General Assembly: 83 (2009 Regular GA) - Chapter 140 - Counting of absentee ballots

Published: 2009-05-22

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CH. 140CH. 140


H.F. 670

ANACT relating to absentee voting and the counting of absentee ballots beginning on the day before the general election.

Be It Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa:

Section 1. Section 53.23, subsections 3 and 4, Code 2009, are amended to read as follows: 3. a. The commissioner shall set the convening time for the board, allowing a reasonable

amount of time to complete counting all absentee ballots by 10:00 p.m. on election day. b. (1) The commissioner may direct the board to meet on the day before the election solely

for the purpose of reviewing the absentee voters’ affidavits appearing on the sealed affidavit envelopes. If in the commissioner’s judgment this procedure is necessary due to the number of absenteeballots received, themembersof theboardmayopen the sealed affidavit envelopes and remove the secrecy envelope containing the ballot, but under no circumstances shall a se- crecy envelope be opened before the board convenes on election day, except as provided in paragraph “c”. If the affidavit envelopes are opened before election day pursuant to this para- graph “b”, two observers, one appointed by each of the two political parties referred to in sec- tion 49.13, subsection 2, shall witness the proceedings. The observers shall be appointed by the county chairperson or, if the county chairperson fails tomake an appointment, by the state chairperson. However, if either or both political parties fail to appoint an observer, the com- missioner may continue with the proceedings. b. (2) If the board finds any ballot not enclosed in a secrecy envelope and theballot is folded

in suchaway that anyof the votes cast on theballot are visible, the twospecial precinct election officials, one from each of the two political parties referred to in section 49.13, subsection 2, shall place the ballot in a secrecy envelope. No one shall examine the ballot, except as provid- ed in paragraph “c”. c. For the general election, the commissioner may convene the special precinct election

board on the day before the election to begin counting absentee ballots. However, if in the pre- ceding general election the counting of absentee ballots was not completed by 10:00 p.m. on election day, the commissioner shall convene the special precinct election board on the day before thenext general election tobegin countingabsenteeballots. Theboard shall not release the results of its tabulation pursuant to this paragraph until the count is completed on election day. 4. The roomwheremembers of the special precinct election board are engaged in counting

absentee ballots on the day before the election pursuant to subsection 3, paragraph “c”, or dur- ing the hours the polls are open shall be policed so as to prevent any person other than those whose presence is authorized by this subsection from obtaining information about the prog- ress of the count. The only persons whomay be admitted to that room are themembers of the board, one challenger representing each political party, one observer representing any non- party political organization or any candidate nominated by petition pursuant to chapter 45 or any other nonpartisan candidate in a city or school election appearing on the ballot of the elec- tion in progress, one observer representing persons supporting a public measure appearing on the ballot and one observer representing persons opposed to such measure, and the com- missioner or the commissioner’s designee. It shall beunlawful for anyof thesepersons to com- municate or attempt to communicate, directly or indirectly, information regarding the prog- ress of the count at any time while the board is convened pursuant to subsection 3, paragraph “c”, or at any time before the polls are closed.

Approved May 22, 2009