Special Assistance to Emergency Services Workers
657:21-a Special Assistance to Emergency Services Worker.
I. If an emergency services worker receives notice after noon on the Friday before any state election that he or she is being called into service under circumstances that will prevent that person from obtaining an absentee ballot before leaving and from voting in person at the polls on election day, upon notification that such a call-out has occurred, the secretary of state with assistance from the attorney general and the department of safety shall make every reasonable effort to cause absentee ballot request forms, absentee ballots, absentee affidavits, and any other materials necessary to vote to be transported to the emergency services workers and to be returned to the town or city clerk of each voter's town or ward.
II. For the purposes of this section, "emergency services worker" shall include law enforcement, emergency medical services personnel, firefighters, members of the New Hampshire national guard, utility workers, employees or volunteers for the American Red Cross, and any other emergency worker declared such by the department of safety.
III. For the purposes of this section "every reasonable effort" includes, but is not limited to:
(a) Employing local, county, or state law enforcement to transport ballots, affidavits, and other necessary materials to and from the site in New Hampshire where emergency services are temporarily housed, staged, or deployed for an in-state emergency.
(b) Causing ballots, affidavits, and other necessary materials to be transported by the United States mail or commercial overnight courier to and from an out-of-state site where emergency services workers are temporarily housed, staged, or deployed for an out-of-state emergency.
IV. For the purposes of this section "circumstances that will prevent that person from voting in person at the polls on election day" shall include deployment to any disaster that has been declared by the President of the United States or the governor of New Hampshire.
V. Notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, any ballot returned to a polling place pursuant to this section which arrives before the polls are closed shall be processed according to law and if found otherwise in conformance with law shall be counted.
VI. If, in the judgment of the secretary of state, time does not permit obtaining and transporting the local ballot for each emergency services worker, the secretary of state may prepare and issue a statewide-offices-only absentee ballot for the purposes of this section.
VII. The secretary of state, in cooperation with the department of safety and the attorney general, shall develop procedures for implementing this section. The procedures shall include publication of an emergency telephone number available 24 hours daily during the period covered by this section, to allow after-hours and weekend notification to the secretary of state that this section is being invoked. Suitable information on the availability of this section shall be made available to persons covered by this section.
VIII. The public agency or employer of emergency services workers responsible for making call-outs subject to the provisions of this section shall provide the secretary of state with the name and domicile address of each person called out and an address where an absentee ballot may be delivered on the Saturday, Sunday, or Monday prior to the election at the site of the emergency.
IX. If the costs of executing this section at any election exceed $500, the secretary of state shall certify the same to the state treasurer, and prepare a manifest to authorize the state treasurer to make payments from funds not otherwise appropriated. The governor is authorized to draw a warrant for said sums out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.
Source. 2006, 166:1. 2008, 361:9, eff. July 11, 2008.