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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Suit Over Military Voting in GA Now Moot

(CN) - Georgia's decision to give overseas military voters sufficient time to return absentee ballots moots a federal complaint over the issue, the 11th Circuit ruled.

To ensure that oversees voters, including military personnel, have enough time to vote in a federal election, Congress amended the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) in 2009.

The amendment requires states to mail overseas voters a ballot "not later than 45 days before the election."

But under Georgia and Alabama law, a federal runoff election, required if no candidate in the primary election receives a majority of votes, was set by statute at less than 45 days after the federal primary election, which would not allow overseas voters 45 days to receive and return their ballots.

The U.S. government filed a federal complaint against the two states for violating the UOCAVA, and won a victory earlier in this month when the 11th Circuit ruled that Alabama must change its election procedures.

The Atlanta-based federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the federal government's case against Georgia is now moot, as the state's Legislature amended Georgia's election calendar to comply with federal law.

"So, as things stand now under codified Georgia law, the state's election calendar and procedures satisfy UOCAVA's 45-day transmittal requirement for ballots to covered voters in runoff elections for federal office," Judge Adalberto Jordan said, writing for the three-judge panel.

The court found it unlikely that the state would "go back to the old electoral system if this appeal were dismissed," especially as the Legislature's action included a number of other electoral reforms.

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