10 States Seek Waiver to Comply With Military Voting Law's Absentee Ballot Rules

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Armed insurgents provide more than enough for our fighting men and women overseas to worry about, but this fall's jam-packed election calendar is also ambushing them.

Ten states, Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands are all seeking waivers exempting them from complying with the new law -- the Move Act -- that requires all states to mail absentee ballots to overseas military voters 45 days before Election Day.

"The waiver process is kind of recognition, probably, that 2010 was going to be a transition year, that some states would have to do things like move their electoral calendar, which is not easy," said Chip Levengood of the Overseas Vote Foundation.

The 10 states are Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In Delaware, for example, primary day, Sept. 14, 47 days before Election Day, leaving not enough time for officials in Washington to certify a winner, print ballots and ship them to Mazar-I-Sharif fast enough to comply with the new law.

"It's been very clear that some of these states were not going to be in compliance with the Move Act a long time ago," said Eric Eversole, executive director of the Military Voter Protection Project. "And the Department of Justice, each step of the way, has simply not taken the actions to ensure that the Move Act would be implemented in each of the 50 states."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who co-authored the Move Act, wrote Attorney General Eric Holder last month to complain that a top Justice Department official had called the law "fairly general" with some provisions "an open question."

"If a state is not in compliance with the statute," Cornyn wrote Holder, "there is little room for 'dialogue' or negotiation, and (the department's) Voting (Rights) Section should take immediate steps to enforce the law."

An assistant attorney general fired back four days later, writing to Cornyn, "The department (is) forming a team of attorneys to monitor state compliance with the act's requirements."

Despite repeated requests by Fox News, the Pentagon refused to make the officer charged with deciding on the 10 states' waiver requests -- Robert Carey, director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program -- available for an interview.

Fox News' James Rosen contributed to this report.