An Act To Expand the Early Processing of Absentee Ballots
Sec. 1. 21-A MRSA §760-B, as amended by PL 2013, c. 457, §4, is further amended to read:
§ 760-B. Procedures when clerk processes absentee ballots prior to election day
Any municipality or jurisdiction that conducts its own elections may opt to process absentee ballots on the beginning on the 4th day immediately prior to election day , except that processing on a Sunday is not permitted. The clerk shall use the following procedure when processing the absentee ballots during this time.
A municipality authorized to scan absentee ballots at a state-designated central location must first open and process absentee ballots at the times and in the location within the municipality as designated in the notice of election and follow all procedures described in this section. The absentee ballots once removed from their envelopes must be secured in locked and sealed containers before being transported to the state-designated central location. The Secretary of State shall publish uniform guidelines for securing and transporting ballots and other materials under this subsection.
This bill provides that a municipality may opt to process absentee ballots as early as the 4th day before the election. It also authorizes the Secretary of State to make available high-speed tabulators for absentee ballots and to allow a municipality to bring absentee ballots to a central location for tabulating by the high-speed tabulators as long as security guidelines are properly followed.