Overseas Servicemen and Servicewomen Must Not Be Disenfranchised

Oct 18, 2010

GOP Members of Elections Subcommittee Urge the Department of Justice to Ensure Overseas Service Members Receive Ballots

WASHINGTON - Republican Members of the Committee on House Administration's Subcommittee on Elections today issued the following statements regarding reports of widespread failure to comply with the requirement that military and overseas ballots be mailed by September 18, and the failure of the Department of Justice to enforce the requirement:

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Subcommittee Ranking Member:

"Congress has worked hard and with excellent bipartisan cooperation to help our service members and overseas voters have their ballots counted.  That is why seeing states like Illinois and New York ignore the law, and learning that the Department of Justice only belatedly and reluctantly is acting to enforce it, is infuriating.  In order to ensure that our overseas servicemen and servicewomen are not disenfranchised, I urge the Justice Department to work with the Department of Defense and election officials to send ballots by express delivery to ensure they are sent and received in time to be counted."

Rep. Gregg Harper (Miss.):

"It is one thing for the Department of Justice to engage in a legitimate exercise of prosecutorial discretion, but in this case apparently, they weren't even aware of the facts until a private group did all the research and told them.  That isn't discretion, it's failure.  The only thing we don't know is whether the failure is of judgment or execution.  Either way, it shows a lack of respect for the laws enacted by Congress."

In addition, Rep. Kevin McCarthy joined the Ranking Members of the Armed Services Committee, and the Judiciary Committee in sending a letter to Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez expressing anger at DOJ's failure to effectively enforce the mailing requirement for military and overseas ballots.

Overseas service members who have not received ballots can check the Federal Voting Assistance Program web site (www.fvap.gov) for assistance obtaining a ballot electronically.

For more information, please contact the Committee press office at (202) 225-8281.