FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MOVE Act Waiver Process Performs to Protect Needs of Military and Overseas Voters
Overseas Vote Foundation Applauds DOD in its Support of 55 States and Territories To Implement Significant Electoral Reform
MUNICH - August 31, 2010 - Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) recognizes the deliberate work of the Department of Defense in executing the waiver process as stipulated in the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009.
As a provider of online voting tools and services to overseas and military voters since 2005, OVF is well aware of the effort required to modify election administration and to accommodate the needs of these voters. OVF acknowledges the efforts of the DOD's Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) and election officials in every state and territory to implement the MOVE Act and wants to express confidence that all states are making progress toward greatly improved support to overseas and military voters for Election Year 2010.
OVF also notes the refreshing transparency of the waiver application process: both the applications and the DOD's responses were made available online within hours of the decision's announcement on Friday, August 27, 2010.
The DOD’s responses indicate that states only received waivers when they could provide sufficient remedial action to guarantee voters enough time to receive and return their ballots. "We at OVF are so pleased to see an open effort between state and federal elections officials in finding solutions for overseas and military voters," said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, OVF President and CEO. "
Although 2010 is still a transition year, we view the implementation of the MOVE Act as a success story in progress. It has been a bipartisan, military-civilian joint effort and has already made significant strides in helping the 6 million+ Americans living overseas to vote in every federal election."
Enacted in 2009, the MOVE Act amends 1989's Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) to address persistent issues in military and overseas voting, most significantly late arrival of blank ballots. The new law imposes several significant changes on the way that states and territories handle the overseas and military voting process, including requiring that states provide ballots to overseas voters at least 45 days before an election.
The law anticipated the need for flexibility on this provision in 2010; to this end, the authors of the MOVE Act provided a waiver process for states and territories that could demonstrate an undue hardship. Waivers are valid for one General Election only. The DOD announced Friday its approval of waiver applications from five states (Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Washington); the same day it denied waiver applications from six other states and territories (Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia).
With this announcement, overseas voters can expect that all states and territories will be compliant with the 45-day requirement, or an equivalent remedy, before November 2, 2010. "
While we at OVF regret that 100 percent compliance will not be achieved this year, we are encouraged that 24 states have passed MOVE Act-related legislation; many others have also implemented other objectives of the MOVE Act such as 'electronic transmission' of blank ballots," said OVF Chairman Chip Levengood. "
The states are on track with implementing electronic blank ballot delivery, a term that includes email, fax and download methods. 38 states so far have reported to us that they are using email as one sending method and we expect that number to rise. This is up from 20 in 2008," said OVF Research Director Dr. Claire Smith. "It’s an excellent measure of the progress already made."
OVF is dedicated to supporting overseas and military voters and currently supports 17 full-service voting websites; eight of these are licensed to individual states. OVF also provides an online help desk support, voter outreach and research programs.
About Overseas Vote Foundation:
OVF (www.overseasvotefoundation.org) helps overseas and military voters participate in U.S. elections by providing public access to secure, web-based voter registration tools and services. In 2008, 4.75 million website visitors used OVF’s voter services. OVF nurtures open and constructive discussion on the role and use of technology in overseas and military voting. OVF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan public charity incorporated in Delaware.