A bi-partisan bill to streamline voting and voter registration for service members and their families has been announced by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. The legislation, to be introduced by Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), would also address delays in ballot distribution for military voters and civilians living aboard. The Safeguarding Elections for our Nation’s Troops through Reforms and Improvements Act — “SENTRI Act” — aims to enhance the senators’ MOVE Act of 2010 that improved access to voting for military personnel.
Under MOVE, absentee ballots have to be mailed out 45 days prior to an election.
Under SENTRI, states would be required to report compliance before and after the 45-day period. In the event of a missed deadline, the state would have to express-mail the ballots and pay for returned ballots via express mail.
Along those lines, SENTRI would repeal the MOVE provision that permits states to seek waivers from the 45-day deadline.
Additionally, SENTRI would require the Department of Defense to improve on-base voter assistance programs to comply with the National Voter Registration Act.