Absentee and Early Voting Act

Summary: The Absentee and Early Voting Act allows voters to cast their ballots by mail or in person prior to Election Day.

For recently-passed legislation, see: Maryland Chapter 158 (2013) and Minnesota HF 193 (2013)

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

This Act shall be called the “Absentee and Early Voting Act.”

SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

(A) FINDINGS—The legislature finds that:

1. Thousands of citizens do not participate in elections because they cannot appear in-person on Election Day.

2. Broad participation in elections is essential to a healthy democracy.

3. To expand voter turnout, the state must make it easier for citizens to participate in elections.

(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to encourage greater citizen participation in the democratic process.

SECTION 3. ABSENTEE AND EARLY VOTING

Current section XXX shall be deleted and the following new section XXX shall be inserted:

(A) ABSENTEE VOTING

A citizen who is qualified and registered to vote, and who completes and signs an absentee voter ballot application, shall receive an absentee voter ballot without having to provide an explanation for the application.

(B) EARLY VOTING

1. A citizen who is qualified and registered to vote may cast his or her ballot before a general, primary or special election if the citizen appears at the office of the [local election supervisor] or other location designated by the [local election supervisor] during designated hours from 15 days before Election Day until the day before Election Day.

2. The [local election supervisor] shall designate early voting hours that include, at a minimum, at least eight hours on every day that is not Sunday or a legal holiday.

(C) ENFORCEMENT

1. The [Secretary of State] shall promulgate regulations to enforce this section.

2. An aggrieved citizen may file an action with a court of competent jurisdiction in order to enforce his or her rights under this section.

SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.

This Act shall take effect on July 1, 20XX.


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