17 June 2009

U.S. House Committee approves two military voting bills

Last week, in a markup session, the full House Administration Committee approved two bills that are designed to protect the voting rights for absentee servicemembers and their families. The Universal Right to Vote Act, HR 1604 and the Absentee Ballot Track, Receive and Confirm Act, HR 2510, both introduced by Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-Calif.) were the bills favorably passed by the committee. Rep. Davis chairs the Subcommittee on Military Personnel of the House Armed Services Committee.

HR 1604 would prohibit states from imposing additional condition such as requiring a notary signature to accompany a mail-in ballot. 28 states have adopted universal mail-in procedures for their voters.

HR 2510 would reimburse states for the cost of establishing a program to track and confirm receipt of absentee ballots for federal elections.

In May the Subcommittee on Elections of the House Administrative Committee held a hearing titled "Military and Overseas Voting: Obstacles and Potential Solutions." Three of the witnesses at that hearing were from the Department of Defense. Here is a link to the subcommittee's webpage on that hearing.

Rep. Davis issued a press release on the committee's passage of the bills which can be found here.

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