United States Election Assistance Comittee

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Military and Overseas Voters

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Post-MOVE ACT Data Shows 93.2% Success Rate For Ballots Cast by Military and Overseas Citizens

Posted on October 11, 2011


Washington – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has released a comprehensive report based on data from all of the states on the ability of military and overseas citizens to successfully cast a ballot. EAC finds that 93.2% of ballots submitted by these voters were counted by the states, the first data collected since the 2009 passage of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
The 2010 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) report presents information such as the number of ballots transmitted to military and overseas voters and the percentage of ballots submitted by military and overseas voters that were counted. The full report and complete data sets are available at http://www.eac.gov/research/uocava_studies.aspx.
Select Findings from the Report
  • The number of ballots transmitted to UOCAVA voters decreased during the two years leading up to the 2010 elections. The total number of ballots transmitted for the November 2010 elections was 611,058, a decrease of more than 378,000 ballots sent for the 2008 elections.
  • States reported receiving 211,749 ballots from UOCAVA voters. Approximately 51% of the ballots submitted for casting came from uniformed service members, while 40% came from overseas civilians. 
  • Of the 211,749 UOCAVA ballots submitted for counting, States reported counting 197,390 (93%). The same percentage of UOCAVA ballots were counted in 2008.
  • States reported rejecting 14,824 ballots. The most common reason for rejecting a UOCAVA ballot was that the ballot was not received on time. Thirty-two percent of the ballots were not counted for this reason.
  • States reported that 4,294 federal Write-in Absentee Ballots (FWABs) were submitted. FWABs accounted for 2% of the total number of UOCAVA ballots submitted for counting.
The UOCAVA report is the fourth report provided by EAC. It covers the 2-year period between the November 2008 elections through the November 2010 elections. The biennial report is based on the results of a survey of all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and four territories—American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The data are requested from the states, and those entities collect it from the county (or equivalent) level.
Responses from states and territories varied significantly. In some cases, local election officials were challenged to meet states’ requests for data. In some areas, however, state data reporting improved from prior UOCAVA reports. This year 90 % of responding jurisdictions were able to report the number of military ballots that were cast and counted, up from 84 % in 2008. 
2010 Uniformed and Overseas Voting Act Survey
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) mandates that for each regularly scheduled general election for federal office, EAC shall collect comprehensive data from the states on all of the ballots sent and received by voters covered by UOCAVA. The UOCAVA data are a portion of the larger Election Administration and Voting Survey.
UOCAVA protects the voting rights of members of the Uniformed Services (active duty), members of the Merchant Marine and their eligible dependents, Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and United States citizens residing outside the U.S. UOCAVA requires states and territories to allow these citizens to register and vote in elections for federal office using absentee procedures.
A note about the data
Caution must be exercised when interpreting data from this report and comparing it with data from earlier EAC election data reports as the amount of data provided continues to increase and state data collection practices continue to evolve and vary from state to state. 
EAC is an independent commission created by the Help America Vote Act. EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment. It is also charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form. The two EAC commissioners are Gineen Bresso and Donetta Davidson. There are two vacancies on the commission.