FVAP Director: MOVE Act requirement “Unfortunate”, “Unfair”

We welcome the comment of Bob Carey, Director, Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)<read>

The FVAP comments on our criticism of the Military and Overseas Voters (MOVE) Act.

A couple of things to which FVAP feels it should respond:

– The MOVE Act is, overall, a HUGE improvement for military and overseas voting rights: requiring States to send ballots out at least 45 days prior, to transmit blank ballots electronically, and to accept the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot for all federal elections will significantly improve voting rights for this population.

– As for the requirement to register again, that is unfortunate, and so that is why FVAP is reaching out as aggressively as it is to make sure all military and overseas voters know to reregister and resubmit their absentee ballot application this year. The reason the law was changed is, as “rjs” said, the belief by most election officials that the previous federal legal requirement that States automatically send ballots resulted in many being returned as undeliverable. However, nation-wide, less than 2.5% of these automatically transmitted ballots were returned as undeliverable. In 2008, Connecticut reported to the Election Assistance Commission that NONE of these ballots were returned as undeliverable.

But just because we have that one unfortunate provision in the MOVE Act, overall, the Act was a huge improvement for military and overseas voters.

The reason this change in the law is unfortunate is not only that military and overseas voters have to reapply every calendar year, but also because in the off-year, if a military or overseas voter doesn’t apply at the beginning of the year, it is unlikely that they will hear of any special elections in time to apply and receive a ballot because they are announced usually within 60 days of their being held. That’s unfair to these voters.

Contact FVAP if you have any further questions. Vote@fvap.ncr.gov.

Bob Carey
Director, Federal Voting Assistance Program

We appreciate all reasonable comments on our blog, especially from officials.  We also appreciate that the FVAP agrees that the re-registration provision is “unfortunate”.  Our opinion remains that it is a significant flaw counter to the purpose of the well-intended act.  In addition, the provision in the MOVE Act for Internet voting pilots is more than a significant flaw, it is dangerous.  Without these provisions we would wholeheartedly support the Act.

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One response to “FVAP Director: MOVE Act requirement “Unfortunate”, “Unfair””

  1. ABVote

    We were able to make this requirement much less burdensome for the uniformed and overseas citizens of some States. The FVAP commissioned us to build a web based program where these voters could request their ballots online. If the voter needed to submit an FPCA registration/ballot request form, the program automatically created the form, saving the user many steps. It was seamless for the voter. This was a pilot program, so it was deployed in only a couple States, but the FVAP can take credit for encouraging the innovation.

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