Amend the bill by striking out everything after the enacting clause and inserting the following:
‘Sec. 1. 21-A MRSA §696, sub-§2, ¶E, as amended by PL 2009, c. 253, §32, is further amended to read:
E. If a voter writes in a write-in space the name of a person who has not filed a declaration of write-in candidacy as provided by section 722-A, the vote for that office may not be counted except in accordance with section 737-A, subsection 2-A.
Sec. 2. 21-A MRSA §722, sub-§1, as amended by IB 2015, c. 3, §4, is further amended to read:
Sec. 3. 21-A MRSA §737-A, first ¶, as amended by PL 2015, c. 447, §27, is further amended to read:
Once a recount is requested for an election for the office of State Senator or State Representative or for a county office that does not encompass more than one county, the Secretary of State shall notify the State Police, who shall take physical control of all ballots and related materials involved in the recount as soon as possible , except that . When a recount is requested for a statewide office or , congressional office or statewide referendum or an office or referendum for a county office that encompasses more than one county, the Secretary of State , in agreement with the parties involved in the recount, may direct the State Police to retrieve ballots from certain voting jurisdictions so that the recount may be conducted in stages until the requesting candidate or the lead applicant for a referendum recount concedes or until all the ballots are recounted.
Sec. 4. 21-A MRSA §737-A, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2015, c. 447, §29, is further amended to read:
Sec. 5. 21-A MRSA §737-A, sub-§1-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 6. 21-A MRSA §737-A, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 1993, c. 473, §31 and affected by §46, is amended to read:
Sec. 7. 21-A MRSA §737-A, sub-§2-A, as enacted by PL 2009, c. 253, §43, is amended to read:
Sec. 8. 21-A MRSA §738, as amended by PL 1995, c. 506, §1 and affected by §3, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
Except as provided by this section, the method of conducting a recount of a statewide referendum is governed by section 737-A. Appeal of challenged or disputed ballots is to the Supreme Judicial Court.
This amendment replaces the bill, which is a concept draft. The amendment makes several changes to the laws governing candidate and referendum recounts.
1. The amendment provides that when a recount is requested for a statewide office, congressional office, statewide referendum or county office that encompasses more than one county, the Secretary of State may direct the State Police to retrieve ballots from certain jurisdictions so that the recount may be conducted in stages.
2. The amendment provides for a new deposit and payment structure for recounts for statewide offices, congressional offices or county offices that encompass more than one county, such as District Attorney, so that a deposit is not required when the difference between the leading candidate and the requesting candidate is 1% or less of the total votes cast for that office or not more than 1,000 votes, whichever is less.
3. The amendment provides that for recounts for a statewide office, congressional office or county office that encompasses more than one county when the percentage difference exceeds the threshold for a no-deposit recount, the requesting candidate must pay a deposit of $5,000 or 10% of the estimated cost of the first stage of the recount, whichever is greater. If the recount does not change the result of the election, the candidate must pay the actual costs to the State of conducting the recount. If the recount reverses the election, the requesting candidate receives a complete refund.
4. The amendment adopts a new deposit and payment structure for recounts of a statewide referendum that is the same as the one provided for statewide candidate recounts.
5. The amendment provides that if recounts are requested for more than one office or referendum question that are on the same ballot for one or more jurisdictions, the Secretary of State may determine a process for counting the ballots for both of the offices or questions simultaneously.
6. Finally, the amendment removes the provision in current law allowing an undeclared write-in candidate to request a recount.
FISCAL NOTE REQUIRED