Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 23, 2009
Justice Department Resolves Lawsuit with State of Vermont Regarding Reporting Requirements of Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today the resolution of the lawsuit filed by the United States against the state of Vermont to enforce the reporting requirements of the Uniformed Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). UOCAVA is designed to ensure that members of the uniformed services and overseas citizens may effectively participate in federal elections.

The state of Vermont and the Vermont Secretary of State, Deborah L. Markowitz, are responsible for collecting and reporting the number of absentee ballots that are sent to uniformed service voters and overseas citizens. The United States filed a lawsuit against the state of Vermont and its Secretary of State, on Oct. 10, 2008, because Vermont had failed to comply with UOCAVA’s reporting obligations after both the 2004 and 2006 general elections. Today, the United States voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit because Vermont brought its UOCAVA reporting into compliance.

"Accurate and complete information about whether our uniformed service members and overseas citizens are being given an effective opportunity to have their votes counted is essential," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King for the Civil Rights Division. "We are pleased that Vermont and its Secretary of State have now provided this important information."

The UOCAVA specifically mandates that all states and local governments report to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) no later than 90 days after the date of each regularly scheduled general election for federal office the combined number of absentee ballots that are sent to absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters for the election and the combined number of such ballots that were returned by these voters and cast in the election. The EAC publishes a report every two years and provides data concerning UOCAVA ballots for every state and jurisdiction in the United States.

The Civil Rights Division enforces UOCAVA and the Voting Rights Act. To file complaints about discriminatory voting practices, including difficulties experienced by UOCAVA voters, voters may call the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931. More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice website at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.

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