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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
7/16/2009--Reported to Senate amended. Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act - (Sec. 3) Authorizes any state to delegate to jurisdictions within the state its responsibilities in carrying out the requirements of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) as imposed by this Act.
(Sec. 4) Amends UOCAVA to require states to establish procedures for: (1) absentee uniform services voters and overseas voters to request and, states to send, federal election voter registration applications and absentee ballot applications by mail or electronically; (2) transmittal of blank absentee ballots by mail or electronically to absentee uniformed services voters and overseas voters; and (3) ensuring absentee uniformed services voters and overseas voters have time to vote, unless the state receives a hardship exemption waiver if it is unable to meet timeliness requirements.
(Sec. 7) Directs the presidential designee to establish procedures for: (1) collecting marked absentee ballots of absentee overseas uniformed services voters in regularly scheduled federal general elections; and (2) delivering them to the appropriate state election officials.
Requires the chief state election official, in coordination with local election jurisdictions, to develop a free access tracking system by which an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter may determine whether his or her absentee ballot has been received by the appropriate state election official.
(Sec. 8) Authorizes the use of federal write-in absentee ballots in general, special, and runoff elections for federal office, and promotion and expansion of use of such ballots as a back-up measure.
(Sec. 9) Prohibits refusal to accept otherwise valid voter registration and absentee ballot applications, marked absentee ballots, and federal write-in absentee ballots for failure to meet certain requirements.
(Sec. 10) Directs the presidential designee to: (1) develop online portals of information to inform absent uniformed services voters regarding voter registration procedures and absentee ballot procedures for federal elections; and (2) establish a program to notify absent uniformed services voters, in part through the military Global Network, of voter registration information and resources, the availability of the federal postcard application, and the availability of the federal write-in absentee ballot on the Global Network.
Requires each Secretary of a military department to take appropriate actions to designate an office on each installation of the armed forces under the Secretary's jurisdiction to provide absentee uniformed services voters: (1) written information on voter registration procedures and absentee ballot procedures; (2) the opportunity to register to vote in a federal election; (3) the opportunity to update the individual's voter registration information; and (3) the opportunity to request an absentee ballot. Requires each such Secretary to develop the procedures necessary to provide such assistance.
(Sec. 11) Requires the presidential designee to develop standards for states to: (1) report data on the number of absentee ballots transmitted and received; and (2) store the data reported.
(Sec. 12) Repeals provisions relating to the use of single voter registration and absentee ballot application for all subsequent elections.
(Sec. 13) Requires the Attorney General to report annually to Congress on civil enforcement actions under UOCAVA.
(Sec. 14) Amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require: (1) a state to use a requirements payment made using certain funds only to meet specified UOCAVA requirements; and (2) the state plan to describe how the state will use such requirements payment to meet UOCAVA requirements.
(Sec. 15) Directs the presidential designee to establish one or more pilot programs to test the feasibility of new election technology for the benefit of absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters claiming UOCAVA rights. Authorizes appropriations.