Substitute House Bill No. 5890

Public Act No. 00-79

An Act Concerning The Number Of Available Paper Ballots When Voting Machines Are Damaged Or For Electors With Disabilities.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 9-259 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The moderator of the election in each municipality, voting district or ward shall appear at the office of the municipal clerk not later than eight o'clock p.m. of the day before the election and there receive from the municipal clerk the sample ballot labels, three complete sets of ballot labels and all checklists and other supplies necessary to conduct the election and make return thereof. The moderator shall receive a sealed envelope, and a receipt therefor, containing only the number two and number three election official keys for each voting machine. Each such envelope shall bear the number of the machine to which the keys belong. The number four election official key for each voting machine shall be available to the registrars for the use of the mechanics beginning at [5:15] five fifteen a.m. on the day of the election. The supplies provided by the municipal clerk to the moderator shall include a number of paper ballots for the purposes of sections 9-263, as amended by this act, and 9-264, as amended by this act, which shall be equal to not less than one per cent of the number of electors who are eligible to vote in the voting district served by the moderator, or such other number as the municipal clerk and the registrars agree is sufficient to protect electors' voting rights. On the morning of the election, the election officials shall meet at the room where the election is to be held at least forty-five minutes before the time for opening the polls. The moderator shall then cause the three sample ballot labels and instruction cards to be posted and everything put in readiness for the commencement of voting at the hour of opening the polls. The envelope containing the keys shall not be opened until at least one election official from each of two political parties is present at the polling place and has examined the envelope to see that it has not been opened. Before opening the envelope, all election officials present shall examine the number of the seal of the machine and the number registered on the protective counter, if one is provided, and shall see if they are the same as the numbers written on the envelope containing the keys. If the numbers are found not to agree, the envelope shall not be opened until the mechanic in charge of the machine, or the registrars or one of the registrars under whose direction the machine was prepared under section 9-243, has been notified and such mechanic, registrars or registrar has appeared at the polling place for the purpose of reexamining such machine and has certified that it is properly arranged. If the numbers on the seal and the protective counter, if one is provided, are found to agree with the numbers on the envelope, the election officials shall proceed to open the doors concealing the counters. The election officials, in the presence of the party watchers, shall compare the ballot labels on the machine with the sample ballot labels to see that they are correct, and, if the machine is not so labeled, set and adjusted and in order, they shall immediately label, set and adjust the same and place it in order, or cause it to be done, examine and see that all the counters in the machine are set at zero (000) and that the machine is otherwise in perfect order and make written report thereof as hereinbefore directed and they shall not thereafter permit the counters to be operated or moved except by electors in voting. If the machine is equipped with a device for printing totals of candidate and question counters, the doors concealing the counters shall not be opened. The election officials shall examine the printed record produced by the machine to see that each counter registers zero and shall allow watchers to examine the printed record. They shall also see that all necessary arrangements and adjustments are made for voting write-in ballots on the machine and that the machine and its attachments are properly set or adjusted so that the elector will be concealed while in the act of voting. There shall be printed directions for the guidance of the election officials before the polls are opened and when the polls are closed. The moderator's return which the moderator receives from the municipal clerk for state elections shall be in a form prescribed by the Secretary of the State. There shall be printed on the moderators' returns a certificate, which shall be signed by the election officials before the polls are opened, showing the delivery of the keys in a sealed envelope; the number on the seal; the number registered on the protective counter, if one is provided; whether all of the counters are set at zero (000); whether the public counter is set at zero (000); whether the ballot labels are properly placed in the machine; also a certificate, which shall be filled out after the polls have been closed, that the machine has been locked against voting and sealed; the number of electors as shown on the public counter; the number on the seal; the number registered on the protective counter, if one is provided, and that the voting machine is closed and locked. The moderators' returns shall show the total number of votes cast for each office, the number of votes cast for each candidate, as shown on his counter, and the number of votes for persons not nominated, which shall be certified by the moderator, checkers and registrars, or assistant registrars, as the case may be. If any of the counters are not set at zero and the election officials are not able to set them at zero, the actual number registered or indicated on such counters shall be entered on such tally sheet, and, at the end of the election, that number shall be deducted from the number then shown on the counter to ascertain the true vote cast for the candidate to whom such counter belongs. The mechanic's seal on the machine shall not be broken until the officials have assembled on the morning of the election. The officials shall examine the seal before breaking it.

Sec. 2. Section 9-263 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

If any voting machine used in any voting district, during the time the polls are open, becomes damaged so as to render it inoperative in whole or in part, the moderator shall immediately give notice thereof to the registrars of voters under whose direction the machine was prepared under section 9-243 and such registrars, if possible, shall substitute a perfect machine for the damaged machine, and, at the close of the polls, the records of both machines shall be taken and the votes shown on their counters shall be added together in ascertaining and determining the result of the election. If no other machine is in use in the polling place such registrars shall immediately permit the use by the electors of emergency paper ballots [by the electors, which] provided by the municipal clerk to the moderator pursuant to section 9-259, as amended by this act. Such ballots shall be received by the election officials and placed by them in a receptacle to be provided therefor and counted with the votes registered on the voting machine and the result declared in the same manner as if there had been no accident to the voting machine. The emergency paper ballot shall be an absentee ballot. Emergency paper ballots shall be cast in the following manner. The elector shall announce [his] the elector's name to the checkers who shall cross [his] the elector's name off the registry list and add it with [his] the elector's address to the end of the official checklist where it shall be designated "Emergency Paper Ballot" or "EPB" and serially numbered. After the elector has so announced [his] the elector's name, the moderator shall deliver to such elector an emergency paper ballot together with the serially numbered envelope. The elector shall forthwith mark the ballot in the presence of the moderator in such manner that the moderator shall not know how the ballot is marked. [He] The elector shall then fold the ballot in the presence of the moderator so as to conceal the markings and deposit and seal it in the serially numbered envelope. [He] The elector shall then deliver the envelope to the moderator who shall place it in a specially designated depository envelope. The emergency paper ballots thus received shall be counted at the next scheduled absentee ballot count in the same manner as other absentee ballots, provided no such ballot may be counted unless all provisions of this section have been complied with. Such ballots so counted shall be preserved by replacing them into the special depository envelopes along with a certificate signed by the moderator and registrars of voters setting forth the circumstances under which such emergency paper ballots were cast. Use of emergency paper ballots shall be discontinued immediately upon replacement or repair of at least one machine.

Sec. 3. Subsection (b) of section 9-264 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) Paper ballots provided by the municipal clerk to the moderator pursuant to section 9-259, as amended by this act, shall be made available for electors with disabilities in polling places in which a voting machine cannot be adjusted to allow all necessary parts to be reached from a chair. Such paper ballots shall be used at the option of the elector with disabilities. The elector shall announce [his] the elector's name to the checkers who shall cross [his] the elector's name off the registry list and add it with [his] the elector's address to the end of the official checklist where it shall be designated "paper ballot for persons with disabilities" or "PBD" and serially numbered. After the elector has so announced [his] the elector's name, the moderator shall deliver to the elector an absentee ballot and a serially-numbered envelope. The elector shall forthwith mark the ballot in the presence of the moderator in such manner that the moderator shall not know how the ballot is marked. The elector shall fold the ballot in the presence of the moderator so as to conceal the markings and deposit and seal it in the serially-numbered envelope. [He] The elector shall deliver the envelope to the moderator who shall place it in a specially-designated depository envelope. The paper ballots thus received shall be counted at the next scheduled absentee ballot count in the same manner as other absentee ballots. Such ballots so counted shall be preserved by placing them in the depository envelopes with the regular absentee ballots, and such serially-numbered envelopes shall be placed in the depository envelopes with the regular absentee ballot envelopes.

Approved May 16, 2000