50 CFR § 600.1010 - Referenda.
(b) Pre-bidding referendum -
(1) Initial referendum. An initial pre-bidding referendum shall be conducted for each financed program. The business plan shall, subject to this subpart, determine the chronological relationship of the initial pre-bidding referendum to other pre-bidding aspects of the reduction process sequence. The initial pre-bidding referendum shall be based on the fishing capacity reduction specifications. If the initial pre-bidding referendum precedes the adoption of any necessary reduction amendment, the initial pre-bidding referendum shall also be based on the reduction amendment specifications. If the initial pre-bidding referendum follows the adoption of any necessary reduction amendment, the initial pre-bidding referendum shall also be based on the adopted reduction amendment;
(ii) If the initial pre-bidding referendum precedes reduction amendment adoption, a second pre-bidding referendum shall be conducted if, in NMFS' judgment, the reduction amendment subsequently adopted differs, in any respect materially affecting the borrower's reduction investment in the program and the borrower's ability to repay the reduction loan, from the reduction amendment specifications upon which the initial pre-bidding referendum successfully occurred. The sole purpose of any second pre-bidding referendum shall be to determine whether the voters authorize an industry fee system despite any such difference between the reduction amendment specifications and a subsequently adopted reduction amendment.
(3) Unsuccessful initial pre-bidding referendum. If the initial pre-bidding referendum is unsuccessful, the reduction process will either cease or NMFS may suspend the process pending an appropriate amendment of the business plan and the request.
(c) Post-bidding referendum. A post-bidding referendum shall occur only if, in NMFS' judgment, the result of bidding under § 600.1009 does not conform, in any material respect, to the fishing capacity reduction specifications and such result justifies, in NMFS' judgment, conducting a post-bidding referendum. Bidding that results in reducing fishing capacity in any amount not less than the minimum fishing capacity reduction amount for any reduction loan amount not more than the maximum reduction loan amount, and otherwise achieves all material requirements of the fishing capacity reduction specifications, shall conform to the fishing capacity reduction specifications. The sole purpose of any post-bidding referendum shall be to determine whether voters authorize an industry fee system for bidding that results in reducing fishing capacity in any amount materially less than the minimum amount in the fishing capacity reduction specifications.
(d) NMFS will conduct referenda in accordance with the following:
(1) Eligible voters. The parties eligible to vote in each referendum are the parties whose names are listed as being eligible to vote in the notice published in the Federal Register under § 600.1004(a);
(2) Ballot issuance. NMFS will mail, by U.S. certified mail, return receipt requested, a ballot to each eligible voter. Each ballot will bear a randomly derived, 5-digit number assigned to each eligible voter. Each ballot will contain a place for the voter to vote for or against the proposed industry fee system and a place, adjacent to the 5-digit number, for the signature of the fishing permit or fishing vessel owner to whom the ballot is addressed or, if the fishing permit or fishing vessel owner is an organization, the person having authority to vote and cast the ballot on the organization's behalf. Each ballot will contain a place for the person signing the ballot to print his or her name. NMFS will enclose with each ballot a specially-marked, postage-paid, pre-addressed envelope that each voter shall use to return the ballot to NMFS;
(3) Voter certification. Each ballot will contain a certification, subject to the penalties set forth in § 600.1017, that the person signing the ballot is the fishing permit or fishing vessel owner to whom the ballot is addressed or, if the fishing permit or fishing vessel owner is an organization, the person having authority to vote and cast the ballot on the organization's behalf;
(4) Information included on a ballot. Each ballot mailing will:
(i) Summarize the referendum's nature and purpose,
(iii) Identify the place on the ballot for the voter to vote for or against the proposed industry fee system, the place on the ballot where the voter shall sign the ballot, and the purpose of the return envelope,
(iv) For each pre-bidding referendum, state:
(B) The reduction loan's repayment term, and
(vii) For each second pre-bidding referendum, summarize how the adopted reduction amendment materially differs from the reduction amendment specifications upon which a successful initial pre-bidding referendum occurred and how this material difference affects the borrower's reduction investment in the program and the borrower's ability to repay the reduction loan,
(ix) State or include whatever else NMFS deems appropriate;
(5) Enclosures to accompany a ballot. Each ballot mailing will include:
(i) A specially-marked, postage-paid, and pre-addressed envelope that a voter must use to return the original of a ballot to NMFS by whatever means of delivery the voter chooses, and
(ii) Such other materials as NMFS deems appropriate;
(i) Is physically received by NMFS on or before the last day NMFS specifies for receipt of the ballot,
(iii) Is signed by the voter,
(iv) Is the original ballot NMFS sent to the voter bearing the same 5-digit number that NMFS assigned to the voter, and
(v) Was returned to NMFS in the specially-marked envelope that NMFS provided for the ballot's return;
(6) Vote tally and notification. NMFS will:
(A) The number of potential voters,
(B) The number of actual voters who returned a ballot,
(iii) If a successful referendum is a post-bidding referendum, NMFS will, at the same time and in the same manner, also notify the bidders whose bids were conditionally accepted that the condition pertaining to the reduction contracts between them and the United States is fulfilled;
(7) Conclusiveness of referendum determinations. NMFS' determinations about ballot qualifications and about all other referendum matters, including, but not limited to, eligible voters and their addresses of record, are conclusive and final as of the date NMFS makes such determinations. No matter respecting such determinations shall impair, invalidate, avoid, or otherwise render unenforceable any referendum, reduction contract, reduction loan, or fee payment and collection obligation under § 600.1013 and § 600.1014 necessary to repay any reduction loan;
(8) Ballot confidentiality. NMFS will not voluntarily release the name of any party who voted. NMFS will restrict the availability of all voter information to the maximum extent allowed by law; and
(9) Conclusive authorization of industry fee system. Each successful referendum conclusively authorizes NMFS' imposition of an industry fee system - including the fee payment, collection, and other provisions regarding fee payment and collection under § 600.1013 and § 600.1014 - to repay the reduction loan for each financed program that NMFS conducts under this subpart.
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