Friday, September 7, 2012

Pentagon's Inspector General: Nearly Half of Overseas US Military Bases Lack Voting Facilities

An audit by the Pentagon's Inspector General office has discovered that fewer than half of overseas US Military facilities aren't in compliance with the Military & Overseas Voter Empowerment Act- or MOVE Act.

The 2009 Act is supposed to guarantee facilities for members of the Armed Forces and US civilians living overseas which would allow them to register to vote in their home state or vote by absentee ballot. It also requires individual states to send off absentee ballots to servicemen and women stationed overseas in a timely manner.

Officials at the Pentagon had blamed a lack of resources and outdated contractor information for the reported lack of voter facilities.
“We concluded the services had not established all the [voting-assistance offices] as intended by the [MOVE Act] because, among other issues, the funding was not available,” reads the report, published last week but first reported Wednesday.

The report said Congress failed to authorize additional funding to implement the MOVE Act and added that Pentagon officials estimate the costs of establishing the offices could exceed $20 million per year.

But Mr. Eversole said Congress had appropriated $75 million over the past three years for military voter assistance efforts.

“The notion that they didn’t have the money to do this, that’s laughable,” he said.
Barely a year after it was signed into law, a number of states had requested waivers from the Justice Department. The Justice Department ended up filing suit against Illinois and New York state ahead of the 2010 mid-term elections after a number of counties in those states failed to send off absentee ballots to members of the military stationed overseas in a timely manner as required by the MOVE act.

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