereinafter enacted by the General Assembly, to absentee
registration prior to or concurrently with the time of voting as
provided under preceding section 1301, shall ascertain from the
information on such application or from any other source that
such applicant possesses all the qualifications of a qualified
elector. If the board is satisfied that the applicant is
entitled, under the provisions of the Permanent Registration Law
as now or hereinafter enacted by the General Assembly, to
absentee registration prior to or concurrently with the time of
voting and that the applicant is qualified to receive an
official absentee ballot, the application shall be marked
"approved." Such approval decision shall be final and binding
except that challenges may be made only on the ground that the
applicant did not possess the qualifications of an absentee
elector prior to or concurrently with the time of voting. Such
challenges must be made to the county board of elections prior
to [5:00 o'clock P.M. on the first Friday prior to the election]
the applicable deadline for the absentee ballots to be received,
as provided in section 1308(g). When so approved, the county
board of elections shall cause the applicant's name and
residence (and at a primary, the party enrollment) to be
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inserted in the Military, Veterans and Emergency Civilian
Absentee Voters File as provided in section 1302.3 subsection
(b).
(c) The county board of elections, upon receipt of any
application of a qualified elector required to be registered
under the provisions of preceding section 1301, shall determine
the qualifications of such applicant by verifying the proof of
identification and comparing the information set forth on such
application with the information contained on the applicant's
permanent registration card. If the board is satisfied that the
applicant is qualified to receive an official absentee ballot,
the application shall be marked "approved." Such approval
decision shall be final and binding, except that challenges may
be made only on the ground that the applicant did not possess
the qualifications of an absentee elector. Such challenges must
be made to the county board of elections prior to [5:00 o'clock
P.M. on the first Friday prior to the election] the applicable
deadline for the absentee ballots to be received, as provided in
section 1308(g). When so approved, the registration commission
shall cause an absentee voter's temporary registration card to
be inserted in the district register on top of and along with
the permanent registration card. The absentee voter's temporary
registration card shall be in the color and form prescribed in
subsection (e) of this section:
Provided, however, That the duties of the county boards of
elections and the registration commissions with respect to the
insertion of the absentee voter's temporary registration card of
any elector from the district register as set forth in section
1302.2 shall include only such applications and emergency
applications as are received on or before the first Tuesday
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prior to the primary or election. In all cases where
applications are received after the first Tuesday prior to the
primary or election and before five o'clock P. M. on the first
Friday prior to the primary or election, the county board of
elections shall determine the qualifications of such applicant
by verifying the proof of identification and comparing the
information set forth on such application with the information
contained on the applicant's duplicate registration card on file
in the General Register (also referred to as the Master File) in
the office of the Registration Commission and shall cause the
name and residence (and at primaries, the party enrollment) to
be inserted in the Military, Veterans and Emergency Civilian
Absentee Voters File as provided in section 1302.3, subsection
(b). In addition, the local district boards of elections shall,
upon canvassing the official absentee ballots under section
1308, examine the voting check list of the election district of
said elector's residence and satisfy itself that such elector
did not cast any ballot other than the one properly issued to
him under his absentee ballot application. In all cases where
the examination of the local district board of elections
discloses that an elector did vote a ballot other than the one
properly issued to him under the absentee ballot application,
the local district board of elections shall thereupon cancel
said absentee ballot and said elector shall be subject to the
penalties as hereinafter set forth.
* * *
(e) The [absentee voter's temporary registration card]
voter's record in the district register shall [be in duplicate
and the same size as the permanent registration card, in a
different and contrasting color to the permanent registration
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card and shall contain the absentee voter's name and address and
shall conspicuously] contain the words "Absentee Voter." [Such
card shall also contain the affidavit required by subsection (b)
of section 1306.]
* * *
Section 1302.3. Absentee Electors Files and Lists.--* * *
[(b) The county board of elections shall post in a
conspicuous public place at its office a master list arranged in
alphabetical order by election districts setting forth the name
and residence, and at primaries, the party enrollment, of (1)
every military elector to whom an absentee ballot is being sent,
each such name to be prefixed with an "M"; (2) every bedridden
or hospitalized veteran outside the county of his residence who
is not registered and to whom an absentee ballot is being sent,
each such name to be prefixed with a "V"; and (3) every
registered elector who has filed his application for an absentee
ballot too late for the extraction of his original registration
card and to whom a ballot is being sent and every qualified
elector who has filed his application for an absentee ballot and
is entitled, under provisions of the Permanent Registration Law
as now or hereinafter enacted by the General Assembly, to
absentee registration prior to or concurrently with the time of
voting, each such name to be prefixed with a "C." This list
shall be known as the Military, Veterans and Emergency Civilians
Absentee Voters File for the Primary or Election of (date of
primary or election) and shall be posted for a period commencing
the Tuesday prior to the day of the primary or election until
the day following the primary or election or the day on which
the county board of elections certifies the returns of the
primary or election, whichever date is later. Such file shall be
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open to public inspection at all times subject to reasonable
safeguards, rules and regulations. This posted list shall not
contain any military address or references to any military
organization. Upon written request, the county board shall
furnish a copy of such list to any candidate or party county
chairman.]
(c) Not less than five days preceding the election, the
chief clerk shall prepare a list for each election district
showing the names and post office addresses of all voting
residents thereof to whom official absentee ballots shall have
been issued. Each such list shall be prepared in duplicate,
shall be headed "Persons in (give identity of election district)
to whom absentee ballots have been issued for the election of
(date of election)," and shall be signed by him not less than
four days preceding the election. [He shall post the original of
each such list in a conspicuous place in the office of the
county election board and see that it is kept so posted until
the close of the polls on election day.] He shall cause the
duplicate of each such list to be delivered to the judge of
election in the election district in the same manner and at the
same time as are provided in this act for the delivery of other
election supplies[, and it shall be the duty of such judge of
election to post such duplicate list in a conspicuous place
within the polling place of his district and see that it is kept
so posted throughout the time that the polls are open]. Upon
written request, he shall furnish a copy of such list to any
candidate or party county chairman.
Section 1305. Delivering or Mailing Ballots.--
(a) The county board of elections upon receipt and approval
of an application filed by any elector qualified in accordance
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with the provisions of section 1301, subsections (a) to (h),
inclusive, shall [not later than fifty days prior to the day of
the primary or not later than seventy days prior to the day of
the election commence to deliver or mail to such elector who has
included with said application a statement that he or she is
unable to vote during the regular absentee balloting period by
reason of living or performing military service in an extremely
remote or isolated area of the world, and not later than forty-
five days prior to the day of the primary or election commence
to deliver or mail to all other such electors as provided for in
section 1301, subsections (a) to (h), inclusive, official
absentee ballots or special write-in absentee ballots as
prescribed by subsection (d) of section 1303 when official
absentee ballots are not yet printed; as additional applications
of such electors are received, the board shall deliver or mail
official absentee ballots or special write-in absentee ballots
when official absentee ballots are not yet printed to such
additional electors within forty-eight hours after approval of
their application. If the calling of a special election would
make it impossible to comply with the forty-five day delivery or
mailing requirement of this section, then the county board of
elections shall mail absentee ballots or special write-in
absentee ballots within five days of the county board's receipt
of the information necessary to prepare said ballots.] commence
to deliver or mail an official absentee ballot to the applicant
as soon as the ballot is available and certified by the board.
The county board of elections may await the resolution of a
legal proceeding in a Federal or State court pertaining to the
contents of the official absentee ballot before delivering or
mailing the official absentee ballot to the applicant.
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Notwithstanding whether or not the county board of elections is
awaiting the resolution of a legal proceeding in a Federal or
State court, the board shall commence to deliver or mail an
official absentee ballot to the applicant not later than the
second Tuesday before the primary or election. If the applicant
failed to provide proof of identification with the application
or the proof of identification could not be verified by the
county board of elections, the board shall send the notice
required under section 1302.2(d) to the elector. If an
application is received and approved after the time that the
county board of elections commences delivering or mailing
official absentee ballots, the board shall deliver or mail an
official absentee ballot to the elector within forty-eight
hours.
(b) (1) The county board of elections upon receipt and
approval of an application filed by any elector qualified in
accordance with the provisions of section 1301, subsections (i)
to [(l)] (o), inclusive, shall commence to deliver or mail
official absentee ballots [on] as soon as a ballot is certified
and the ballots are available. While any proceeding is pending
in a Federal or State court that would affect the contents of
any ballot, the county board of elections may await a resolution
of the proceeding, but in any event, shall commence to deliver
or mail official absentee ballots no later than the second
Tuesday prior to the primary or election. For those applicants
whose proof of identification was not provided with the
application or could not be verified by the board, the board
shall send the notice required under section 1302.2(d) with the
absentee ballot. As additional applications are received and
approved after the time that the county board of elections
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begins advertising or mailing absentee ballots, the board shall
deliver or mail official absentee ballots to such additional
electors within forty-eight hours.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this act and the
inclusion of a mailing address on an absentee ballot
application, an elector who presents an application for an
absentee ballot at the office of the county board of elections
during regular business hours may request to receive an absentee
ballot while at the office. This request may be made orally or
in writing. On presentation of the application, making the
request and approval under section 1302.2, the county board of
elections shall promptly present the voter with an absentee
ballot. If a voter presents an application within the county's
board of elections office in accordance with this section, a
county board of elections may not deny the voter's request
unless there is a bona fide objection to the absentee ballot
application.
[(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a
qualified absentee elector shall not be required to provide
proof of identification if the elector is entitled to vote by
absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens
Absentee Voting Act (Public Law 99-410, 100 Stat. 924) or by an
alternative ballot under the Voting Accessibility for the
Elderly and Handicapped Act (Public Law 98-435, 98 Stat. 1678).]
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this act, an elector
who is qualified under section 1301 may present an application
for an official absentee ballot in-person at the office of the
county board of elections during regular business hours. The
applicant shall not be required to include the applicant's
mailing address on the application. Upon receipt of an
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application which meets the requirements under this section, the
county board of elections shall promptly deliver an official
absentee ballot unless there is a bona fide objection to the
application.
Section 1306. Voting by Absentee Electors.--(a) Except as
provided in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3), at any time after
receiving an official absentee ballot, but on or before [five]
eight o'clock P.M. on the [Friday] Monday prior to the primary
or election, the elector shall, in secret, proceed to mark the
ballot only in black lead pencil, indelible pencil or blue,
black or blue-black ink, in fountain pen or ball point pen, and
then fold the ballot, enclose and securely seal the same in the
envelope on which is printed, stamped or endorsed "Official
Absentee Ballot."
(1) [Any elector who submits an Emergency Application and
receives an absentee ballot in accordance with section
1302.1(a.2) or (c) shall mark the ballot on or before eight
o'clock P.M. on the day of the primary or election. This
envelope shall then be placed in the second one, on which is
printed the form of declaration of the elector, and the address
of the elector's county board of election and the local election
district of the elector. The elector shall then fill out, date
and sign the declaration printed on such envelope. Such envelope
shall then be securely sealed and the elector shall send same by
mail, postage prepaid, except where franked, or deliver it in
person to said county board of election.] (Reserved).
(2) Any elector, spouse of the elector or dependent of the
elector, qualified in accordance with the provisions of section
1301, subsections (e), (f), (g) and (h) to vote by absentee
ballot as herein provided, shall be required to include on the
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form of declaration a supporting declaration in form prescribed
by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, to be signed by the head
of the department or chief of division or bureau in which the
elector is employed, setting forth the identity of the elector,
spouse of the elector or dependent of the elector.
(3) Any elector who has filed his application in accordance
with section 1302 subsection (e)(2), and is unable to sign his
declaration because of illness or physical disability, shall be
excused from signing upon making a declaration which shall be
witnessed by one adult person in substantially the following
form: I hereby declare that I am unable to sign my declaration
for voting my absentee ballot without assistance because I am
unable to write by reason of my illness or physical disability.
I have made or received assistance in making my mark in lieu of
my signature.
.............................. .......................(Mark)
(Date)
.............................. .............................
(Complete Address of Witness) (Signature of Witness)
(b) [In the event that any such elector, excepting an
elector in military service or any elector unable to go to his
polling place because of illness or physical disability,
entitled to vote an official absentee ballot shall be in the
municipality of his residence on the day for holding the primary
or election for which the ballot was issued, or in the event any
such elector shall have recovered from his illness or physical
disability sufficiently to permit him to present himself at the
proper polling place for the purpose of casting his ballot, such
absentee ballot cast by such elector shall, be declared void.
Any such elector referred to in this subsection, who is within
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the municipality of his residence, must present himself at his
polling place and shall be permitted to vote upon presenting
himself at his regular polling place in the same manner as he
could have voted had he not received an absentee ballot:
Provided, That such elector has first presented himself to the
judge of elections in his local election district and shall have
signed the affidavit on the absentee voter's temporary
registration card, which affidavit shall be in substantially the
following form:
I hereby swear that I am a qualified registered elector who has
obtained an absentee ballot, however, I am present in the
municipality of my residence and physically able to present
myself at my polling place and therefore request that my
absentee ballot be voided.
..............................
(Date)
.............................. .............................
(Local Judge of Elections) (Signature of Elector)
An elector who has received an absentee ballot under the
emergency application provisions of section 1302.1, and for
whom, therefore, no temporary absentee voter's registration card
is in the district register, shall sign the aforementioned
affidavit in any case, which the local judge of elections shall
then cause to be inserted in the district register with the
elector's permanent registration card.] Any elector who receives
and votes an absentee ballot pursuant to section 1301 shall not
be eligible to vote at a polling place on election day. The
district register at each polling place shall clearly identify
electors who have received and voted absentee ballots as
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ineligible to vote at the polling place, and district election
officers shall not permit said electors to vote at the polling
place.
(c) Any elector voting with an absentee ballot shall:
(1) deliver the ballot in person to the county board of
elections by eight o'clock P.M. on the day of the primary or
election; or
(2) mail the ballot such that it is postmarked no later than
the day immediately preceding the election.
(d) (1) When a ballot is presented to a county board of
elections with a postmark that is missing or illegible, the
board may determine that the ballot was timely cast and
submitted if there are other reliable indicia of the date the
ballot was sent.
(2) A board may rely on the date given on the voter's
affidavit under paragraph (1) or on additional information
obtained from the United States Postal Service, the foreign
postal agency or the private carrier or courier service through
which the ballot was delivered.
(e) (1) In addition to the other means to submit a ballot
under this act, a county board of elections may establish one or
more ballot drop-boxes, subject to this section.
(2) If a county board of elections establishes a ballot
drop-box, the county board of elections shall consider factors
including:
(i) Equitable distribution of ballot drop-boxes across the
county to provide electors with convenient options.
(ii) Locating ballot drop-boxes in places that will be
convenient for the largest number of voters based on the
location of residences and places of employment in the
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determined area.
(iii) Access for persons with disabilities.
(iv) Use of public buildings that are conspicuous and known
to electors in the county.
(3) All ballot drop-boxes shall:
(i) Provide adequate levels of security.
(ii) Be capable of ensuring that no ballots are submitted
after the deadline for submitting ballots has passed.
(4) If a county board of elections desires to establish one
or more ballot drop-boxes, the board shall prepare a report on
its plan. The report shall include analysis of the factors
listed in paragraphs (2) and (3) and any other considerations
used by the board. The report shall be submitted to the
Secretary of the Commonwealth no later than ninety (90) days
before any primary or election. The Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall approve any proposal that satisfies the
requirements of this subsection and provides suitable levels of
access and security. A county board of elections may not
implement a plan until it has received approval from the
Secretary of the Commonwealth. Following approval, a plan may be
used indefinitely or until the Secretary of the Commonwealth
revokes approval.
(f) As used in this subsection:
"Ballot drop-box" means a stand-alone drop-off location for
the purpose of allowing electors to deposit their completed
ballots.
"Postmark" means the official cancellation of postage, or
other indicia, as stamped printed or written on the delivery
envelope to indicate the date it was submitted for delivery by
the United States Postal Service, a foreign postal agency or a
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recognized private common carrier or courier service.
Section 1306.1. Assistance in Voting by Certain Absentee
Electors.--
Any elector qualified to vote an official absentee ballot in
accordance with the provisions of section 1301, subsection (k),
may receive assistance in voting (1) if there is recorded on his
registration card his declaration that he has a physical
disability which renders him unable to see or mark the official
absentee ballot, the exact nature of such disability being
recorded on such registration card; (2) if such elector
requiring assistance submits with his application for an
official absentee ballot, a statement made subject to the
penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn
falsification to authorities) setting forth the precise nature
of the disability which renders him unable to see or mark the
official absentee ballot and that to the best of his knowledge
and belief he will still suffer from the said physical
disability at the time of voting his official absentee ballot.
[He shall acknowledge the same before an officer qualified to
take acknowledgment of deeds.] Such statement shall be in
substantially the following form:
Statement of Absentee Elector Requiring Assistance
I, ............................................, hereby state
(Name of voter requiring assistance)
that I require assistance in marking the official absentee
ballot for the primary or election held ..................,
(Date)
[19] 20..., that will be issued to me for the following reason:
..........................................................
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(Insert nature of disability)
...........................................
(Signature or mark of elector)
...................................
(Date of signature or mark)
[Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
ss
County of ..................:
On this..........day of.........., 19...., before me,
...................., the undersigned officer personally
appeared......................., known to me (or satisfactorily
proven) to be the person whose signature or mark appears on the
within instrument and acknowledged the same for the purposes
therein contained.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and official
seal
.........................
(Title of Officer)]
Upon receipt of the official absentee ballot, such elector
requiring assistance may select a person to assist him in
voting, such assistance to be rendered in secret: Provided,
however, That the person rendering assistance may not be the
elector's employer or an agent of the employer or an officer or
agent of the elector's union. The person rendering the
assistance in voting shall complete, date and sign the
declaration in such form approved by the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, or substantially in the form as set forth below,
that the person has caused the elector's ballot to be marked in
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accordance with such elector's desires and instruction. Such
declaration form shall be returned to the county board of
elections in the mailing envelope addressed to the county board
of elections within which the small "official absentee ballot"
is returned.
Declaration of Person Rendering Assistance
I, ..........................................,
(Name of Person rendering assistance)
hereby declare that I have witnessed the aforesaid elector's
signature or mark and that I have caused the aforesaid elector's
ballot to be marked in accordance with the desires and
instructions of the aforesaid elector.
...............................................
(Signature of Person Rendering Assistance)
...............................................
(Address)
Section 1308. Canvassing of Official Absentee Ballots.--
(a) The county boards of election, upon receipt of official
absentee ballots in such envelopes, shall safely keep the same
in sealed or locked containers until they [distribute same to
the appropriate local election districts in a manner prescribed
by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Except as provided in section 1302.1(a.2), the county board
of elections shall then distribute the absentee ballots,
unopened, to the absentee voter's respective election district
concurrently with the distribution of the other election
supplies. Absentee ballots shall be canvassed immediately and
continuously without interruption until completed after the
close of the polls on the day of the election in each election
district. The results of the canvass of the absentee ballots
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shall then be included in and returned to the county board with
the returns of that district. Except as provided in section
1302.1(a.2) and subsection (g), no absentee ballot shall be
counted which is received in the office of the county board of
election later than five o'clock P.M. on the Friday immediately
preceding the primary or November election.] are to be canvassed
by the county board of elections. All absentee ballots issued
during the regular or emergency application periods shall be
canvassed in accordance with subsection (g).
(b.1) [In all election districts in which electronic voting
systems are used, absentee ballots shall be opened at the
election district, checked for write-in votes in accordance with
section 1113-A and then either hand-counted or counted by means
of the automatic tabulation equipment, whatever the case may
be.] (Reserved).
* * *
(e) [At such time the local election board shall then
further examine the declaration on each envelope not so set
aside and shall compare the information thereon with that
contained in the "Registered Absentee Voters File," the absentee
voters' list and the "Military Veterans and Emergency Civilians
Absentee Voters File." If the local election board is satisfied
that the declaration is sufficient and the information contained
in the "Registered Absentee Voters File," the absentee voters'
list and the "Military Veterans and Emergency Civilians Absentee
Voters File" verifies his right to vote, the local election
board shall announce the name of the elector and shall give any
watcher present an opportunity to challenge any absentee elector
upon the ground or grounds (1) that the absentee elector is not
a qualified elector ; or (2) that the absentee elector was
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within the municipality of his residence on the day of the
primary or election during the period the polls were open,
except where he was in military service or except in the case
where his ballot was obtained for the reason that he was unable
to appear personally at the polling place because of illness or
physical disability; or (3) that the absentee elector was able
to appear personally at the polling place on the day of the
primary or election during the period the polls were open in the
case his ballot was obtained for the reason that he was unable
to appear personally at the polling place because of illness or
physical disability. Upon challenge of any absentee elector, as
set forth herein the local election board shall mark
"challenged" on the envelope together with the reason or reasons
therefor, and the same shall be set aside for return to the
county board unopened pending decision by the county board and
shall not be counted. All absentee ballots not challenged for
any of the reasons provided herein shall be counted and included
with the general return of paper ballots or voting machines, as
the case may be as follows. Thereupon, the local election board
shall open the envelope of every unchallenged absentee elector
in such manner as not to destroy the declaration executed
thereon. All of such envelopes on which are printed, stamped or
endorsed the words "Official Absentee Ballot" shall be placed in
one or more depositories at one time and said depository or
depositories well shaken and the envelopes mixed before any
envelope is taken therefrom. If any of these envelopes shall
contain any extraneous marks or identifying symbols other than
the words "Official Absentee Ballot," the envelopes and the
ballots contained therein shall be set aside and declared void.
The local election board shall then break the seals of such
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envelopes, remove the ballots and record the votes in the same
manner as district election officers are required to record
votes. With respect to the challenged ballots, they shall be
returned to the county board with the returns of the local
election district where they shall be placed unopened in a
secure, safe and sealed container in the custody of the county
board until it shall fix a time and place for a formal hearing
of all such challenges and notice shall be given where possible
to all absentee electors thus challenged and to every attorney,
watcher or candidate who made such challenge. The time for the
hearing shall not be later than seven (7) days after the date of
said challenge. On the day fixed for said hearing, the county
board shall proceed without delay to hear said challenges and,
in hearing the testimony, the county board shall not be bound by
technical rules of evidence. The testimony presented shall be
stenographically recorded and made part of the record of the
hearing. The decision of the county board in upholding or
dismissing any challenge may be reviewed by the court of common
pleas of the county upon a petition filed by any person
aggrieved by the decision of the county board. Such appeal shall
be taken, within two (2) days after such decision shall have
been made, whether reduced to writing or not, to the court of
common pleas setting forth the objections to the county board's
decision and praying for an order reversing same. Pending the
final determination of all appeals, the county board shall
suspend any action in canvassing and computing all challenged
ballots irrespective of whether or not appeal was taken from the
county board's decision. Upon completion of the computation of
the returns of the county, the votes cast upon the challenged
official absentee ballots shall be added to the other votes cast
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within the county.] (Reserved).
(f) Any person challenging an application for an absentee
ballot or an absentee ballot for any of the reasons provided in
this act shall deposit the sum of ten dollars ($10.00) in cash
[with the local election board, in cases of challenges made to
the local election board and] with the county board [in cases of
challenges made to the county board] for which he shall be
issued a receipt for each challenge made, which sum shall only
be refunded if the challenge is sustained or if the challenge is
withdrawn within five (5) days after the primary or election. If
the challenge is dismissed by any lawful order then the deposit
shall be forfeited. [All deposit money received by the local
election board shall be turned over to the county board
simultaneously with the return of the challenged ballots.] The
county board shall deposit all deposit money in the general fund
of the county.
Notice of the requirements of subsection (b) of section 1306
shall be printed on the envelope for the absentee ballot.
(g) (1) (i) An absentee ballot cast by any absentee
elector as defined in section 1301(a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f),
(g) and (h) [which is received in the office of the county board
of elections after five o'clock P.M. on the Friday immediately
preceding the election and no later than five o'clock P.M. on
the seventh day following an election shall be canvassed in
accordance with this subsection if the absentee ballot is
postmarked no later than the day immediately preceding the
election.] shall be canvassed in accordance with this section if
the ballot is cast, submitted and received in accordance with
the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (Public
Law 99-410, 100 Stat. 924) or is received within the time
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specified for absentee ballots by this section if that time is
longer.
(ii) An absentee ballot cast by an absentee elector as
defined in section 1301(i), (j), (k), (l), (m) , (n) and (o)
shall be canvassed in accordance with this section if the
absentee ballot is received in the office of the county board of
elections by any of the following means:
(A) Delivery in-person no later than eight o'clock P.M. on
the day of the primary or election.
(B) First class mail no later than five o'clock P.M. on the
seventh day following the election if the absentee ballot is
postmarked no later than the day immediately preceding the
election.
(2) The county board of elections shall meet on the [eighth]
third day following the election to canvass the absentee ballots
received under this subsection and subsection (h)(2) until the
deadline for receipt of the absentee ballots as provided under
25 Pa.C.S. § 3511 (relating to receipt of voted ballot). One
authorized representative of each candidate in an election and
one representative from each political party shall be permitted
to remain in the room in which the absentee ballots are
canvassed. Representatives shall be permitted to challenge any
absentee elector in accordance with the provisions of paragraph
(3).
(3) When the county board meets to canvass absentee ballots
under paragraph (2), the board shall examine the declaration on
the envelope of each ballot not set aside under subsection (d)
and shall compare the information thereon with that contained in
the "Registered Absentee Voters File," the absentee voters' list
and/or the "Military Veterans and Emergency Civilians Absentee
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Voters File," whichever is applicable. If the county board has
verified the proof of identification as required under this act
and is satisfied that the declaration is sufficient and the
information contained in the "Registered Absentee Voters File,"
the absentee voters' list and/or the "Military Veterans and
Emergency Civilians Absentee Voters File" verifies his right to
vote, the county board shall announce the name of the elector
and shall give any candidate representative or party
representative present an opportunity to challenge any absentee
elector upon the ground or grounds: (i) that the absentee
elector is not a qualified elector; or (ii) that the absentee
elector was [within the municipality of his residence on the day
of the primary or election during the period the polls were
open, except where he was in the military service or except in
the case where his ballot was obtained for the reason that he
was unable to appear personally at the polling place because of
illness or physical disability; or (iii) that the absentee
elector was able to appear personally at the polling place on
the day of the primary or election during the period the polls
were open in the case his ballot was obtained for the reason
that he was unable to appear personally at the polling place
because of illness or physical disability.] not otherwise
qualified to cast an absentee ballot. Upon challenge of any
absentee elector, as set forth herein, the board shall mark
"challenged" on the envelope together with the reasons therefor,
and the same shall be set aside unopened pending final
determination of the challenge according to the procedure
described in paragraph (5).
(4) All absentee ballots not challenged for any of the
reasons provided in paragraph (3) shall be counted and included
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with the returns of the applicable election district as follows.
The county board shall open the envelope of every unchallenged
absentee elector in such manner as not to destroy the
declaration executed thereon. If any of the envelopes on which
are printed, stamped or endorsed the words "Official Absentee
Ballot" contain any extraneous marks or identifying symbols, the
envelopes and the ballots contained therein shall be set aside
and declared void. The county board shall then break the seals
of such envelopes, remove the ballots and record the votes.
(5) With respect to the challenged ballots, they shall be
placed unopened in a secure, safe and sealed container in the
custody of the county board until it shall fix a time and place
for a formal hearing of all such challenges, and notice shall be
given where possible to all absentee electors thus challenged
and to every individual who made a challenge. The time for the
hearing shall not be later than five (5) days after the date of
the challenge. On the day fixed for said hearing, the county
board shall proceed without delay to hear said challenges, and,
in hearing the testimony, the county board shall not be bound by
the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence. The testimony presented
shall be stenographically recorded and made part of the record
of the hearing.
(6) The decision of the county board in upholding or
dismissing any challenge may be reviewed by the court of common
pleas of the county upon a petition filed by any person
aggrieved by the decision of the county board. The appeal shall
be taken, within two (2) days after the decision was made,
whether the decision was reduced to writing or not, to the court
of common pleas setting forth the objections to the county
board's decision and praying for an order reversing the
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decision.
(7) Pending the final determination of all appeals, the
county board shall suspend any action in canvassing and
computing all challenged ballots received under this subsection
irrespective of whether or not appeal was taken from the county
board's decision. Upon completion of the computation of the
returns of the county, the votes cast upon the challenged
official absentee ballots that have been finally determined to
be valid shall be added to the other votes cast within the
county.
* * *
Section 5. This act shall take effect in 90 days.
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