Archive for October 4th, 2009

Kaine Appointee Argues Against Sending Out Military Absentee Ballots in Time to Vote

The Virginia State Board of Elections argued in their most recent filing that they have no legal obligation to send out military absentee ballots in a timely manner; that is, the State of Virginia has argued in a federal court filing that they can legally send out absentee ballots to active duty soldiers the day before an election.

Jean Cunningham, Democratic Chairwoman of the Virginia State Board of Election appointed by the Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine, in his capacity as Virginia Governor, argues “there is no federal statute that requires States to mail absentee ballots to UOCAVA [Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act] voters a minimum number of days before an election.” The details of the legal proceedings are at Law@Moritz.

The Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program stipulates that overseas ballots be mailed at least 30 days before an election, and recommends that States allow 45 days for round-trip mailing of absentee ballots; however, the focus of DoD’s regulations concerns only federal elections.

With the off-year gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey less than a month away, some counties in both states have not yet sent out absentee ballots, which is a violation of their own laws.

It appears that states must pass laws that would allow overseas military personnel and their spouses to vote in non-federal state elections and would provide enough time for the ballots to be returned and be counted.  

U.S. Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and Dan Boren and Senators John Cornyn and Mark Begich have submitted proposals to have DoD pay for federal election ballots to be returned by express mail. The proposal passed in the Senate, but Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer have blocked it in the House.

If Cunningham’s argument prevails, a legal precedent would be established to disenfranchise overseas military personnel and their families. Democrats persistently wring their hands and rail about minority disenfranchisement and voter access, but will they intervene on behalf of military voters? The question is legitimate, and the answer, unfortunately, is obvious.

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