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More on the status of states seeking absentee ballot waivers [Updated]

I had a bit of a rant on this subject last month.  Here is an update (of sorts) on the topic of the state requests for waivers to the timelines for absentee ballots - which, of course, has a huge impact on the deployed forces and their supporting civilians.  And, given how close vote tallys have been these last few years, absentee ballots actually do matter. 

What?  Your vote *always* matters?  Not in the sense that in many jurisdictions, if the differential between candidates exceeds the number of absentee ballots - those ballots never actually get counted.  Makes sense from a "cost of the election" perspective, but does kinda tell you where you stand. 

It's good to see that someone said "No" to at least a few of the requesters, and the ones that were granted were seemingly granted because those states had plans that would accomodate overseas voters, just not within the statutory timeframe.

Heh.  Still.  The DOJ sets up a coaching staff on how to get your waiver... DoD seems to have stood firm in their insistence that the law be complied with, in spirit, if not to the letter.

Update: A strongly dissenting view from my last sentence, and some more details, via Pajamas Media.
DOD Announces Military and Overseas Voting Waivers


The Department of Defense announced today that Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia were denied waivers which would have temporarily exempted them from complying with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.

Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Washington were approved for waivers, relieving those states from the 45-day ballot transmission requirement.

"The states granted waivers presented thorough and comprehensive plans to protect the voting opportunities for military and overseas voters," said Bob Carey, director, Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). "In each case, we determined that the combination of measures presented provide military and overseas voters sufficient time to receive, mark and return their ballots so they can be counted, and thus met the requirement for receiving a waiver under the MOVE Act."

In 2008, a delegation of state secretaries of state reported after visiting military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Germany that, everyone the secretaries visited stated a preference for greater e-mail and Internet access to voting. Those same troops stated that email access extended even to remote areas of the theater. Many of the states' waiver application comprehensive plans provide such expanded email and internet access.

The MOVE Act requires states to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act not later than 45-days before an election for federal office, beginning with the Nov. 2, 2010 election. In accordance with the MOVE Act, states are allowed to apply for a waiver from the 45-day ballot requirement. Twelve states submitted waivers, and one state (Maryland) subsequently withdrew its waiver application. In addition to the programs presented by the states in their waiver applications, DoD has been working with states to improve timeliness and opportunities for military and overseas voters to receive their ballot and submit their votes in adequate time to be counted in the election.

This year, FVAP launched new online products that make completing voting forms easier by developing electronic alternatives for voters to request, receive or return their ballots.

"DoD is working hard to make the absentee voting process seamless, easy, intuitive, and quick for military and overseas voters," said Carey.

Military members can now fill out their registration to vote and absentee ballot applications using FVAP's online tool, and if they do not receive their ballot in time, they may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), for which a full online tool is available.

These tools, along with the latest voting information by state, may be found at http://www.FVAP.gov. In addition, FVAP has launched a 24/7 call center for military and overseas voters, voting assistance officers, and election officials to get help with voting. Individuals can e-mail in their questions or use the online chat capability.

For more information about state waiver applications, visit http://www.FVAP.gov .

State waiver applications andDoD's waiver responses may be found at the hyperlinks in this document.
 

4 Comments

Those same troops stated that email access extended even to remote areas of the theater.

Especially if there's a contractor around.

Our three G-Men and about six Operators would have been screwed if we hadn't set up our own satellite link. Come to think of it, we'd have been screwed, too...

No NIPR, no SIPR.

 
Worse yet, these same Justice Department officials told multiple officials that once a MOVE waiver was granted, it might be permanent, carrying over to the 2012 presidential election, despite express statutory language to the contrary.

Interesting that lawyers at the Federal level don't feel any compelling obligation to comply with Federal law.

 
I wonder if our guys have this trouble.  It looks like the right to vote is revoked from your guys.
 
The Legions seem to frighten some of the DC people.  Especially if some in said Legions are feeling all mean, and grumpy, and imposed upon.