Will the MOVE Act have an effect on the midterm elections?

One thing to be on the look out for this election cycle is whether the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) — passed in 2009 with the goal of making it easier for soldiers and military personnel stationed overseas to have their vote counted — actually increases the number of military votes and has an effect on the midterm elections.

While the MOVE Act’s requirements appear reasonable enough — the most consequential provision being a mandate that states allow 45 days for ballots to reach military personnel — not all states have complied with them. Instead, a number of states have sought exemption from the law and some speculate that this implementation failure will infringe on the voting rights of those protecting the country.

Of the ten states plus the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands that have applied for waivers from the MOVE Act’s 45 day requirement, five states were approved to be exempted: Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Washington.

“The states granted waivers presented thorough and comprehensive plans to protect the voting opportunities for military and overseas voters,” said Bob Carey, director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) in a Defense Department press release. “In each case, we determined that the combination of measures presented provide military and overseas voters sufficient time to receive, mark and return their ballots so they can be counted, and thus met the requirement for receiving a waiver under the MOVE Act.”

Eric Eversole, director of the Military Voter Protection (MVP) Project and former litigation attorney in the voting section of the U.S. Department of Justice, is not pleased with this development. Eversole told The Daily Caller that it is imperative for every military vote to be counted and it is unconscionable that the Department of Justice did not demand that every state comply with the MOVE Act.

“There is no doubt that military absentee ballots can absolutely define who wins and loses. That was certainly the case in 2000 in Florida with the presidential election,” he said. “And the one thing that we’ve seen thus far in the election cycle is that there are a lot of close races and there are going to be a lot of close races. And these votes, in fact, could make the difference in a lot of these House and Senate races.”

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, contends that while U.S. troops are now more likely to have their votes count, they probably will not have much effect on the races, due to low turnout and the inevitable — in military parlance — Charlie Foxtrot of election years.

“Under the MOVE Act, the troops have a better chance of having their votes cast, but as all of us who study elections know, the perfect and the possible clash during most election seasons. There’s more time since the September primaries were pushed into August in some cases, but I’ll bet there are still snafus,” Sabato wrote in an e-mail to TheDC. “In general, midterm elections do not draw an especially high military turnout. The election for the commander-in-chief in two years will produce far more military votes.”

NEXT: Is the MOVE Act effective and will it be enforced?

  • Tess_Comments

    Yet another “Act” passed without allowing sufficient time to prepare before an election.

    Another Goal Not Met “…with the goal of making it easier for soldiers and military personnel stationed overseas to have their vote counted…”

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  • Joe Astroturf

    Obama thinks there’s 57 states and Corpman is pronounced CorpseMen what can you expect. It’s a shame they wouldn’t have to worry about black panthers in their way.

  • libertyatstake

    You can be sure the Department of Politics, err, Justice, will do everything it can to suppress any vote not favorable to Dems. I say let them follow their instincts. They will lose the election regardless, and leave evidence for Chairman Issa to follow in 2011.

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  • StopGovtBondage

    It is outrageous and unforgivable for our troop’s votes not to be included in a timely manner – and no excuse for this!!!

    If Michelle, the Material Girl, Obama was HONESTLY interested in advocating for our troops – why doesn’t she make sure this issue is resolved immediately???

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jasmine-Clark/1785223171 Jasmine Clark

    illegal aliens and dead people can vote, but not the military… seems perfectly fair to me!!

    • pink

      Boy, you’re stupid. No illegal alien is going to risk being found out by going to a polling place to vote. They spend their whole lives staying under the radar, not volunteering to be front and center. Use your brain to parse the information that’s fed to you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jasmine-Clark/1785223171 Jasmine Clark

        illegals try to stay under the radar? not true. why would they when our immigration laws are so relaxed…
        there are fake id’s, fake social security numbers, etc. illegals get away with more than you seem to believe.

  • brettrow

    Why would democrats want military personnel to vote? The military supports republicans.

  • rpjkw11

    “Lack of MOVE Act enforcement could hinder troop influence on midterms.”

    Ummmm. Isn’t that the whole idea? The roadblocks are designed keep the military from voting for Republicans/conservatives/Tea Party supporters.