CHAPTER 3. ELECTIONS.

§3-3-2a. Early voting areas; prohibition against display of campaign material.

(a) The county commission shall designate the courthouse or annex to the courthouse as the primary location for early in-person voting and, in addition, the commission may designate other locations as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The county commission may, with the approval of the county clerk or other official charged with the administration of elections, designate community voting locations for early in-person voting, other than the county courthouse or courthouse annex, by a majority of the members of the county commission voting to adopt the same at a public meeting called for that purpose.

(1) The county commission shall publish a notice of its intent to designate a community voting location at least 30 days prior to the designation. Notice shall be by publication as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with provisions of §59-3-1 et seq. of this code. The publication area is the county in which the community voting location or locations are designated;

(2) Community voting locations shall comply with requirements of this article for early in-person voting, criteria prescribed by the Secretary of State, and the following criteria:

(A) The location can be scheduled for use during the early voting period;

(B) The location has the physical facilities necessary to accommodate early voting requirements;

(C) The location has adequate space for voting equipment, poll workers, and voters; and

(D) The location has adequate security, public accessibility, and parking.

(3) The county executive committees of the two major political parties may nominate sites to be used as community voting locations during the early voting period;

(4) Upon the designation of a community voting location, the county clerk shall, not less than 30 days prior to an election, give notice of the community voting location address and the dates and times when the location will be open for early voting by publication as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with provisions of §59-3-1 et seq. of this code;

(5) Voting shall be conducted at each designated community voting location for a period of not less than five consecutive days during the early in-person voting period authorized by §3-3-3 of this code, but need not be conducted at each location for the entire period of early in-person voting;

(6) The county commission, with the approval of the county clerk, may authorize community voting locations on a rotating basis, wherein a community voting location may be used for less than the full period of early in-person voting.

(7) If more than one community voting location is designated, each location shall be used for an equal number of voting days and permit voting for the same number of hours per day; and

(8) Once a community voting location is designated it may continue to be used in subsequent elections without complying with the public notice requirements of subdivision (1) of this subsection if the county commission finds, and the county clerk agrees, at least 50 days, but not more than 80 days prior to the election, that the location continues to qualify under this section.

(c) The Secretary of State shall propose legislative and emergency rules in accordance with the provisions of §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this section. The rules shall include establishment of criteria to assure neutrality and security in the selection of community voting locations.

(d) Throughout the period of early in-person voting, the official designated to supervise and conduct early in-person voting shall make the following provisions for voting:

(1) The official shall provide a sufficient number of voting booths or devices appropriate to the voting system at which voters may prepare their ballots. The booths or devices are to be in an area separate from, but within clear view of, the public entrance area of the official's office or other area designated by the county commission for early in-person voting and are to be arranged to ensure the voter complete privacy in casting the ballot.

(2) The official shall make the voting area secure from interference with the voter and shall ensure that voted and unvoted ballots are at all times secure from tampering. No person, other than a person lawfully assisting the voter according to the provisions of this chapter, may be permitted to come within five feet of the voting booth while the voter is voting. No person, other than the officials or employees of the official designated to supervise and conduct early in-person voting or members of the board of ballot commissioners assigned to conduct early in-person voting, may enter the area or room set aside for voting.

(3) (A) The official designated to supervise and conduct early in-person voting shall request the county commission designate another area within the county courthouse, any annex of the courthouse or any other designated as early in-person community voting locations within the county, as a portion of the official's office, for the purpose of early in-person voting in the following circumstances:

(i) If the voting area is not accessible to voters with physical disabilities;

(ii) If the voting area is not within clear view of the public entrance of the office of the official designated to supervise and conduct early in-person voting; or

(iii) If there is no suitable area for early in-person voting within the office.

(B) Any designated area is subject to the same requirements as the primary location for early in-person voting.

(4) The official designated to supervise and conduct early in-person voting shall have at least two representatives to assist with early in-person voting: Provided, That the two representatives may not be registered with the same political party affiliation or be two persons registered with no political party affiliation. The representatives may be full-time employees, temporary employees hired for the period of early in-person voting in person, or volunteers.

(5) No person may do any electioneering nor may any person display or distribute in any manner, or authorize the display or distribution of, any literature, posters, or material of any kind which tends to influence the voting for or against any candidate or any public question on the property of the county courthouse, any annex facilities, or within 100 feet of the outside entrance of any other designated early voting locations within the county during the entire period of regular early in-person voting. The official designated to supervise and conduct early in-person voting is authorized to remove the material and to direct the sheriff of the county to enforce the prohibition.