“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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