ASSEMBLY, No. 3186

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 16, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  JOAN M. QUIGLEY

District 32 (Bergen and Hudson)

Assemblywoman  ELEASE EVANS

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits authorized bearer from mailing or transporting voted ballots to county board on behalf of more than 10 qualified voters in an election.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the delivery of voted mail-in ballots to the county board in an election and amending P.L.2009, c.79.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 12 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-12) is amended to read as follows:

     12.  Each county clerk shall send, with each mail-in ballot, printed directions for the preparation and transmitting of the ballots as required by this act.  The directions shall be printed in such manner and form as the Secretary of State shall require, together with two envelopes of such sizes that one will contain the other.

     The outer envelope shall be addressed to the county board of elections of the county in which is located the home address of the person to whom the mail-in ballot is sent, as certified by the county clerk.  At the discretion of the county clerk, the outer envelope may be a postage paid return envelope.  On the outside and front of each outer envelope, there shall be printed or stamped the following:

 

     To protect your vote:

 

     IT IS AGAINST THE LAW FOR ANYONE EXCEPT YOU THE VOTER TO MAIL OR TRANSPORT THIS BALLOT UNLESS THE ENVELOPE IS SEALED AND THE FOLLOWING IS COMPLETED:

 

     Ballot mailed or transported by

 

      (signature of bearer)

 

      (print name of bearer)

 

      (address of bearer)

 

     I, (name of bearer), certify that I have been authorized by the voter to mail or transport this ballot, and that I have not mailed or transported ballots on behalf of more than 10 qualified voters in this election.


     The reserve side of the outer envelope shall contain the following:

 

     REMINDER

 

     For your vote to count, you must:

 

     1)    Vote your ballot and place it in the inner envelope with the attached certificate.

     2)    Seal the envelope.

     3)    Place the envelope into the larger envelope addressed to the board of elections and seal that envelope.

     4)    If another person will be mailing your ballot or bringing it to the board of elections, MAKE CERTAIN THAT PERSON COMPLETES THE "BEARER PORTION" ON THE ENVELOPE ADDRESSED TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS BEFORE THE BALLOT IS TAKEN FROM YOU.  NO PERSON IS PERMITTED TO SERVE AS A BEARER ON BEHALF OF MORE THAN 10 QUALIFIED VOTERS IN AN ELECTION.  NO PERSON WHO IS A CANDIDATE IN THE ELECTION FOR WHICH THE VOTER REQUESTS THIS BALLOT IS PERMITTED TO SERVE AS A BEARER.

 

     The Secretary of State is authorized to make such changes to the instructions for mail-in ballot materials as the Secretary of State deems necessary or as is mandated by federal or State law.

     The inner envelope shall be so designed that it can be sealed after the mail-in ballot has been placed therein and the flap thereof shall be of such length and size as to leave sufficient margin, after sealing, for the printing thereon of the certificate hereinafter described.  The flap shall be so arranged that, after the inner envelope has been sealed, the certificate can be contained, with the inner envelope, in the outer envelope, and that the margin containing the certificate can be detached without unsealing the inner envelope.

     On the outside of each envelope in which a mail-in ballot is sent to a mail-in voter by the clerk, there shall be printed or stamped the words "Official Mail-In Ballot."  In addition, there shall be printed or stamped the following:

 

     To protect your vote:

 

     IT IS AGAINST THE LAW FOR ANYONE EXCEPT YOU THE VOTER TO OPEN, MARK, INSPECT OR SEAL THIS BALLOT.

 

     However, a family member may assist you in doing so.


     The reverse side of each inner envelope shall contain the following statement:

 

     A PERSON MAY BE FINED AND IMPRISONED AND MAY ALSO LOSE THE RIGHT TO VOTE UNTIL RESTORED BY LAW if that person attempts to vote fraudulently by mail-in ballot, prevents the voting of a legal voter, certifies falsely any information, interferes with a person's secrecy of voting, tampers with ballots or election documents or helps another person to do so.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.79, s.12)

 

     2.    Section 16 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-16) is amended to read as follows:

     16.  a. A mail-in voter shall be entitled to mark any mail-in ballot forwarded to the voter for voting at any election by indicating the voter's choice of candidates for the offices named, and as to public questions, if any, stated thereon, in accordance with current law.  In the case of ballots to be voted for any presidential primary election or primary election for the general election, as the case may be, the voter's choice shall be limited to the candidates of the voter's political party or to any person or persons whose names are written thereon by the voter.  When so marked, such ballot shall be placed in the inner envelope, which shall then be sealed, and the voter shall then fill in the form of certificate attached to the inner envelope, at the end of which the voter shall sign and print the voter's name.  The inner envelope with the certificate shall then be placed in the outer envelope, which shall then be sealed.

     b.    No mail-in voter shall permit any person in any way, except as provided by this act, to unseal, mark or inspect the voter's ballot, interfere with the secrecy of the voter's vote, complete or sign the certificate, or seal the inner or outer envelope, nor shall any person do so.

     c.     A mail-in voter shall be entitled to assistance from a family member in performing any of the actions provided for in this section.  The family member or other person providing such assistance shall certify that he or she assisted the voter and will maintain the secrecy of the vote by both printing and signing his or her name in the space provided on the certificate.  In no event may a candidate for election provide such assistance, nor may any person, at the time of providing such assistance, campaign or electioneer on behalf of any candidate.

     d.    (1) The sealed outer envelope with the inner envelope and the ballot enclosed therein shall then either be mailed to the county board of elections to which it is addressed or delivered personally by the voter or a bearer designated by the voter to the board.  To be counted, the ballot must be received by the board or its designee before the time designated by R.S.19:15-2 or R.S.19:23-40 for the closing of the polls, as may be appropriate, on the day of an election.

     (2)   Whenever a person delivers a ballot to the county board, that person shall sign a record maintained by the county of all mail-in ballots personally delivered to it.

     (3)   No person shall serve as an authorized messenger for more than 10 qualified voters in an election.  No person shall serve as an authorized bearer for more than 10 qualified voters in an election. No person who is a candidate in the election for which the voter requests a mail-in ballot shall be permitted to serve as an authorized messenger or bearer.  The bearer, by signing the certification provided for in section 12 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-12), certifies that he or she received a mail-in ballot directly from the voter, and no other person, [and] is authorized to deliver the ballot to the appropriate board of election or designee on behalf of the voter, and has not mailed or transported ballots on behalf of more than 10 qualified voters in the election.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.79, s.16)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill prohibits an authorized bearer from mailing or transporting voted ballots to the county board of election on behalf of more than 10 qualified voters in an election.  Thus, the bill limits mail-in ballot bearers to the same number of ballots as currently provided by law for mail-in ballot messengers.

     Under current law, an authorized messenger is permitted to deliver mail-in election ballots from the county board of election to not more than 10 qualified voters.  In contrast, an authorized bearer is permitted to deliver an unlimited number of mail-in election ballots completed by qualified voters to the county board of election.  This bill provides that bearers must not mail or transport voted mail-in ballots on behalf of more than 10 qualified voters in any election.