A Bipartisan Voting Victory

Publication: National Journal

Author: Eliza Newlin Carney


11/30/2009 - At a time when the rest of Washington can't seem to stop bickering, voting rights advocates have quietly scored a bipartisan victory to help military and overseas voters participate in elections.

With little fanfare last month, President Obama signed into law the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act as part of a larger defense authorization bill. The law will remove obstacles that have blocked as many as one-quarter of uniformed and overseas voters from successfully casting their absentee ballots.

The law's enactment is an object lesson in how framing an issue along non-ideological lines can transcend partisan splits so lawmakers actually get something done. It also offers a template for how to fix the bigger, systemic problems that plague U.S. elections, most notably the nation's error-riddled, paper-based registration system.

"It's possible to take the same performance-based approach that succeeded so well with military and overseas voting and turn it to voter registration," said Doug Chapin, director of election initiatives for the Pew Center on the States, which toiled tirelessly to rally lawmakers, voting rights advocates and military associations behind the MOVE bill.

View the full article A Bipartisan Voting Victory on the National Journal's Web site.

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