Senators accuse U.S. Justice Department of not enforcing MOVE Act

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August 18, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

WASHINGTON, D.C.: U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) is asking Attorney General Eric Holder to get the Justice Department to fully enforce the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE Act).[1]

The Senator's request comes after M. Eric Eversole, a former Justice Department Attorney and Executive Director of Military Voter Protection (MVP) Project, accused the Attorney General of encouraging states to bypass the MOVE Act by applying for waivers. There is a one-time waiver clause in the law that can be granted to states if they demonstrate undue hardship by complying with the requirements. [1]

The waiver clause issue led 17 members of Congress to investigate whether the Justice Department encouraged states to not comply with the law. Congressman Robert Latta (R-Ohio) began the investigation after the Obama Administration refused to hand over documents indicating which states applied for waivers. A separate investigation from the MVP Project found nearly one-third of states failed to implement key provisions of the law. The investigation also found that 11 states did not implement the 45 day deadline for sending out ballots along with five states not using electronic methods for delivering ballots. [1]

States with primaries in August and September including Maryland, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin have applied for one-time waivers for 2010 to bypass the MOVE Act. Colorado's waiver from the MOVE Act was the subject of a heated exchange between Eversole and Secretary of State Bernie Buescher during a FOX News program on August 15, 2010. [1]

During the program, Eversole accused Colorado's head elections official of not doing enough to comply with the law. The military voting rights leader cited the state's 15-day process to print ballots as a reason for non-compliance. Buescher shot back and accused the former Justice Department Attorney of not looking at the burdens some Colorado counties face in printing and delivering ballots. [1]

With many races hotly contested in 2010, the winners may be decided by military and absentee votes. This factor may continue to keep the MOVE Act as a highly debated issue up to election day. [1]

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