Resolution Supporting the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act

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WHEREAS, military personnel and overseas civilians face a variety of challenges to their participation as voters in U.S. elections, including difficulty in registering abroad, frequent address changes, slow mail delivery, ballots and ballot applications that never arrive, difficulty in obtaining information about candidates or issues, the inability to comply with notarization or verification procedures, and cumbersome non-essential requirements for absentee materials;  

WHEREAS, these problems exist despite many state and federal legislative efforts to alleviate them, and the protections of the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (UOCAVA) and Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009 amendments extend only to federal elections;

WHEREAS, U.S. elections are conducted at the state and local levels under procedures that vary dramatically by jurisdiction, and a lack of uniformity and consistency in procedures for overseas civilians and military personnel is, in itself, a primary obstacle to many of these voters’ ability to effectively exercise their right to vote;

WHEREAS, at its 119th Annual Meeting in 2010, the national Uniform Law Commission promulgated the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act (UMOVA) to extend application of the protections for military and overseas civilian voters currently found in federal law to state and local elections; simplify and expand the class of covered voters and covered elections; establish reasonable, standard timetables for application, registration, and provision of ballots and election information for covered voters; and to seek greater harmony within state law for the military and overseas voting process for all covered elections; and

WHEREAS, at the 2010 annual meetings of both The Council of State Governments – West and the Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments, those regions adopted policy positions supporting their member states’ enactment of UMOVA.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges that all member states consider and enact the 2010 Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act (UMOVA), to help states comply with the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (UOCAVA) and Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act of 2009 (MOVE), and to extend the application of, and broaden the coverage of, the important principles of these laws with regard to state and local elections, for the benefit and enfranchisement of our military personnel and overseas civilians; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution shall be forwarded to the executive and legislative leaders of each state, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the Adjutants General Association of the United States (AGAUS), the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, and to the sponsor and co-sponsors of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (S.1415) which was incorporated into the 2010 Defense Authorization Act and which mandated the implementation of the policies contained in UMOVA with respect to federal elections.

Adopted by the Governing Board this 6th Day of December, 2010 at CSG’s 2010 National Conference in Providence, Rhode Island.

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