Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Overview and Issues [October 6, 2010]   [open pdf - 183KB]

"Members of the uniformed services and U.S. citizens who live abroad are eligible to register and vote absentee in federal elections under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA, P.L. 99-410, 42 U.S.C.1973ff) of 1986. The law was enacted to improve absentee registration and voting for this group of voters and to consolidate existing laws. [...] Improvements to UOCAVA (P.L. 99-410) were necessary as the result of controversy surrounding ballots received in Florida from uniformed services and overseas voters in the 2000 presidential election. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2002 (P.L. 107-107; S. 1438) and the Help America Vote Act (P.L. 107-252; H.R. 3295) both included provisions concerning uniformed services and overseas voting. The President signed P.L. 107-107 on December 28, 2001, and P.L. 107-252 on October 29, 2002. The Ronald W. Reagan Defense Authorization Act for FY2005 (P.L. 108-375) amended UOCAVA as well, to ease the rules for use of the federal write-in ballot in place of state absentee ballots, and the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for FY2007 (P.L. 109-364) extended a DOD program to assist uniformed services and overseas voters. In the 111th Congress, a major overhaul of UOCAVA was accomplished when the President signed the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2010 (P.L. 111-84) on October 28. It included an amendment (S.Amdt. 1764) that contained the provisions of S. 1415, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. The Senate had approved the conference committee report (H.Rept. 111-288) on the defense authorization act (H.R. 2647) on October 22 and the House had done so on October 8. Also on the House side, the Committee on House Administration reported H.R. 2393, which would require the collection and express delivery of ballots from overseas military voters before the polls close on election day. A similar provision was included in the defense authorization act as enacted."

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CRS Report for Congress, RS20764
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