Category Archives: military voting

“WV will NOT accept voter registrations collected by Biden Administration”

Justin here.  The title of this post is the header of the email version of a press release issued earlier this week by the office of WV Secretary of State “Mac” Warner, currently running for governor.

I’m pretty sure the title’s not true. But we’ll get there in a sec.  (It’s not the only piece of inaccurate information in the release.)

The press release is a broadside against a fictional version of Executive Order 14019, the President’s directive that federal agencies review their authorities to “consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.”  (Disclaimer: I had no part in drafting the EO, but in my role as a federal official, I had a hand in helping to implement it, including listening to state election officials — Secretary Warner among them — during consultative conversations that Secretary Warner asserts didn’t exist.)

The release claims that the EO is an unconstitutional direction to federal agencies to “take over voter registration processes from states.”  It cites, as support, half of the constitutional foundation for the EO, in noting that “Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution says the times, places, and manner of holding elections, shall be left to the state legislatures.” 

There are other words after that snippet, of course: Congress may at any time change that default.  And Congress has.  The NVRA directs states to designate specific government offices as one-stop voter registration agencies — including federal recruitment offices for the armed forces, as a means to facilitate electoral participation by servicemembers.  Those recruitment offices are part of the Biden Administration.  And contrary to the Secretary’s email header, it’s hard to imagine that Secretary Warner, himself a veteran, plans to refuse the servicemembers’ voter registrations collected there.

The NVRA also permits states to designate as one-stop registration agencies other state offices, and offices of federal agencies with the agreement of those offices.  And it requires, to the greatest extent practicable, federal executive agencies to cooperate with states in effectuating those designations. 

The heart of the EO is just carrying out this congressional demand.  (There are other bits too, like explaining the proper and improper uses of agency funds, but the heart is effectuating the NVRA’s mandate.) 

Nobody’s taking over voter registration processes from the states.  Several states not attempting to turn customer service into conspiracy theory have worked with agencies to help constituents get registered to vote while they’re doing other government paperwork.  In 30 years of the NVRA’s existence, the first state to designate a federal entity’s office as a voter registration site was Kansas, when it designated Haskell Indian Nations University (operated by the Department of the Interior) in May 2022.  The second was New Mexico, designating the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (also operated by DOI), two months later.  Kentucky and Michigan and Pennsylvania have announced partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs to let veterans more efficiently register to vote.  Those federal agencies are ready to partner with red states and blue states and purple states in part because the executive order told them to be.

VA sites can only be designated as one-stop voter registration agencies if states step forward: without West Virginia’s blessing, no VA site in West Virginia will be acting as a designated site.  I think it’s great that veterans in Kentucky will have more opportunities to smoothly register to vote while they’re already filling out paperwork, and a shame that there’s resistance just over the border to offering other veterans the same — but no matter how politically convenient it may be to conjure into rhetorical existence a strawman federal takeover, EO 14019 in no way limits West Virginia’s continuing choices about how best to serve its would-be voters.  If the press release portends a fight, it’s a fight with nobody on the other side.

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“Troops aim to be made ‘first-class voters’ with new DARPA tech”

Military Times:

U.S. service members deserve to cast a paper ballot on election night.

That’s the premise behind a $6.8 million research effort headed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that aims to develop technology that could change the voting game for troops stationed far from home and even deployed to remote locations.

The problem, as presenters outlined it, was clear: For troops and family members, voting looks and feels very different than it does for most Americans. They mail an absentee ballot that may look unlike the one used in their state or local voting region, and won’t get counted until an audit period some time after the projected winners have all been announced.

And that difference in experience and perception directly translates to voting participation: According to information presented by VotingWorks, military voters have an average turnout of 47%, compared to 74% for civilians. Polling data presented underscores the part that voting challenges play in nonparticipation.

Some 54% of surveyed military members who wanted to vote but didn’t said they had trouble requesting an absentee ballot, and another 43% said the ballot never arrived at all. Other reasons for not voting included a too-complicated voting process, difficulty with the mailing system, and trouble accessing their state’s election website.

This remains a serious problem, more than 60 years after the Supreme Court threw out a Texas constitutional provision that denied military voters the right to vote (as I write about in A Real Right to Vote).

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“PA Fair Elections Files Complaint Over How State Handles Overseas Ballots”

Delaware Valley Journal:

A local citizens group advocating for election integrity filed a complaint Tuesday with an administrative law judge claiming the Pennsylvania Department of State is violating federal election law at the behest of progressive nonprofit groups.

At issue are thousands of overseas ballots from nonmilitary people, who may or may not be U.S. citizens or former Pennsylvania residents.

At a virtual press conference, lawyers representing a group called PA Fair Elections said federal election law does require nonmilitary overseas voters to provide identification, such as a copy of their driver’s license or Social Security card, to vote. While military members are not required to show ID, other overseas voters are under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).

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Military Spouse in California Complains About Nevada Republicans Including Her and Her Air Force Husband Stationed in CA on List of Those Committing Voter Fraud

Here is a military spouse who the Trump campaign has baselessly accused of committing voter fraud in a Nevada lawsuit. When Christian Adams’ PILF made similar accusations calling legal voters “aliens,” they got sued and Adams had to apologize to settle the case.

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“Trump lawyer calls military ballots cast in Nevada ‘criminal voter fraud'”

News 3 Las Vegas:

Should Nevada residents who are serving overseas in the military be allowed to vote?

Both federal and local laws say yes, but a letter sent to the Department of Justice by a lawyer representing the Donald Trump campaign doesn’t think so.

Attorney Shana D. Weir, representing Donald J. Trump for President Inc., sent a letter to United States Attorney General William Barr on Thursday claiming to have evidence of “criminal voter fraud” in the state of Nevada.

Specifically, they have a list of 3,062 voters who voted in the 2020 presidential election, even though the National Change of Address database shows have moved out of Nevada….

The list provided by Weir gives no way of telling how long these voters have been out of town, and how many are in college. However, the data shows something telling — many of the votes that Weir claims to be fraudulent have overseas military addresses.

To be specific, 132 of the out-of-town addresses listed have Army Post Office addresses — addresses used for active service Army and Air Force personnel serving overseas….

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“How the fight over mail-in ballots threatens to undermine the votes of American troops”

Task & Purpose:

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia
 have extended deadlines for military voters to account for the delays facing overseas ballots.

“Each state establishes clear absentee ballot deadlines, including some extended deadlines for military and overseas citizens to return their ballots after postmarking their ballots by election day,” Lisa Lawrence, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told Task & Purpose. “All ballots that are timely received, pursuant to state law, will be considered by election officials for either acceptance or rejection.”…

“Federal law protects military and overseas voters and many states give extra time for military ballots to arrive and be counted,” Richard Hasen, a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California-Irvine, told Task & Purpose. “No state has a final or official count on election night; the full counting takes days or weeks. It is true that races are sometimes unofficially called by news organizations on election night or soon thereafter, but those are just predictions of what the official count will likely show.”

“Trump’s calls to stop counting on election night, if followed, would disenfranchise military voters allowed to vote under state and federal law,” Hasen said. “Fortunately, the president has no role to play in dictating which ballots are counted and when.”

That decision is up to the states.

“Traditionally most states even if they are in-hand states, where the ballots have to be in at the close of the polls, have a specific carved out allowance for military and overseas voters to have their ballots come in after the fact,” Tammy Patrick, a senior advisor with the Democracy Fund, told Task & Purpose.

But for voters, it’s growing increasingly difficult to keep up to date on exactly what the rules are, even as the election looms around the corner.

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“Trump’s Ballot-Counting Demand Would Disenfranchise Overseas Troops”


President Donald Trump, in social media posts and remarks, is demanding that all ballots be counted by election night, even though federal law permits states to count ballots from troops stationed outside the United States, diplomats and other Americans abroad to have their ballots counted days later, as long as they were sent no later than Election Day.

In Trump’s new home state of Florida, the deadline for this election is Nov. 13. So, for example, his attempt to skew the counting in his favor could prevent service members deployed overseas from the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville or from Southern Command headquarters in Doral from having their votes matter.

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Virginia County Allegedly Not Counting 55 Timely-Cast Military Absentee Ballots in Very Close Elections

Strange story:

Questions are swirling around two close elections in the Fredericksburg region that appear destined for recounts.

In a conference call Friday, House Democratic Caucus Executive Director Trent Armitage said that 55 military ballots delivered to the Stafford County registrar’s post office box on Tuesday—Election Day—went uncounted because they were not picked up until Wednesday. Democrats said they had no way of knowing which candidates the 55 votes went for, but the ballots arrived on time and came from active-duty military personnel.

“We find that to be absolutely ridiculous,” Armitage said.

Stafford Supervisor Laura Sellers, a Democrat, lost her Garrisonville District seat to Republican Mark Dudenhefer by just 15 votes. And Republican Bob Thomas holds an 83-vote lead over Democrat Joshua Cole in the race for the 28th District House of Delegates seat representing parts of Fredericksburg and Stafford.

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“Time for Act II of the MOVE Act”

U.S. Vote Foundation:

Rarely does the first iteration of a law translate legislative intent into implementation flawlessly and durably. The legislative process allows us to correct, improve or update laws as needed in our changing times. It’s an ongoing process, and one we should embrace!

A new round of legislative reform is needed to ensure that the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and its progeny continue to play a vital role. In 2009, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) was passed as a much-needed, bipartisan reform to UOCAVA; and it has served as a mechanism to modernize key aspects of UOCAVA. The MOVE Act’s creation was informed by years of research, including work by U.S. Vote Foundation’s (US Vote) Overseas Vote initiative (formerly Overseas Vote Foundation), and it has been demonstrably successful in accelerating the transition to online methods for most overseas and military voting processes across all states.

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