(a) If the committee determines a secure electronic means may be established for conducting overseas absentee voting, the Secretary of State shall promulgate rules proposed by the committee to provide that option to eligible overseas voters. The Secretary of State may veto any rule proposed by the committee, may resubmit any vetoed proposed rule to the committee, and may provide an alternative rule for consideration by the committee. In the event that the Secretary of State and the committee are unable to jointly recommend a rule, or are unable to agree on a rule, the Secretary of State shall submit both the proposed rule of the committee and the proposed rule of the Secretary of State to the Joint Committee on Administrative Regulation Review for comment. The Joint Committee on Administrative Regulation Review, after review, shall return the proposed rules, with comments, to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall proceed to adopt a rule pursuant to the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act. The rules for conducting overseas absentee voting by secure remote electronic transmission shall authorize the absentee election manager, as defined in Section 17-11-2, to accept requests for absentee ballots and voted absentee ballots from overseas voters and provide a process for verifying the identity of a voter, ensuring the security of the transmission, accepting a voted ballot, and recording each ballot received.
(b) Before overseas absentee voting may be conducted pursuant to this article, the committee, among other factors, shall consider all of the following:
(1) A timetable and process for notifying eligible overseas voters of the availability of voting an absentee ballot by secure remote electronic transmission.
(2) Detailed instructions to be given eligible overseas voters regarding voting by secure remote electronic transmission.
(3) A timetable for the conduct of elections utilizing the electronic transmission of absentee ballots.
(4) A method of providing blank ballots to overseas voters.
(5) A method and criteria for returning overseas voted absentee ballots to the absentee election manager.
(6) Procedures for ensuring the physical security of the remote voting site for receipt and transmission of blank and voted absentee ballots.
(c) Pursuant to subsection (a), the Secretary of State, by rule adopted pursuant to the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act, shall establish minimum criteria to ensure the secure remote electronic transmission of election materials including, but not limited to:
(1) The use of encrypted information, including, but not limited to, ballots, passwords, and both public and private encryption keys.
a. A public or private key encryption methodology shall include key generation under the control of the Secretary of State.
b. A password protected private key shall be held secure by the county appointing board and never transmitted or otherwise divulged by any means.
c. A password protected private key that is unique for each eligible overseas voter to digitally sign the ballot for transmission and storage before decryption by the canvassing board.
(2) The capability for auditing the secure remote voting application source code, and the capability for this application to be executed on a clean computer which, at a minimum, has a baseline operating system on its hard disk and no other software or driver installed.
(3) The capability to secure access to and from the overseas voter and the voting server or the voting database platform, or both.
(4) The verification of the authenticity of the identity of the overseas voter before granting access to the transmission of election material.
(5) The capability for the overseas voter to determine that the secure transmission of election material was successful.
(6) The capability for the absentee election manager to segregate rejected ballots before decryption.
(7) The capability to record election material received by secure transmission.
(8) The capability for the absentee election manager to produce a marked paper ballot for each vote cast by secure transmission.