S. 3073 (110th): Military Voting Protection Act of 2008

110th Congress, 2007–2009. Text as of Oct 02, 2008 (Referred to House Committee).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3073

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 2, 2008

Referred to the Committee on House Administration

AN ACT

To amend the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to improve procedures for the collection and delivery of absentee ballots of absent overseas uniformed services voters, and for other purposes.

1.

Procedures for Collection and Delivery of Marked Absentee Ballots of Absent Overseas Uniformed Services Voters

(a)

Procedures

(1)

In general

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 103 the following new section:

103A.

Procedures for Collection and Delivery of Marked Absentee Ballots of Absent Overseas Uniformed Services Voters

(a)

Collection

The Presidential designee shall establish procedures for collecting marked absentee ballots of absent overseas uniformed services voters in regularly scheduled general elections for Federal office, including absentee ballots prepared by States and Federal write-in absentee ballots prescribed under section 103, and for delivering the ballots to the appropriate election officials.

(b)

Ensuring Delivery Prior to Closing of Polls

(1)

In general

Under the procedures established under this section, the Presidential designee shall ensure that any marked absentee ballot for a regularly scheduled general election for Federal office which is collected prior to the deadline described in paragraph (3) is delivered to the appropriate election official in a State prior to the time established by the State for the closing of the polls on the date of the election.

(2)

Contract with express mail providers

(A)

In general

The Presidential designee shall carry out this section by contract with one or more providers of express mail services.

(B)

Special rule for voters in jurisdictions using post office boxes for collection of marked absentee ballots

In the case of an absent uniformed services voter who wishes to use the procedures established under this section and whose marked absentee ballot is required by the appropriate election official to be delivered to a post office box, the Presidential designee shall enter into an agreement with the United States Postal Service for the delivery of the ballot to the election official under the procedures established under this section.

(3)

Deadline described

(A)

In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the deadline described in this paragraph is noon (in the location in which the ballot is collected) on the last Tuesday that precedes the date of the election.

(B)

Authority to establish alternative deadline for certain locations

If the Presidential designee determines that the deadline described in subparagraph (A) is not sufficient to ensure timely delivery of the ballot under paragraph (1) with respect to a particular location because of remoteness or other factors, the Presidential designee may establish as an alternative deadline for that location the latest date occurring prior to the deadline described in subparagraph (A) which is sufficient to ensure timely delivery of the ballot under paragraph (1).

(4)

Prohibition on refusal by States to accept marked absentee ballots not delivered by postal service or in person

A State may not refuse to accept or process any marked absentee ballot delivered under the procedures established under this section on the grounds that the ballot is received by the State other than through delivery by the United States Postal Service.

(c)

Tracking Mechanism

Under the procedures established under this section, the entity responsible for delivering marked absentee ballots to the appropriate election officials shall implement procedures to enable any individual whose ballot for a regularly scheduled general election for Federal office is collected by the Presidential designee to determine whether the ballot has been delivered to the appropriate election official, using the Internet, an automated telephone system, or such other methods as the entity may provide.

(d)

Absent Overseas Uniformed Services Voter Defined

In this section, the term absent overseas uniformed services voter means an overseas voter described in section 107(5)(A).

(e)

Authorization of Appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Presidential designee such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

.

(2)

Effective date

Section 103A of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as added by this subsection, shall apply with respect to each regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held on or after November 1, 2010.

(b)

Conforming Amendments

(1)

Federal responsibilities

Section 101(b) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff(b)) is amended—

(A)

by striking and at the end of paragraph (6);

(B)

by striking the period at the end of paragraph (7) and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(8)

carry out section 103A with respect to the collection and delivery of marked absentee ballots of absent overseas uniformed services voters in elections for Federal office.

.

(2)

State responsibilities

Section 102(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff—1(a)) is amended—

(A)

by striking and at the end of paragraph (4);

(B)

by striking the period at the end of paragraph (5) and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(6)

carry out section 103A(b)(2) with respect to the processing and acceptance of marked absentee ballots of absent overseas uniformed services voters.

.

(c)

Outreach for absent overseas uniformed services voters on procedures

The Presidential designee shall take appropriate actions to inform individuals who are anticipated to be absent overseas uniformed services voters in the regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held in November 2008 of the procedures for the collection and delivery of marked absentee ballots established pursuant to section 103A of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as added by subsection (a), including the manner in which such voters may utilize such procedures for the submittal of marked absentee ballots in regularly scheduled elections for Federal office.

(d)

Reports on utilization of procedures

(1)

Reports required

Not later than 180 days after each regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held after January 1, 2008, the Presidential designee shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the utilization of the procedures for the collection and delivery of marked absentee ballots established pursuant to section 103A of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as so added, during such general election.

(2)

Elements

Each report under paragraph (1) shall include, for the general election covered by such report, a description of the utilization of the procedures described in that paragraph during such general election, including the number of marked absentee ballots collected and delivered under such procedures.

(e)

Report on status of implementation

(1)

Report required

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Presidential designee shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the status of the implementation of the program for the collection and delivery of marked absentee ballots established pursuant to section 103A of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as added by subsection (a).

(2)

Elements

The report under paragraph (1) shall include a status of the implementation of the program and a detailed description of the specific steps taken towards its implementation for November 2009 and November 2010.

(f)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

The term absent overseas uniformed services voter has the meaning given that term in section 103A(d) of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as added by subsection (a).

(2)

The term Presidential designee means the official designated under section 101(a) of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff(a)).

(3)

The term congressional defense committees means—

(A)

the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and

(B)

the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

2.

Prohibition on refusal to accept voter registration and absentee ballot applications and federal write-in absentee ballots for failure to meet nonessential requirements

(a)

Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Applications

(1)

Prohibiting refusal To accept applications for failure to meet nonessential requirements

Section 102 of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff–1) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(e)

Prohibiting Refusal To Accept Applications for Failure To Meet Nonessential Requirements

A State shall accept and process any otherwise valid voter registration application or absentee ballot application (including the official post card form prescribed under section 101) submitted in any manner by an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter that contains the information required on the official post card form prescribed under section 101 (other than information which the Presidential designee, in consultation with the Election Assistance Commission and the Election Assistance Commission Board of Advisors under section 214 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15344), determines, under regulations promulgated by the Presidential designee, is not clearly necessary to prevent fraud in the conduct of elections).

.

(2)

Effective date

Subsection (e) of section 102 of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as added by this subsection, shall apply with respect to each regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held on or after November 1, 2010.

(b)

Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot

(1)

Prohibiting refusal To accept ballot for failure to meet nonessential requirements

Section 103 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff–2) is amended—

(A)

by redesignating subsection (f) as subsection (g); and

(B)

by inserting after subsection (e) the following new subsection:

(f)

Prohibiting Refusal To Accept Ballot for Failure To Meet Nonessential Requirements

A State shall accept and process any otherwise valid Federal write-in absentee ballot submitted in any manner by an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter that contains the information required to be submitted with such ballot by the Presidential designee (other than information which the Presidential designee, in consultation with the Election Assistance Commission and the Election Assistance Commission Board of Advisors under section 214 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15344), determines, under regulations promulgated by the Presidential designee, is not clearly necessary to prevent fraud in the conduct of elections).

.

(2)

Effective date

Subsection (f) of section 102 of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as amended by this subsection, shall apply with respect to each regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held on or after November 1, 2010.

Passed the Senate October 1 (legislative day, September 17), 2008.

Nancy Erickson,

Secretary.