City of Crisfield, MD
Somerset County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Crisfield 8-8-2012 by Ord. No. 619.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Registration and elections — See Charter, Art. V.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 42, Elections, adopted 5-28-1980 by Ord. No. 340.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings as indicated:
CITY BOARD
The City election board provided for in § C5-2 of the Charter.
COUNTY BOARD
The Somerset County Board of Elections.
The Board shall generally supervise the conduct of the system of appointment and registration, nomination by petition and general, primary and special elections in accordance with the provisions of the City Charter and ordinances of the Council; specifically including the following duties:
A. 
Observe polls;
B. 
Observe opening of absentee ballots;
C. 
Hear contests concerning voting and the validity of any ballot.
At least once every two years, every member of the City Board, at no cost to themselves, shall participate in and successfully complete training in fair election practices as dictated by the Mayor and Council.
The Clerk shall administer an oath of office to the members of the Board, and the oath of office shall be recorded among the minutes of the City Council.
Voter registration records of the County Board constitute the official registration records for municipal elections, except as otherwise provided in this chapter. The City shall not maintain any separate system for the registration of voters, but only shall provide for the registration of voters in accordance with procedures of the County Board.
A. 
Registration with the County Board in accordance with the provisions and requirements of the Election Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland constitutes registration for purposes of voting in a municipal election if the registrant was a resident of the City at the time for closing of registration preceding the election.
B. 
A person may not vote in a municipal election if the person is not registered with the County Board at the time for closing of registration preceding the election.
A. 
The precinct register for use in polling places on election days may consist of an alphabetical compilation or list of registered voters, electronically reproduced through data processing, containing the same voter registration information as is contained on the original registration forms signed by the voters.
B. 
All electronically produced precinct registers, and all binders or filing cases containing precinct registers shall be sealed or locked securely and the keys kept safe by the City Board.
A. 
If a voter's name is not among the voter authority cards or on the list of qualified voters used on election day, the City Board may issue a temporary certificate of registration, upon proof of the identity of the applicant, and if the voter's name is found among the official voter registration records at the county election office as a resident within the City. The certificate shall be marked "Temporary Certificate of Registration," shall be in the form prescribed in accordance with Subsection C of this section, and shall be sufficient authority to permit the voter to cast a ballot in the voter's precinct as though the voter's original registration form or listed information were present.
B. 
At the time a voter receives a temporary certificate the voter shall sign a new original registration form containing the same information shown by the voter's duplicate registration form. The new original registration form shall entitle the voter, subject to the provisions of this chapter, to vote at any subsequent election.
C. 
The form of the temporary certificate of registration shall be as prescribed by the Board.
All challenges and corrections to the voter registration list shall be referred to the County Board.
Requests for copies of current registrations shall be referred to the County Board.
A. 
No person's right to vote shall be challenged at the poll on any ground but identity.
B. 
When the right of any person to vote is challenged, the challenge shall be made and its validity determined immediately before or after such person receives a voting authority certificate or card and before the challenged voter enters the voting booth to cast a ballot. The person challenging shall be put under oath by a judge and assign the reason for the challenge, and one of the judges shall administer to the challenged voter an oath to make true answers to questions. The judges shall question the challenged voter touching the cause of the challenge. If the judges, after the questioning is concluded, unanimously find the challenged voter is the person so registered, the challenged voter's vote shall be received accordingly. If there is not unanimous agreement among the judges, the challenged voter shall be given a provisional ballot.
A. 
A registered voter may vote by absentee ballot if:
(1) 
The voter is absent for any reason from the City on any election day;
(2) 
The voter is unable to vote in person on any election day because of observing a religious holiday;
(3) 
The voter is an employee of the Elections Board, including any judge, who is required to be absent from the precinct in which the employee is registered to vote; or
(4) 
The voter's physical disability or confinement, illness or accident that is serious enough to cause confinement, will prevent the voter from being present and personally voting at the polls on any election day.
B. 
The voter shall make application for an absentee ballot as provided in this chapter. The application shall be filed in the office of the City Board not later than the close of business of the Wednesday preceding any election. Upon receipt of the application, the City Board shall mail an absentee ballot to the voter entitled to the ballot.
A registered voter who is blind, physically disabled or who has impaired vision and is for one of these reasons unable to mark an absentee ballot and sign the required oath, may be assisted in voting by any person selected by the voter. Any person rendering assistance pursuant to this section shall execute the certification included with the absentee ballot.
A. 
After the Wednesday preceding an election and on the day prior to the election, any person registered and otherwise qualified to vote may apply for an emergency absentee ballot if the person is notified after the time for making application for an absentee ballot that, as a condition of employment, the person is required to be absent from the City on the day of an election, if the person is one described in § 42-12A, if the person is unable to be physically present at the polls as a result of illness or accident occurring after the time of making application for an absentee ballot, or if the person is unable to be present because of a death or serious illness in the person's immediate family occurring after the time for making application.
B. 
The application shall be made setting forth the reason why the voter is unable to be present at the polls on the day of the election.
C. 
Upon receipt of the application, the City Board, if satisfied that the person, in fact, cannot be present at the polling place on the day of the election, shall issue to the applicant, or the applicant's duly authorized agent, on or before the day of election an absentee ballot which shall be marked by the voter, placed in a sealed envelope, and returned to the Board.
D. 
If the applicant does not apply in person, the application shall designate a voter registered in the City as agent for the purpose of delivering the absentee ballot to the voter. An agent may so act for only one voter per election. The agent shall execute an affidavit under penalty of perjury that the ballot was delivered to the voter who submitted the application, was marked by the voter in the agent's presence, was placed in a sealed envelope in the agent's presence, and returned, under seal, to the Board by the agent. The agent's affidavit shall be completed and signed in front of the voter. The voter shall certify under penalties of perjury that the agent signed the affidavit in front of the other and when the agent returns the affidavit of agent and oath of absentee voter to the Board, the agent shall sign a form indicating that the agent personally secured that absentee vote and all requirements of the law were complied with in obtaining the absentee vote.
E. 
In applying for an emergency absentee ballot, a voter may be assisted by another person, but in casting an emergency ballot, only an election judge will assist the voter, as provided in § 42-11.
F. 
Any emergency absentee ballot received by the City Board after the time for closing of the polls may not be counted.
Except for persons who become eligible to cast an emergency absentee ballot, a qualified voter desiring to vote at any election as an absentee voter shall make application in writing to the Board for an absentee ballot, and the application must be received not later than the close of business Wednesday preceding the election.
A. 
Printed forms of applications for absentee ballots in accordance with the requirements of this chapter shall be provided by the City Board and shall be available upon request to a registered voter who meets the qualifications set forth in § 42-12. The City Board shall prescribe all forms and related affidavits and statements.
B. 
On the application, the City Board may require the voter to furnish information from which eligibility may be verified.
Upon receipt of an application, the City Board shall reject the application only upon the unanimous vote of the Board members present and voting, provided that at least a quorum is present. When an application is rejected, the Board shall notify the applicant of the reason for the rejection if it determines, upon inquiry, that the applicant legally is not qualified to vote at the election as an absentee voter.
A. 
In sufficient time prior to any election, the City Board shall have printed an adequate number of absentee ballots, the three kinds of envelopes described in this section, and the instructions to absentee voters as set out in § 42-19. The form and arrangement of all absentee ballots shall be prescribed by the City Board.
B. 
The ballots shall contain the words "Absentee Ballot" or "Official Ballot" printed in large letters in a clear space at the top of each paper ballot. Underneath these words shall be printed the following warning: "Mark ballot by placing X in proper blank after each candidate or question. Do not erase or make identifying mark."
C. 
The City Board shall prescribe the size, form and printed content of the absentee ballot material envelopes, providing for a covering envelope, a ballot envelope, and a return envelope. The covering envelope shall be marked "Do not forward. Deliver only to addressee."
Printed instructions for the casting of absentee ballots shall be prescribed by the City Board.
A. 
If the applicant is a registered voter per § 42-5, the City Board, as soon as practicable after receipt of the application, shall deliver to the voter at the office of the Board, or by mail to the voter at an address designated by the voter, an absentee voter's ballot and an envelope for the ballot. Postage for transmitting ballot material to voters shall be paid by the Board, and postage for the return of ballots shall be paid by the voters. If the ballots are to be sent by mail, the determinations required in § 42-15 shall be made in such time as will allow for the sending and return of the ballots by regular mail or airmail, depending on the mailing address, and including at least one secular day for marking the ballots and completing the affidavit. All investigations shall be concluded and any determinations made as to all absentee ballot applications not later than five days before election day.
B. 
The City Board shall keep a record of applications for absentee voters' ballots as they are received, showing the date and time received, the names and residences of the applicants. The Board shall also keep a record of the applications sent, including the name of registered voter to whom ballot is sent, address to which absentee ballot is sent, date absentee ballot sent, certified mail receipt number associated with the applicable absentee ballot, number on the absentee ballot, and any other information the City Board determines is necessary to maintain integrity in the absentee ballot process. Those registered voters who present at the Board to pick up their ballot shall sign a statement that they have received their ballot, to be maintained by the Board. These records shall be available for examination by any registered voter on written application to the Board.
C. 
After approval of an application for an absentee ballot and the mailing of an absentee ballot to the applicant, the voter may not vote or be allowed to vote in person at any polling place.
D. 
Not more than one absentee ballot shall be mailed to any one applicant unless the Board has reasonable grounds to believe that the absentee ballot previously provided has been lost, destroyed or spoiled.
A. 
The Board shall prescribe all forms required to comply with this section.
B. 
The Chairman of the City Board, or his or her authorized designee, shall maintain a full record of provisional ballot voting.
C. 
In general, if an individual is eligible under Subsection D of this section, the individual shall be issued and may cast a provisional ballot at a polling place on election day. Under federal law, every voter who claims to be registered and eligible to vote must be given an opportunity to vote.
D. 
An individual is eligible to cast a provisional ballot if:
(1) 
The individual declares in a written affirmation submitted with the provisional ballot that the individual is a registered voter in the City and is eligible to vote in that election;
(2) 
If the individual's name does not appear on the precinct register; an election official asserts that the individual is not eligible to vote; or the individual does not have the necessary identification; and
(3) 
In addition to the individuals who cast provisional ballots under Subsection D(1) and D(2) of this section, any individual who appears to vote during a period covered by a court order or other order extending the time for closing the polls shall cast a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot cast under this subsection shall be separated and held apart from other provisional ballots cast by those not affected by the order.
E. 
Completion of provisional ballot. Before an individual casts a provisional ballot, the individual shall complete and sign the provisional ballot application prescribed by the City Board; and the election official issuing the ballot shall give the individual written information advising the individual that, and describing how, the individual will be able to ascertain whether the vote was counted and, if it was not counted, the reason it was not.
F. 
Assistance in casting provisional ballot.
(1) 
In general, a voter who requires assistance in casting a provisional ballot by reason of disability, inability to write, or inability to read the ballot may be assisted by any individual other than:
(a) 
A candidate who is on that ballot;
(b) 
The individual's employer or an agent of the employer; or
(c) 
An officer or agent of the individual's union.
(2) 
An individual rendering assistance under this section shall execute a certification as prescribed by the City Board.
G. 
Instructions; envelopes.
(1) 
Instructions. A provisional ballot shall be accompanied by instructions, prescribed by the City Board, for marking and returning the ballot.
(2) 
Envelopes. When voted, a provisional ballot shall be enclosed in an envelope designated "provisional ballot/return envelope."
H. 
Penalty for violations. A person violating this section shall be referred to the State's Attorney's Office for prosecution. If it is suspected that the person who falsified the ballot is an illegal alien, a referral shall be made to State's Attorney. A person convicted of a violation of this section is ineligible to serve as Mayor, election judge, Board member, or employee of the Board for a period of four years following the conviction.
A. 
The City Board shall not open or unfold any provisional or absentee ballot at any time prior to the closing of the polls.
B. 
At any time after the closing of the polls on election day and not later than the canvass of the votes cast at the regular voting places in the City, the City Board shall meet at the office of the Board and shall proceed to count, certify and canvass the absentee ballots contained in the ballot envelopes.
C. 
Timeliness of absentee ballots:
(1) 
A ballot shall be considered as received timely, provided:
(a) 
It has been received by the City Board prior to the closing of the polls on election day; or
(b) 
It was mailed before election day, the United States Postal Service, or postal service of any other country, has provided verification of that fact by affixing a mark so indicating on the covering envelope, and the City Board receives the ballot from the United States Postal Service not later than the close of business on the Wednesday following election day.
(2) 
Any ballot received after the close of business on the first Wednesday following election day may not be counted.
D. 
A ballot may not be rejected by the City Board except by the unanimous vote of the Board members present and voting, provided at least a quorum is present. All voters' applications, medical certificates, notarial affidavits, certifications, ballot envelopes and ballots, to have voters' applications and all documentation kept separately from ballots cast in polling precincts, shall be kept separate and apart from ballots cast at the regular voting places and retained for six months after the date of election at which they were cast, unless, prior to that time, the City Board is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction to keep the same for any longer period. The Board may appoint those numbers of temporary judges as the Board may deem necessary to adequately and promptly carry out the provisions of this section.
E. 
Any absentee ballot voted for a person who has ceased to be a candidate shall not be counted for that candidate but the vote shall not invalidate the remainder of the ballot.
F. 
If the absentee resident who marked a ballot dies before election day, the ballot shall be counted if the ballot is postmarked or received before the absentee resident's death, and the fact that the absentee resident later may be shown actually to have been dead on election day shall not invalidate the ballot or the election.
G. 
For the purposes of absentee ballots, if the City Board determines that the provisions for filling out and signing the oath on the outside of the ballot envelope substantially have been complied with and that the person signing the voter's oath is entitled to vote under this chapter in any precinct of the City, and already has not voted in the precinct on election day, they shall open the ballot envelope and remove the ballot and place it in a ballot box or ballot boxes prepared for that purpose. If an oath is unsigned, it is automatically excluded from the count. When any ballot envelope is opened, the Board shall enter in the appropriate register the fact that the voter whose name appears on the envelope has voted, using the initials "A.B." to indicate the vote has been by absentee ballot. If there is more than one ballot in the ballot envelope, all shall be rejected. Absentee ballots may be marked by any kind of pencil or ink.
H. 
For the purposes of provisional ballots, if the City Board determines that the voter is entitled to vote under this chapter in any precinct of the City and has not already voted in the precinct on election day, they shall open the ballot envelope, remove the ballot and place it in a ballot box or ballot boxes prepared for that purpose. When any ballot envelope is opened, the Board shall enter in the appropriate register the fact that the voter whose name appears on the envelope has voted, using the initials "P.B." to indicate the vote has been by provisional ballot. If there is more than one ballot in the ballot envelope, all shall be rejected. Provisional ballots may be marked by any kind of pencil or ink.
I. 
If the City Board receives from the same person, prior to the deadline for receipt of absentee ballots, more than one absentee ballot, it shall count, certify and canvass only the absentee ballot contained in the ballot envelope on which the voter's oath was last executed, and if the oath on two or more of the ballot envelopes containing absentee ballots are dated the same or if both are undated, none of the ballots received from such persons shall be counted.
Contests relating to registration, voting or the validity of any absentee ballot shall be decided by the City Board. No registration shall be denied and no ballot rejected except by unanimous vote of the Board members present and voting, provided at least a quorum is present.
Any question of procedures in the conduct of registration or conduct of elections not covered by this chapter, by the Charter, or by regulation of the Board of Supervisors of Elections shall be in conformance, as much as practicable, with the provisions of the State Election Article.