Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Overview and Issues [February 20, 2014]   [open pdf - 337KB]

"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) of 1986. The law was enacted to improve absentee registration and voting for this group of voters and to consolidate existing laws. Since 1942, a number of federal laws have been enacted to assist these voters: the Soldier Voting Act of 1942 (P.L. 77-712, amended in 1944), the Federal Voting Assistance Act of 1955 (P.L. 84-296), the Overseas Citizens Voting Rights Act of 1975 (P.L. 94-203; both the 1955 and 1975 laws were amended in 1978 to improve procedures), and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986. The law is administered by the Secretary of Defense, who delegates that responsibility to the director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) at the Department of Defense (DOD). Improvements to UOCAVA 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) and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-252) both included provisions concerning uniformed services and overseas voting. The Ronald W. Reagan Defense Authorization Act for FY2005 (P.L. 108-375) amended UOCAVA as well, and the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for FY2007 (P.L. 109-364) extended a DOD program to assist UOCAVA voters."

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CRS Report for Congress, RS20764
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