MOVE Act

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Georgia: Justice Department challenges Georgia on military, overseas ballots | ajc.com

The federal government has sent a letter to Georgia officials saying the state’s schedule for runoff elections violates federal law on military and overseas absentee ballots and threatening a lawsuit if the matter isn’t resolved quickly. U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez on June 15 sent the letter to Attorney General Sam Olens and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Olens’ office declined to comment on the letter, but Kemp said the state is in the middle of the primary election and doesn’t intend to make changes suggested by federal officials. Runoff elections are required in Georgia if no candidate earns more than 50 percent of the vote. Federal law requires that absentee ballot be sent to military and overseas residents at least 45 days before federal elections, including runoffs, the letter says.

Full Article: Feds challenge Georgia on military, overseas ballots  | ajc.com.

Georgia: DOJ: Runoff election dates violate federal law on military and overseas absentee ballots | The Republic

The federal government has sent a letter to Georgia officials saying the state’s schedule for runoff elections violates federal law on military and overseas absentee ballots and threatening a lawsuit if the matter isn’t resolved quickly. U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez on June 15 sent the letter to Attorney General Sam Olens and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Olens’ office declined to comment on the letter, but Kemp said the state is in the middle of the primary election and doesn’t intend to make changes suggested by federal officials. Runoff elections are required in Georgia if no candidate earns more than 50 percent of the vote. Federal law requires that absentee ballot be sent to military and overseas residents at least 45 days before federal elections, including runoffs, the letter says. Georgia’s state primary runoff is scheduled for three weeks after the state primary election, and Georgia’s general election runoff is scheduled for four weeks after the general election. Both of those elections have federal offices on the ballot, and the time between the election and the runoff is less than 45 days in both cases.

Full Article: DOJ: Ga. runoff election dates violate federal law on military and overseas absentee ballots.

California: Eleven California counties miss deadline to send ballots to overseas, military voters | North County Times

Elections officials throughout California missed a deadline to send 8,250 ballots to overseas and military voters for next week’s presidential primary, prompting a lawsuit and swift settlement over the weekend between the state officials and the U.S. Department of Justice. Eleven of the state’s 58 counties violated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act by failing to send ballots to voters abroad on April 21 – 45 days before the primary. While about 5,450 of the late ballots were sent out within two days of missing the deadline, some were delayed as much as a week. On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit [PDF] against California for missing the deadline, but Secretary of State Debra Bowen reached an agreement on the matter that same day, federal officials said. As part of the settlement, the secretary of state’s office will hold training sessions with at least one election official in each county before the general election in November.

Full Article: Counties miss deadline to send ballots to overseas, military voters : North County Times - Californian.

California: Eleven California counties miss deadline to send ballots to overseas, military voters | North County Times

Elections officials throughout California missed a deadline to send 8,250 ballots to overseas and military voters for next week’s presidential primary, prompting a lawsuit and swift settlement over the weekend between the state officials and the U.S. Department of Justice. Eleven of the state’s 58 counties violated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act by failing to send ballots to voters abroad on April 21 – 45 days before the primary. While about 5,450 of the late ballots were sent out within two days of missing the deadline, some were delayed as much as a week. On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit [PDF] against California for missing the deadline, but Secretary of State Debra Bowen reached an agreement on the matter that same day, federal officials said. As part of the settlement, the secretary of state’s office will hold training sessions with at least one election official in each county before the general election in November.

Full Article: Counties miss deadline to send ballots to overseas, military voters : North County Times - Californian.

National: Federal bill would simplify absentee voting for troops | Army Times

One absentee ballot request from military and overseas voters would be good for an entire election cycle, under legislation introduced Friday in the House of Representatives. The bill, HR 5828, is aimed at clarifying confusion created in a 2009 overhaul of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. The change can be interpreted as requiring separate absentee ballot requests for primary and general elections.

Full Article: Bill would simplify absentee voting for troops - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times.

National: Federal bill would simplify absentee voting for troops | Army Times

One absentee ballot request from military and overseas voters would be good for an entire election cycle, under legislation introduced Friday in the House of Representatives. The bill, HR 5828, is aimed at clarifying confusion created in a 2009 overhaul of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. The change can be interpreted as requiring separate absentee ballot requests for primary and general elections.

Full Article: Bill would simplify absentee voting for troops - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times.

Voting Blogs: Bob Carey to Leave Federal Voting Assistance Program | Election Academy

On Friday, I got word that Bob Carey, director of the Pentagon’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is leaving in June to join a bipartisan lobbying firm in DC. As Bob’s time at FVAP draws to a close after three years, I want to wish him well – and use the opportunity to talk about the challenges of pushing for change in the field of election administration. Bob came to FVAP in June 2009 after years of working to improve military and overseas voting – first on his own and then in coordination with The Pew Center on the States. Indeed, Bob contributed research to Pew’s groundbreaking January 2009 report No Time To Vote, which highlighted the problems facing Americans around the world and made recommendations that eventually formed the basis for Congress’ enactment of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009.

Full Article: While Daring Greatly: Bob Carey to Leave FVAP - Election Academy.

Voting Blogs: Bob Carey to Leave Federal Voting Assistance Program | Election Academy

On Friday, I got word that Bob Carey, director of the Pentagon’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is leaving in June to join a bipartisan lobbying firm in DC. As Bob’s time at FVAP draws to a close after three years, I want to wish him well – and use the opportunity to talk about the challenges of pushing for change in the field of election administration. Bob came to FVAP in June 2009 after years of working to improve military and overseas voting – first on his own and then in coordination with The Pew Center on the States. Indeed, Bob contributed research to Pew’s groundbreaking January 2009 report No Time To Vote, which highlighted the problems facing Americans around the world and made recommendations that eventually formed the basis for Congress’ enactment of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009.

Full Article: While Daring Greatly: Bob Carey to Leave FVAP - Election Academy.

Alabama: State, county officials blame each other for Alabama absentee ballot fiasco | The Montgomery Advertiser

The state of Alabama filed a response Wednesday to a temporary restraining order issued over absentee ballots that were sent late to military and overseas voters. The response filed Wednesday lists some of the precautions the secretary of state’s office took and the special circumstances that led to the delays. County and state election officials, meanwhile, sparred over where to place the blame for the delays. The U.S. Justice Department filed a suit late Friday against Alabama and Secretary of State Beth Chapman alleging that the state failed to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters by the required deadline for the March 13 primaries. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a temporary restraining order against Chapman and the state Tuesday that requires them to work with the Justice Department to decide on a remedy for the late ballots.

Full Article: State, county officials blame each other for absentee ballot fiasco | The Montgomery Advertiser | montgomeryadvertiser.com.

National: Summit addresses military and overseas voters – despite progress, challenges remain | electionlineWeekly

The Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) hosted its Sixth Annual UOCAVA Summit last week, where participants highlighted progress made and noted the challenges that still remain in ensuring that military and overseas voters can successfully cast their absentee ballots.

A new report from the Pew Center on the States noted in the past two years, 47 states and the District of Columbia enacted laws to protect the voting rights of military and overseas citizens. This year’s election will be the first presidential election since many of these changes went into effect. The report, Democracy from Afar, found that many states have implemented changes to their laws or administrative codes.

Full Article: electionlineWeekly.

National: Contests in battleground states could hinge on ‘invisible’ overseas voters | NBC

Since the 2000 recount in Florida, voting procedures have been under the microscope; in close races, painstaking legal details and arcane rules can determine the results. Among those details is the handling of ballots cast by hundreds of thousands of “invisible” overseas voters. In the swing state of Virginia this November, 10,000 votes could decide the outcome in the presidential race, or the U.S. Senate race. In 2006, Democrat Jim Webb won Virginia’s Senate seat by a margin of 9,329 out of the nearly 2.4 million votes that were cast, a mere four-tenths of one percent margin of victory. Likewise in 2008, in another battleground state, Missouri, Republican presidential candidate John McCain beat Democrat Barack Obama by 3,903 votes, a one-tenth of one percent margin.

Full Article: NBC Politics - Contests in battleground states could hinge on 'invisible' overseas voters.

National: Military, overseas voting easier, report finds | Politico.com

For military and overseas voters from 47 states and D.C., casting a ballot in 2012 will be a much different — and easier — experience than ever before. Since the 2009 passage of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which called for improved election access for those living or serving abroad, 47 states and D.C. have enacted new laws and reforms to protect this group of voters, the Pew Center on the States study released Friday found. The 2012 election is the first presidential contest where these voters will cast ballots with the newly implemented legislative and administrative changes. Pew found that 38 states and D.C. now have rules meeting or exceeding the MOVE act’s requirement to send absentee ballots no later than 45 days before a federal election, and eight states also moved their primary dates to accommodate that condition.

Full Article: Military, overseas voting easier, report finds - Mackenzie Weinger - POLITICO.com.

Voting Blogs: New Pew Report Details Progress on Military, Overseas Voting | Doug Chapin/PEEA

Today at the 2012 Overseas Vote Summit in Washington, DC the Pew Center on the States will release Democracy from Afar: States Show Progress on Military and Overseas Voting, a new report updating progress on the issue of military and overseas voting first high lighted by Pew’s 2009 report No Time To Vote.Democracy from Afar finds that “47 states and the District of Columbia enacted laws to protect the voting rights of military and overseas citizens”. More specifically, Pew found that “many states have implemented changes to their laws or administrative codes.”

Full Article: New Pew Report Details Progress on Military, Overseas Voting - Program for Excellence in Election Administration.

Virginia: State to print, mail ballots despite Perry suit | Reuters

Texas Governor Perry sued Virginia election officials after state Republican officials ruled he did not get the required number of verified voter signatures, arguing the state’s qualification process limits voters’ access to the candidates of their choosing. U.S. District Judge John Gibney set a January 13 hearing on the matter.

To comply with laws that protect overseas absentee voters, the state must send ballots to them at least 45 days before the March 6 primary contest, meaning they will have to be mailed by January 21. It takes about two weeks to prepare and mail ballots, a state official said.

Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich also failed to get the 10,000 verifiable signatures, including at least 400 qualified voters from each congressional district, that are necessary to be included in Virginia’s primary.

Full Article: Virginia to print, mail ballots despite Perry suit | Reuters.

Voting Blogs: The Saga Continues: New York’s MOVE Act Waiver Denied | Doug Chapin/PEEA

In a trip through the archives yesterday, I mentioned the ongoing drama in New York State about whether or not the state’s September 2012 primary would be moved up to give military and overseas voters enough time to vote in compliance with the MOVE Act.

New York has always had its own timetable with regard to implementation of federal election laws; the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken the state to court numerous times to enforce the Help America Vote Act’s requirements for a statewide voter registration database and accessible voting technology.

Full Article: The Saga Continues: New York's MOVE Act Waiver Denied - Program for Excellence in Election Administration.

Voting Blogs: Crowd-Geeking the New Military Voting Report | Doug Chapin/PEEA

On Tuesday, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) released a report and underlying data assessing the extent of voting by military voters in the 2010 election. The data paints an encouraging but still mixed picture; while participation rates for members of the military (adjusted for age and gender) appear to be strong, there are still areas where the system could improve. For example, 29% of military voters reported that they requested but never received an absentee ballot – up from 16% in 2008. These figures are likely to form the backdrop for continued enforcement and potential expansion of the MOVE Act of 2009, which was designed to improve voting for military and overseas voters.

The FVAP report is so rich with data that I knew there was no way I could dive in alone; that’s why I reached out to my fellow election geeks for their read on the release. Not everyone wanted to speak for the record, so we’ll keep all of these anonymous – but what they had to say was fascinating and helped me (and hopefully you) see the data in different ways.

Full Article: Crowd-Geeking the New Military Voting Report - Program for Excellence in Election Administration.

Wisconsin: Federal election official presses Wisconsin lawmakers to change fall primary date | The Republic

Federal election officials are pressing Wisconsin legislators to pass a bill that would shift the state’s fall primary from September to August.

The bill would bring the state into compliance with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which mandates that states mail ballots for federal elections to those voters at least 45 days before an election.

Voting Blogs: The Empty Mailbox: Why Aren’t Election Offices Responding to EAC Data Requests? | Doug Chapin/PEEA

There is nothing quite like new data to set the election geek world into a frenzy of delight. The EAC’s release yesterday of the latest report on the Uniformed and Overseas Civilians Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) is the latest information we have about the fate of ballots cast by military and overseas voters. The report (teased mercilessly on Twitter by the EAC in a masterstroke of geek marketing, by the way) is especially important as it reflects the first data reflecting changes made by the MOVE Act of 2009.

The data contains lots of good news for anyone who cares about the ability of military and overseas voters to participate in democracy from a distance and appears to validate somewhat the efforts by Congress and state/local election offices to improve the UOCAVA balloting process.

Full Article: The Empty Mailbox: Why Aren't Election Offices Responding to EAC Data Requests? - Program for Excellence in Election Administration.

Voting Blogs: Irresistible Force Meets ImMOVEable Object: DOJ vs. New York on Military and Overseas Voting | Doug Chapin/PEEA

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) asked a federal judge to order New York State to change the date of its 2012 primary election. The government argues that current September date gives military and overseas voters too little time to return their ballots and thus fails to comply with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act enacted by Congress in 2009.

DOJ and New York are well-acquainted with the courtroom and one another; DOJ sued in 2006 for failure to implement the Help America Vote Act and the state has been operating under a consent decree virtually ever since. Indeed, it is fair to say that no state has been as reliably consistent in the last decade as the Empire State in the implementation of new federal election laws.

Full Article: Irresistible Force Meets ImMOVEable Object: DOJ vs. New York on Military and Overseas Voting - Program for Excellence in Election Administration.

Ohio: Ohio program focuses on soldiers’ right to vote | Toledo Blade

When freshman state Rep. Mike Dovilla (R., Berea) requested an absentee ballot in 2007 while deployed in Iraq with the U.S. Navy, his ballot never arrived. “Through no fault of my own and despite a proactive attempt to obtain a ballot, I was disenfranchised in that year’s municipal elections,” he said.

An initiative unveiled Tuesday by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is designed to make that less likely to happen. In the future, a request for an absentee ballot by a member of the armed services will be tracked to ensure the ballot arrives, even if it means the ballot might be completed at the last minute and faxed back to Ohio for counting on Election Day.

Full Article: Ohio program focuses on soldiers' right to vote - Toledo Blade.