SECOND REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE BILL NO. 2109
96TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVE SCHOELLER.
6316L.01I D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk
To repeal sections 115.135, 115.279, and 115.291, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof three new sections relating to voter registration.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Sections 115.135, 115.279, and 115.291, RSMo, are repealed and three new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 115.135, 115.279, and 115.291, to read as follows:
115.135. 1. Any person who is qualified to vote, or who shall become qualified to vote on or before the day of election, shall be entitled to register in the jurisdiction within which he or she resides. In order to vote in any election for which registration is required, a person must be registered to vote in the jurisdiction of his or her residence no later than 5:00 p.m., or the normal closing time of any public building where the registration is being held if such time is later than 5:00 p.m., on the fourth Wednesday prior to the election, unless the voter is an interstate former resident, an intrastate new resident or a new resident, as defined in section 115.275. In no case shall registration for an election extend beyond 10:00 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday prior to the election. Any person registering after such date shall be eligible to vote in subsequent elections.
2. (1) A person applying to register with an election authority or a deputy registration official shall identify himself or herself by presenting a form of personal identification that provides evidence of United States citizenship. All such forms presented under this subsection shall be kept confidential by the election authority, and shall include one of the following:
(a) A copy of a birth certificate[, a Native American tribal document, other proof of United States citizenship,] that verifies United States citizenship to the satisfaction of the election authority;
(b) A valid Missouri drivers license or [other form of personal identification at the time of registration] nondriver license, or a drivers license or nondriver identification card issued by the equivalent governmental agency of another state if such license or card indicates that the person has presented proof of United States citizenship upon application for such license or card;
(c) Pertinent pages of the applicant's United States valid or expired passport identifying the applicant and the applicant's passport number, or presentation to the election authority of the applicant's United States passport;
(d) The applicant's United States naturalization documents or the number of the certificate of naturalization. If only the number of the certificate of naturalization is provided, the applicant shall not be included in the registration rolls until the number of the certificate of naturalization is verified with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or its successor agency, by the election authority or the secretary of state, under 8 U.S.C. Section 1373(c), as amended;
(e) Other documents or methods of proof of United States citizenship issued by the federal government under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended;
(f) The applicant's Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, tribal treaty card number or tribal enrollment number;
(g) The applicant's consular report of birth abroad of a citizen of the United States;
(h) The applicant's certificate of citizenship issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services;
(i) The applicant's certification of report of birth issued by the United States Department of State;
(j) The applicant's American Indian card, with KIC classification, issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security;
(k) The applicant's final adoption decree showing the applicant's name and United States birthplace;
(l) The applicant's official United States military record of service showing the applicant's place of birth in the United States;
(m) An extract from a United States hospital record of birth created at the time of the applicant's birth indicating the applicant's place of birth in the United States.
(2) Any applicant who is a United States citizen but does not have any of the documentation listed in this section as satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship may submit any evidence that such applicant believes demonstrates the applicant's United States citizenship. Any applicant seeking an assessment of evidence under this subdivision may directly contact the elections division of the secretary of state by submitting a voter registration application or form as described by this section and any supporting evidence of United States citizenship. Upon receipt of this information, the secretary of state shall give the applicant an opportunity for a hearing and an opportunity to present any additional evidence to the secretary of state. Notice of such hearing shall be given to the applicant at least five days before the hearing date. An applicant shall have the opportunity to be represented by counsel at such hearing. The secretary of state shall assess the evidence provided by the applicant to determine whether the applicant has provided satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship. If an applicant submits an application and any supporting evidence before the close of registration for an election cycle, a determination by the secretary of state shall be issued at least five days before such election date. If the secretary of state finds that the evidence presented by such applicant constitutes satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship, such applicant shall have met the requirements under this subsection to provide satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship. If the secretary of state finds that the evidence presented by an applicant does not constitute satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship, such applicant shall have the right to appeal such determination by the state election board by instituting an action under 8 U.S.C. Section 1503, as amended. Any negative assessment of an applicant's eligibility by the secretary of state shall be reversed if the applicant obtains a declaratory judgment under 8 U.S.C. Section 1503, as amended, demonstrating that such applicant is a national of the United States.
(3) The department of health and senior services shall not charge or accept any fee for a certified copy of a birth certificate if the certificate is requested by any person who is seventeen years of age or older for purposes of meeting the voter registration requirements of this section. Such person shall submit an affidavit that such person plans to register to vote in this state and that such person does not possess any of the documents that constitute evidence of United States citizenship under this section. The affidavit shall specifically list the documents that constitute evidence of United States citizenship under this section. The department of health and senior services may promulgate rules to implement the provisions of this subdivision.
(4) Any person who is registered in this state on the effective date of this section is deemed to have provided satisfactory evidence of citizenship and shall not be required to resubmit evidence of citizenship.
3. Except as provided in federal law or federal elections and in section 115.277, no person shall be entitled to vote if the person has not registered to vote in the jurisdiction of his or her residence prior to the deadline to register to vote.
115.279. 1. Application for an absentee ballot may be made by the applicant in person, or by mail, or for the applicant, in person, by his or her guardian or a relative within the second degree by consanguinity or affinity. The election authority shall accept applications by facsimile transmission within the limits of its telecommunications capacity.
2. Each application shall be made to the election authority of the jurisdiction in which the person is or would be registered. Each application shall be in writing and shall state the applicant's name, address at which he or she is or would be registered, his or her reason for voting an absentee ballot, the address to which the ballot is to be mailed, if mailing is requested, and for absent uniformed services and overseas applicants, the applicant's email address if electronic transmission is requested. Each application to vote in a primary election shall also state which ballot the applicant wishes to receive. If any application fails to designate a ballot, the election authority shall, within three working days after receiving the application, notify the applicant by mail that it will be unable to deliver an absentee ballot until the applicant designates which political party ballot he or she wishes to receive. If the applicant does not respond to the request for political party designation, the election authority is authorized to provide the voter with that part of the ballot for which no political party designation is required. Each applicant shall also present an acceptable form of personal identification as provided in section 115.427.
3. Except as provided in subsection 3 of section 115.281, all applications for absentee ballots received prior to the sixth Tuesday before an election shall be stored at the office of the election authority until such time as the applications are processed in accordance with section 115.281. No application for an absentee ballot received in the office of the election authority by mail, by facsimile transmission or by a guardian or relative after 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday immediately prior to the election shall be accepted by any election authority. No application for an absentee ballot submitted by the applicant in person after 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election shall be accepted by any election authority, except as provided in subsections 6, 8 and 9 of this section.
4. Each application for an absentee ballot shall be signed by the applicant or, if the application is made by a guardian or relative pursuant to this section, the application shall be signed by the guardian or relative, who shall note on the application his or her relationship to the applicant. If an applicant, guardian or relative is blind, unable to read or write the English language or physically incapable of signing the application, he or she shall sign by mark, witnessed by the signature of an election official or person of his or her own choosing. Any person who knowingly makes, delivers or mails a fraudulent absentee ballot application shall be guilty of a class one election offense.
5. (1) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, any resident of the state of Missouri who resides outside the boundaries of the United States or who is on active duty with the armed forces of the United States or members of their immediate family living with them may request an absentee ballot for both the primary and subsequent general election with one application. (2) The election authority shall provide each absent uniformed services voter and each overseas voter who submits a voter registration application or an absentee ballot request, if the election authority rejects the application or request, with the reasons for the rejection.
(3) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, if a standard oath regarding material misstatements of fact is adopted for uniformed and overseas voters pursuant to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the election authority shall accept such oath for voter registration, absentee ballot, or other election-related materials.
(4) Not later than sixty days after the date of each regularly scheduled general election for federal office, each election authority which administered the election shall submit to the secretary of state in a format prescribed by the secretary a report on the combined number of absentee ballots transmitted to, and returned by, absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters for the election. The secretary shall submit to the Election Assistance Commission a combined report of such information not later than ninety days after the date of each regularly scheduled general election for federal office and in a standardized format developed by the commission pursuant to the Help America Vote Act of 2002. The secretary shall make the report available to the general public.
(5) As used in this section, the terms "absent uniformed services voter" and "overseas voter" shall have the meaning prescribed in 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-6.
6. An application for an absentee ballot by a new resident, as defined in section 115.275, shall be submitted in person by the applicant in the office of the election authority in the election jurisdiction in which such applicant resides. The application shall be received by the election authority no later than 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election. Such application shall be in the form of an affidavit, executed in duplicate in the presence of the election authority or any authorized officer of the election authority, and in substantially the following form:
COUNTY OF........................., ss.
I, ................................, do solemnly swear that:
(1) Before becoming a resident of this state, I resided at ......... (residence address) in ......................... (town, township, village or city) of ................................. County in the state of .........................................;
(2) I moved to this state after the last day to register to vote in such general presidential election and I am now residing in the county of ........................., state of Missouri;
(3) I believe I am entitled pursuant to the laws of this state to vote in the presidential election to be held November ......., .......... (year);
(4) I hereby make application for a presidential and vice presidential ballot. I have not voted and shall not vote other than by this ballot at such election.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this ............ day of ................, ......
(Title and name of officer authorized to administer oaths)"
7. The election authority in whose office an application is filed pursuant to subsection 6 of this section shall immediately send a duplicate of such application to the appropriate official of the state in which the new resident applicant last resided and shall file the original of such application in its office.
8. An application for an absentee ballot by an intrastate new resident, as defined in section 115.275, shall be made in person by the applicant in the office of the election authority in the election jurisdiction in which such applicant resides. The application shall be received by the election authority no later than 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election. Such application shall be in the form of an affidavit, executed in duplicate in the presence of the election authority or an authorized officer of the election authority, and in substantially the following form:
"STATE OF ........................
COUNTY OF ......................, ss.
I, ......................................, do solemnly swear that:
(1) Before becoming a resident of this election jurisdiction, I resided at ...................................... (residence address) in ........................ (town, township, village or city) of ............................ county in the state of ......................................;
(2) I moved to this election jurisdiction after the last day to register to vote in such election;
(3) I believe I am entitled pursuant to the laws of this state to vote in the election to be held ........................ (date);
(4) I hereby make application for an absentee ballot for candidates and issues on which I am entitled to vote pursuant to the laws of this state. I have not voted and shall not vote other than by this ballot at such election.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this ............... day of ................, .........
(Title and name of officer authorized to administer oaths)"
9. An application for an absentee ballot by an interstate former resident, as defined in section 115.275, shall be received in the office of the election authority where the applicant was formerly registered by 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday immediately prior to the election, unless the application is made in person by the applicant in the office of the election authority, in which case such application shall be made no later than 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election.
115.291. 1. Upon receiving an absentee ballot in person or by mail, the voter shall mark the ballot in secret, place the ballot in the ballot envelope, seal the envelope and fill out the statement on the ballot envelope. The affidavit of each person voting an absentee ballot shall be subscribed and sworn to before the election official receiving the ballot, a notary public or other officer authorized by law to administer oaths, unless the voter is voting absentee due to incapacity or confinement due to the provisions of section 115.284, illness or physical disability, or the voter is an absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter. If the voter is blind, unable to read or write the English language, or physically incapable of voting the ballot, the voter may be assisted by a person of the voter's own choosing. Any person assisting a voter who is not entitled to such assistance, and any person who assists a voter and in any manner coerces or initiates a request or a suggestion that the voter vote for or against or refrain from voting on any question, ticket or candidate, shall be guilty of a class one election offense. If, upon counting, challenge or election contest, it is ascertained that any absentee ballot was voted with unlawful assistance, the ballot shall be rejected.
2. Except as provided in subsection 4 of this section, each absentee ballot shall be returned to the election authority in the ballot envelope and shall only be returned by the voter in person, or in person by a [relative of the voter who is within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, by mail or registered carrier or by a team of deputy election authorities] person designated in writing by the voter at the time the request for an absentee ballot is made; except that persons in federal service, when sent from a location determined by the secretary of state to be inaccessible on election day, shall be allowed to return their absentee ballots cast by use of facsimile transmission or under a program approved by the Department of Defense for electronic transmission of election materials. Any person designated by the voter to return the absentee ballot under this subsection shall also sign a statement that the designee has not exercised any undue influence on the voting decisions of the voter than that such designee agrees to deliver the ballot as directed by the voter.
3. In cases of an emergency declared by the President of the United States or the governor of this state where the conduct of an election may be affected, the secretary of state may provide for the delivery and return of absentee ballots by use of a facsimile transmission device or system. Any rule promulgated pursuant to this subsection shall apply to a class or classes of voters as provided for by the secretary of state.
4. No election authority shall refuse to accept and process any otherwise valid marked absentee ballot submitted in any manner by an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter solely on the basis of restrictions on envelope type.
5. As provided in the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, the secretary of state shall, in coordination with local election authorities, develop a free access system by which an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter may determine whether the voter's absentee ballot has been received by the appropriate election authority.