January 10, 2011
CONTACT INFORMATION: Terri McCoy, (406) 444-2807
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch Urges Montana Legislature to Implement Federal Military & Overseas Empowerment (MOVE) Act; Adjutant General John E. Walsh, MNG, Joins Effort to Support Senate Bill 55
HELENA – Montana Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch on Monday urged the Senate State Administration Committee to support Senate Bill 55, which implements the Federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
The MOVE Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by the President on October 28, 2009, amends and expands the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) to ensure voters covered under the Act have equal opportunity to register to vote and have their absentee ballots counted in all federal elections.
“The fairness and integrity of every election is of upmost importance,” Secretary McCulloch said. “Protecting the voting rights of our service members, their families and other overseas citizens should be a priority for all of us.”
Adjutant General John E. Walsh of the Montana National Guard testified in support of the measure, which is being sponsored by Montana State Senator Larry Jent.
SB 55 Highlights:
Ballots must be transmitted to UOCAVA voters 45 days before any federal election. Current law requires this deadline only for federal General Elections.
Clarifies that a federal post-card application (FPCA) or a federal write-in absentee ballot (FWAB), if transmitted electronically and if required ID is included, is not required to be signed. This is current administrative practice.
Allows a voter covered under UOCAVA to submit an electronic request for an absentee ballot that includes the voter’s DOB and affirmation of the voter’s eligibility to vote under UOCAVA. Such a request may be submitted electronically through the Ballot Marking Wizard, which Secretary McCulloch implemented for the federal General Election in 2010.