HCS HB 1480, 2016 (Amended Section - Proposed Language)
115.291. 1. Upon receiving an absentee ballot 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 a covered voter as defined in section 115.902. 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 that is not cast by the voter in person in the office of the election authority 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; except that covered voters, 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.
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 a covered voter solely on the basis of restrictions on envelope type.