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16.1-07-12: Opening ballot - Voting or rejecting - Depositing in ballot box

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.