Text: H.R.7118 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/04/2020)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
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[H.R. 7118 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 7118

To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct 
  elections for Federal office held in 2020 solely through the use of 
           mail-in absentee ballots, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              June 4, 2020

  Ms. Wilson of Florida (for herself, Mr. Cicilline, and Mr. Takano) 
 introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on 
                          House Administration

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct 
  elections for Federal office held in 2020 solely through the use of 
           mail-in absentee ballots, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Vote From Home America Act of 
2020''.

SEC. 2. REQUIRING STATES TO CONDUCT ELECTIONS IN 2020 SOLELY THROUGH 
              USE OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS.

    (a) Requirement.--Title III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 
(52 U.S.C. 21081 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following 
new subtitle:

         ``Subtitle C--Special Rules for Elections Held in 2020

``SEC. 321. REQUIRING ELECTIONS TO BE CONDUCTED SOLELY THROUGH USE OF 
              MAIL-IN ABSENTEE BALLOTS.

    ``(a) Requirement.--In the case of any election for Federal office 
held in a State during the period described in subsection (b)--
            ``(1) the State may not operate any polling place for the 
        casting of ballots in the election; and
            ``(2) the State shall conduct the election solely through 
        the use of mail-in absentee ballots in accordance with the 
        requirements of section 322.
    ``(b) Period Described.--
            ``(1) In general.--The period described in this subsection 
        is the period which begins on the expiration of the 30-day 
        period which begins on the date of the enactment of this 
        subtitle and ends on January 5, 2021.
            ``(2) Application to primary elections occurring prior to 
        period.--In the case of any election for Federal office held in 
        a State during the 30-day period which begins on the date of 
        the enactment of this Act--
                    ``(A) the State may operate polling places for the 
                casting of ballots in the election; and
                    ``(B) the State shall make a good-faith effort to 
                conduct the election through the use of mail-in 
                absentee ballots in accordance with the requirements of 
                section 322.

``SEC. 322. REQUIREMENTS FOR USE OF MAIL-IN ABSENTEE BALLOTS.

    ``(a) Automatic Transmission of Ballots by Election Officials.--
            ``(1) In general.--The appropriate State or local election 
        official shall transmit an absentee ballot for an election for 
        Federal office held during the period described in section 
        321(b) to each individual who is registered to vote in the 
        election, or, in the case of any State that does not register 
        voters, to every individual who is eligible to vote in the 
        election.
            ``(2) Location to which ballots are transmitted.--The 
        official shall transmit the ballot to an individual under this 
        subsection to the mailing address which is on file for the 
        individual on the list of registered voters in the election 
        (or, in the case of any State that does not register voters, 
        the mailing address for the individual on the official record 
        or other document used by the State to verify the eligibility 
        of the individual to vote in the election), except that the 
        official shall transmit the ballot to an alternative mailing 
        address provided to the official by the individual (by 
        telephone, by mail, or by an online method), so long as the 
        individual provides the alternative mailing address to the 
        official not later than the date that is 2 weeks before the 
        date of the election involved or such alternative date as the 
        State may establish, whichever is closer to the date of the 
        election.
            ``(3) Deadline for transmission.--The official shall 
        transmit the ballot to an individual under this section not 
        later than 3 weeks before the date of the election.
    ``(b) No Excuse Required To Vote by Absentee Ballot.--If an 
individual in the State is eligible to cast a vote in an election for 
Federal office, the State may not impose any additional conditions or 
requirements on the eligibility of the individual to cast the vote in 
such election by an absentee ballot transmitted under this section.
    ``(c) Due Process Requirements for Signature Verification.--
            ``(1) Notice and opportunity to cure discrepancy.--If an 
        individual submits an absentee ballot in an election for 
        Federal office during the period described in section 321(b) 
        and the appropriate State or local election official determines 
        that a discrepancy exists between the signature on such ballot 
        and the signature of such individual on the official list of 
        registered voters in the State (or, in the case of any State 
        that does not register voters, on the official record or other 
        document used by the State to verify the eligibility of the 
        individual to vote in the election), such election official, 
        prior to making a final determination as to the validity of 
        such ballot, shall make a good faith effort to immediately 
        notify such individual by mail, telephone, and (if available) 
        electronic mail that--
                    ``(A) a discrepancy exists between the signature on 
                such ballot and the signature of such individual on the 
                official list of registered voters in the State (or, in 
                the case of any State that does not register voters, on 
                the official record or other document used by the State 
                to verify the eligibility of the individual to vote in 
                the election);
                    ``(B) such individual may provide the official with 
                information to cure such discrepancy, either in person, 
                by telephone, or by electronic methods; and
                    ``(C) if such discrepancy is not cured prior to the 
                expiration of the 7-day period which begins on the date 
                of the election, such ballot will not be counted.
            ``(2) Opportunity to provide missing signature.--If an 
        individual submits an absentee ballot without a signature, the 
        State shall notify the individual and give the individual an 
        opportunity to provide the missing signature on a form 
        proscribed by the State.
            ``(3) Other requirements.--An election official may not 
        make a determination that a discrepancy exists between the 
        signature on an absentee ballot and the signature of the 
        individual who submits the ballot on the official list of 
        registered voters in the State (or, in the case of any State 
        that does not register voters, on the official record or other 
        document used by the State to verify the eligibility of the 
        individual to vote in the election), unless--
                    ``(A) at least 2 election officials make the 
                determination; and
                    ``(B) each official who makes the determination has 
                received training in procedures used to verify 
                signatures.
    ``(d) Accessibility for Individuals With Disabilities.--The State 
shall ensure that all absentee ballots and related voting materials 
transmitted under this section are accessible to individuals with 
disabilities in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access 
and participation (including with privacy and independence) as for 
other voters.
    ``(e) Payment of Postage on Return Envelopes.--
            ``(1) Provision of return envelope.--The appropriate State 
        or local election official shall provide a self-sealing return 
        envelope with each absentee ballot transmitted under this 
        section.
            ``(2) Prepayment of postage.--Consistent with regulations 
        of the United States Postal Service, the State or the unit of 
        local government responsible for the administration of the 
        election involved shall prepay the postage on any envelope 
        provided under paragraph (1).
    ``(f) Assistance for Certain Voters.--In the case of an individual 
with a disability or a serious illness or a language minority 
individual, the State shall permit the individual to receive assistance 
from a person of the individual's choosing to complete and submit the 
ballot transmitted under this section.
    ``(g) Use of Drop-Off Boxes To Collect Ballots.--The appropriate 
State or local election official shall provide in-person, secured drop 
boxes on the grounds outside of the official's office, and on the 
grounds outside of locations which served as polling places in the 
regularly scheduled general elections for Federal office held in 
November 2018, to which individuals may drop off voted absentee ballot 
transmitted under this section.

``SEC. 323. PAYMENTS TO ASSIST WITH COSTS OF COMPLIANCE.

    ``(a) Availability of Payments.--The Commission shall make a 
payment to each eligible State to assist with the costs incurred in 
complying with the requirements of this subtitle, including costs 
attributable to postage, equipment such as high-speed ballot scanners 
and automated mail sorting systems, election personnel to process 
absentee ballots and related materials, online voter registration 
systems, public education campaigns, and software to track absentee 
ballots.
    ``(b) Amount of Payment.--The amount of the payment made to a State 
under this section shall be determined by the Commission on the basis 
of the information provided by the State in its application under 
subsection (c), except that the amount may not exceed the sum of--
            ``(1) the average of the costs incurred by the State in 
        administering the 3 most recent regularly scheduled general 
        elections for Federal office held in the State; and
            ``(2) if a regularly scheduled primary election for Federal 
        office is held in the State during the period described in 
        section 321(b), the average of the costs incurred by the State 
        in administering the 3 most recent regularly scheduled primary 
        elections for Federal office held in the State.
    ``(c) Eligibility.--A State is eligible to receive a payment under 
this section if the State submits an application for the payment to the 
Commission at such time and in such manner and containing such 
information as the Commission shall require.
    ``(d) Pass-Through of Funds to Local Jurisdictions.--
            ``(1) In general.--If a State receives a payment under this 
        section for costs that include costs incurred by a local 
        jurisdiction or Tribal government within the State, the State 
        shall pass through to such local jurisdiction or Tribal 
        government a portion of such payment that is equal to the 
        amount of the costs incurred by such local jurisdiction or 
        Tribal government.
            ``(2) Tribal government defined.--In this subsection, the 
        term `Tribal Government' means the recognized governing body of 
        an Indian tribe (as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-
        Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304).
    ``(e) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

``SEC. 324. COVERAGE OF NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS.

    ``In this subtitle, the term `State' includes the Commonwealth of 
the Northern Mariana Islands.''.
    (b) Conforming Amendment Relating to Enforcement.--Section 401 of 
such Act (52 U.S.C. 21111) is amended by striking ``and 303'' and 
inserting ``303, and subtitle C of title III''.
    (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents of such Act is 
amended by adding at the end of the items relating to title III the 
following:

         ``Subtitle C--Special Rules for Elections Held in 2020

``Sec. 321. Requiring elections to be conducted solely through use of 
                            mail-in absentee ballots.
``Sec. 322. Requirements for use of mail-in absentee ballots.
``Sec. 323. Payments to assist with costs of compliance.
``Sec. 324. Coverage of Northern Mariana Islands.''.
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