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Laws: Absent Voters’ Ballots And Absentee Voting

The officers specified in section 16.1-07-05, upon request, shall mail an application form for an absent voter's ballot to the voter, or they may deliver the application form to the voter upon a personal application made at the officer's office. The officers may also make available or distribute the applications, prescribed by the secretary of state, to the public without any specific request being made for the applications.
1. Upon receipt of an application for an official ballot properly filled out and duly signed, or as soon thereafter as the official ballot for the precinct in which the applicant resides has been prepared, the county auditor, city auditor, or business manager of the school district, as the case may be, shall send to the absent voter by mail, at the expense of the political subdivision conducting the election, one official ballot, or personally deliver the ballot to the applicant or the applicant's agent, which agent may not, at that time, be a candidate for any office to be voted upon by the absent voter. The agent shall sign the agent's name before receiving the ballot and deposit with the auditor or business manager of the school district, as the case may be, authorization in writing from the applicant to receive the ballot or according to requirements set forth for signature by mark. The auditor or business manager of the school district, as the case may be, may not provide an absent voter's ballot to a person acting as an agent who cannot provide a signed, written authorization from an applicant. No person may receive compensation, including money, goods, or services, for acting as an agent for an elector, nor may a person act as an agent for more than four electors in any one election. A voter voting by absentee ballot may not require the political subdivision providing the ballot to bear the expense of the return postage for an absentee ballot.
 
2. If there is more than one ballot to be voted by an elector of the precinct, one of each kind must be included and a secrecy envelope and a return envelope must be enclosed with the ballot or ballots. The front of the return envelope must bear the official title and post-office address of the officer supplying the voter with the ballot and upon the other side a printed voter's affidavit in substantially the following form:
 
Precinct ______________________________________________
Name ________________________________________________
Residential Address _____________________________________
City ___________________________ ND Zip Code ____________
Under penalty of possible criminal prosecution for making a false
statement, I swear that I reside at the residential address provided
above, that I have resided in my precinct for at least thirty days
next preceding the election, and this is the only ballot I will cast
in this election.
Applicant's Signature ____________________________________
Date _________________________________________________
 
If the absent voter is unable to sign the voter's name, the voter shall mark (X) or use the applicant's signature stamp on the statement in the presence of a  disinterested individual. The disinterested individual shall print the name of the  individual marking the X or using the signature stamp below the X or signature  stamp and shall sign the is interested individual's own name following the printed  name together with the notation "witness to the mark".
 
3. Each individual requesting an absent voter's ballot under this chapter must be provided a set of instructions, prescribed by the secretary of state, sufficient to describe the process of voting by absent voter's ballot. The voting instructions must contain a statement informing the individual that the individual is entitled to complete the absent voter's ballot in secrecy.
 
4. Each individual requesting an absent voter's ballot under this chapter who cannot read the English language or who because of blindness or other disability is unable to mark the voter's ballot, upon request, may receive the assistance of any individual of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an officer or agent of the voter's union, a candidate running in that election, or a relative of a candidate as described in subsection 2 of section 16.1-05-02, in marking the voter's ballot. 

 

 

In the case of congressional, state, county, city, or school district elections, if an envelope postmarked or otherwise officially marked by the United States postal service or other mail delivery system before the date of election and containing an absent voter's ballot is received by the officer too late to be forwarded to the proper voting precinct in time to be tabulated, the ballot must be tallied by the canvassing board of the county, the governing body of the city, or the school board of the school district, as the case may be, at the time the returns are canvassed. Any envelope without a postmark or other official marking by the United States postal service or other mail delivery system or with an illegible postmark or other official marking and containing an absentee voter's ballot must be received by mail by the proper officer prior to the meeting of the canvassing board. An absent voter may personally deliver the absent voter's ballot to the appropriate officer's office at any time before five p.m. on the day before the election. Any envelope containing an absent voter's ballot with a postmark or official date stamp on the day of election or thereafter may not be tallied with the ballots timely submitted for the election. Before forwarding any ballot to a canvassing board pursuant to this section, the officer forwarding the ballot shall print the date of receipt on the envelope. Upon receipt, the canvassing board shall determine that the elector was qualified to vote in that precinct, that the elector did not previously vote in that precinct on the date of the election, and that the signatures on the absentee ballot application and the voter's affidavit were signed by the same person before allowing the ballot to be tallied.

 

 

Upon receipt of an envelope containing the absent voter's ballot, the proper officer immediately shall attach the application of the absent voter and file the ballot with other absentee ballots from the same precinct. Before delivering the absentee ballots to the precinct, the proper officer shall package the ballots in a manner so the ballots are sealed securely. The package must be endorsed with the name of the proper voting precinct, the name and official title of the officer, and the words "This package contains an absent voter's ballot and must be opened only according to the processing provisions of section 16.1-07-12." The officer shall keep the package safely in the officer's office until it is delivered by the officer as provided in this chapter.
If the envelope containing the absent voter's ballot is received by the county auditor, auditor or clerk of the city, or business manager of the school district, as the case may be, prior to that person's delivery of the sealed package containing the official ballots to the inspector of elections of the precinct in which such absent voter resides, such ballot, after having been enclosed with the application in an envelope as required by section 16.1-07-10, must be enclosed in such package and delivered therewith to the inspector of the precinct. If the official ballots for the precinct have been delivered to the election inspector at the time of receipt by the proper officer of the absent voter's ballot, then the officer or the officer's designee shall personally deliver it to the inspector prior to the close of the polls on election day. Any absent voter's ballot sent to the wrong precinct by the official whose duty it is to forward such ballots to the precincts, or any absent voter's ballot received by the inspector from the appropriate officer too late to be counted at the precinct, must be returned to the official by the election inspector, and must be tallied by the county canvassing board, the governing body of the city, or the school board, as the case may be, with other absent voters' ballots received too late to be counted on election day.
1. For any primary, general, or special statewide, district, or county election, the board of county commissioners may create a special precinct, known as an absentee ballot precinct, for the purpose of counting all absentee ballots cast in an election in that county. The election board of the absentee ballot precinct must be known as the absentee ballot counting board. The county auditor shall supply the board with all necessary election supplies as provided in chapter 16.1-06.
 
2. If the board of county commissioners chooses to establish an absentee ballot precinct according to this section, the following provisions apply:
 
a. The county auditor shall appoint the absentee ballot counting board that consists of one independent representative to act as the inspector and an equal number of representatives from each political party represented on an election board in the county, as set forth in section 16.1-05-01, to act as judges. Each official of the board shall take the oath required by section 16.1-
05-02 and must be compensated as provided in section 16.1-05-05.
b. The county auditor shall have the absentee ballots delivered to the inspector of the absentee ballot counting board with the election supplies, or if received later, then prior to the closing of the polls.
c. The absentee ballot counting board shall occupy a location designated by the county auditor which must be open to any individual for the purpose of observing the counting process.
d. The absentee ballots must be opened and handled as required in section 16.1-07-12. The county auditor shall designate a location for the closing, counting, and canvassing process under chapter 16.1-15, which location must  be open to any person for the purpose of observing. The board shall comply  with the requirements of sections 16.1-15-04 through 16.1-15-12, as applicable.
At any time beginning on the day before election day and the closing of the polls on election day, the election clerks and board members of the relevant precinct first shall compare the signature on the application for an absent voter's ballot with the signature on the voter's affidavit provided for in section 16.1-07-08 to ensure the signatures correspond. If the applicant is then a duly qualified elector of the precinct and has not voted at the election, they shall open the absent voter's envelope in a manner as not to destroy the affidavit thereon. They shall take out the secrecy envelope with the ballot or ballots contained therein without unfolding the same, or permitting the same to be opened or examined and indicate in the pollbook of the election that the elector has voted. The election board members not participating in the comparing of signatures and entering voters into the pollbook shall remove the ballot or ballots from the secrecy envelope, unfold and initial the same, and deposit in the proper ballot box for tabulation. The votes from these cast ballots may not be tallied and the tabulation reports may not be generated until the polls have closed on election day. If the affidavit on the outer envelope of a returned absentee ballot is found to be insufficient, or that the signatures on the application and affidavit do not correspond, or that the applicant is not then a duly qualified elector of the precinct, the vote may not be allowed, but without opening the absent voter's envelope, the election inspector or election judge shall mark across the face thereof "rejected as defective" or "rejected as not an elector", as the case may be. These rejected ballots are then turned over to the county canvassing board for final determination of eligibility. The subsequent death of an absentee voter after having voted by absentee ballot does not constitute grounds for rejecting the ballot.
At polling places using electronic voting systems, absent voters' ballots, if any, must be entered in secrecy by the two election judges. The absentee electronic voting system ballots prepared pursuant to this section must be deposited in the ballot boxes and counted as other ballots. If the electronic voting system in use so provides, the actual electronic voting system ballot may be used as the absentee ballot.

Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

1. For any primary, general, or special statewide, district, or county election, the board of county commissioners may, before the sixtieth day before the day of the election, create a special precinct, known as an early voting precinct, to facilitate the conduct of early voting in that county according to chapters 16.1-13 and 16.1-15. At the determination of the county auditor, more than one voting location may be utilized for the purposes of operating the early voting precinct. The election board of the early voting precinct must be known as the early voting precinct election board. The county auditor shall supply the board with all necessary election supplies as provided in chapter 16.1-06.
 
2. If the board of county commissioners establishes an early voting precinct according to this section, the following provisions apply:
 
a. Early voting must be authorized during the fifteen days immediately before the day of the election. The county auditor shall designate the business days and times during which the early voting election precinct will be open and publish notice of the early voting center locations, dates, and times in the  official county newspaper once each week for three consecutive weeks  immediately before the day of the election
 b. The county auditor shall appoint the early voting precinct election board for each voting location that consists of one independent representative to act as the inspector and an equal number of representatives from each political party represented on an election board in the county, as set out in section 16.1-05-01, to act as judges. Each official of the board shall take the oath required by section 16.1-05-02 and must be compensated as provided in section 16.1-05-05.
c. The county auditor, with the consent of the board of county commissioners, shall designate each early voting location in a public facility, accessible to the elderly and the physically disabled as provided in section 16.1-04-02. With respect to polling places at early voting precincts, "election day" as used in sections 16.1-10-03 and 16.1-10-06.2 includes any time an early voting  precinct polling place is open.
d. At the close of each day of early voting, the inspector, along with a judge from each political party represented on the board, shall secure all election-related materials, including:
(1) The pollbooks and access to any electronically maintained pollbooks.
(2) The ballot boxes containing voted ballots.
(3) Any void, spoiled, and unvoted ballots.
e. Ballot boxes containing ballots cast at an early voting location may not be opened until the day of the election except as may be necessary to clear a ballot jam or to move voted ballots to a separate locked ballot box in order to make room for additional ballots.
f. Each early voting location may be closed, as provided in chapter 16.1-15, at  the end of the last day designated for early voting in the county. Results from the early voting precinct may be counted, canvassed, or released under  chapter 16.1-15 as soon as any precinct within the county, city, or legislative  district closes its polls on the day of the election. The county auditor shall  designate a location for the closing, counting, and canvassing process under chapter 16.1-15, which location must be open to any person for the purpose of observing.
g. The early voting precinct election board shall comply with the requirements of chapters 16.1-05, 16.1-13, and 16.1-15, as applicable.

 

The secretary of state is designated as the official responsible for providing information regarding absentee voting by military and overseas citizens eligible to vote in the state according to section 702 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [Pub. L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1]. The secretary of state shall develop and provide uniform procedures for county auditors to follow when transmitting and receiving applications for absentee ballots to and from military and overseas voters.
The secretary of state shall establish a uniform procedure for county auditors to follow when notifying a military or overseas voter that the voter's absentee ballot was rejected. The procedure must provide that the notice include the reason why the voter's absentee ballot was rejected as provided by section 707 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [Pub. L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1]. 

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) administers the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) on behalf of the Secretary of Defense. The UOCAVA requires that the states and territories allow certain U.S. citizens, as defined below, to register and vote absentee in elections for Federal office. These groups include:

  • Members of the Uniformed Services (including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine)
  • Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service
  • Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Eligible family members of the above
  • U.S. citizens employed by the Federal Government residing outside the U.S., and
  • All other private U.S. citizens residing outside the U.S.

The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) modified UOCAVA and other statutes.

ND Century Code 16.1-07-16. Secretary of state to provide information regarding absentee voting for military and overseas voters.

The secretary of state is designated as the official responsible for providing information regarding absentee voting by military and overseas citizens eligible to vote in the state according to section 702 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [Pub. L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1]. The secretary of state shall develop and provide uniform procedures for county auditors to follow when transmitting and receiving applications for absentee ballots to and from military and overseas voters.