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Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Military Voter Act: US DoJ criticized over Hawaii's illegally late Primary date
By Selected News Articles @ 2:03 PM :: 9141 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

FOX: DOJ Accused of Stalling on MOVE Act for Voters in Military

…The MOVE act requires states to send absentee ballots to overseas military troops 45 days before an election, but a state can apply for a waiver if it can prove a specific "undue hardship" in enforcing it.

Sen. John Cornyn,R-Texas – who co-sponsored MOVE – wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on July 26 saying he is concerned that the Department of Justice is allowing states to opt out of the new law. Click here to read the letter.

“Military voters have been disenfranchised for decades, and last year Congress acted," Cornyn said in a statement to FoxNews.com. "But according to recent information, the Department of Justice has expressed reluctance to protect the civil rights of military voters under the new law. All our men and women in uniform deserve a chance to vote this November, and the Obama administration bears responsibility for ensuring that they have it.

“For far too long in this country, we have failed to adequately protect the right of our troops and their families to participate in our democratic process. The MOVE Act was supposed to end this sad history. The right to participate in democratic elections is fundamental to the American experience.”

In his letter to Holder, Cornyn cites minutes from the 2010 winter meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), during which Rebecca Wertz, deputy chief of the DOJ's voting section, told state election officials that the legislative language regarding waivers is not completely clear. Wertz described the provisions of the law as “fairly general” and “somewhat of an open question as to what type of information” a state needs to submit in order to for their waiver application to be granted. She said it was also unclear whether waivers are for one election only, or if they apply to future elections.

According to the meeting's minutes, obtained by FoxNews.com, Wertz also said “that the DOJ is working to find effective ways to disseminate any information guidance that can help states with different questions about MOVE interpretation. She invited questions and dialogue from states, and said that litigation is always the last resort.”

Cornyn wrote, “If these are the positions of the DOJ, then they fly in the face of the clear statutory language, undermine the provisions in question, and jeopardize the voting rights of our men and women in uniform.”

He said the language of the law makes it clear that there is no ambiguity when it comes to states' eligibility for being granted a waiver, and that the statute does not leave room for the Justice Department to decide whether to enforce its requirements.

“If a state is not in compliance with the statute, there is little room for “dialogue” or negotiation, and the Voting Section should take immediate steps to enforce the law and safeguard military and overseas voting rights, including pursuing litigation whenever necessary,” Cornyn wrote. “The comments by the DOJ official, as reported in the NASS minutes, appear to ignore Congress’ clear legislative language and could facilitate the disenfranchisement of our men and women in uniform.”

Cornyn, who discussed Eversole’s allegations at a meeting with Defense Department officials last week, called for Holder to immediately provide guidelines to state election officials; to ensure that states are required to abide by the law; and to provide Cornyn himself with a state-by-state breakdown of which states have already applied for waivers and which are expected to be in noncompliance with MOVE in the November midterm election. He also called for full transparency in the waiver process.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, Xochitl Hinojosa, declined to comment, other than to say Cornyn’s letter is being reviewed.

FoxNews.com obtained waiver applications submitted by Washington and Hawaii….

read more

RELATED: http://www.electionlawcenter.com/

HFP: Hawaii's 2010 election schedule violates new federal law

HFP:  Bill to move up Hawaii’s illegal 2012 primary date

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