Each general registrar shall take one or more of the following measures as needed to expedite counting absentee ballots returned by mail before election day: (i) examine the ballot envelopes to verify completion of the required voter affirmation; (ii) mark the pollbook, or the absentee voter applicant list if the pollbook is not available, that the voter has voted; or (iii) open the sealed ballot envelopes and insert the ballots in optical scan counting equipment or other secure ballot container without initiating any ballot count totals. If the general registrar proceeds to open sealed ballot envelopes as provided in clause (iii), at least two officers of election, one representing each political party, shall be present during all hours when a general registrar uses the expedited procedures authorized in this section. No person present while sealed ballot envelopes are opened and ballots are inserted into counting equipment or other secure ballot container pursuant to clause (iii) shall disclose any information concerning the ballots.
2007, cc. 171, 281; 2012, cc. 328, 486; 2013, c. 501.