Secretary of State Ross Miller Welcomes Senate Approval of Military & Overseas Voter Empowerment Act Language
Secretary Miller says overseas voters from all states
would get the same protection as Nevadans
(Carson City, NV; July 24 2009) – Secretary of State Ross Miller today applauded Senate
passage of new language that gives military men and women serving overseas ample time to cast
their votes and be counted. While Nevada already has high marks from voter advocacy groups,
Secretary Miller said the new language gives all American voters more time and greater access
to vote in federal primary and general elections.
“It’s a great day in America when government takes a step to make it easier for citizens
to exercise their fundamental right to vote. This is a particularly good day because the
amendment passed by the Senate does that for American voters who have been
disproportionately left out of the process,” said Secretary of State Ross Miller, the state’s chief
election official. “I’m proud to say that Nevada citizens who are serving their country, as well as
civilians overseas, had that access before this bill was passed, and that legislation I supported in
the last state legislature further enhanced their ability to vote on time.”
The Secretary of State’s office worked with the Nevada Department of Veterans Services
and local elections officials to pass AB 41, which allows Nevada voters overseas to register to
vote and request and submit their absentee ballots electronically. The legislation came after
Nevada had already received a top ranking from the Pew Center on the States.
In the 2009 report entitled “No Time to Vote: Challenges Facing America’s Overseas
Military Voters,” the Center gave Nevada the “Time to Vote” ranking, the highest of four
rankings given to states. The Silver State was in the top ten states in terms of giving overseas
voters enough “extra” days in the election cycle to return their ballots.
Under the proposed new federal law, Nevada elections officials will be required to take a
couple of additional steps to provide greater access for overseas voters. They must send absentee
ballots to voters who request them early at least 45 days before the election. Current state law
requires ballots be mailed 40 days in advance. Nevada election officials will also be required to
set up a free service that overseas voters can use to check to see if their completed ballot has
Secretary Miller said he’s pleased the Senate removed some language that would have
actually set up unnecessary barriers for overseas voters and that the Defense Department will
have to be more involved in encouraging votes from overseas.
“Military leaders will be required to give service men and women opportunities to vote
and request ballots when they arrive at a new duty station, when they are deployed, and when
they come back home.” Secretary Miller said. “I appreciate what the United States Senate is
proposing to do to make sure every single eligible voter serving our country in uniform is heard
at election time.”
See http://leg.state.nv.us/75th2009/Reports/history.cfm?ID=104 to read and view the
legislative history of AB 41 from the 2009 legislative session.