§1333. Nursing home early voting program; voting by persons residing in a nursing home
A. For purposes of this Section, the term "nursing home" shall have the meaning ascribed to it in R.S. 40:2009.2(1) and, with respect to a person with a physical disability who resides in a hospital for an extended period of time by reason of a physical disability that makes it improbable that he will be able to vote in person at the polls on election day or during early voting, the term also shall mean a hospital. "Nursing home" for the purpose of this Section shall also mean a veterans' home, operated by the state or federal government, where a person, with a physical disability who is unable to vote in person at the polls or during early voting because of a physical disability, resides.
B. A qualified voter who resides in a nursing home within the parish in which he is entitled to vote and who is unable to vote in person at the polls on election day or during early voting as otherwise provided by this Code due to a physical disability may vote early as provided in this Section during the period extending at least one week prior to the beginning day for early voting through the last day for early voting established by R.S. 18:1309.
C. The following voters shall be eligible to vote pursuant to this Section:
(1) A voter who prior to January 1, 2010, was approved by a parish board of election supervisors as being eligible to participate in the Special Program for Handicapped Voters as such program existed prior to January 1, 2010, and who is a resident or has become a resident of a nursing home.
(2) A voter who is a resident of a nursing home who provides to the registrar of voters current proof of disability from a physician along with a certification from the physician which indicates that by reason of the voter's disability the voter is unable to appear in person to vote either during early voting or at the polling place on election day.
D.(1) A voter qualified to vote under this Section shall make application to vote pursuant to this Section to the registrar of voters by letter. An application to vote as provided in this Section shall be submitted to and received by the registrar of voters at least thirty days prior to the election. Such request may be submitted by mail, commercial carrier, or hand delivery. The request shall be submitted over the voter's signature or mark if the voter is unable to sign his name, signed by the registrar, deputy registrar, or one witness; provide the name of the voter and the address of the nursing home; and if qualified pursuant to Paragraph (C)(2) of this Section, provide current proof of disability from a physician along with a certification from the physician which indicates that by reason of the voter's disability the voter is unable to appear in person to vote either during early voting or at the polling place on election day.
(2) Upon receipt of a valid request, the request shall serve as an application to vote pursuant to this Section. The application to vote in the nursing home early voting program as provided in this Section shall remain valid indefinitely unless the voter submits a written request to the registrar to be removed from the program or the voter no longer resides in the nursing home listed in his application. However, if the voter has become a resident of a different nursing home in the parish and has notified the registrar of voters in writing of the change of nursing home address, his application shall remain valid.
E. The registrar shall notify the applicant by letter, at the return nursing home address shown on the request, the day on which a deputy registrar or other qualified person selected by the registrar will be present at the nursing home to permit the applicant to cast his ballot. The registrar shall assign a number to the applicant, that shall be stamped or entered in ink on the upper right side of the letter and also shall be entered in clearly distinguishable figures on the flap of the absentee by mail ballot envelope that will contain the absentee by mail ballot to be delivered to that applicant on the day designated in the letter. If the letter is mailed by the registrar prior to his receipt of the absentee by mail ballots for the election, he shall enter the name of the applicant, his address, ward and precinct, and the number assigned to the applicant on a list that he shall keep for the purpose and, upon receipt of the absentee by mail ballots for the election, he shall enter the number on the absentee by mail ballot envelope as provided in this Subsection.
F.(1) On the day within the period fixed by law for nursing home early voting specified in the letter to the applicant as provided in Subsection E of this Section, the registrar shall go to each nursing home within the parish wherein reside one or more voters who are eligible to vote pursuant to this Section and to whom the registrar mailed the letter provided for in Subsection E of this Section.
(2) The registrar shall have in his possession such materials and supplies as are needed to permit each of such voters to cast an absentee by mail ballot, including but not restricted to absentee by mail ballot envelopes, each of which bears the number corresponding to the number entered on the letter mailed to the applicant as provided by Subsection E of this Section, instructions, certificates, envelopes, acknowledgment forms required by Paragraph (G)(4) of this Section, and a portable metal box equipped with an open slot in its top surface of sufficient size to permit a completed ballot envelope to be deposited in the box. The registrar shall lock the box before he removes it from his office and shall retain the keys in his office.
G. The voting by each voter shall be accomplished in the following manner:
(1) The voter shall present to the registrar the letter he received from the registrar that bears the reply number assigned as provided in Subsection E of this Section. The registrar shall compare the number on the letter with the number on the absentee by mail ballot envelope in his possession and, if they are identical, he shall hand the envelope containing the absentee by mail ballot to the voter. However, if the voter is on the inactive list of voters, the voter must complete an address confirmation card prior to receiving the envelope containing the absentee by mail ballot.
(2) Unless requested by the voter to assist him in voting as provided in Paragraph (4) of this Subsection, the registrar shall retire from the presence of the voter while the voter marks his ballot and completes his ballot envelope.
(3) The voter shall mark his ballot as provided in R.S. 18:1310(A). The voter then shall place the absentee by mail ballot in the absentee by mail ballot envelope, seal the envelope, and sign the certificate on the absentee by mail ballot envelope flap.
(4)(a) The voter may receive assistance from any person selected by him, except a person who is prohibited from assisting a voter pursuant to R.S. 18:1309.3 and the owner, operator, or administrator of the nursing home or an employee of any of them. However, no person except a spouse, blood relative, or the registrar may assist more than one voter in voting.
(b) Any person who assists the voter in signing his name or marking his ballot shall explain to the voter that a signature or mark so made constitutes certification that all statements in the certificate are true and correct and that any person who knowingly provides false or incorrect statements is subject to a fine or imprisonment, or both.
(c) Any person who assists the voter shall execute an acknowledgment, on a form which shall be prescribed and furnished to the registrar of voters by the secretary of state and made available by the registrar of voters through the deputy registrar who appears at the nursing home, verifying that he has marked the ballot in the manner dictated by the voter.
(5) The voter shall notify the registrar when he has completed his voting, and the voter shall place the sealed absentee by mail ballot envelope in the locked metal box.
(6)(a) The registrar shall proceed in the above described manner and using the same procedure for each voter in the nursing home who is qualified to vote in that election.
(b) Upon returning to the registrar's office, the registrar shall unlock the metal box containing the absentee by mail ballots, remove them from the box, and otherwise follow the procedures for the posting of the name, ward, and precinct of the voter, and other procedures as required by R.S. 18:1311 and other applicable provisions of the Election Code relating to absentee by mail and early voting ballots.
(7) Upon receipt of an address confirmation card, the registrar shall reinstate the voter to the official list of voters.
H. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Section, the registrar may utilize the same voting procedures, voting machines, and equipment used for early voting to conduct voting under this Section.
I. The secretary of state may adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary to effectuate the provisions of this Section.
Added by Acts 1983, No. 500, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984; Acts 1992, No. 949, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1993; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 10, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, No. 300, §1, eff. June 15, 1995; Acts 1999, No. 254, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 451, §6, eff. Jan. 12, 2004; Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 130, §1, eff. April 23, 2002; Acts 2005, No. 220, §§1, 4, eff. Jan. 1, 2006; Acts 2006, No. 560, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007; Acts 2007, No. 240, §1; Acts 2009, No. 436, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.