Sunday, November 8, 2009

Part II: To Be Counted

You may remember our earlier blog: To Be Counted or Not, where we discussed efforts in Congress to insure deployed military votes are counted and looked at Washington State's current program.

The AUSA Legislative Newsletter reports that new rules that will make it easier for deployed servicemembers to cast ballots was folded into the fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act that was signed into law by President Obama last week.

The Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) introduced after a Senate Rules Committee survey showed that as many as one in four ballots cast by military and overseas voters went uncounted in last year’s presidential election easily passed the Senate last week.

The bill would fix several of the flaws responsible for such widespread disenfranchisement. It requires that all states provide military voters with ballots no later than 45 days prior to the election so that they have adequate time to complete and return them. It would also require states to provide ballots electronically and expands the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) at the Department of Defense, which is the main source of election-related information and assistance for many members of the military. The legislation would also bar states from rejecting military ballots for lack of a “Notary” signature—a feat difficult to achieve in the bases of Iraq and Afghanistan.

59 Senators co-sponsored the bill. The MOVE Act represents the most sweeping reform of military and overseas voting law in a long time, and its significance cannot be overstated. I'm proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact these common-sense reforms, which come just in time to help our troops and their family members participate in the November 2010 elections, said Sen. John Cornyn, TX.

No comments: