Chapter 16.  Absentee Voting

Section 3.1601.  Ballot.
Section 3.1602.  Regulation.
Section 3.1603.  Request for ballot.
Section 3.1604.  Marking and return of ballot.
Section 3.1605.  Disposition of ballot.

      Section 3.1601.  Ballot.

     (1)  An absentee ballot is an official ballot for casting outside of a polling place.

     (2)  A registered voter may vote by absentee ballot if he will not be able to cast a vote at a polling place because of:

     (a)  confinement to home or hospital in the State by reason of an illness or physical disability; or

     (b)  absence from the State.

The Kosrae State constitutional provision on suffrage is found in Kosrae Const., Art. III

      Section 3.1602.  Regulation.

     (1)  By regulation the Commission prescribes procedures for absentee voting.

     (2)  By regulation the Commission may provide for distribution and collection of ballots by a designated person in a community outside the State where a large number of voters resides.

      Section 3.1603.  Request for ballot.

     (1)  A registered voter qualified to vote in an election may personally request by any means, and cast, an absentee ballot with the Commission.  The Commission maintains a record of a request.  The request includes information stating the voter's district, reason for using the absentee ballot, address to which he wishes his ballot forwarded and the establishment of his right to a ballot.

     (2)  The period of time allowed by the Commission provides for notice of the election, a request for a ballot, and return of an executed ballot.

     (3)  The burden is on the voter to request an absentee ballot in advance of need.

      Section 3.1604.  Marking and return of ballot.
       At least thirty days before an election, the Commission mails to a requesting person entitled to vote by absentee ballot an official ballot with voting instructions, a ballot envelope, an affidavit and a covering reply envelope.  The absentee voter marks the ballot, depositing the ballot in the ballot envelope and securely sealing the envelope.  The absentee voter then completes and executes the affidavit.  He encloses the ballot envelope and the affidavit and seals them in the covering reply envelope, mailing or delivering it to the Commission not later than five p.m. on the day of the election.

      Section 3.1605.  Disposition of ballot.

     (1)  Upon receipt of an envelope marked  "absentee ballot enclosed" within the period allowed by Section 3.1604 the Commission opens it, removes the ballot envelope, and examines the statement as to its proper execution and the person's qualifications to vote.  If the Commission determines that the person is qualified to vote by absentee ballot, it deposits the ballot envelope unopened in a container reserved for the purpose.  The container has only one opening sufficient to permit the deposit of ballot envelopes and bears the name of the Commission, and a warning that only the Commission may open it pursuant to law.  The Commission safely keeps each container at a central location until it extracts and segregates the ballot envelopes and tabulates votes pursuant to law.

     (2)  If the Commission finds the voter's statement insufficient or that signatures do not correspond, that the voter has not complied with the requirements of Section 3.1604 or is not a qualified voter, or that the ballot envelope shows signs of unlawful tampering, the Commission does not open the ballot envelope, marking across its face "rejected", giving the reason for rejection, and preserving it.

     (3)  If the Commission receives a ballot after the time provided in Section 3.1604, it endorses the ballot envelope with the day and hour of receipt and keeps it safely unopened for the period of time required for the preservation of ballots, and then, without opening it, destroys it pursuant to law.

     (4)  If upon receiving a ballot envelope the Commission finds that a voter has already voted, it immediately cancels the ballot envelope and writes "rejected" across its face, giving the reason for rejection and preserving It pursuant to law.

     (5)  The Commission segregates an absentee ballot from an affidavit before tabulation to protect the secrecy of the voting process.