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Federal Officials Praise Nevada for Quick Action to Protect Rights of Military & Overseas Voters
Posted Date: 10/11/2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pam duPré
(775) 684-5748
pdupre@sos.nv.gov

(Carson City, NV; October 11, 2010) – The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has praised Nevada elections officials for working “quickly and cooperatively” to address a delay in mailing ballots to uniformed and overseas voters overseas due to the failure of a private vendor to deliver the printed ballots on time. The DOJ and the Secretary of State’s office have worked diligently throughout the election cycle to monitor and enforce the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act), which requires local elections officials to mail ballots to uniformed and overseas voters 45 days before the election if the ballots are requested by then.

The 34 voters, 25 of whom are members of the military or their spouses, all have addresses in Elko County, where the vendor chosen to print the ballots failed to delivery them to the county clerk’s office on schedule. Elko County officials were able to mail the ballots no later than 40 days before the election. As a result, Secretary of State Ross Miller’s office took swift action to file an emergency regulation on October 6th allowing Elko County an additional six days to receive and count ballots from the 34 voters.

Prior to the adoption by Congress of the federal MOVE Act, Secretary Miller had worked with the Nevada Office of Veteran’s Services (NOVS) to draft and adopt AB 41 in the 2009 session of the Nevada Legislature. The new state law allows uniformed and overseas voters to register to vote and request and cast their absentee ballots electronically by facsimile or email.

“We lobbied hard for AB 41 so Nevada men and women serving overseas can be further reassured that they will have the time and the options they need to vote in a timely way,” Secretary Miller said. “This further ensures that the votes cast by Nevada men and women serving their country will in fact be counted.”

“The American Legion applauds the proactive efforts of Secretary Miller and local elections officials,” stated Tim Tetz, speaking for the 2 ½ million members of the American Legion where he serves as the Director of the Legislative Division. Tetz is the former Executive Director of NOVS who joined the Secretary of State’s office in lobbying for AB 41 in 2009. “The American Legion holds up the Nevada law championed by Secretary Miller as a model for preserving the voting rights of military service members. If every state had language similar to AB 41, participation in elections by deployed service members would be significantly enhanced.”

All 34 Elko County voters were contacted and informed of the options the legislation provides for returning their ballots electronically well ahead of election day. Many of the voters have already cast and returned their ballots.

In a statement issued Friday, Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Civil Rights Division said he was pleased that “Nevada officials worked quickly and cooperatively with the department and adopted measures that will ensure the state’s military and overseas voters will have their votes counted in the upcoming election.”

Daniel Bogden, U.S. Attorney for Nevada, is a member of the Election Integrity Task Force that was established by Secretary Miller in 2008 to prevent fraud, intimidation, or other illegal activity associated with the electoral process, as well as react to logistical problems, like the failure of the private vendor to deliver ballots on time. “This task force has been held up as a national model for other states to follow and is used in training federal authorities across the country in how to react swiftly, decisively, and appropriately to preserve the integrity of our system of elections,” Bogden said when the DOJ issued it’s statement.

More information about how uniformed and overseas may cast their ballots can be found under the Election Center at www.nvsos.gov.
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