On December 22, 2014, the court in United States v. State of West Virginia (S.D. W.Va.), a case brought to enforce the Uniformed and Overseas
Citizens Absentee Voting Act ("UOCAVA"), issued its decision and entered judgment for the United States.
The court ordered West Virginia to count the votes for Federal office contained on certain UOCAVA ballots at issue in the case and include them
in the final vote totals for the November 4, 2014 Federal general election.
The case remedied violations of UOCAVA that arose after the State had transmitted ballots to military and overseas voters by September 20, the
45th day before the Federal general election as required by UOCAVA. On October 1, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ordered that a
replacement candidate in a State Delegate District be added to the ballot and that corrected ballots be transmitted to all absentee voters in that
district. West Virginia applied to the Secretary of Defense for a waiver of UOCAVA's requirement that ballots be transmitted to UOCAVA voters
45 days in advance of the Federal general election, which was denied on October 20, 2014. On October 31, the Department filed a
complaint alleging that West Virginia had violated UOCAVA by failing to ensure that final absentee ballots were
transmitted to UOCAVA voters at least 45 days in advance of the November 4, 2014 Federal general election.
A consent decree was entered by the court on November 3, 2014, which among other things, extended the deadline to
November 17, 2014, for receipt of corrected UOCAVA ballots if the ballots were executed on or before November 4, 2014 and returned by postal or
express mail. The Department further sought an injunction requiring West Virginia to count the votes for Federal office on each of the original
UOCAVA ballots returned by express or postal mail by November 17, 2014, if that ballot was the only ballot returned by the voter. That
injunction was granted on December 22, 2014.
On March 14, 2014, in United States v. State of Alabama, No. 2:12-cv-00179 (M.D. Ala.), the district court issued a revised
remedial order regarding UOCAVA compliance in future federal runoff elections. On February 11, 2014, the
district court granted summary judgment to the United States on the federal runoff issue. Also
on March 14, 2014, the district court issued an order amending in part its January 17, 2014 remedial
order regarding UOCAVA compliance in light of newly-enacted state legislation. On January 17, 2014, the district court entered the
parties' partial remedial order designed to help ensure UOCAVA compliance for future federal elections
(and resolving all claims except the federal runoff issue), and that same day, the court issued an opinion
regarding entry of the remedial order. On February 24, 2012 the Department filed a complaint against
the State of Alabama and the Alabama Secretary of State for failing to transmit absentee ballots to military and overseas voters at least 45
days prior to federal elections as required by UOCAVA. On February 27, 2012, the Department moved for a temporary restraining order and
preliminary injunction seeking emergency relief for affected voters for the March 13, 2012 federal primary election and April 24, 2012 federal
primary runoff election. On February 28, 2012, the court entered an order requiring that the State file
with the court a report detailing UOCAVA ballot activity throughout the State, including the dates each county transmitted timely-requested
ballots to military and overseas voters. The order further required the State to confer with the Department of Justice on appropriate relief
to ensure UOCAVA voters would have a full opportunity to participate in the federal primary election, and in the subsequent federal runoff
election if one is held. On March 7, 2012, after the parties were unable to agree on the relief necessary to remedy the violations of
UOCAVA, the court entered a preliminary injunction ordering Alabama to provide additional time after
election day for receipt of UOCAVA ballots; procedures for affording UOCAVA voters sufficient time to vote in the April 24, 2012 runoff elections,
should one be necessary; to implement procedures for providing notice to affected voters of the remedies contained in the order; and to
report relevant data for all the remaining 2012 federal elections. On March 12, 2012, the Court issued an opinion
setting out its reasons for the preliminary injunction order.
On December 22, 2014, the Department submitted to Congress the Attorney General's 2014 annual report pursuant
to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
On September 30, 2013, the Department filed a complaint in United States v. State of North Carolina,
No. 1:13-cv-00861 (M.D.N.C.). The press release is available here.
On August 22, 2013, the Department filed a complaint in United States v. State of Texas;
No. 2:13-cv-00263 (S.D. Tex.). The press release is available here.
On August 22, 2013, the Department filed a motion to intervene and complaint in intervention
in Perez v. Perry, No. 5:11-cv-360 (W.D. Tex.). The press release is available
On July 11, 2013, in United States v. State of Georgia No. 1:12-cv-2230 (N.D. Ga.), the district
court issued a remedial order granting the
Department's request for permanent injunctive relief and revising Georgia's election calendar to
comply with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). On April 30, 2013, the
court granted summary judgment for the United States holding that
the 45-day deadline in Section 102(a)(8) of UOCAVA applies to federal runoff elections and that Georgia's
electoral system therefore violated UOCAVA. On June 27, 2012, the Department filed a complaint
against the State of Georgia under UOCAVA, alleging that Georgia's procedures were inadequate to ensure
that its UOCAVA voters could participate fully in the state's Aug. 21, 2012, federal primary runoff
election. Under Georgia's election calendar official runoff election ballots would not have been
available to be sent until after UOCAVA's deadline of July 7, 2012, the 45th day before this year's
primary runoff election. Also on June 27, the Department moved for a temporary restraining order and
preliminary injunction seeking an order,
which was granted on July 5, requiring Georgia to take certain steps necessary to ensure that all
affected UOCAVA voters were afforded a full opportunity to participate in the August federal primary runoff election.
On June 25, 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, 113 S. Ct. 2612 (2013), the Supreme Court
held that it is unconstitutional to use the coverage formula in Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act to determine
which jurisdictions are subject to the preclearance requirement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme
Court did not rule on the constitutionality of Section 5 itself. The effect of the Shelby County decision is
that the jurisdictions identified by the coverage formula in Section 4(b) no longer need to seek preclearance for
the new voting changes, unless they are covered by a separate court order entered under Section 3(c) of the Voting Rights Act.