Election Laws


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Section 11-46-51

Instruction of voters in use of machines; oath, etc., of disabled voters; assistance of voters.

(a) The election officers shall, with the aid of the diagrams authorized by this article and the mechanically operated model, instruct each voter before he enters the voting machine booth regarding the operation of the machine and shall give the voter opportunity personally to operate the model. No voter shall be permitted to receive any assistance in voting at any election, unless he shall first state in writing upon printed forms supplied for that purpose and under oath or affirmation, which shall be administered to him by the inspector, that he is blind or that he cannot read the names on the voting machines or that, by reason of physical disability, he is unable to see the machine or prepare it for voting or to enter the voting machine booth without assistance. The voter shall state the specific physical disability which requires him to receive assistance. Thereupon the voter may request assistance of two inspectors of his choice or some other person of his own choice and he shall be assisted by the two election officials of his choice or by such other person who shall aid him in voting, and the inspector shall forthwith enter in writing on the record of assisted voters the voter's name, the fact that the voter cannot read the names on the voting machine, if that shall be the reason for requiring assistance and, otherwise, the specific physical disability which requires him to receive assistance and the name of the election officials or such other person furnishing the assistance. Further, should an illiterate voter desire the assistance of a federal observer in casting his ballot, the election officials shall permit such federal observer to assist such illiterate voter in casting his ballot.

If any voter, after entering the voting machine booth and before the closing of such booth shall ask for further instruction concerning the manner of voting, he may choose an election officer or other person of his choice who shall give him such instructions, but no official or other person giving a voter such instructions shall in any manner request, suggest, or seek to persuade or induce any such voter to vote any particular ticket, or for any particular candidate or for or against any particular question. After giving such instructions and before the elector closes the booth or votes, the election officer or other person shall retire, and the voter shall forthwith vote.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any official to assist a voter who has not made the oath required in subsection (a) of this section, or for an official or any other person to do anything to enable himself to see how any voter votes other than in the course of assisting a voter as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

(Acts 1961, No. 663, p. 827, §31; Acts 1971, No. 2230, p. 3587; Acts 1976, No. 358, p. 403, §15; Acts 1987, No. 87-581, p. 928, §9.)
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