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Elections Officials Sued for Mailing Late Overseas Absentee Ballots

4 years ago
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The federal government has sued elections officials in three states for missing a new deadline to mail ballots to voters overseas.

The 2009 law requires local election officials to send ballots to expats and soldiers abroad no later than 45 days before Election Day. An unknown number of counties in New York, New Mexico and Nevada missed this year's Sept. 18 deadline.

As a result, they have been sued by the feds or reached agreements to give military personnel and other Americans living abroad more time to return ballots, USA Today reported.

"The department is working with all states ... to investigate and remedy any problems that will prevent our men and women serving overseas from having the opportunity to vote and have their votes counted," Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement.

According to USA Today:

-- The department sued New York after nine counties, including those in New York City, missed the deadline. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who wrote the overseas voter law, called on officials to extend the deadline to receive ballots by at least 10 days.

-- The department sued New Mexico after six counties missed the deadline. The lawsuit was settled after state officials agreed to count absentee and overseas ballots received by Nov. 6.

-- Hinojosa confirmed the department is investigating whether Illinois counties met the deadline after a county clerk said a pending court decision delayed the printing of ballots.

"They're right to be taking action," Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat with the non-partisan Overseas Vote Foundation told the newspaper. "The message is that this is serious."

An analysis by Chicago's Sun-Times found no evidence of major problems in shipping ballots overseas from Illinois.

Filed Under: Voting, 2010 Elections

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