The latest headlines on overseas and military voting...

Delaware Ready to Facilitate 2012 Voting for Military Members and Citizens Overseas
NewsWorks Beta, December 8, 2011
DOVER—Delawareans in the military, or those who find themselves overseas, will be well-informed about the ability to vote in key elections back home, thanks to a web-based system called VoteDelaware. Those individuals will be able to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot, which can be delivered and returned in a variety of ways - by e-mail, fax or regular mail."We want to make it easier for them to vote, and that's what we think this system does," Delaware Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove said.  "We are proud to be able to give those living far away and serving our country state-of-the-art tools to exercise their right to vote."...Full Story

Walker (WI) Signs Bill on Partisan Primary...
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin), November 17, 2011
MADISON—Partisan primaries will be held in August instead of September, under a bill Gov. Scott Walker has signed.Walker also approved a bill that will give nursing homes more time to pay for violations, put time limits on when the state can impose forfeitures on them and prevent the state from finding multiple violations against them for the same practices...Moving the primaries was needed to conform to a federal law that requires states to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters at least 45 days before an election. Wisconsin's existing election schedule makes it impossible to comply with that federal law, election officials have said.The change in law moves the primary from the second Tuesday in September to the second Tuesday in August. That will mean holding the primary on Aug. 14 instead of Sept. 11 in 2012....Full Story

Defense Dept Rejects NY Request for Primary Date Waiver

Thomson Reuters News and Insight, November 17, 2011
ALBANY—The Department of Defense has rejected New York's application for an extra year to change its congressional primary date, clearing the way for a federal judge to force the state to come into line with federal election law before the 2012 elections.The state had hoped to retain its current primary date, in mid-September, for next year's congressional elections. But at only 49 days before Election Day, that violates the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which requires states to hold primaries at least 80 days before the general election in order to give absentee voters -- particularly members of the military and their families -- enough time to mail in their ballots...A provision of MOVE allows states to obtain one-year "hardship" waivers exempting them from the law, if they can show that insurmountable legal obstacles prevent compliance with the law. New York obtained a waiver last year, and argued this year that a litany of issues, including the impending redrawing of legislative districts, would make an earlier primary in 2012 untenable. Federal officials, in a brief letter dated Wednesday, rejected those arguments....Full Story

State Gets Money to Improve Technology for Military, Overseas Voters , November 11, 2011
ALBANY—New York received a $2.5 million federal grant this week to upgrade its technology to better serve the more than 40,000 overseas and military voters registered in the state. The money will help provide greater online access and automation of tools for voter registration and voting by absentee ballot. New York was among the first seven recipients of the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections grants...The U.S. Department of Defense announced in May that it would be giving out $16.4 million to support research to improve electronic options for military and overseas voters, and the total amount available in grants has been increased to $20.6 million. Other states that got funded in the first round are California, Virginia, Washington, Maryland and Ohio.....Full Story

County Receives Voting Grant , November 11, 2011
SARASOTA (Florida)—A consortium of 13 Florida counties, including Sarasota County, has been awarded a $1.6 million grant by the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) to enhance the absentee voting process for military and overseas citizens, a news release said. The system, which will be designed to provide greater online access, will allow voters to request, receive and track their absentee ballots electronically. It will automate absentee requests and expedite ballot delivery, making the voting process for uniformed and overseas citizens more efficient and seamless.....Full Story (you must copy and paste link into a new tab)

State, Federal Government Battle Over New York Election Date , November 1, 2011
ALBANY—A lawsuit by the federal government seeking to move up the date of New York's primary elections is premature, state officials said in court documents filed Monday. The Justice Department sued the state last month in federal court in Albany, alleging that the legislature and Board of Elections have done little to comply with the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, a federal law that requires states to hold primary elections at least 80 days before a general election. New York currently holds its primary for congressional, state and local elections on the second Tuesday in September, 49 days before the general election. But state officials are still awaiting word from the Department of Defense on an application filed in August for a hardship waiver that would exempt New York from the provisions of MOVE through 2012. In a response filed Monday, the New York attorney general's office argued that the federal suit is not "ripe" and that the courts have no jurisdiction over the primary date unless and until the federal government denies the waiver application......Full Story

Proponents Tout Benefits of Online Voting, but Critics Fret about Vulnerability (Video)

New Britain, October 28, 2011
NEW BRITAIN (Conn.)—Although online voting may be the wave of the future, according to a panel of experts there remains significant obstacles — most notably a lack of security that can make voting susceptible to fraud. Allowing voters to cast their ballots via the Internet has become a controversial topic facing election officials. Though online voting can make a valuable contribution to democracy through increased participation from overseas military voters more research is needed to make the process viable. That was the consensus of two computer professors, a director of voting technology and president of Overseas Vote Foundation at a Thursday night forum moderated by WNPR News Director John Dankosky in Alumni Hall at Central Connecticut State University. However, Natalie Tennant, West Virginia secretary of the state, whose husband is stationed in the military in Afghanistan, stressed the importance of online voting for Americans overseas.....Full Story

Secretary of State's Online Voting Symposium (Luther Weeks), October 28, 2011
NEW BRITAIN (Conn.)—On October 27th, the Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill held an ‘Online Voting Symposium’ at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) in New Britain. We were there with our amateur video. The Connecticut Television Network (CT-N) was also there. When CT-N videos become available we will also post them here. This is was an exceptional panel of experts on voting technology and the challenges of overseas voting. Credit is due to the panelists, the Secretary, and those who contributed behind the scenes in making this event possible. John Dankowski, of Connecticut Public Broadcasting did an exemplary job of moderating a very civil, thorough debate. If only typical panels and Legislative hearings could be more like this format, interactive, civil, and informative....Full Story

Online Voting: Security Issues Remain a Hurdle

(Hartford), October 27, 2011
NEW BRITAIN—Allowing citizens to cast ballots online would increase participation in elections and make democracy more accessible. But don't expect to vote on your iPhone in Connecticut anytime soon; the technology just isn't there to ensure secure elections, said several experts who participated in a panel discussion at Central Connecticut State University Thursday night hosted by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. "The biggest concern I have about Internet voting is that we don't know how to do it securely,'' said Ron Rivest, an expert in cryptology and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It sounds wonderful but it's an oxymoron. ... We don't have Internet experts who know how to secure big pieces of the Internet from attack." Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan, is another skeptic. He led a team of students from the university who successfully penetrated a test-run of Internet voting in Washington, D.C., in 2010. "We began ... role playing — how would a hacker, a real malicious attacker, attempt to break in and compromise the vote and, within 48 hours of the start of the test, we had gained virtually complete control of the voting server and changed all of the votes,'' he said. Not everyone on the panel was a critic. Natalie Tennant, West Virginia's secretary of state, said her state successfully piloted online voting for members of the military serving out of state in 2010. "We had no known breaches of security,'' she said. The forum also featured Alex Shvartsman, director of the University of Connecticut's Center for Voting Technology Research, and Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, the president and co-founder of the Overseas Vote Foundation, a nonprofit group that helps members of the military and other Americans living overseas participate in federal elections. It was moderated by WNPR's John Dankosky.....Full Story

Ohio House Agrees to Push Presidential Primary, October 21, 2011
COLUMBUS—Ohio voters can prepare for two primaries in 2012 after the governor signed a bill on Friday night to hold most national contests in June with local primaries still taking place in March. Gov. Kasich signed the bill Friday, in order that it go into effect before the Jan. 21 deadline for local boards of election to ship ballots to members of the military overseas.The Ohio House less than an hour earlier approved a Senate move to hold state, local and US Senate primaries in March, while presidential and US House primaries would take place in June....Full Story

Military Voting Increased Last Year, Report Finds, October 19, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC—Buoyed by a new law that requires states to make absentee ballots more accessible to military personnel serving overseas, troops voted at a higher rate than the general population in last year’s midterm elections, according to a new report. Overall, 46 percent of the military cast ballots, a 21 percent increase from the 2006 midterms and slightly higher than the 45.5 percent of the general population that voted last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Federal Voting Assistance Program....Full Story

Missouri Considers Eliminating Primary, October 17, 2011
MOBERLY—Randolph County Clerk Will Ellis has sent an email to state Sen. Kurt Schaefer asking him to support a bill to eliminate Missouri’s 2012 Presidential primary election. The state Republican Party has already said it will use a caucus system and not the primary to choose who the state favors for the Presidential nomination.In his email, Ellis said eliminating the now-meaningless primary would save the state’s General Revenue Fund $7 million to $8 million. Ellis also said the Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities supports repealing the primary election. He said the primary would need to be repealed during the ongoing special legislative session due to statutes about when absentee ballots must be mailed to overseas and military voters....Full Story

Feds Press Wis. Lawmakers to Pass Primary Change, October 12, 2011
MADISON—Federal election officials pressed Wisconsin legislators Wednesday to move the state's fall primary up a month to give overseas military personnel more time to mail in their ballots as required by law. Two...bills, one in the state Senate and one in the Assembly, would shift the primary from the second Tuesday in September to the second Tuesday in August. They're designed to comply with the federal ...MOVE Act, which mandates that states mail ballots for federal elections to those voters at least 45 days before the election.The Senate passed its version earlier this summer but complicated matters by amending the legislation to restrict email ballots. The Assembly's bill contains no such restrictions...The Government Accountability Board, which oversees Wisconsin elections, wants to see something pass by the end of the month to give clerks as much time as possible to prepare....Full Story

Judge: Denver May Send Ballots to Inactive Voters, October 7, 2011
DENVER—Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson may send ballots to inactive voters, District Court Judge Brian Whitney ruled this afternoon. Secretary of State Scott Gessler asked Whitney last month to issue a preliminary injunction stopping Johnson's office from sending mail ballots to voters classified as "inactive failed to vote." Those voters — about 54,357 in Denver county, or about 12 percent of all registered voters — are voters who didn't vote in the 2010 general election or any subsequent election. They also failed to respond to postcards from their clerk and recorder asking whether they want a ballot for the Nov. 1 election....Full Story

Poor Signature Could Disqualify Virginia Absentee Ballots, October 5, 2011
RICHMOND—By next year's election, poor penmanship might be reason enough to disqualify a voter's mailed absentee ballot in Virginia...Removed from the current state absentee ballot regulation is language in the previous version that made it clear that illegible voter or witness signatures on a ballot wouldn't invalidate it, and a catch-all paragraph that specified ballots wouldn't be tossed if a voter's identity could be otherwise confirmed by election officials....Full Story

[Colorado's] Gessler: No to Mailing Ballots to Inactive Voters, September 30, 2011
PUEBLO—[The] Pueblo County Clerk wanted an answer...from Colorado['s] Secretary of a simple question...: Could [he]send out roughly 70 mail ballots to registered county voters in the military, but who did not vote in the 2010 election?...[The response] said the secretary of state was sticking to his position that no inactive voters should get ballots sent to them this election — including out-of-area military voters, or those "covered" by the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act...Full Story

Colorado Court Opens Electronic Images of Voted Ballots, September 30, 2011
DENVER—The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that electronic images of voted ballots should be open for public inspection, provided a voter's identity cannot be discerned from the ballot. The ruling could have a major impact on Colorado election law by allowing the public, media and others to review voted ballots following an election...But the Colorado County Clerks Association has maintained that voted ballots should remain private. While voted ballots are anonymous, the clerks say it's possible that in instances where few ballots are cast — such as some precincts in rural counties or ballots cast by members of the military and overseas voters — it would be possible for someone reviewing voted ballots to tell how a particular person voted....Full Story

New York Asks for Another Year to Move Primary Date
Thomson Reuters News and Insight, September 25, 2011
PUEBLO—In a case that could have implications for primary-election scheduling in states across the country, the governor and state legislative leaders are fashioning a last-ditch proposal in the hope of preventing New York from becoming the first state to be forced to move up its primary date. Last week, the US Justice Department asked a US District Court Judge ... to impose a new primary date in order to pull New York into compliance with the federal Military andOverseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which requires primaries to be held at least 80 days prior to a general election. The 2009 law was designed to give absentee voters -- particularly soldiers serving overseas and their families -- more time to mail in their ballots. New York currently holds its primaries for congressional, state and local elections on the second Tuesday in September, only 49 days before the November general election. To comply with MOVE, the state's 2012 primary would have to be no later than Aug. 14...Full Story

Helping Veterans Vote: Project to Ease Absentee Process, September 25, 2011
To make it easier for military members and other citizens stationed overseas to vote in state and federal elections, South Dakota is leading a joint venture with Nebraska, Iowa and North Dakota to develop an electronic absentee voting system. States in the consortium plan to develop and test an electronic voting system that is both secure and user-friendly...The collaborating states use similar voting systems.South Dakota ... received a grant of almost $1 million from the Federal Voting Assistance Program for the project.....Full Story

Online Voting: Modern Convenience or Security Risk
Connecticut Secretary of State Press Release, September 21, 2011
The idea of allowing voters to cast their ballots over the internet is one of the most controversial topics facing election officials today. Does online voting make a valuable contribution to our democracy or make it more vulnerable? Does it allow for more participation from overseas voters and military personnel? Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat will join Natalie Tennant, Alex Halderman, Ron Rivest and Alex Shvartsman to discuss this trending issue on October 27, 2012 at CCSU...Full Story

DOJ's NYS Primary-Change Push Rolls On
New York Daily, September 20, 2011
U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe has scheduled a hearing for 9 a.m. on October 20. New York’s opposition papers are due October 3...DOJ’s proposed order...provides that: “New York shall conduct its 2012 federal non-presidential primary election on an appropriate date no later than 35 days prior to the 45-day advance deadline set by the MOVE Act for transmitting ballots to the State’s military and overseas voters, i.e., at least 80 days before the November 6, 2012 federal general election.” (Eighty days before November 6, 2012 is August 18.) The papers note the state has applied for a waiver under the MOVE Act for 2012 and that feds have not yet ruled on the application....Full Story

Election Assistance Commission Releases Survey of Internet Voting
The Voting News, September 17, 2011
The EAC Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Divi­sion has released the tech­ni­cal report “A Sur­vey of Inter­net Vot­ing,” a com­pre­hen­sive review of Inter­net vot­ing sys­tems used in elec­tions world­wide between 2000 and 2011. EAC staff con­ducted the study to assist in the devel­op­ment of elec­tronic absen­tee vot­ing guide­lines, specif­i­cally to assist the Commission’s efforts to iden­tify tech­nolo­gies that could improve ser­vices for mil­i­tary and over­seas vot­ers and vot­ers with disabilities...Full Story

Absentee Voter Week Encourages Overseas Voters
US Forces Korea - General News, September 15, 2011
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Absentee Voting Week beg[i]n[s] Sept. 27 to raise awareness among U.S. citizens residing outside American borders to return completed absentee voting ballots as quickly as possible.Absentee Voting Week, which ends Oct. 4, is designed to encourage voters to return completed ballots to their home states, ensuring their vote is counted.  Most states began sending ballots to registered voters on Aug. 15.“Voting is the foundation of our democracy and one of our most fundamental Constitutional Rights,” said Brig. Gen. Richard P. Mustion, the Army’s senior voting representative, in a statement.  “If you choose to vote, complete and return your ballot to your state election office prior to the state’s established deadline.”Voters who have not received their absentee ballot by Oct. 2 should use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to guarantee their voice is heard.  Overseas voters who are nervous they will not receive ballots in time for the election may also fill out the SF 186 Federal Absentee Write-in Ballot...The United States Postal Service is also assisting absentee voters this year by providing free express mail to speed ballots to state offices...Full Story

Feds Okay a Floating Presidential Primary in Georgia
AJC (Atlanta Constitution Journal) blog - Political Insider, August 29, 2011
ATLANTA—The U.S. Justice Department has given its stamp of approval to state legislation passed this spring to give Secretary of State Brian Kemp the power to set the date for next year’s presidential primary by Dec. 1. The election can be no sooner than late January, and no later than mid-June. Another piece of legislation changes the date of the general primary in even-numbered years following a census from the next-to-last last Tuesday in August to the last Tuesday in July. to assist the state in meeting the requirements of MOVE...Full Story

Confusion Reigns Over Texas 2012 Election Calendar
[Texas], August 20, 2011
TEXAS—Despite efforts by state lawmakers to avoid a confusing election schedule in 2012, that may be exactly what many Texas voters face next year anyway. Gov. Perry signed a bill this summer tweaking the election laws in order to comply with new federal rules designed to make it easier for members of the military to vote. A key side-effect of the measure is that it pushes back runoffs from next year's March 6 primaries into May, when cities, school districts and other local entities hold their elections. Early voting for primary runoffs would begin just days after the May 12 local elections...In the span of three months, some voters would face a primary, followed by city and school district elections, followed by primary runoffs, followed by city and school district runoffs. And then, of course, the statewide and national general election next November....Full Story

Let the MOVE Act Have a Chance to Work Before Considering Electronic Return of Ballots
Verified Voting Blog, August 7, 2011
Military and overseas voters saw improvements in their ability to vote in 2010, thanks to the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) passed in late 2009, according to a report to Congress last month by the Military Postal Service Agency (MPSA). The report indicates that MOVE will improve things further as its provisions become better known and implemented. The MOVE Act required states to send ballots to military and overseas voters at least 45 days before election-day in federal elections so they have time to return their voted ballot. MPSA must pick up ballots for return to election offices no later than 7 days before election day. MOVE also sped up the process by requiring states to offer electronic transmission (website, email, fax) of blank ballots and registration materials. The law stopped short of establishing electronic return of voted ballots because ballots cannot be secured against undetected interception and manipulation over the internet....Full Story

Helping a Few to Vote, With Unintended Effects
The Texas Tribune (via the New York Times), August 4, 2011
TEXAS—In an effort to make it easier for military and overseas voters to take part in elections, lawmakers may have killed turnout in primary election runoffs in Texas and increased the electoral power of organized groups like the Tea Party. Next year’s primary elections will be held nine weeks after the first of the year, which is to say that campaigning will start in earnest immediately after the holidays and Texas voters will head to the ballot box two months later...Full Story

Online Voting Not Yet Reliable, Pasco [Florida] Elections Chief Says
The Sun Coast News, August 3, 2011
NEW PORT RICHEY—Voting in elections over the Internet remains a pipe dream for now, a Pasco official thinks. "There's a better chance of me growing a full head of hair," said Pasco County's bald supervisor of elections, Brian Corley. Too many kinks remain to make online voting practical in time for the 2012 presidential election, Corley said. "It's too important a process to risk tampering," he said. Corley was alarmed at how easily students were able to insert the University of Michigan fight song during a 2010 digital voting test for soldiers and overseas voters conducted in Washington, D.C....Full Story

[Nevada] Special Election to Feature Four Candidates, Funding Source for that Election Locally is Unknown, July 22, 2011
RENO—Now that the list of candidates have been determined for the special election to choose the replacement for Republican Dean Heller's House of Representatives District 2 seat, Lyon County is moving forward in preparing for that election on Sept. 13. One unknown how the special election will be funded. Previously [it was] understood the state was paying for the election costs but now that may not be entirely the case...Early voting for the special election starts on Aug. 27, while the deadline to register in person to vote in this election is Aug. 23...Full Story

Ruling: Virginia Voter Applications Must be Public
The Virginian Pilot, July 22, 2011
NORFOLK—A federal judge has ruled that Virginia must make its voter registration applications available for public inspection.The opinion...stems from a lawsuit filed by the national voting rights group, Project Vote, which sought access to voter applications of Norfolk State University students in the 2008 presidential election...Project Vote was seeking to investigate what it believed was an unusually high number of application rejections. It sued the head of Norfolk's Office of Elections and the state Board of Elections...The city and state defended the suit by arguing that voter registration applications are state records not subject to federal law. But if they are, they should fall under two other sections of law: the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act and the Help Americans Vote Act, which have security and privacy protections, they argued...The judge ruled that federal law, which mandates openness of voter records, trumps Virginia's law that restricts access to voter registration applications only to the local registrar and the individual voter...Full Story

Web-Mailed Ballots: A Long Term Solution for Overseas Voters
The Reserve Officer Blog, July 20, 2011
This week the director of the nation's leading military assistance voting program expressed his support for web-delivery as a long term solution to military absentee voting issues...However, the return and accurate counting of these overseas ballots still remains an item of pressing debate. With the spotlight of the 2012 Presidential election approaching, thousands of overseas and absentee service members continue to await a clear and actionable solution to ensure their votes are counted accurately and consistently. ROA has been a leading advocate to ensure that every deployed service member has adequate voting rights....Full Story

Cuomo Approves April 24 (2012) Primary Date, July 19, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Mark your calendars, primary voters. Gov. Cuomo signed a bill this morning that would change the date of New York’s 2012 presidential primary to April 24, his office announced. The Empire State joins Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania in holding the primary in April. New York held its 2008 presidential primary on Feb. 5, part of the (somewhat insensitively) so-called “Tsunami Tuesday” primary that featured 24 states holding primaries. The bill also changes the cuirrent law so the state complies with the federal MOVE ACT, which requires military and overseas voters receive ballots at least 45 days prior to the election.....Full Story

Official Pushes for Online Military Voting, July 18, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The director of the program that helps troops vote from overseas says a full embrace of Internet voting for servicemembers would help get more votes counted. Using the current system, “you don’t have to wait for your ballot to arrive by mail. You go online, download it and you can print it out and you can vote it,” said Federal Voting Assistance Program director Robert Carey during a July 15 hearing before the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel panel. But improvements are needed, particularly for troops deployed into a combat theater, he conceded....Full Story

Texas Voters Will Consider 10 Constitutional Amendments
The Texas Tribune, July 13, 2011
AUSTIN—In a little celebrated biennial Texas tradition, voters will decide the fate of 10 new proposed constitutional amendments in November. Last to appear on the ballot will be SJR 37, aligning the resign-to-run laws with the new primary election filing date. Now, elected officials can only keep their jobs if they file for candidacy with less than one year left in their current term. But during the legislative session, lawmakers moved the primary election filing deadline from Jan. 2 to mid-December to accommodate military and overseas voters. That would force some elected officials to resign from their current post to file for candidacy. The amendment would change the length of unexpired term from one year to one year and 30 days....Full Story

Ohio Senate Panel Axes Online Voter Registration
Associated Press, July 13, 2011
COLUMBUS—A state Senate panel has moved to toss out a plan to let Ohioans register to vote online and update their addresses. The provision was part of an elections overhaul bill signed July 1...That law also requires voters to give their full Social Security numbers when casting provisional ballots and to provide the full numbers if they choose to use them when registering to vote. A Senate committee voted Wednesday to get rid of the provision and the full Social Security requirement. The changes were made in a bill that the committee passed, sending it to an afternoon vote by the full Senate. The measure would let members of the military and Ohioans overseas apply for and receive absentee ballots by email or online....Full Story

Virginia Elections Board Wants to Ease Applicant Rules
Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 11, 2011
RICHMOND—The State Board of Elections wants to make it easier for overseas voters, including service members, to register to vote. The board voted last week to allow overseas voters, who could include embassy employees and contractors working in Afghanistan, to fax a voter application to a Virginia registrar. If approved by the U.S. Justice Department, the rules change would take effect Sept. 1[, 2011].....Full Story

Ballots for Military Causing Headaches (in Texas), July 9, 2011
SAN ANTONIO—A new state law, approved during the last legislative session to help comply with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empower Act, or MOVE Act, which stipulates when ballots must be sent to the military serving away from home, is creating all sorts of headaches. The MOVE Act mandates ballots must be sent to voters in the military 45 days before an election.It will be interesting to see how this all pans out during the 2012 presidential election. The National Democratic Convention does not conclude until Thursday, Sept. 6. That is the date when the Democratic vice-presidential candidate is officially announced.Elections administrators will not be able to finalize the ballots for the November election until then. At that point, they will have just more than two weeks to meet the deadline for sending the ballots to military voters....Full Story

Clock Ticks Down on New York Primary-Moving Deadline
New York Daily News, July 8, 2011
City elections officials note that the state Board of Elections has only until this coming Monday afternoon to respond to the federal Justice Department's request for a sitdown to discuss New York's failure to move its primaries to comply with The MOVE Act. (That geared at ensuring those serving overseas in the military have enough time to cast their ballots.)...Gov. Cuomo has addressed the military-voting timeframe issue for special elections, but not for regular ones....Full Story

Group Tries to Count American Expats Abroad
The Local (Germany's News in English), July 7, 2011
The question is a surprisingly elusive one: How many US citizens live abroad? 
Although there are estimates – they generally run between four to six million – nobody really knows the answer.  Some individual countries count the number of Americans residing there – Germany says about 97,000 live on its territory – but there are no worldwide figures since there’s no requirement that citizens tell the US government they’ve moved abroad.  But the Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF), an organization that helps Americans abroad register to vote, thinks technology can help determine a ballpark figure that could increase the political clout of expats....Full Story

Elections Board Eases Registration for Overseas Voters
Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 7, 2011
RICHMOND—The State Board of Elections made it easier on Wednesday for overseas voters, including military voters, to register to vote. The board voted to allow overseas voters, which could also include embassy employees and contractors working in Afghanistan, to fax a voter application to a Virginia registrar. The proposed rules change would take effect Sept. 1, if approved by the U.S. Justice Department....Full Story

Governor Quinn Signs Election Reform Legislation
Illinois Government News Network, July 4, 2011
DES PLAINES—Governor Quinn today signed election reform legislation that will empower Illinois' residents with better access to democratic process.... Historically, Illinois has had limited ballot access. This bill contains three major reforms to improve access to the democratic process throughout Illinois...The bill also increases voting access for service members by allowing ballots to be emailed to military voters who are overseas....Full Story

Overseas Voters Bill of Rights
American Citizens Abroad, Updated July 5, 2011
The Overseas Vote Foundation has produced a Voter's Bill of Rights, especially designed for US voters overseas. As an American citizen living overseas, either military or civilian, you have a right to vote by absentee ballot in your home state in all US federal elections....Full Story

Regulations to Move Up Primary Voting Date Will Ensure Timely Military Balloting, July 4, 2011
BUFFALO—Federal regulations taking effect in 2012 to ensure timely military balloting will force primary voting to shift from its traditional September date into at least late August and possibly June. It marks the first major change in the state's political calendar since the primary switched from June to September in 1974. While no measures are before the State Legislature to officially enact the changes, officials say they will be introduced during special sessions in the fall. A state Board of Elections spokesman said the move will affect about 69,000 eligible New Yorkers who live overseas.....Full Story

Restrictions for ATVs, Landfills Begin in South Carolina [Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voters Act Among Bills Passed]
The Augusta Chronicle, July 1, 2011
COLUMBIA—South Carolinians will have to start following a variety of new laws today, including ...SB 404: Signed into law in June, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voters Act is supposed to make it easier for members of the military who are serving abroad to vote. The law requires absentee ballots be sent at least 45 days before any election, provides a backup measure for those who do not receive their ballots in time, and gets rid of the witness requirement on ballots. The changes will go into effect whenever it is approved by either the U.S. Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia....Full Story

89 New (Kansas) Laws Take Effect Friday, June 29, 2011
SB 103 expands voting opportunities for certain absentee federal services voters and military personnel and their family members. The bill allows overseas voters to vote a full ballot at all elections; apply for, receive and return their ballots by electronic means; and vote a write-in ballot, if needed...HB 2080 makes several changes to state election laws including the date of the next presidential primary and filing deadlines in redistricting years.
...Full Story

Justice Department Reaches Agreement to Protect Rights of Military and Overseas Voters in New Mexico
US Department of Justice, June 30, 2011
WASHINGTON—The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a supplemental agreement with New Mexico officials to help ensure that military service members and U.S. citizens living overseas will have an opportunity to participate fully in the 2012 federal general election cycle.  The agreement is part of an ongoing case brought in 2010 to ensure New Mexico’s compliance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), which requires states to give uniformed service voters (both overseas and within the United States) and their families and overseas citizens a reasonable opportunity to vote absentee in all Federal elections...Full Story

Summer in the City: Beaches, Barbecues -- and Ballots?
Gotham Gazette, June 28, 2011
NEW YORK STATE—Military and overseas voters across the country got a break in 2009 when the federal government eased the process for them to receive ballots and required that the ballots be sent 45 days in advance of the election. The good news for overseas voters, though, is creating a headache for New York election officials. With New York holding its primary elections in September, there currently is not enough time for military and overseas voters to get their ballots before the general election under the requirements of the Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act. The state needed a waiver in 2010 to comply with the new law, and it is uncertain whether the federal government will grant it another one for 2012. The state is now weighing its options and may have to move the primary date. The question, then, is what the new date will be, and whether it will benefit voters, election officials or legislators...Full Story

More Cities Turning to Instant Runoff Voting
Progress Review's Undernews, June 26, 2011
FAIR VOTE—In 2000, no city in the United States used instant runoff voting. Since then, 17 cities and counties have passed ballot measures adopting IRV, including at least one every November since 2004...In addition, Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina all use IRV ballots for their overseas voters participating in runoff elections, and Springfield (IL) did so in 2011 after a 91% vote to adopt this practice in 2006...Full Story

Current Election Dates, Term Limits Would Force (Texas) City to Pay $45,000 More to Hold Own Elections, June 22, 2011
McKINNEY—Gov. Perry signed Senate Bill 100 on June 17 to adjust the dates of the general primary election and primary runoff election in order to bring Texas into compliance with the U.S. Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. The bill retains the general primary date of the first Tuesday in March of even-numbered years and shifts the primary runoff to the fourth Tuesday in May of even-numbered years. The adjustment enables state and municipal elections to comply with the MOVE Act, passed in 2009 so that federal ballots are transmitted to military and overseas voters at least 45 days before an election for federal office or any election held in conjunction with a federal election....Full Story

New Legislation Makes it Easier for Military Overseas to Vote
[North Carolina], June 20, 2011
RALEIGH—Gov. Perdue Monday signed into law model legislation that makes it easier for North Carolina military serving overseas to vote. The bill mandates that absentee ballots be sent at least 60 days before a general election to military overseas. It would also apply to civilians stations overseas...Full Story

Governor Signs 15 New Bills Into Law
Hawaii 24/, June 20, 2011
[Hawaii] Gov. Abercrombie has signed into law 15 measures, bringing the number of Acts to date to 146. These measures include: House Bill 716 establishes new election deadlines to comply with state primary election date required by federal law (for overseas military voters)...Full Story

Overseas Voting Bill Signed into Law by North Carolina Governor
Associated Press, June 20, 2011
The Pew Center on the States says North Carolina is the first state to adopt such a comprehensive bill based on model legislation generated by a commission and designed for states to copy. Pew says the bill requires absentee ballots be sent to potential overseas voters 45 to 60 days ahead of an election date and allows unmarked ballots be sent electronically to those who request them. North Carolina ranks fifth among the states in the number of military personnel....Full Story

Organization Appeals for Expat Americans to Stand Up and Be Counted
The Telegraph, June 9, 2011
The Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF), a not-for-profit group dedicated to helping Americans overseas take part in federal elections, began its “Counting Citizens” project in April this year.Using the power of social media to spread the word, the group is appealing for expats to register on a dedicated website, and help the organisation produce a reliable estimate of the number of Americans currently living abroad.“At the moment, there no is no accurate up-to-date estimate of how many American citizens abroad there are or where they are,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, the president of the OVF. “Expats are not included in the US census, and previous estimates have been very rough, and often non-official.“The last attempt to work out how many expats there are was in 1999, and stated that there were four million. But we’ve seen estimates range from that up to 10 million, none of which are substantiated.".....Full Story

Voting Made Easier for SC Citizens Serving Overseas
South Carolina Radio Network, June 8, 2011
The South Carolina Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voters Act requires that service members and citizens who are abroad receive their ballots earlier and faster, allowing them ample time to cast and return their ballots  to be counted.South Carolina’s military population ranks in the top third of the nation, making the law critical to ensuring deployed military are among those getting in their votes on time...It also takes away the requirement of a witness on ballots from the military and overseas voters.....Full Story

Pew Applauds South Carolina for Military and Overseas Voting Improvements
Pew Center on the States, June 7, 2011
The South Carolina Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voters Act was signed into law today... The new law, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, makes it easier for South Carolinians abroad to participate in federal, state and local elections. By requiring service members and citizens overseas to receive their ballots earlier and faster for all elections and removing obstacles from the process, the law provides a better opportunity for these individuals to cast a vote that will be counted.....Full Story

Military Voting Bill Set for a Vote in Rhode Island
The Voting News, June 7, 2011
The state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is sched­uled to vote on leg­is­la­tion from Sec­re­tary of State A. Ralph Mol­lis that would change Rhode Island’s pres­i­den­tial pri­mary cal­en­dar in order to ensure that mil­i­tary vot­ers and oth­ers liv­ing over­seas get their bal­lots faster. The leg­is­la­tion is in response to the fed­eral Mil­i­tary and Over­seas Voter Empow­er­ment (MOVE) Act, which requires states to mail bal­lots to over­seas vot­ers at least 45 days prior to an election.....Full Story

Bill May Change Timing of Some Texas Elections
ReporterNewsOnline, June 7, 2011
ABILENE—A bill awaiting [the governor]'s signature may change the timing of some city and school elections...The bill...aims to bring Texas into compliance with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which requires overseas voters to receive balloting materials 45 days in advance of a federal election.That includes materials for voting in the primaries held in advance of federal elections in even-numbered years. The primary elections typically begin in early March. To give overseas voters the mandated 45-day window, any runoff elections would have to be pushed back until the end of May. Since municipalities and school districts typically contract with county elections offices, the machines may be unavailable.....Full Story

Complying with Federal Law will Require Major Changes (Virgin Islands)
Virgin Islands Daily News, June 2, 2011
ST. CROIX—After the territory narrowly escaped being in violation of the federal MOVE Act during the 2010 election cycle - largely based on "pure luck," according to officials - it has been an issue of constant concern in meetings of the boards of elections....The Virgin Islands is one of six states that applied for waivers but were denied.While the U.S. Department of Defense sent the legislative branch and the V.I. Election System draft language for legislation that would bring the territory into compliance, the changes would cause a domino effect that would require "a complete, thorough and utter revamping" of the V.I. Code's election protocol, said V.I. Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr.....Full Story

Oklahoma Moves Up 2012 Primary Election, June 1, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY—The filing period for statewide and legislative candidates has been pushed up about 45 days, from early June to mid-April, and the primary election has been moved up a month, from late July to late June...About 3,200 soldiers from Oklahoma’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will deploy next month to Afghanistan. Expected to be there a year, many may elect to cast ballots from there for the June 2012 primary election....Full Story

Alabama Creating New Voting Options for Military, Other Overseas Voters
Associated Press, May 31, 2011
MONTGOMERY—The Alabama Legislature is creating new ways for the military and other Alabama voters who are overseas to return their ballots.Currently, the military and other Alabama voters who are overseas can only use the mail to return an absentee ballot. The legislation allows them to use fax, a commercial carrier like UPS and FedEx, and secure electronic transmissions...[M]ilitary and other Alabama voters who were overseas in the last election requested 4,800 absentee ballots, but only 1,100 were returned....Full Story

California Bill Would Allow Email Ballots from Overseas
Associated Press, May 31, 2011
SACRAMENTO —The California Senate is supporting an extension of state voting laws that would allow members of the military and other special voters living outside the U.S. to email their ballots to elections clerks. Current law allows such voters to apply so they can send their ballots by fax. Under [this] bill, voters also would have to send a copy of an identification envelope and a voter declaration. The secretary of state's office opposed the bill, which now goes to the Assembly. It cited concerns about the security of emailed ballots, including hacker attacks and tracking by service providers...Full Story

Bill Setting Colorado Primary Earlier Signed
Daily Journal, May 27, 2011
DENVER —Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill Friday that changes some election dates in Colorado so the state complies with a federal law aimed at giving military and others living overseas enough time to vote.The bill Hickenlooper signed into law makes Colorado's primary elections and precinct caucuses happen earlier on even-numbered years and requires that mail-in ballots be delivered or mailed to military personnel serving overseas 45 days before an election so they have enough time to vote and have their ballots counted. It's part of a provision of the Military and Overseas Voter Act that Congress passed in 2009...Full Story

Bipartisan Effort Would Protect Voices of Military
(Ohio) Daily Court Reporter, May 20, 2011
A bill designed to make it easier for deployed members of the U.S. military to cast a ballot in state elections has been introduced into the legislature...[The bill] would permit uniformed services and overseas voters to request ballot applications and absent voter's ballots by electronic mail or Internet delivery. It would specify that a federal write-in absentee ballot submitted by such an individual may be used as the person's voter registration form and absent voter's ballot. The bill also would establish emergency election procedures for such persons involved in armed conflicts, troop mobilizations or other emergencies....Full Story

Federal Grants Aim to Improve Absentee Voting
Marine Corps Times, May 20, 2011
State and local election officials may apply for grants to research and develop electronic options for improving absentee ballot voting for military and overseas citizens, under a new $15.5 million program announced by the Defense Department.The an...initiative to overcome the main problem faced by military and overseas voters cited in 2008: ballot transmission. Election officials reported the most common reason that ballots from military and overseas citizens are not counted is that ballots are received after the deadlines...Full Story

Date of 2012 Texas Primary May Still Move
PoliTex (Fort Worth Star-Telegram Blog), May 19, 2011
In order to comply with a 2009 federal law requiring military and overseas voters have more time to vote, Texas must either schedule a later primary or an earlier deadline for candidates to file for a spot on the ballot.  A senate plan would keep the primary date in the first Tuesday of March and move up the filing deadline to December. The house proposal would move the Texas primary to the first Tuesday in April...Full Story

MOVE-ing Primary Dates
NCSL's The Thicket, May 17, 2011
State primary dates have gotten a great deal of legislative attention this year as states try to comply with the MOVE Act of 2009... Prior to MOVE, many overseas citizens were effectively disenfranchised because their absentee ballots didn’t arrive in time to be counted...Full Story

Washington Moves Primary Elections Up by Two Weeks
Associated Press, May 16, 2011
OLYMPIA — Washington state is accelerating its primary schedule by two weeks in order to comply with a federal law to accommodate overseas and military voters.General election primaries have usually been held on the third Tuesday in August. Starting in 2012, the primary will move to the first Tuesday of August....Full Story

Earlier Primary Planned for 2012
Watertown Daily, May 15, 2011
ALBANY — In 2012, New York voters will go to the polls for primaries before September, but it's not clear when the new primaries will be...Elections officials have proposed an end-of-June primary, giving them the best amount of time to handle petitions and create ballots in time to send them to soldiers and citizens overseas.. ...Full Story

New Oklahoma State Laws
Tulsa World, May 15, 2011
TULSA — HB 1615 Moves up filing period for state office and primaries to comply with federal law. The purpose is to space out elections enough to assure military personnel and other overseas voters sufficient time to receive and execute absentee ballots. ...Full Story

Washington State Cancels 2012 Presidential Primary
Associated Press, May 12, 2011
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire approved a bill Thursday to skip the primary after state leaders agreed that it would be better to save the $10 million it costs to manage the vote...[since the parties] typically rely on caucuses, not the primary, to choose candidates and allocate delegates for their national conventions...Full Story

Calling Military and Overseas Voters
Rock the Vote, May 12, 2011
Living overseas or serving in our military? Rock the Vote has teamed up with the Overseas Vote Foundation to make it easy to register and vote ....Full Story

Ohio Bill Aims to Ease Burdens for Overseas Voters
Associated Press, May 10, 2011
COLUMBUS — Ohioans living abroad and members of the military serving overseas would be able to apply for absentee ballots by email or online under a proposal a pair of state lawmakers is pushing ....Full Story

Pew Applauds Tennessee for Military and Overseas Voting Improvements
Digital Journal - PRNewswire-USNewswire, May 6, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC — Tennessee took steps this week to improve the voting procedure for service members and citizens overseas as Governor Bill Halsam... signed...a law...ensuring Tennesseans abroad who do not receive their official ballot in time can participate in all elections ....Full Story

Colorado Legislature Approves Moving Primary from August to June
Denver Post, May 5, 2011
DENVER — Colorado is poised to dramatically change its election schedule, moving the primary from August to June...a bill to make this change having passed both chambers of the state legislature ....Full Story

Lawmakers Look to Move Primary Date
YNN TV News, May 3, 2011
NEW YORK STATE — New York State has yet to comply with the new federal law requiring states to send its residents, overseas and in the military, voting ballots at least 45 days before an election....Full Story

BALLOTsafe - A Military and Overseas Voting Solution
BusinessWire, May 2, 2011
OMAHA — Election Systems and Software (ES&S) and Sctyl announced a strategic alliance to produce a fully integrated online ballot delivery and marking system that will allow military, overseas ...voters to cast ballots in a timely, secure and reliable manner....Full Story

Kansas Military and Overseas Voters Act Signed by Governor
St. John News, April 28, 2011
TOPEKA — “The streamlined methods...enable U.S. citizens located outside the United States at election time to vote their absentee ballots as quickly and reliably as possible”....Full Story

Virginia Redistricting: Time is Running Out to Keep Scheduled Primaries
WAMU 88.5, April 27, 2011
RICHMOND — State lawmakers in Virginia will continue negotiations today in an effort to agree on a redistricting map acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans. But time may be running out to hold election primaries as scheduled. The primaries were already moved from June to August 23rd, but the U.S. Justice Department needs 60 days to pre-clear the plan -— or not —-once it's signed into law. After that, ballots to overseas voters must be mailed 45 days before the primaries.....Full Story

Bill Affects More than Voter ID
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online, April 26, 2011
MADISON — The latest version of a bill requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls would make sweeping changes to Wisconsin elections - moving the September primary to August, tightening rules on absentee ballots and ending straight-ticket voting....Starting in 2012, most voters could no longer vote a straight-party ticket, although military and overseas voters still could because of a federal law.....Full Story

Officials May End Runoffs to get State in line with Feds
Tulsa World, April 20, 2011
TULSA — Oklahoma's primary runoff elections could be eliminated in order to bring the state into compliance with a federal law intended to help overseas military personnel vote, state officials say....Full Story

Washington State House Joins Senate in Backing Earlier Primary
Everett Herald, April 9, 2011
EVERETT — On a 94-1 vote, the House amended then approved a bill moving up the August primary from the third Tuesday to the first Tuesday.  Also ballots will be mailed four weeks earlier in the primary and two weeks earlier in the general election....Full Story

Texas Election Dates to Line Up with Federal Law
Weatherford Democrat, April 6, 2011
PARKER COUNTY — Primary and runoff election dates may change in Texas in 2012 to comply with the federal law giving military and overseas voters more time to vote....Full Story

Colorado Senate Committee Agrees to Move Primary Election Dates
Colorado Statesman, April 1, 2011
DENVER — Colorado's Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee agreed unanimously to move the primary election from the second Tuesday in August to the last Tuesday in June, starting in 2012....Full Story

Expatriate U.S. Voters Finding It Easier to Receive Ballots
New York Times, February 12, 2011
WASHINGTON — As the effect of a new law protecting the rights of overseas U.S. voters is felt, those voters are reporting an easier time in requesting and receiving ballots....Full Story

Report: One-third of overseas voters couldn’t cast a ballot last fall
Stars and Stripes, February 10, 2011
WASHINGTON — Nearly one-third of overseas voters surveyed by a voting rights advocacy group could not cast a ballot in last November’s election, but officials say that’s actually an improvement from previous election cycles...Full Story

Many overseas voters still can't cast a ballot, study finds
Regular mail outperforms online methods for request and delivery of ballots

Government Computer News, Feb 10, 2011
New requirements for the delivery of ballots to military and overseas voters led to modest improvements in participation in the 2010 election, but a post-election survey by the Overseas Vote Foundation found that many absentee voters remain effectively disenfranchised...Full Story

Overseas Vote Foundation Measures Impact of MOVE Act with 2010 Post Election UOCAVA Voter and Election Official Surveys
February 10, 2011
WASHINGTON D.C. - Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) today releases its 2010 Post Election UOCAVA* Voter Survey and Local Election Official Survey Report, which demonstrates that the recent Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act has begun to shift overseas voting trends in a new and welcome direction....Full Story

Washington State Lawmakers Eye Earlier Primary Date
KOMO TV News, January 11, 2011
OLYMPIA — Secretary of State Sam Reed is asking the state legislature to move the primary election two weeks earlier in August to comply with a new federal law requiring military ballots be mailed 45 days before Election Day....Full Story