Overseas Military & Spouses: Get in Your Ballots ASAP!

Even though several states have failed to comply with a new federal law requiring that absentee ballots be mailed to military and overseas voters 45 days before Election Day, it doesn't mean these citizens are completely disenfranchised.

"It's not too late," said Bob Carey, director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, the government agency charged with assisting overseas voters.

"Thirty states have ballots available online. That's full federal, state, and local ballots. That includes New York and Illinois, where we have problems of late ballot delivery," he added, directing overseas voters to his website for more guidance.

As reported on Fox News, states such as Illinois and New York have not been able to mail their absentee ballots 45 days ahead of the election, as mandated by the 2009 Military Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE).

The failure to comply with federal law continues to draw criticism, despite efforts by the Department of Justice and state officials to find a resolution. On Friday, Illinois Republican Party General Counsel Brien Sheahan said the party plans to file a motion to intervene in order to extend the deadline for accepting and counting military ballots in Illinois. According to Sheahan's office, nearly one-third of Illinois Counties mailed over 2,600 military and overseas ballots late.

Eric Eversole, of the Military Voter Protection Project, has been an outspoken critic of states that have failed to comply with the MOVE Act. Still, he says it's not too late for overseas military to vote.

"Our men and women in uniform don't know the meaning of quit and we don't either," said Eversole. "There are a number of options available to help ensure that our service members are able to vote, even if they have not yet received their ballot."

Carey's office, tasked to help implement the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), has an online map at FVAP.com which directs users to their state's online ballot delivery system, if they have it. Carey likes to refer to the website as an "uber-portal" for all military and overseas voters.

"For some states, this whole process could take 15 minutes: you get your ballot online, mark it, print it out, sign it, and email it back," said Carey.

And even if the state ballot is not online, every military and overseas voter is entitled to use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. Every voting assistance officer on a military base, in addition to every embassy, has copies.

All overseas military personnel have access to free express mail and tracking when they print an envelope template. The Overseas Vote Foundation has also partnered with Federal Express to offer express mail return in 93 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, for no more than $25.

"It's not too late for anyone," said Carey, adding as a reminder that all military spouses have same federal voting rights as military voters themselves.