House Bill #6004 (2021)

AN ACT RELATING TO ELECTIONS - MAIL BALLOTS

Entitles disabled and military voters to utilize electronically transmitted ballots.

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Changes since original draft

  • 2021 – H 6004
  • 2021 – H 6004 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED
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  • LC001807
  • LC001807/SUB A
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  • S TATE OF RHODE IS LAND
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2021
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2021
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO ELECTIONS - MAIL BALLOTS
  • Introduced By: Representatives O'Brien, and Baginski
  • Date Introduced: February 26, 2021
  • Referred To: House State Government & Elections
  • It is enacted by the GeneralAssembly as follows:
  • SECTION1.Sections 17-20-6.1 and17-20-9 of the GeneralLawsin Chapter17-20 entitled "Mail Ballots" are hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 17-20-6.1. Alternative methods of voting by citizens coveredby the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and othercitizens residing outside the United States.
  • (a) It is the intent and purpose that the provisions setforth in this section are designed to facilitate the federal mandate of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.
  • (b) The FederalPost Card Application (FPCA) may be used as a request for an absentee ballot by:
  • (1) A member of the armedforces whois absentfrom the state byreason of being in active service;
  • (2) Any personabsentfrom the statein performanceof "services intimately connectedwith military operations" as defined in § 17-20-3(d);
  • (3) Any person who is employed outside of the United States as defined in § 17-20-3(c); and
  • (4) Any personwho does not qualify under subparagraph(1), (2), or (3) above, but whois a citizen of the United States and absent from the state and residing outside the United States as described in chapter 21.1 of title 17.
  • (c) The single FPCA card shall permit the person to request an absentee ballot for each primary and election through the next general election for federal office or for the time period specified by federallaw in which the voter is eligible to vote.
  • (d) The FPCA cardmustbe receivedbythe localboard of canvassers where the personlast maintains his/her residence for voting purposes within the time frame for applying for absentee ballots as set forth in this title.
  • (e) If the FPCA, when used in accordance with this section, is sent by the voter through electronic transmission, it must be sent to the secretary of state and it must be received by the secretaryof state by the deadline for applying for absentee ballots as set forth in this title. The secretary of state shall then forward the FPCA to the appropriate local authority who shall immediately certify and return the FPCA to the secretary of state with the notation that the corresponding ballots shall be sentby mail and electronic transmission. The secretaryof state shall transmit ballots only to the facsimile number provided by the FederalVoter Assistance Program. The secretaryof state shall approve electronically transmitted ballots to and from eligible voters only through a service or solution that meets the following requirements:
  • It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
  • SECTION1.Sections17-20-6.1and17-20-9oftheGeneralLawsinChapter17-20entitled "Mail Ballots" are hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 17-20-6.1. Alternative methods of voting by citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and other citizens residing outside the United States.
  • (a) It is the intent and purpose that the provisions set forth in this section are designed to facilitate the federal mandate of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.
  • (b) The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) may be used as a request for an absentee ballot by:
  • (1) A member of the armed forces who is absent from the state by reason of being in active service;
  • (2) Anyperson absent fromthe state in performance of "servicesintimatelyconnected with military operations" as defined in § 17-20-3(d);
  • (3) Any person who is employed outside of the United States as defined in § 17-20-3(c); and
  • (4) Any person who does not qualify under subparagraph (1), (2), or (3) above, but who is a citizen of the United States and absent from the state and residing outside the United States as described in chapter 21.1 of title 17.
  • (c) The single FPCA card shall permit the person to request an absentee ballot for each primary and election through the next general election for federal office or for the time period specified by federal law in which the voter is eligible to vote.
  • (d) The FPCA card must be received by the local board of canvassers where the person last maintains his/her residence for voting purposes within the time frame for applying for absentee ballots as set forth in this title.
  • (e) If the FPCA, when used in accordance with this section, is sent by the voter through electronic transmission, it must be sent to the secretary of state and it must be received by the secretary of state by the deadline for applying for absentee ballots as set forth in this title. The secretary of state shall then forward the FPCA to the appropriate local authority who shall immediately certify and return the FPCA to the secretary of state with the notation that the corresponding ballots shall be sent by mail and electronic transmission. The secretary of state shall transmit ballots only to the facsimile number provided by the Federal Voter Assistance Program. The secretary of state shall approve electronically transmitted ballots to and from eligible voters only through a service or solution that meets the following requirements:
  • (1) The system has had one or more independent security reviews;
  • (2) Demonstrates the system meets the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework guidelines; and
  • (2) Demonstrates the system meets the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework guidelines or federal cybersecurity framework guidelines of a successor designated federal agency or organization; and
  • (3) Approved by the secretary of state.
  • Theballots sentbyelectronic transmission shall bereturnedtothe stateboardbyelectronic transmission. These ballots will be counted at the state board in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the state board.
  • (f) The voter's signature on the FPCA does notneedto be witnessedor notarized, whenthe FPCA is submitted as provided in this section.
  • (g) If a voter is casting a mail ballot receivedthrough the use of the FPCA cardas provided in this section, the voter's signature does not need to be witnessed or notarized on the certifying envelope used for the return of the voted mailballot.
  • Theballotssent byelectronictransmissionshall bereturnedtothestateboardbyelectronic transmission. These ballots will be counted at the state board in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the state board.
  • (f) The voter's signature on the FPCA does not need to be witnessed or notarized, when the FPCA is submitted as provided in this section.
  • (g) If a voter is casting a mail ballot received through the use of the FPCA card as provided in this section, the voter's signature does not need to be witnessed or notarized on the certifying envelope used for the return of the voted mail ballot.
  • 17-20-9. Application by permanently disabled or incapacitated voters.
  • (a) A voter who is indefinitely confined because of physical illness or infirmity or is disabled for anindefinite period may, by signing anaffidavit to thateffect,request thatanabsentee ballot application be sent to him or her automatically for every election. The affidavit form and instructions shall be prescribed by the secretaryof state,and furnished upon requestto any elector by eachlocalboard of canvassers. The envelope containing the absentee ballot application shall be clearly markedas not forwardable. If any elector is no longer indefinitely confined, he or she shall
  • LC001807 - Page 2of 4 notify the clerk of the local board of canvassers of this fact. The clerk shall remove the name of any voter from the mailing list established under this section upon receipt of reliable information that a voter no longer qualifies for the service. The voter shall be notified of the action within five (5) days after the board takes the action.
  • (b) The affidavit form and instructions prescribed in this section shall be mailed to the applicant along with a stamped return envelope addressed to the localboards of canvassers.
  • (c) Eligible disabled voters, shall be entitled to electronically receive and return their mail ballot, using the same electronic transmission utilize system as that used by voters covered by the Uniformed andOverseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. (UOCAVA).This electronic process shall satisfy the federalRehabilitation Act, section 508 concerning accessibility standards.
  • SECTION 2. This act shalltake effect upon passage.
  • (a) A voter who is indefinitely confined because of physical illness or infirmity or is disabled for an indefinite period may, by signing an affidavit to that effect, request that an absentee ballot application be sent to him or her automatically for every election. The affidavit form and instructions shall be prescribed by the secretary of state, and furnished upon request to any elector by each local board of canvassers. The envelope containing the absentee ballot application shall be clearly marked as not forwardable. If any elector is no longer indefinitely confined, he or she shall notify the clerk of the local board of canvassers of this fact. The clerk shall remove the name of any voter from the mailing list established under this section upon receipt of reliable information that a voter no longer qualifies for the service. The voter shall be notified of the action within five (5) days after the board takes the action.
  • (b) The affidavit form and instructions prescribed in this section shall be mailed to the applicant along with a stamped return envelope addressed to the local boards of canvassers.
  • (c) Eligible disabled voters, shall be entitled to electronically receive and return their mail ballot, using the same electronic transmission system as that used by voters covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. (UOCAVA). This electronic process shall satisfy the federal Rehabilitation Act, section 508 concerning accessibility standards.
  • (d) For purposes of this section, "eligible disabled voter" means a disabled person eligible to vote who is incapacitated to such an extent that it would be an undue hardship to vote at the polls because of illness, mental or physical disability, blindness or a serious impairment of mobility.
  • SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage and the provisions of which shall expire on December 31, 2024.
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  • LC001807
  • LC001807/SUB A
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  • LC001807 - Page 3of 4
  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO ELECTIONS - MAIL BALLOTS
  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO ELECTIONS - MAIL BALLOTS
  • ***
  • This act would entitle disabled and military voters to utilize electronically transmitted ballots.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC001807 ========
  • LC001807 - Page 4of 4
  • This act would take effect upon passage and the provisions of which shall expire on December 31, 2024. ======== LC001807/SUB A ========

Votes

NOTE: Electronic voting records are unofficial and may not be accurate. For an official vote tally, check the House or Senate Journal from the day of the vote.

Floor vote for PASSAGE

June 19, 2019 at 5:05pm
Yeas: 72 / Nays: 2 / Not voting: 1 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Rep. Abney Y
Rep. Ackerman Y
Rep. Ajello Y
Rep. Almeida Y
Rep. Alzate Y
Rep. Amore Y
Rep. Azzinaro Y
Rep. Barros NV
Rep. Bennett Y
Rep. Blazejewski Y
Rep. Caldwell Y
Rep. Canario Y
Rep. Carson Y
Rep. Casey Y
Rep. Casimiro Y
Rep. Cassar Y
Rep. Chippendale Y
Rep. Cortvriend Y
Rep. Corvese Y
Rep. Costantino Y
Rep. Craven Y
Rep. Diaz Y
Rep. Donovan Y
Rep. Edwards Y
Rep. Fellela Y
Rep. Filippi Y
Rep. Fogarty Y
Rep. Handy Y
Rep. Hawkins Y
Rep. Hull Y
Rep. Jackson Y
Rep. Jacquard Y
Rep. Johnston Y
Rep. Kazarian Y
Rep. Kennedy Y
Rep. Kislak Y
Rep. Knight Y
Rep. Lima Y
Rep. Lombardi Y
Rep. Lyle Y
Rep. Maldonado Y
Rep. Marszalkowski Y
Rep. Mattiello Y
Rep. McEntee Y
Rep. McKiernan Y
Rep. McLaughlin Y
Rep. McNamara Y
Rep. Mendez Y
Rep. Messier Y
Rep. Millea Y
Rep. Morin Y
Rep. Nardone Y
Rep. Newberry Y
Rep. Noret Y
Rep. O'Brien Y
Rep. Phillips Y
Rep. Place Y
Rep. Price N
Rep. Quattrocchi Y
Rep. Ranglin-Vassell Y
Rep. Roberts N
Rep. Ruggiero Y
Rep. Serodio Y
Rep. Serpa Y
Rep. Shanley Y
Rep. Shekarchi Y
Rep. Slater Y
Rep. Solomon Y
Rep. Speakman Y
Rep. Tanzi Y
Rep. Tobon Y
Rep. Ucci Y
Rep. Vella-Wilkinson Y
Rep. Walsh Y
Rep. Williams Y