Chapter 11 - Absentee Voting

Chapter 11 - Absentee Voting

6.1101 Who may vote by absentee ballot.


(a) Any qualified elector who will be unable to appear at his polling place during the hours of voting at any election because of absence from the Territory, or district in which he is registered may cause his vote to be cast by absentee ballot subject to this chapter.

(b) Any qualified elector covered by this section shall be entitled and enabled to vote in a manner as may be prescribed by rules adopted by the Chief Election Officer; provided, that any qualified elector who by reason of physical disability is unable to mark his ballot shall be authorized to receive assistance in marking it.

(c) Any qualified elector competent to vote at any election shall be allowed to vote under this section if he falls in the following categories:

(1) absent from the Territory on election day because he is:

(i) employed in the service of the U.S. Government;

(ii) employed in the service of the American Samoa Government;

(iii) a student at an institution of learning;

(iv) an absent uniformed services voter; or

(v) an overseas voter voting in the election for Delegate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

(2) temporarily absent from the Territory on election day because of:

(i) travel for medical treatment;

(ii) travel for military-related assignments;

(iii) travel for employment-related training, conference or assignments; or

(iv) vacation.

(3) present in the Territory but absent from the district on election day because of:

(i) confinement in any hospital;

(ii) confinement in any public institution;

(iii) confinement at home because of illness or physical disability which will prevent him from attending the polls;

(iv) any religious belief, ruling, doctrine, or standard which will prevent him from attending the polls; or

(v) employment as an election official on election day.

6.1102 Request for absentee ballot.


(a) Any person entitled to vote under 6.1101(c) (1) may request an absentee ballot in writing from the Chief Election Officer. In addition, such person may transmit such request by mail, electronically, or by facsimile, and designate the preferred means of return transmission whether by mail, electronically, or by facsimile. Any such person may request an absentee ballot not earlier than January 1st of the year of the election for which the absentee ballot is requested, and not later than 4:30 p.m. the 15th day prior to the election. The request shall include any information that will facilitate the location of his voting district, the establishment of his right to a ballot, and the address where he wants his ballot forwarded.

(b) Any person entitled to vote under 6.1101 (c) (2) may request an absentee ballot in person or in writing from the Chief Election Officer not earlier than the day that ballots are printed and available and not later than 4:30 p.m. on the day prior to the election. Ballots shall not be mailed, and such qualified electors must vote in person before they travel outside the Territory.

(c) Any person entitled to vote under 6.1101(c)(3) may request an absentee ballot in person or in writing from the Chief Election Officer not earlier than on the 30th day prior to the election and not later than 4:30 p.m. on the day prior to the election.

(d) Certification of absentee ballots shall be closed not later than 1:30 p.m. on election day.

6.1103 Delivery of ballots.


Immediately upon receipt of a request within the time limits specified in 6.1102, the Chief Election Officer shall examine the records to ascertain whether or not the qualified elector is lawfully entitled to vote as requested. As soon as official ballots are printed and available, the Chief Election Officer shall:

(a) for those persons entitled to vote under 6.1101(c)(1), mail in a forwarding envelope, via airmail, an official ballot and other materials prescribed in 6.1104. All requests postmarked by the 15th day prior to the election shall be processed, and ballots mailed to the qualified electors requesting them as soon as reasonably practicable, but in no event later than 24 hours after receipt of the request;

(b) for those persons entitled to vote under 6.1101(c)(1)(iv) and (v), and who are voting in an election for the Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Chief Election Officer shall establish procedures by which such absent voters may designate the preferred method of absentee ballot transmission and the Chief Election Officer shall, in accordance with adopted procedures, transmit blank absentee ballots by mail, electronically, and by facsimile as designated by the absent voter; and

(c) for those person entitled to vote under 6.1101 (c) (2) and (3), deliver an official ballot to enable such persons to vote at the designated absentee polling place or in a manner prescribed by rules adopted by the Chief Election Officer.

6.1104 Ballot to be enclosed in unsealed reply envelope-Printed instructions to be included.


(a) The Chief Election Officer shall enclose the ballot for those persons entitled to vote under 6.1101(c)(1) in an unsealed reply envelope to be furnished by him and which shall be in the form prescribed by him. In addition, the Chief Election Officer shall prepare printed instructions regarding the manner of marking and returning the absentee ballot. The Chief Election Officer shall furnish a copy of the printed instructions and information setting forth the district in which the qualified elector is entitled to vote. The reply envelope shall bear upon the face thereof the name, official title, and post office address of the Chief Election Officer and the words “Absentee Ballot Enclosed”. The back of the reply envelope shall contain a statement to be subscribed to by the qualified elector which affirms the fact that he is the person voting.

(b) The absentee qualified elector shall be instructed that his ballot shall not be valid if the affirmation statement is not signed.

6.1105 Return of ballot.


The reply envelope shall be:

(1) mailed and must be received by the Chief Election Officer not later than 1:30 p.m. on election day; or

(2) delivered other than by mail to the Chief Election Officer not later than 1:30 p.m. on election day.

6.1106 Absentee ballot container.


(a) Each absentee ballot shall be placed in an absentee ballot container or containers. The container shall be securely sealed except for an opening sufficient to permit deposit of the reply envelopes and shall be sufficiently identify the elective office or issue that corresponds to the absentee ballots being deposited. The opening of the container shall be securely sealed at the close of each business day by the Chief Election Officer. The container itself shall be secured in the office of the Chief Election Officer, or in an area, space or facility designated by the Chief Election Officer.

(b) Persons may not open the absentee ballot container before the day and time provided for in 6.1108 or 6.1109. Persons tampering with or opening the absentee ballot container before the prescribed time shall be guilty of an election offense under 6.1206.

6.1107 Absentee qualified elector polling place.


(a) The Chief Election Officer shall establish an absentee polling place. The absentee polling place shall be open before election day to handle the absentee voters who are voting in person. The Chief Election Officer shall determine the number of officials needed. All absentee polling places established to handle absentee qualified electors who are voting in person shall be closed at 4:30 p.m. the day before the election.

(b) The Chief Election Officer may appoint election officials to handle absentee voting in person, for those persons entitled to vote under 6.1101(c)(2) and (3), at the absentee polling place. Election officials may also be appointed to handle absentee voting in person other than at the absentee polling place for those qualified electors who demonstrate that it would be a hardship to require them to appear at the absentee polling place.

6.1108 Receipt and disposition of absentee ballots.


(a) Upon receipt of the envelope marked “Absentee Ballot Enclosed” from persons voting under chapters 01 through 12 of this title, the Chief Election Officer or the election officials of the absentee polling place shall document its receipt and deposit it in the corresponding absentee ballot container. Prior to depositing the envelopes the envelopes shall be checked for the following:

(1) sufficiency of statement;

(2) if the signature corresponds with the absentee request or register;

(3) if the qualified elector is a registered qualified elector and has complied with the requirements of 6.0214 or 6.0215; and

(4) if the envelope appears to be tampered with.

(b) Envelopes that meet the above requirements shall be deposited in the corresponding absentee ballot container.

(c) If any of the above requirements is not met, the officials shall mark across the face of the envelope “Questionable” giving the reasons therefor, and the envelope shall be placed unopened in a separate container and disposed of as prescribed for ballots in 6.0804.

(d) Counting of absentee ballots for an issue, and for the offices of Governor & Lieutenant Governor, and Delegate to the United States House of Representative may begin after 1:30 p.m. on election day. The absentee ballot containers for such issue(s) or offices may be opened no sooner than 1:30 p.m. on election day. Upon opening the containers, the envelopes shall be opened and the ballots counted at the absentee polling place. In no case, however, shall the results of the absentee count become publicly known before the polls have officially closed.

(e) Counting of absentee ballots for each office of Representative to the House of Representatives may begin only after the polls are closed on election day. The absentee ballot container(s) for such offices may be opened no sooner than 4:30 p.m. on the day before the election. Upon opening the container(s), the reply envelopes may be sorted for distribution to polling places designated by the Chief Election Officer. The sorted absentee ballot envelopes must be secured in the ballot boxes for the designated polling places, and may be removed only by the district official upon arrival at and opening of the polls on election day. Reply envelopes containing ballots that are received after the absentee ballot container(s) are opened but no later that the deadline specified in 6.1105, shall be checked for the above requirements of (a)(1) through (4). If the above requirements are met, the envelopes may be sorted and then distributed for counting at polling places designated by the Chief Election Officer.

(f) Persons violating this section shall be guilty of an election offense under chapter 12.

6.1109 Receipt and disposition of late absentee ballots.


All reply envelopes containing absentee ballots received by the Chief Election Officer after the deadline for receipt stated in 6.1105 shall be kept unopened and disposed of under 6.0804.

6.1110 Death of qualified elector prior to opening of polls.


Whenever, prior to the counting of absentee ballots, it is apparent to the Chief Election Officer or polling place officials that any qualified elector who has marked and forwarded an absentee ballot has died prior to the opening of the polls on election day, the ballot of the qualified elector shall be disposed of in the manner provided in 6.1108 for questionable ballots. The casting of these ballots shall not invalidate the election.