Text: HSB00221                          Text: HSB00223
Text: HSB00200 - HSB00299               Text: HSB Index
Bills and Amendments: General Index     Bill History: General Index



House Study Bill 222

Bill Text

PAG LIN
  1  1    Section 1.  Section 13.2, Code 1999, is amended by adding
  1  2 the following new subsection:
  1  3    NEW SUBSECTION.  14.  Assist the state commissioner of
  1  4 elections in preparing written summaries of constitutional
  1  5 amendments or other public measures as required by section
  1  6 49.44.
  1  7    Sec. 2.  NEW SECTION.  39A.1  TITLE AND PURPOSE – ELECTION
  1  8 OFFICIALS DEFINED.
  1  9    1.  This chapter may be cited and referred to as the
  1 10 "Election Misconduct and Penalties Act".
  1 11    2.  The purpose of this chapter is to identify actions
  1 12 which threaten the integrity of the election process and to
  1 13 impose significant sanctions upon persons who intentionally
  1 14 commit those acts.  It is the intent of the general assembly
  1 15 that offenses with the greatest potential to affect the
  1 16 election process be vigorously prosecuted and strong
  1 17 punishment meted out through the imposition of felony
  1 18 sanctions which, as a consequence, removes the voting rights
  1 19 of the offenders.  Other offenses are still considered
  1 20 serious, but based on the factual context in which they arise,
  1 21 they may not rise to the level of offenses to which felony
  1 22 penalties attach.  The general assembly also recognizes that
  1 23 instances may arise in which technical infractions of chapters
  1 24 39 through 53 may occur which do not merit any level of
  1 25 criminal sanction.  In such instances, administrative notice
  1 26 from the state or county commissioner of elections is
  1 27 sufficient.  Mandates or proscriptions in chapters 39 through
  1 28 53 which are not specifically included in this chapter shall
  1 29 be considered to be directive only, without criminal sanction.
  1 30    3.  For the purposes of this chapter, "election officials"
  1 31 include the state commissioner, the county commissioner,
  1 32 employees of the state commissioner and county commissioner
  1 33 who are responsible for carrying out functions or duties under
  1 34 chapters 39 through 53, and precinct election officials
  1 35 appointed pursuant to sections 49.12, 49.14, 49.18, and 53.23.
  2  1    Sec. 3.  NEW SECTION.  39A.2  ELECTION MISCONDUCT IN THE
  2  2 FIRST DEGREE.
  2  3    1.  A person commits the crime of election misconduct in
  2  4 the first degree if the person willfully commits any of the
  2  5 following acts:
  2  6    a.  REGISTRATION FRAUD.  Produces, procures, submits, or
  2  7 accepts voter registration applications that are known by the
  2  8 person to be materially false, fictitious, forged, or
  2  9 fraudulent.
  2 10    b.  VOTE FRAUD.
  2 11    (1)  Destroys, delivers, or handles an application for a
  2 12 ballot or an absentee ballot with the intent of interfering
  2 13 with the elector's right to vote.
  2 14    (2)  Produces, procures, submits, or accepts ballots or
  2 15 absentee ballots, or produces, procures, casts, accepts, or
  2 16 tabulates ballots that are known by the person to be
  2 17 materially false, fictitious, forged, or fraudulent.
  2 18    (3)  Votes or attempts to vote more than once at the same
  2 19 election, or voting or attempting to vote at any election
  2 20 knowing oneself not to be qualified.
  2 21    (4)  Otherwise deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive
  2 22 or defraud the citizens of this state of a fair and
  2 23 impartially conducted election process.
  2 24    c.  DURESS.  Intimidates, threatens, or coerces, or
  2 25 attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any person who
  2 26 does any of the following:
  2 27    (1)  Registers to vote, or votes, or attempts to register
  2 28 to vote.
  2 29    (2)  Urges or aids any person to register to vote, to vote,
  2 30 or to attempt to register to vote.
  2 31    (3)  Exercises any right under chapters 39 through 53.
  2 32    d.  BRIBERY.
  2 33    (1)  Pays, offers to pay, or causes to be paid money or any
  2 34 other thing of value to a person to influence the person's
  2 35 vote.
  3  1    (2)  Pays, offers to pay, or causes to be paid money or
  3  2 other thing of value to an election official conditioned on
  3  3 some act done or omitted to be done contrary to the person's
  3  4 official duty in relation to an election.
  3  5    (3)  Receives money or any other thing of value knowing
  3  6 that it was given in violation of subparagraph (1) or (2).
  3  7    e.  CONSPIRACY.  Conspires with or acts as an accessory
  3  8 with another to commit an act in violation of paragraphs "a"
  3  9 through "d".
  3 10    2.  Election misconduct in the first degree is a class "D"
  3 11 felony.
  3 12    Sec. 4.  NEW SECTION.  39A.3  ELECTION MISCONDUCT IN THE
  3 13 SECOND DEGREE.
  3 14    1.  A person commits the crime of election misconduct in
  3 15 the second degree if the person willfully commits any of the
  3 16 following acts:
  3 17    a.  INTERFERENCE WITH VALIDITY OF ELECTION.
  3 18    (1)  Possesses an official ballot outside of the voting
  3 19 room unless the person is an election official or other person
  3 20 authorized by law.
  3 21    (2)  Makes or possesses a counterfeit of an official
  3 22 election ballot.
  3 23    (3)  Solicits or encourages a person to vote in an election
  3 24 knowing that person is not qualified to vote in that election.
  3 25    b.  ACTIONS BY ELECTION OFFICIAL.  As an election official:
  3 26    (1)  Refuses to register a person who is entitled to
  3 27 register to vote under chapter 48A.
  3 28    (2)  Accepts a fee from an applicant applying for
  3 29 registration.
  3 30    (3)  While the polls are open, opens a ballot received from
  3 31 a voter, except as permitted by law.
  3 32    (4)  Marks a ballot by folding or otherwise so as to be
  3 33 able to recognize it.
  3 34    (5)  Attempts to learn how a voter marked a ballot.
  3 35    (6)  Causes a voter to cast a vote contrary to the voter's
  4  1 intention or wishes.
  4  2    (7)  Changes any ballot, or in any way causes any vote to
  4  3 be recorded contrary to the intent of the person casting that
  4  4 vote.
  4  5    (8)  Allows a person to do any of the acts proscribed by
  4  6 subparagraphs (1) through (7).
  4  7    2.  Election misconduct in the second degree is an
  4  8 aggravated misdemeanor.
  4  9    Sec. 5.  NEW SECTION.  39A.4  ELECTION MISCONDUCT IN THE
  4 10 THIRD DEGREE.
  4 11    1.  A person commits the crime of election misconduct in
  4 12 the third degree if the person willfully commits any of the
  4 13 following acts:
  4 14    a.  ELECTION DAY ACTS.  Any of the following on election
  4 15 day:
  4 16    (1)  Loitering, congregating, electioneering, posting of
  4 17 signs, treating voters, or soliciting votes, during the
  4 18 receiving of the ballots, either on the premises of any
  4 19 polling place or within three hundred feet of any outside door
  4 20 of any building affording access to any room where the polls
  4 21 are held, or of any outside door of any building affording
  4 22 access to any hallway, corridor, stairway, or other means of
  4 23 reaching the room where the polls are held.  This subparagraph
  4 24 shall not apply to the posting of signs on private property
  4 25 not a polling place, except that the placement of a sign that
  4 26 is more than ninety square inches in size on a motor vehicle,
  4 27 trailer, or semitrailer, or any attachment to a motor vehicle,
  4 28 trailer, or semitrailer parked on public property within three
  4 29 hundred feet of a polling place is prohibited.
  4 30    (2)  Interrupting, hindering, or opposing any voter while
  4 31 in or approaching the polling place for the purpose of voting.
  4 32    (3)  As a voter, allowing any person to see how the voter's
  4 33 ballot is marked.
  4 34    (4)  As a voter, submitting a false statement as to the
  4 35 voter's ability to mark a ballot.
  5  1    (5)  Interfering or attempting to interfere with a voter
  5  2 when the voter is inside the enclosed voting space, or when
  5  3 the voter is marking a ballot.
  5  4    (6)  Endeavoring to induce a voter to show how the voter
  5  5 marks or has marked a ballot.
  5  6    (7)  Marking, or causing in any manner to be marked, on any
  5  7 ballot, any character for the purpose of identifying such
  5  8 ballot.
  5  9    b.  ACTIONS BY ELECTION OFFICIAL.  As an election official:
  5 10    (1)  Serving as a member of a challenging committee or
  5 11 observer under section 49.104, subsection 2, 5, or 6, while
  5 12 serving as a precinct election official at the polls.
  5 13    (2)  Failing to perform duties prescribed by chapters 39
  5 14 through 53, or performance of those duties in such a way as to
  5 15 hinder the object of the law.
  5 16    (3)  Disclosing the manner in which a person's ballot has
  5 17 been voted to anyone except as ordered by a court.
  5 18    (4)  Failing to carry out a duty with relation to open and
  5 19 equal access to public records under the provisions of chapter
  5 20 22 with respect to records that relate to an election or voter
  5 21 registration.
  5 22    (5)  Furnishing a voter with a ballot other than the proper
  5 23 ballot to be used at that election.
  5 24    (6)  Making or consenting to any false entry on the list of
  5 25 voters or poll books.
  5 26    (7)  Placing or permitting another election official to
  5 27 place anything other than a ballot into a ballot box as
  5 28 provided in section 49.85, or permitting any person other than
  5 29 an election official to place anything into a ballot box.
  5 30    (8)  Taking out of a ballot box, or permitting to be so
  5 31 taken out, any ballot deposited in the ballot box, except in
  5 32 the manner prescribed by law.
  5 33    (9)  Destroying or altering any ballot which has been given
  5 34 to an elector.
  5 35    (10)  Permitting any person to vote in a manner prohibited
  6  1 by law.
  6  2    (11)  Refusing or rejecting the vote of any voter qualified
  6  3 to vote.
  6  4    (12)  Wrongfully doing any act or refusing to act for the
  6  5 purpose of avoiding an election, or of rendering invalid the
  6  6 ballots cast from any precinct or other district.
  6  7    (13)  Having been deputized to carry the poll books of any
  6  8 election to the place where they are to be canvassed, failing
  6  9 to deliver them to such place, safe, with seals unbroken, and
  6 10 within the time specified by law.
  6 11    c.  MISCELLANEOUS OFFENSES.
  6 12    (1)  As a party committee member or a primary election
  6 13 officer or public officer upon whom a duty is imposed by
  6 14 chapter 43 or by a statute applicable to chapter 43, by
  6 15 neglecting to perform any such duty, or performing any such
  6 16 duty in such a way as to hinder the object of the statute, or
  6 17 by disclosing to anyone, except as may be ordered by any court
  6 18 of justice, the manner in which a ballot may have been voted.
  6 19    (2)  As a person who is designated pursuant to section 43.4
  6 20 to report the results of a precinct caucus as it relates to
  6 21 the selection and reporting of delegates selected as part of
  6 22 the presidential nominating process or who is designated
  6 23 pursuant to section 43.4 to tabulate and report the number of
  6 24 persons attending the caucus favoring each presidential
  6 25 candidate, by failing to perform those duties, falsifying the
  6 26 information, or omitting information required to be reported
  6 27 under section 43.4.
  6 28    (3)  By making a false answer under the provisions of
  6 29 chapter 43 relative to the person's qualifications and party
  6 30 affiliations.
  6 31    (4)  Paying, offering to pay, or receiving compensation for
  6 32 voter registration assistance in violation of section 48A.25.
  6 33    (5)  Using voter registration information in violation of
  6 34 section 48A.39.
  6 35    (6)  As a candidate, by making a promise to name or appoint
  7  1 another person to a position or secure a position for another
  7  2 person in violation of section 49.120.
  7  3    (7)  Soliciting the use of influence from any candidate in
  7  4 violation of section 49.121.
  7  5    (8)  As a public official or employee, or a person acting
  7  6 under color of a public official or employee, by knowingly
  7  7 requiring a public employee to act in connection with an
  7  8 absentee ballot in violation of section 53.7.
  7  9    (9)  As a person designated by the commissioner or by the
  7 10 elector casting an absentee ballot, by failing to return an
  7 11 absentee ballot in violation of section 53.35A.
  7 12    (10)  As an incumbent officeholder of, or a candidate for,
  7 13 an office being voted for at the election in progress, by
  7 14 serving as a member of a challenging committee or observer
  7 15 under section 49.104, subsection 2, 5, or 6.
  7 16    2.  Election misconduct in the third degree is a serious
  7 17 misdemeanor.
  7 18    Sec. 6.  NEW SECTION.  39A.5  ELECTION MISCONDUCT IN THE
  7 19 FOURTH DEGREE.
  7 20    1.  A person commits the crime of election misconduct in
  7 21 the fourth degree if the person willfully commits any of the
  7 22 following acts:
  7 23    a.  ELECTION DAY ACTS.
  7 24    (1)  As an employer, by denying an employee the privilege
  7 25 conferred by section 49.109, or subjecting an employee to a
  7 26 penalty or reduction of wages because of the exercise of that
  7 27 privilege.
  7 28    (2)  Failing or refusing to comply with any order or
  7 29 command of an election official made in pursuance of the
  7 30 provisions of chapter 49 to which another penalty does not
  7 31 apply.
  7 32    (3)  Circulating, communicating, or attempting to circulate
  7 33 or communicate information with reference to the result of the
  7 34 counted ballots or making a compilation of vote subtotals
  7 35 before the polls are closed in violation of section 51.11,
  8  1 52.40, or 53.23.
  8  2    (4)  Destroying, defacing, tearing down, or removing any
  8  3 list of candidates, card of instruction, or sample ballot
  8  4 posted as provided by law prior to the closing of the polls.
  8  5    (5)  Removing or destroying the supplies or articles
  8  6 furnished for the purpose of enabling voters to prepare their
  8  7 ballots.
  8  8    (6)  Violating or attempting to violate any of the
  8  9 provisions or requirements of chapter 49 to which another
  8 10 penalty does not apply.
  8 11    b.  MISCELLANEOUS OFFENSES.
  8 12    (1)  A public employee acting in connection with an
  8 13 absentee ballot in violation of section 53.7.
  8 14    (2)  A person neglecting or refusing to return an absentee
  8 15 ballot in violation of section 53.35, or a person violating
  8 16 any other provision of chapter 53 for which another penalty is
  8 17 not provided.
  8 18    (3)  Filing a challenge containing false information under
  8 19 section 48A.14.
  8 20    2.  Election misconduct in the fourth degree is a simple
  8 21 misdemeanor.
  8 22    Sec. 7.  NEW SECTION.  39A.6  TECHNICAL INFRACTIONS –
  8 23 NOTICE.
  8 24    If the state commissioner or county commissioner becomes
  8 25 aware of an apparent technical violation of any of the
  8 26 provisions of chapters 39 through 53, the state commissioner
  8 27 or county commissioner may administratively provide a written
  8 28 notice and letter of instruction to the responsible persons
  8 29 regarding proper compliance procedures.  This notice is not a
  8 30 final determination of facts or law in the matter, and does
  8 31 not entitle a person to a proceeding under chapter 17A.
  8 32    Sec. 8.  Section 39.3, subsection 8, Code 1999, is amended
  8 33 to read as follows:
  8 34    8.  "Infamous crime" means a felony as defined in section
  8 35 701.7, or an offense classified as a felony under federal law
  9  1 or under the laws of another state.
  9  2    Sec. 9.  Section 48A.5, subsection 6, Code 1999, is amended
  9  3 to read as follows:
  9  4    6.  The deadlines for voter registration shall not apply to
  9  5 a person who has been discharged from military service within
  9  6 thirty sixty days preceding the date of an election.  The
  9  7 person shall present to the precinct election official a copy
  9  8 of the person's discharge papers.  The person shall complete a
  9  9 voter registration form and give it to the official before
  9 10 being permitted to vote.
  9 11    Sec. 10.  Section 48A.6, subsection 1, Code 1999, is
  9 12 amended to read as follows:
  9 13    1.  A person who has been convicted of a felony as defined
  9 14 in section 701.7, or convicted of an offense classified as a
  9 15 felony under federal law or under the laws of another state.
  9 16 If the person's rights are later restored by the governor, or
  9 17 by the president of the United States, the person may register
  9 18 to vote.
  9 19    Sec. 11.  Section 48A.8, Code 1999, is amended to read as
  9 20 follows:
  9 21    48A.8  REGISTRATION BY MAIL.
  9 22    An eligible elector may register to vote by completing a
  9 23 mail registration form.  The form may be mailed or delivered
  9 24 by the registrant or the registrant's designee to the
  9 25 commissioner in the county where the person resides.  A
  9 26 separate registration form shall be signed by each individual
  9 27 registrant.  An eligible elector who registers by mail is
  9 28 required to vote in person at the polling place at the first
  9 29 election following registration in which the voter casts a
  9 30 vote.  However, this does not apply to mail registration forms
  9 31 received from a motor vehicle driver's license station or from
  9 32 any voter registration agency, to confined persons voting
  9 33 pursuant to section 53.22, or to persons voting pursuant to
  9 34 section 53.45.
  9 35    Sec. 12.  Section 48A.9, subsection 1, Code 1999, is
 10  1 amended to read as follows:
 10  2    1.  Registration closes at five p.m. eleven thirty days
 10  3 before each election except primary and general elections.
 10  4 For primary and general elections, registration closes at five
 10  5 p.m. ten days before the election.  An eligible elector may
 10  6 register during the time registration is closed in the
 10  7 elector's precinct but the registration shall not become
 10  8 effective until registration opens again in the elector's
 10  9 precinct.
 10 10    Sec. 13.  Section 48A.9, subsection 3, Code 1999, is
 10 11 amended to read as follows:
 10 12    3.  A registration form submitted by mail shall be
 10 13 considered on time if it is postmarked no later than the
 10 14 fifteenth day thirty-five days before the election, even if it
 10 15 is received by the commissioner after the deadline, or if the
 10 16 registration form is received by the commissioner no later
 10 17 than five p.m. on the last day to register to vote for an
 10 18 election, even if it is postmarked after the fifteenth thirty-
 10 19 fifth day before the election.
 10 20    Sec. 14.  Section 48A.25, unnumbered paragraph 1, Code
 10 21 1999, is amended to read as follows:
 10 22    A person may pay, offer to pay, or accept compensation for
 10 23 assisting others in completing voter registration forms only
 10 24 if the compensation is based solely on the time spent
 10 25 providing the assistance.  Paying, offering to pay, or
 10 26 receiving compensation based on the number of registration
 10 27 forms completed, or the party affiliations shown on completed
 10 28 registration forms, or on any other performance criteria, is a
 10 29 serious misdemeanor unlawful.
 10 30    Sec. 15.  Section 48A.30, subsection 1, paragraph d, Code
 10 31 1999, is amended to read as follows:
 10 32    d.  The clerk of the district court, or the United States
 10 33 attorney, or the state registrar sends notice of the
 10 34 registered voter's conviction of a felony as defined in
 10 35 section 701.7, or conviction of an offense classified as a
 11  1 felony under federal law or under the laws of another state.
 11  2 The clerk of the district court shall send notice of a felony
 11  3 conviction to the state registrar of voters.  The state
 11  4 registrar may also receive notices of felony convictions
 11  5 obtained under federal law or under the laws of another state.
 11  6 The registrar shall determine in which county the felon is
 11  7 registered to vote, if any, and shall notify the county
 11  8 commissioner of registration for that county of the felony
 11  9 conviction.
 11 10    Sec. 16.  Section 48A.39, Code 1999, is amended to read as
 11 11 follows:
 11 12    48A.39  USE OF REGISTRATION INFORMATION – PENALTY.
 11 13    Information about individual registrants obtained from
 11 14 voter registration records shall be used only to request the
 11 15 registrant's vote at an election, or for another genuine
 11 16 political purpose, or for a bona fide official purpose by an
 11 17 elected official, or for bona fide political research, but
 11 18 shall not be used for any commercial purposes.  A person who
 11 19 uses registration information in violation of this section
 11 20 commits a serious misdemeanor.
 11 21    Sec. 17.  Section 49.43, unnumbered paragraph 3, Code 1999,
 11 22 is amended to read as follows:
 11 23    Constitutional amendments and other public measures may to
 11 24 be decided by the voters of the entire state shall be
 11 25 summarized by the state commissioner as provided in sections
 11 26 section 49.44 and.  Other public measures shall be summarized
 11 27 by the commissioner as provided in section 52.25.
 11 28    Sec. 18.  Section 49.44, unnumbered paragraph 3, Code 1999,
 11 29 is amended to read as follows:
 11 30    The commissioner may shall prepare a summary for public
 11 31 measures if the commissioner finds that a summary is needed to
 11 32 clarify for the purpose of clarifying the question to the
 11 33 voters.  The summary describing the constitutional amendment
 11 34 or public measure shall be written using terminology easily
 11 35 understandable to the general public.  The state commissioner
 12  1 shall receive assistance from the office of attorney general
 12  2 in preparing the written summary.
 12  3    Sec. 19.  Section 49.92, Code 1999, is amended to read as
 12  4 follows:
 12  5    49.92  VOTING MARK.
 12  6    The instructions appearing on the ballot shall describe the
 12  7 appropriate mark to be used by the voter.  The mark shall be
 12  8 consistent with the requirements of the voting system in use
 12  9 in the precinct.  The voting mark used on paper ballots may be
 12 10 a cross or check which shall be placed in the voting targets
 12 11 opposite the names of candidates.  The fact that the voting
 12 12 mark is made by an instrument other than a black lead pencil
 12 13 shall not affect the validity of the ballot unless it appears
 12 14 that the color or nature of the mark is intended to identify
 12 15 or recognize the ballot contrary to the intent of section
 12 16 49.107, subsection 7.
 12 17    Sec. 20.  Section 52.40, subsection 4, Code 1999, is
 12 18 amended to read as follows:
 12 19    4.  The tabulation of ballots received from early pick-up
 12 20 sites shall be conducted at the counting center during the
 12 21 hours the polls are open, in the manner provided in sections
 12 22 52.36 and 52.37, except that the room in which the ballots are
 12 23 being counted shall not be open to the public during the hours
 12 24 in which the polls are open and the room shall be policed so
 12 25 as to prevent any person other than those whose presence is
 12 26 authorized by this section and sections 52.36 and 52.37 from
 12 27 obtaining information about the progress of the count.  The
 12 28 only persons who may be admitted to that room, as long as
 12 29 admission does not impede the progress of the count, are the
 12 30 members of the board, one challenger representing each
 12 31 political party, one observer representing any nonparty
 12 32 political organization or any candidate nominated by petition
 12 33 pursuant to chapter 45, and the commissioner or the
 12 34 commissioner's designee.  No compilation of vote subtotals
 12 35 shall be made while the polls are open.  Any person who makes
 13  1 a compilation of vote subtotals before the polls are closed
 13  2 commits a simple misdemeanor.  It shall be unlawful for any
 13  3 person to communicate or attempt to communicate, directly or
 13  4 indirectly, information regarding the progress of the count at
 13  5 any time before the polls are closed.
 13  6    Sec. 21.  Section 53.2, unnumbered paragraph 1, Code 1999,
 13  7 is amended to read as follows:
 13  8    Any registered voter may, under the circumstances specified
 13  9 in section 53.1, may on any day, except election day, and not
 13 10 more than seventy fifty days prior to before the date of the
 13 11 election but not later than the Saturday before the election,
 13 12 apply in person for an absentee ballot at the commissioner's
 13 13 office or at any location designated by the commissioner, or
 13 14 make written application to the commissioner for an absentee
 13 15 ballot.  Applications shall not be signed or solicited in
 13 16 advance of the fifty-day period.  Applications shall only be
 13 17 accepted after the Saturday before the election if the
 13 18 applicant is voting pursuant to section 53.22.  The state
 13 19 commissioner shall prescribe a form for absentee ballot
 13 20 applications.  However, if a registered voter submits an
 13 21 application that includes all of the information required in
 13 22 this section, the prescribed form is not required.  Absentee
 13 23 ballot applications may include instructions to send the
 13 24 application directly to the county commissioner of elections.
 13 25 However, no absentee ballot application shall be preaddressed
 13 26 or printed with instructions to send the applications to
 13 27 anyone other than the appropriate commissioner.
 13 28    Sec. 22.  Section 53.2, unnumbered paragraph 4, Code 1999,
 13 29 is amended to read as follows:
 13 30    Each application shall contain the name and signature of
 13 31 the registered voter, the address at which the voter is
 13 32 registered to vote, and the name or date of the election for
 13 33 which the absentee ballot is requested, and such other
 13 34 information as may be necessary to determine the correct
 13 35 absentee ballot for the registered voter.  The voter's
 14  1 signature shall be the writing or markings of the voter.
 14  2 Another person shall not sign an application on behalf of a
 14  3 voter except that if the voter is unable due to a physical
 14  4 disability to make a written signature or mark, a person
 14  5 authorized by the voter may sign the application on behalf of
 14  6 the voter.  If insufficient information has been provided, the
 14  7 commissioner shall, by the best means available, obtain the
 14  8 additional necessary information.
 14  9    Sec. 23.  Section 53.2, unnumbered paragraph 6, Code 1999,
 14 10 is amended to read as follows:
 14 11    If an application for an absentee ballot is received from
 14 12 an eligible elector who is not a registered voter the
 14 13 commissioner shall send a registration form under section
 14 14 48A.8 and an absentee ballot to the eligible elector.  If the
 14 15 application is received so late that it is unlikely that the
 14 16 registration form can be returned in time to be effective on
 14 17 election day, the The commissioner shall enclose with the
 14 18 absentee ballot registration form a notice to that effect,
 14 19 informing the voter elector of the registration time limits in
 14 20 section 48A.9 and informing the elector that if the elector
 14 21 registers by mail, the elector will not be allowed to vote
 14 22 absentee until the elector has voted in person at the polling
 14 23 place.  The commissioner shall record on the elector's
 14 24 application that the elector is not currently registered to
 14 25 vote.  If the registration form is properly returned by the
 14 26 time provided by section 48A.9, the commissioner shall record
 14 27 on the elector's application the date of receipt of the
 14 28 registration form and enter a notation of the registration on
 14 29 the registration records.
 14 30    Sec. 24.  Section 53.7, subsection 2, Code 1999, is amended
 14 31 to read as follows:
 14 32    2.  Any It is unlawful for any public officer or employee,
 14 33 or any person acting under color of a public officer or
 14 34 employee, who to knowingly requires that require a public
 14 35 employee solicit an application or request for an application
 15  1 for an absentee ballot, or knowingly requires that an employee
 15  2 take an affidavit or request for an affidavit in connection
 15  3 with an absentee ballot application, commits a serious
 15  4 misdemeanor.
 15  5    Sec. 25.  Section 53.9, Code 1999, is amended to read as
 15  6 follows:
 15  7    53.9  PROHIBITED PERSONS.
 15  8    No A person required to file reports under chapter 56, and
 15  9 no a person acting as an actual or implied agent for a person
 15 10 required to file reports under chapter 56, shall not receive,
 15 11 handle, or deliver absentee ballots on behalf of voters.  This
 15 12 prohibition does not apply to precludes prohibited persons
 15 13 from being a voter's designee under section 53.17, and
 15 14 precludes an unvoted ballot from being sent to a prohibited
 15 15 person under section 53.2.
 15 16    Sec. 26.  Section 53.11, unnumbered paragraph 1, Code 1999,
 15 17 is amended to read as follows:
 15 18    The Except as provided in section 53.39, the commissioner
 15 19 shall deliver an absentee ballot to any registered voter
 15 20 applying in person at the commissioner's office, or at any
 15 21 location designated by the commissioner, not more than forty
 15 22 thirty days before the date of the general election or the
 15 23 primary election, and for all other elections, as soon as the
 15 24 ballot is available.  The registered voter shall immediately
 15 25 mark the ballot, enclose and seal it in a ballot envelope,
 15 26 subscribe to the affidavit on the reverse side of the
 15 27 envelope, and return the absentee ballot to the commissioner.
 15 28 The commissioner shall record the numbers appearing on the
 15 29 application and ballot envelope along with the name of the
 15 30 registered voter.
 15 31    Sec. 27.  Section 53.11, Code 1999, is amended by adding
 15 32 the following new unnumbered paragraphs after subsection 4:
 15 33    NEW UNNUMBERED PARAGRAPH.  The commissioner shall publish
 15 34 notice of all satellite voting stations established under this
 15 35 section, whether upon a petition or at the direction of the
 16  1 commissioner, within ten days of the applicable deadline
 16  2 established in subsections 1 through 4.
 16  3    NEW UNNUMBERED PARAGRAPH.  The provisions of section 49.107
 16  4 shall be applicable to satellite voting stations, including
 16  5 the commissioner's office, during the satellite voting period.
 16  6 However, the proximity to the satellite voting station in
 16  7 which electioneering and other activity specified by section
 16  8 49.107, subsection 1, is prohibited shall be one hundred feet
 16  9 from any wall, posted sign, or other divider which serves as a
 16 10 boundary of the area designated as a satellite voting station.
 16 11    Sec. 28.  Section 53.17, subsection 1, Code 1999, is
 16 12 amended to read as follows:
 16 13    1.  The sealed carrier envelope may be delivered by the
 16 14 registered voter or the voter's designee to the commissioner's
 16 15 office no later than the time the polls are closed on election
 16 16 day.  The person who delivers a carrier envelope to the
 16 17 commissioner's office shall sign a receipt presented by the
 16 18 commissioner.  The commissioner shall attach the signed
 16 19 receipt to the carrier envelope.
 16 20    Sec. 29.  Section 53.18, Code 1999, is amended to read as
 16 21 follows:
 16 22    53.18  MANNER OF PRESERVING BALLOT AND APPLICATION.
 16 23    Upon receipt of the absentee ballot, the commissioner shall
 16 24 at once record the number appearing on the application and
 16 25 return carrier envelope, and the time of receipt of such
 16 26 ballot, and whether the ballot was returned by personal
 16 27 delivery by the voter or the voter's designee or by mail.  The
 16 28 commissioner shall attach the elector's application to the
 16 29 unopened envelope.  Absentee ballots shall be stored in a
 16 30 secure place until they are delivered to the absentee and
 16 31 special voters.
 16 32    Sec. 30.  Section 53.31, unnumbered paragraph 1, Code 1999,
 16 33 is amended to read as follows:
 16 34    Any person qualified to vote at the election in progress
 16 35 may challenge the qualifications of a person casting who has
 17  1 requested or cast an absentee ballot by submitting a written
 17  2 challenge to the commissioner no later than five p.m. on the
 17  3 day before the election.  It is the duty of the special
 17  4 precinct officials to challenge the absentee ballot of any
 17  5 person whom the official knows or suspects is not duly
 17  6 qualified.  Challenges by members of the special precinct
 17  7 election board or observers present pursuant to section 53.23
 17  8 may be made at any time before the close of the polls on
 17  9 election day.  The challenge shall state the reasons for which
 17 10 the challenge is being submitted and shall be signed by the
 17 11 challenger.  When If a challenge is received the absentee
 17 12 ballot shall be set aside for consideration by the special
 17 13 precinct election board when it meets as required by section
 17 14 50.22.
 17 15    Sec. 31.  Section 53.35, Code 1999, is amended to read as
 17 16 follows:
 17 17    53.35  REFUSAL TO RETURN BALLOT.
 17 18    Any It is unlawful for any person who, having procured an
 17 19 official ballot or ballots, shall to willfully neglect or
 17 20 refuse to cast or return the same in the manner provided, or
 17 21 who shall willfully violate any provision of this chapter,
 17 22 shall, unless otherwise provided, be guilty of a simple
 17 23 misdemeanor.  Any person who applies for a ballot and
 17 24 willfully neglects or refuses to return the same shall be
 17 25 deemed to have committed an offense in the county to which
 17 26 such ballot was returnable.
 17 27    Sec. 32.  Section 53.35A, Code 1999, is amended to read as
 17 28 follows:
 17 29    53.35A  FAILURE TO RETURN BALLOT – PENALTY.
 17 30    Any It is unlawful for any person designated by the
 17 31 commissioner, or by the elector casting the absentee ballot,
 17 32 to deliver the sealed envelope containing the absentee ballot,
 17 33 who to willfully fails fail to return the ballot to the
 17 34 commissioner or the commissioner's designee, is guilty of a
 17 35 serious misdemeanor.
 18  1    Sec. 33.  Section 53.49, Code 1999, is amended to read as
 18  2 follows:
 18  3    53.49  APPLICABLE TO ARMED FORCES AND OTHER CITIZENS.
 18  4    The provisions of this division as to absent voting shall
 18  5 apply only to absent voters in the armed forces of the United
 18  6 States as defined for the purpose of absentee voting in
 18  7 section 53.37.  The provisions of sections 53.1 to 53.36,
 18  8 through 53.35 shall apply to all other qualified voters not
 18  9 members of the armed forces of the United States.
 18 10    Sec. 34.  Sections 43.119, 43.120, 48A.41, 49.107, 49.110,
 18 11 49.111, 49.113, 49.119, 51.16, 51.17, 53.36, 722.4, 722.5,
 18 12 722.6, 722.7, 722.8, and 722.9, Code 1999, are repealed.
 18 13    Sec. 35.  EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPLICABILITY.  Sections 1,
 18 14 17, and 18 of this Act, amending sections 13.2, 49.43, and
 18 15 49.44, being deemed of immediate importance, take effect upon
 18 16 enactment and apply to elections held on or after the
 18 17 effective date of this Act.  
 18 18                           EXPLANATION 
 18 19    This bill makes several changes to the laws on elections
 18 20 and voter registration.
 18 21    The bill corrects internal inconsistencies in the Code
 18 22 relating to election misconduct and creates a new Code chapter
 18 23 39A to contain the criminal provisions relating to violations
 18 24 of election laws and the penalties applicable to those
 18 25 violations.
 18 26    Four levels of criminal election misconduct are
 18 27 established, with penalties ranging from simple misdemeanor to
 18 28 class "D" felony penalties.  Specific references to criminal
 18 29 provisions and penalties in the current Code are restated in
 18 30 the new chapter and stricken or repealed from existing Code.
 18 31    The penalties for some violations are changed in the bill.
 18 32 The bill makes the violation of communicating the vote count
 18 33 prior to the closing of the polls a simple misdemeanor where
 18 34 previously no specific penalty was provided for such a
 18 35 violation.  The bill makes it a serious misdemeanor for a
 19  1 candidate to use influence on behalf of another in obtaining a
 19  2 position in exchange for support during the election.
 19  3 Previously, violation of this section was subject to the
 19  4 general penalty provisions in Code chapter 49, which made it a
 19  5 simple misdemeanor.
 19  6    The bill upgrades various prohibited acts on election day
 19  7 from simple to serious misdemeanors.  The penalty for
 19  8 willfully failing to perform duties or falsifying documents
 19  9 relating to precinct caucuses is also changed from a simple
 19 10 misdemeanor to a serious misdemeanor.
 19 11    The penalty for certain misconduct by election officials is
 19 12 changed from a serious misdemeanor to an aggravated
 19 13 misdemeanor.  This specifically includes misconduct by an
 19 14 election official causing a voter to vote contrary to the
 19 15 voter's wishes or changing a ballot or causing a vote to be
 19 16 recorded contrary to the voter's intention.
 19 17    Fraudulently registering to vote, giving false information
 19 18 when registering to vote, or coercing someone to register or
 19 19 to not register to vote is made a class "D" felony from an
 19 20 aggravated misdemeanor.  Bribery of voters or of election
 19 21 officials, or bribery during the election process in general
 19 22 is changed from serious or aggravated misdemeanors to class
 19 23 "D" felonies.  Also upgraded to a class "D" felony from a
 19 24 serious misdemeanor are the charges of voting more than once
 19 25 in an election or voting when knowing oneself not to be
 19 26 qualified.  The bill amends the definition of "infamous crime"
 19 27 to add offenses classified as felonies under the law of
 19 28 another state.  The bill adds persons who have been convicted
 19 29 of a felony in another state to the definition of
 19 30 "disqualified voters".
 19 31    The bill provides that an elector who registers to vote by
 19 32 mail shall not be allowed to vote absentee until the elector
 19 33 has voted in person at the polling place at the first election
 19 34 held after registration in which the voter chooses to vote.
 19 35 This does not apply to mail registrations received from a
 20  1 motor vehicle driver's license station, a voter registration
 20  2 agency, from confined persons voting absentee, or from persons
 20  3 working, stationed, or residing outside of the United States
 20  4 at the time of the election.
 20  5    The bill changes the voter registration deadline to 30 days
 20  6 before all elections.  Currently, the deadline is 10 days
 20  7 before a general or primary election and 11 days before all
 20  8 other elections.  A corresponding amendment is made to provide
 20  9 that the registration deadline does not apply to military
 20 10 personnel discharged within 60 days preceding an election.
 20 11    The bill requires the state commissioner of elections to
 20 12 prepare a written summary of any constitutional amendment or
 20 13 other public measure to be voted on statewide.  Current law
 20 14 leaves preparation of such a summary to the discretion of the
 20 15 state commissioner.  The bill requires that the summary be
 20 16 written using terminology easily understood by the general
 20 17 public.  The bill requires the attorney general to assist the
 20 18 state commissioner in preparing the summary.  This portion of
 20 19 the bill takes effect upon enactment and applies to elections
 20 20 held on or after the effective date.
 20 21    The bill makes several changes to the laws on absentee
 20 22 voting.  Code section 53.2 is amended to shorten the period
 20 23 during which persons can request absentee ballots to 50 days
 20 24 before the election and requires that the request be dated no
 20 25 earlier than 50 days before the election.  Under current law,
 20 26 persons can file requests for absentee ballots as early as 70
 20 27 days before the election.  Code section 53.2 is also amended
 20 28 to require that all requests for absentee ballots be made by
 20 29 the Saturday before the election.  An exception would remain
 20 30 for persons who are hospitalized within three days of the
 20 31 election or who are residents of a health care facility.
 20 32 Finally, Code section 53.2 is amended to prohibit anyone
 20 33 signing a request on behalf of a voter, except where the voter
 20 34 is unable to sign because of physical disability.
 20 35    Code section 53.9 is amended to prohibit political persons
 21  1 (i.e., political candidates, their agents, and political
 21  2 parties) from receiving (by mail or in person), handling, or
 21  3 delivering absentee ballots, whether voted or unvoted.  The
 21  4 amendment also specifically prohibits political persons from
 21  5 being a voter's designee to receive, handle, or deliver the
 21  6 ballot for the voter.
 21  7    Code section 53.11 is amended to shorten the period during
 21  8 which absentee voting in person can occur from 40 to 30 days
 21  9 before the election, except that members of the armed forces
 21 10 and persons overseas will still be sent absentee ballots 40
 21 11 days before the election.  Code section 53.11 is also amended
 21 12 to require the county auditor to publish locations of
 21 13 satellite voting stations within 10 days after the deadline
 21 14 for petition requests for satellite voting stations.  Finally,
 21 15 Code section 53.11 is amended to prohibit electioneering
 21 16 within 100 feet of satellite voting stations or the auditor's
 21 17 office while absentee voting is allowed.  Current
 21 18 administrative rules prohibit electioneering within 30 feet of
 21 19 the satellite voting station and are silent as to prohibitions
 21 20 on electioneering near the auditor's office.
 21 21    Code section 53.17 is amended to require persons delivering
 21 22 absentee ballots to the election office to sign a receipt that
 21 23 will be attached to the absentee ballot carrier envelope and
 21 24 retained by the election office.  Code section 53.18 is
 21 25 amended to require the county auditor to record whether a
 21 26 voted absentee ballot was delivered to the election office by
 21 27 mail, voter's designee, or voter.
 21 28    Code section 53.31 is amended to allow challenges to
 21 29 absentee voters based on the request for an absentee ballot
 21 30 filed with the election office.  
 21 31 LSB 3083HC 78
 21 32 sc/gg/8
     

Text: HSB00221                          Text: HSB00223
Text: HSB00200 - HSB00299               Text: HSB Index
Bills and Amendments: General Index     Bill History: General Index

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