Report

Making the Election System Work for Military and Overseas Voters

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Quick Summary

Problems arise for military and civilian overseas voting at every step of the process, from maintaining accurate registration rolls for a highly mobile population, to casting ballots and ensuring the votes are counted to providing information to navigate the complex process of requirements and deadlines.


Problems arise for military and civilian overseas voting at every step of the process, from maintaining accurate registration rolls for a highly mobile population, to casting ballots and ensuring the votes are counted to providing information to navigate the complex process of requirements and deadlines.

Earlier this year, Pew issued No Time to Vote: Challenges Facing America's Overseas Military Voters. The report found that 25 states and the District of Columbia provide insufficient time for overseas military voters to vote and have their votes count.

Pew identified three major factors in various state absentee voting laws and procedures that impede military and overseas voters from voting: relying partially or entirely on mail delivery for the voting process; mailing absentee ballots later in the election calendar and closer to Election Day; and imposing earlier deadlines for returning completed ballots.

Although No Time to Vote reported that 25 states and the District of Columbia should improve their absentee ballot procedures to give UOCAVA voters enough time to vote, all states could significantly improve their voting process for military and overseas voters. The Pew Center on the States is engaged in a multi-year initiative to advance short and long-term solutions. We are working with the states and a wide array of partners to advance commonsense reforms to make the election system work better for Americans around the world who defend our country and represent its ideals.

Media Contact

Stephanie Bosh

Officer, Communications

202.540.6741