Rep. Maloney Works to Protect the Rights of Overseas Voters

Nov 16, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus, has introduced legislation to protect the voting rights of the millions of American citizens currently living overseas.  According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, about two-thirds of the absentee ballots requested for last year’s general election by overseas Americans were not counted.  Ballots either weren't received in time, were sent to an incorrect address, or filled out incorrectly.

“Right now, far too many overseas Americans – including many of the brave men and women serving in our military – are being disenfranchised by a tangle of bureaucratic red tape.  We have a responsibility to make it as easy as possible for all patriotic, tax-paying Americans to vote,” said Maloney.  “Americans living overseas shouldn’t be forced to deal with a voting system that is more complicated and less reliable.  My bill proposes simple inexpensive fixes that will help change that, and ensure the votes of every overseas American are counted.”   

Maloney’s “Overseas Voting Practical Amendments Act of 2007” (H.R. 4237) would:

• Designate one official form as the overseas federal voter registration and ballot application;

• Prohibit states from refusing to accept balloting materials because they are generated by a computer program, are not printed on a specific type of paper, or do not otherwise meet similar extraneous requirements that aren’t necessary to prevent election fraud;

• Ensure that states provide correct information and sufficient postage on pre-addressed materials to prevent overseas mail from going astray;

• Allow overseas voters to automatically receive requests for absentee ballots;

• Extend voting rights to American-citizen children born overseas who may have never spent enough time on any visit to the U.S. to establish residency before voting age;

• Give overseas voters more time to correct a rejection of their voter registration or absentee ballot request prior to Election Day; and

• Allow the State Department to help transmit the ballots of overseas voters in countries with inadequate mail service.

Congressman Michael Honda (D-CA) is a co-sponsor of H.R. 4237. 

Background:

In the 110th Congress, Maloney founded the Americans Abroad Caucus with Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC).  The purpose of the bi-partisan caucus is to provide a forum for discussion of the issues that are important to overseas Americans including citizenship, census, voting, and taxation.

The Overseas Citizens Voting Act of 1975 guaranteed the right to vote for military overseas and for U.S. citizens living overseas. 

For a summary of the “Overseas Voting Practical Amendments Act of 2007” (H.R. 4237), go to: https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/govreform/overseasamericans/20071116Summary_Overseas_Voter_Bill.pdf.

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