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 September 10, 2010

Community

DoD announces military and overseas voting waivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Department of Defense Public Affairs) — The Department of Defense (DoD) announced Aug. 27 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 secretaries of state from various states 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 e-mail access extended even to remote areas of the theater. Many of the states’ waiver application comprehensive plans provide such expanded e-mail 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 now can 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, voters can call 1-800-438-VOTE (8683), e-mail vote@fvap.gov or choose the online chat option at http://www.fvap.gov.

Military personnel in the Fort McCoy community seeking more information can contact the Officer in Charge of the Soldier Readiness Center (SRC) at 608-388-7652. Voting information is available at the SRC for mobilized Soldiers.

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