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U.S. Defense Department deny four states waiver from military ballot law

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August 28, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The U.S. Department of Defense denied waivers to four states from complying with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act on August 27, 2010.[1]

Wisconsin, Hawaii, Alaska, Colorado, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia were denied one-time hardship waivers for the 2010 election.[1] Washington, Massachusetts, Delaware, New York State, and Rhode Island had their waiver requests approved.[1] Maryland originally applied for a waiver, but later withdrew its request before the Defense Department made its decision.[2]

Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher said that the state applied for a waiver because he wanted to ensure accuracy in the state's elections process. As a result of being denied, Buscher has ordered all county clerks to comply with the 45 day requirement for sending out military and overseas ballots.[1] Rich Coolidge, a spokesman for Buescher, blamed Colorado’s late primary election date and ballot initiative deadlines as a reason for non-compliance during an interview with the Associated Press.[3]

Kevin Kennedy, Legal Counsel for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, said that Wisconsin will not change its primary election date of September 14, 2010 as a result of being denied. Wisconsin, along with other states applying for waivers, claimed that there was not enough time after their scheduled primary elections to send out ballots by the September 18, 2010 deadline.[1]

A U.S. Justice Department spokesperson said that they would work with the states to ensure compliance with the MOVE Act. Attorneys for the Department would file lawsuits against any state that does not voluntarily comply with the law.[1]

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