- Minnesota Cities & The League
- Governing & Managing
- Risk Management
- Legislative Action Center
- Training & Conferences
When it comes to absentee voting, city election officials need to be aware of special procedures for voters in the military and others living overseas.
(Published Oct 31, 2012)
As the 2012 election approaches, it’s important for election officials to understand certain requirements regarding absentee voting by military personnel and others living overseas. This was the topic of an Oct. 29 webinar presented by the League and the Minnesota Office of Secretary of State.
Eligibility to vote
One thing to understand is that not all military and overseas voters are allowed to vote in all elections, said Beth Fraser, director of governmental affairs with the Office of the Secretary of State.
Under the federal Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), active duty military personnel and their family members serving away from Minnesota, whether in the U.S. or in foreign nations, are entitled to vote in all elections included on the ballot. Minnesota residents temporarily living overseas are also entitled to vote on all election contests on the ballot.
But U.S. citizens living indefinitely outside the U.S., who resided in Minnesota for at least 20 days immediately before leaving for residence outside the country, may only vote in federal races.
Right to special procedures
Election officials also need to understand that military and overseas voters have a right to special procedures to help them cast their ballots. This includes authority for spouses, adult children, or siblings of military or overseas voters to apply for ballots on their behalf using the Federal Postcard Application. County election officials usually provide such resources, but local residents may approach cities for assistance.
The Office of the Secretary of State has the Military and Overseas Voter Service website, designed to assist UOCAVA voters with the process of applying for and returning completed absentee ballots. Cities are encouraged to post a link to the site on their website. The website is at minnesota.overseasvotefoundation.org/vote/home.htm
UOCAVA voters may have blank ballots sent to them electronically by e-mail or fax. Voters then print out their ballots and return the paper copy using low-cost or free options for expedited ballot returns. Information about these options is included on the Military and Overseas Voter Service website.
When military and overseas voters are concerned about not receiving their ballots in time, they may use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot—an online ballot UOCAVA voters can complete, print out, and mail. This new tool is also available on the Military and Overseas Voter Service website.
To learn more about procedures for absentee voting by military and others living overseas, listen to the League/Secretary of State webinar, available on the League website.
* By posting you are agreeing to the LMC Comment Policy.