§15-4  Request for absentee ballot.  (a)  Any person registered to vote may request an absentee ballot or permanent absentee ballot in person or in writing from the clerk at any time but not later than 4:30 p.m. on the seventh day prior to the election.  Any mailed requests for an absentee ballot or permanent absentee ballot shall be mailed by the person directly to the clerk.  The clerk may waive any or all of the foregoing requirements in special cases as provided in the rules adopted by the chief election officer.

     The request shall include information such as the person's social security number, date of birth, and the address under which the person is registered to vote.  The request shall also include the address to which the person wishes the requested ballot to be forwarded.  The request, when made for any primary or special primary election, may include an additional request for an absentee ballot to be voted at any election immediately following the primary or special primary; provided the person so indicates in the person's request.

     Subsequent to the closing of registration for each election, the clerk may mail a request form for an absentee ballot and permanent absentee ballot to each voter in a remote area who has not already made such a request.  The request form shall be accompanied by:

     (1)  A stamped, self-addressed envelope; and

     (2)  Instructions regarding the manner of completing and returning the request form.

     (b)  Notwithstanding subsection (a), the respective clerk shall be allowed to conduct an absentee ballot-only election and may mail an absentee ballot for each primary, special primary, special, general, and special general election to each registered voter who resides in the county of Kalawao or on any island of a county with a population of less than one hundred eighty thousand, except for the island where the county seat of government is located.  The chief election officer may adopt rules to carry out this subsection.

     (c)  Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, in the event there are fewer than five hundred registered voters as of the preceding general election in an area covered by a unique ballot type, the clerk shall mail an absentee ballot to each registered voter who resides in such an area, if the chief election officer, or the clerk in a county only election, determines that an election day polling place will not be established for such voters.

     (d)  For the purposes of this section, "ballot type" means the unique ballot containing the contests, questions, or issues that will be used by the voters of a specific area.

     (e)  When a registered voter requests an absentee ballot, the voter also may include an additional request to receive absentee ballots permanently.  After receiving a request for permanent absentee voter status, the clerk shall mail to the voter who requested permanent absentee voter status an absentee ballot for all subsequent elections conducted in that precinct.  The forwarding address for absentee ballots to be permanently mailed shall be the in-state mailing address contained in the voter's registration record.  Subject to the conditions of subsection (a), a permanent absentee voter may also request from the clerk that the voter's ballot be forwarded temporarily to an address other than the permanent absentee mailing address originally requested, either in or outside of the State, for a single election or for a primary or special primary election and the election immediately following the primary or special primary election.  A permanent absentee voter's request for a ballot to be forwarded temporarily shall not serve as a cancellation of the voter's permanent absentee status or as a change to the voter's permanent absentee mailing address.  Upon the completion of the election or elections covered by the permanent absentee voter's temporary request under this subsection, the clerk shall resume mailing the voter's ballots to the permanent absentee mailing address originally requested under subsection (a).

     (f)  The chief election officer shall inform voters of the option of applying for permanent absentee voter status and shall provide any necessary form to request the permanent absentee ballot option to any registered voter requesting an absentee ballot and any person applying to register to vote.

     (g)  A permanent absentee voter shall be responsible for informing the clerk of any changes to personal information, including changes to the voter's forwarding address.

     (h)  Except as provided in subsection (c), a voter's permanent absentee voter status shall be terminated if any of the following conditions apply:

     (1)  The voter requests in writing that such status be terminated;

     (2)  The voter dies, loses voting rights, registers to vote in another jurisdiction, or is otherwise disqualified from voting;

     (3)  The voter's absentee ballot, voter notification postcard, or any other election mail is returned to the clerk as undeliverable for any reason; or

     (4)  The voter does not return a voter ballot by 6:00 p.m. on election day in both the primary and general election of an election year.

     (i)  If a voter's permanent absentee voter status has been terminated due to one or more of the conditions specified in subsection (h), the voter shall be responsible for again requesting permanent absentee status as specified in subsection (e). [L 1975, c 36, pt of §3; am L 1980, c 248, §1(b); am L 1981, c 29, §1(2); gen ch 1985; am L 1986, c 305, §5; am L 2004, c 100, §2; am L Sp 2008, c 4, §1; am L 2011, c 142, §3; am L 2012, c 100, §2 and c 104, §2; am L 2015, c 174, §1; am L 2016, c 168, §§2, 3]



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